Saturday, 27 August 2011

Harvest Light

By August the corn patch was unflappable.
We'd weeded out litters of cats napping between stalks
but at what price? All polls ran against them
and we emerged hand in hand in the shade
of sycamores, auditing locusts for daily functions
of annual patterns. Their curse-resuscitated syndrome
drove in beehive clouds anticipating typhoons
then broken, rolled off like false eyelashes on natural beauty
to titillate the next superpower watching from a noisy café.
The board would like all the loose ends tied together,
no mess-ups this time; no prints nor random patchwork
in the apple eye of 7-11 cameras. As we speak
logistics are assembled in all consuming languages
buttoned up or barbequed according to folded instructions in fine print.

The key is steering clear of the same centre
like a jockey ducking in a tunnel that only the horse can see.
Children grow accustomed to the rules
as if they were DNA rather than a ploy
to extract what rises to the horizon each time one tries to outrun it,
always studious, as mothers still shoulder us,
translate mother tongues to ground our vocables
from the blood mists of warriors parting Euclidean flesh
in the rainy season--historically of course--all that’s all folks.
What can we do but build canoes and rafts
or face house arrest? The plum blossoms flower a code
across the land: the boy is king, mapping the land
in surprise emissions, a general strike in the clouds.
But there is no one to touch as the light wrinkles away
into the waves and we bid adieu, nestle in to man our stations.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Lofty Fog

The whispers from below reach Midas (who just text-messaged)
tone-deaf or not, the balances play out
a prudent policy to let things slide,
despite talk of yesteryear.
Ah, yesteryear. We used to read poetry
about the rearrangement of the senses.
Now they download The Songs of Experience for Dummies
and in the city oracles crash on a dime, and it's normal.
Students don't blink at it. Everything dwindles
and no one wants to hear about
the narrow escapes, how grandparents
swam raging rivers (yawn), how all the bridges
were barricaded or blown to kingdom come (looking at watch),
or left breathing through straws heroically
in electronic swamps gurgling methane—
the settling of accounts long awaited
and all too common in the valley.
In the valley no one notices babies
left to cry off the devil inside
under soft neon stars inflated just beyond doorjambs,
fostered safely for the lofty fog to burn off.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Old Town Starbucks

They cancelled the Americano—too Italian near Scandinavian docks.
Generations later pastors still call on decorum
to undo lavishly Vatican wallpaper zoomed out of focus.
How nice it would be to fold the coasts together
so the spare interior might grow to the water and light
breaking the strong silent types side by side Hollywood housewives,
just as Makahs on the northern tip of the Olympics
after 70 years of being endangered try their harpoons
at the latest swell of whales—
remembering how to skin a whale is not easy:
what to do with all the blubber on the beach?
Make a Makäh eau de cologne?
The toddlers enjoy training wheels
and the gathering sound effects of red bicycles
scraping the sides of double-parked Mercedes.

Yet here I am seeking caffeine sin extras, a modest tall Americano for here,
the cheapest item off the menu, I must want room for cream then?
as if I were my great grandfather, an immigrant miner
too old to shovel but sturdy enough to man the dusty elevator shaft.
Where is your accent? I say, from yon sticks, where everyone builds
along roads they just invent as they go along
to the peril of those walking their horses and salting roses to ward off the deer.
Sometimes roads will accidentally bump into one another
and if there’s no room for proper cul-de-sacs
or they are broken through with the right codes and lawyers
you end up with thoroughfares, and corners along crossing paths
where others apply to change the zoning to cash in on a gasoline stand or grocer.
But, I’m really from even further out, forest fast disappearing
like the spotted owl looking in through the out door, unruffling itself
and spreading its wings to fly back from the horizon.
Here in Old Town there are few trees.
The mills took the good ones long ago
during trade in rubella blankets clearing the land of locals
and planting others around the new boarders working literally for nickels.
The trees here had rings wide enough to remember more than anyone living
and making the newbies nervous, coming from the burbs,
here to vie for views of the bay, more reasons for pruning more
to finally begin to relax, circling on riding mowers with self-mulchers,
scattering whatever grows back, trimming the edges
keeping things from shifting
so we look forward to a bright day flowering.

(Appeared in Mannequin Envy)