By Myself In Mazatlan

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Photo by Davide Sibilio on Unsplash

Night here, alone, makes me unfaithful
to the woman we both know:
easy to give my heart away
to a stranger
wandering the beach

of my innermost shore,
the crash of the ocean’s ivory keys
drowning the do-re-mi
that has played
me for years,

the air so loose and warm,
all the old clothes
must be pulled off,
my body shown
for what it is—

a sweat
of holy longing, faithful
only to what seems to be
last call for living
this other me.

One of several versions of another Mexico poem. Maybe I’ll post the others sometime and see if you like one over the other….

Room

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Under the streetlights our shadows loom large
as we walk back from dinner to our hotel
on the shore of the Bay of Banderas.
The whole street holds its breath
as from the well-bottom of night
I look up, see floating the bronze
pennies of stars.

Our shadows arrive before us, looming large,
as if there’s something that first must be seen or said,
something that has waited so long
it lost its original shape and stride,
even its voice,
something that has followed us here
from home….

I don’t know what ragged corner
of my heart seeks mending
that it should beggar with a cup
near full. If it’s looking for change
here in paradise, that’s easy—so many
bright fish, big blue bucket of sky,
who isn’t young again, hard into wanting?

There’s room to be happy
your hand holds mine, swings it,
room to fancy
any dark angel fallen between us
just needs a push to fly,
room 222 unlocking
whatever’s been locked inside.

Another Mexico poem.

Let Me Love You

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Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

Let me love you, eyes closed,
hands unasked upon your face,
fingers slowly tracing your story lines
back to their beginnings—
all the disappointment rivers heading south,
hungry for your large and generous mouth
and the thrilling pulse of an open sea—
our hands, the stars by which we safely
navigate our untold histories.

Let me love you more
than humanly possible,
colour you way outside your lines,
follow you boldly off the paper
into a holy space
where I could lose my mind,
and the high tide breaks
me open in as many places
as you desire to find.

Let me love you as you are
right now: in the door, but not yet home,
the day—a popped balloon, still tied
to your wrist. Come, sip some wine
and I will sip the silence
into which you pour your words,
until the shadows crowding the window
shrink from view, and it’s just me
and you and the Buddha
moon slipping through the darker hours.

Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day, here’s a poem I wrote long ago for my beloved.

Back In Puerto Vallarta

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We arrive at the hotel like royalty—
remembered, waved through
the sea breeze of halls and floors
to our room, a welcome platter
of fruit, chilled bottle of wine,
a card—that’s all it takes to
pull off our clothes, shower,
sit on the balcony white-robed,
watch the waves rolling toward us
until they roll all the way in and
we let go the body that struggles,
let anything and everything swim
out of us, follow a dark fin far
and away from the old shore,
the sea surging, filling my mouth
with its need to be tasted—salt lick,
tongue slick with the eloquence
of stars.

I finally decided to start posting some of my Mexico poems, seeing as how I’m one month into a 3 month holiday here – not at the hotel above but in a condo right next door.

Two, By Fire

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Photo by Janice Gill on Unsplash

Wood laid on the hearth and lit,
the bright tomorrows stacked,
the least flame fanned
into a wicked spritely dance.

Hand over hand they sat, barely
woman and newly man, thigh
against thigh like the burning logs
coupled with fantastic longing.

No thought that in the heart’s smithy
the heat of those moments would forge
lifelong demands, the combustible
hour smouldering into years

or that a blazing light, unstoked,
could thin to a dying glow.

This poem first appeared in Ristau: A Journal Of Being, edited by the brilliant Robert L. Penick, in January 2019.

Poem Up At The American Journal Of Poetry

I’m thrilled to have my poem A Tandem Hang-Gliding Pilot Fails To Clip His Client’s Harness On included in Volume 8 of The American Journal Of Poetry! Many thanks to Robert Nazarene for his enthusiastic acceptance of this poem! This poem is my short take on a real incident – my longer take on it actually won the Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize in 2016. I am in the company of many poets I’ve long admired, so please check them out (Stephen Dunn, Bruce Bond, Robert Wrigley, Kyle Laws, Alexis Rhone Fancher, to name a few). And Happy New Year!

Cave Without A Name

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Here’s another of my poems included in the wonderful anthology “Through Layered Limestone”, edited by d. ellis phelps and available for purchase from Amazon here

I’m honoured to be in the company of Robert Okaji and Stephanie L. Harper, and many others who know the Texas Hill country well.

Willowy Rose and Chrysanthemum

At a table, over wine, two women
bent their heads toward each other
(willowy rose and chrysanthemum),
hushed words drifting down
upon two hands entwined
above the gift of a ring,
as steadily they leaned
into the garden
that chose them,

young stems glorying
in the bud of a caress, full bloom
of love upon their faces, and we,
a table of husbands and wives,
were as helpless as them
to turn our heads away
from such a graceful rain of light,
so firm a reach of roots
across forbidden ground.

This much older poem recently found the perfect home in the anthology “Smitten – This Is What Love Looks Like”, a hefty volume of over 300 poems, edited by Candice L. Daquin and Hallelujah R. Huston and available for purchase on Kindle and Amazon here