Monday, 18 March 2013

Live at the Enclave

The broad notes of Brahms braid a new age drone.

Cameras arrive with miner’s lights mining us for numbers

and panning grey bricks with names on walls and walks.

Smiles spread with light rounds of applause.

It’s the same story recorded in immaculate times
before the rise of timetables and the collapse of markets,

the ocean as we knew it, always readying for the tap

of every quake or storm flood to break our bananas and oranges.

Nothing irks us who knew better, not even some other us

a step ahead, almost vegan. But hungry buddies arrive

and want us to come around to seconds on the fowl

as long as the sea and sun will support the ritual.

Even in all the sunlight they worried about who’ll arrive

at the beachheads asking for handouts at every doorstep,

sailing so far from so many language groups

urged to bypass coral closures and volcanic chaos offshore,

leaving the rest ready to divvy up what’s left all over again

before it all ended, as if time swelled as we retreated

with mountains full of mountain peoples waiting to lend a hand.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Angry Beachcomber

Sunday we scanned shores for traces of foreign lands
as if over the horizon driftwood from Africa would arrive
marble and immovable, but fragrant
while birch would dissolve just days from Sakhalin
and soft fir from across the Pacific bring only bad news,
splintering with salts and barnacles.

All the shapes we bring home we can lean together into a lean-to
for cooling off in some shade, nap in the curves
and cure the tough turns of the day.

It has been a hard year of bursting onto shores
and no one understands true art, especially our driftwood,
leaving us rather starkly high on our horses
like statues of dead dictators quaintly marching off into woods
kept growing around them. The city is encircled now, all of them sent off
on the lookout. I'm sure my quiet voice is part of the problem—
how else to explain outbursts ruining days
and with elders there, not up to fretting anymore,
just letting the world go in tides of its own
to survey with a usual doctoring of salt.

Nov. 2007, Hualian