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
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.
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.
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
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.
Last of three poems included in “Through Layered Limestone” – alongside the work of favourite poets Robert Okaji and Stephanie L. Harper – edited by d. ellis phelps and available for purchase from Amazon here.
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!
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
Call joy a liquid detergent, washing
the worst away, and it becomes
my soul’s iodine, deterring a dark night.
Of all the emotions, it’s the ruby
that can’t be bought, the jam that’s
passed, spreading over my daily bread.
Call it love’s lava, as bold as a smear
of lipstick on a cheek, and it’s the wax
that seals us together, like an envelope its letter.
Call it a river, and it’s as necessary as blood,
branching from my heart into the body
of the world.
This is an older ekphrastic poem, inspired by the late artist Lenore Conacher’s painting “Joy Is A Liquid” and has now found a home in the 2019 Joan Ramseyer Memorial Poetry Anthology, edited by Brett Ramseyer, the theme of which was joy.