Sunday, April 30, 2017

Caye Caulker, Belize






















In a motorboat skimming across Caribbean
Blue, the shirtless Islander pilots like a pirate.
One-hand on the wheel, he tells today's tourists
Stories of his Great Barrier Reef Boyhood.
Listening with lust, novice young snorkelers
Adjust their unfamiliar equipment, and awkwardly
Await their turn in the turquoise below.

A ceiling fan revolves, whirs, hums, delivers
Tiny breezes across naked bodies, sprawled
Like already forgotten suburbs. From the wall, a lazy
Lizard watches the only movement in the room–
A single thumb stroking a satisfied cheek. Outside,
The regularly-scheduled afternoon thunderstorm
Tells the stirring lovers in Neverland: Go back to sleep.


















Escaping through make-believe walls, the sound
Of reggae rhythms, melodies.  At sunset, lured
By unbroken beats, sandaled feet wander from boats
And beds toward the bar. Reefer floats on the sea air.
Barefoot and nearly bare-bodied, American girls sway
With Rasta boys on floors of sand. Sometimes,
They stay, and raise beautiful blue-in-the-moonlight babies.

But most times, they manage to barely not miss the boat,
the bus, the plane, and end up in a gray airport, inadequately
dressed, asleep on a cold seat, waiting for a ride home.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Not Tonight

The lights have gone out in Caloocan City.
You'll need to tell them.       Tomorrow
Would be a good day.  You need to say, "There is no God
In Caloocan City, not tonight."

While we slept, God got torn apart—
Not north by south or state by state, or even zip code
By zip code.  No,    God got torn apart neighborhood
By neighborhood, house by house, apartment

By apartment.  But really, it was life
By life, sifted out by the parties they attended
To.      You could ask them to remember the radio–
How it tried so hard to find the middle,

But no one had the mindset.
So they said they didn't have the money.
They said, "The churches will save the slums–
Go back to bed."      But

The lights have gone out in Caloocan City.
You need to tell them.      Tomorrow
Would be a good day.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Vespers for the Voiceless

If I were to commission a stained-glass window for my Church,
It would be a single Nightingale upon a beech branch in springtime.
Her tongueless trills would be the Hymns we would sing at sundown—
No noticeable pattern, only an algorithm inherited from the Ancients.

Our Priestess wears her sandy plumage as a sacred vestment,
Her legitimate lineage endows her with the power to Pardon.
Her mutilated blessings would help us to forgive our Tereusian Trespassers,
And dare her Congregation to turn laments into Praise.






Sunday, March 19, 2017

WITHIN ME BURNS A FLAME

Sap's Rising;
it has been tapped, captured,
heated to pouring perfection.
     WITHIN
ME BURNS A FLAME

Seeds're Sprouting,
warmed by layers of grief
and the sun's return.
     WITHIN
ME BURNS A FLAME

Sun's Setting
on so many sacred
landscapes.  They need rain.
     WITHIN
ME BURNS A FLAME

A magpie is nesting.
Drawing upon his ancestors'
DNA, he builds.
He is not sure why.
     WITHIN
ME BURNS A FLAME

Spring's coming —
tomorrow, I think.  The Planet
is ready.  A few things still
need to die.
     WITHIN
ME BURNS A FLAME

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

who made it possible for you to march?

Who made it possible for you to march?
Tell me, can you tell me–

who filled the salt & pepper shakers
your waiter will twist?
Tell me, can you tell me–

How much of a tip
you left for the immigrant
who made your bed?
Did you think about her as you drifted
off to sleep, worrying about whether
or not the others
would care if you snored? Or was it only
when it came time
to dole out the few crumpled dollars
you discovered in the pockets
of that coat you hadn't worn in ages?

Tell me you will read them more poetry.
Tell me, can you tell me–

Who made it possible for you to march?
Was it the husband or wife who picked up the kids?
The partner who prepared dinner?
The friend who covered a shift?
The teenager you trust enough leave home alone?
Tell me, can you tell me–

what you have inherited from your ancestors?
Tell me, can you tell me–

Who made it possible for you to march?