The Great Pine In Our Land

Between sunrise and bedtime,
everything is believed and therefore
blessed. I come from a bleak land
where the sun never lingers
long enough for us to trust
the open arms of darkness.

Sometimes night comes so fast,
like galloping steeds bearing shadows,
that children forget hunger
and kneel down to pray

around the towering great pine
in the middle of our land where
an old man hums a tune as he
gives his faithful dog a piece of three-day-old
bread. The pigeon comes and snatches it away
from the old man’s palm before the dog
could open its mouth.

The scene repeats itself when fish is absent
from the oceans.

Repeats itself when roses are unreturned
to the gardens.

Repeats itself when the dog remains hungry,
and the pigeon fattens by flour and stolen glory.

And above the circle of our praying children,
the scene repeats itself in the obedient bones
of our fathers, in the yellowing skins of our mothers,
and in the collected debris of our patient existence.

And it won’t stop repeating itself
until the distance is undone
by the lifetime of a poor laboring snail;
until it’s sunrise when everything is believed
and therefore blessed.

The old man, sitting under the great pine
in the middle of our land, never stops
giving bread.

Fall’s Kingdom

On the first day of your claim,
a newborn raises his fist to the faraway trumpets
sounded for the triumphant return of October.

A league of white doves, oracles from the east,
adorn your royal robe with rain-soaked wreaths.
Before the trembling days and the darkened horses,
there are rivers, bright stars, and you

of pulpy lips and fecund breasts,
from which milk of nacre flows,
and fattened squash tumble down
into the palms of our arid endurance.

Your hair is golden as the maple leaves;
your breath is the scent of an apple orchard;
your earlobes, sweet
as the ripened grapes hanging from heaven’s vines,
have been kissed and kissed
by the doting peasants.

On your brow rests the throne of a butterfly,
dignified and full of sunlight.
Those beating wings reign over your vision.
We shall never despair.
We shall never die for want of another lilac
for as long as your courage perseveres.
The hapless take refuge under your sleeves;
the unworthy flee like indignant black moths.
Only one remains. Only one remains.
He is the great oak beneath the harvest moon.
As he bows to your grace, acorns fall to their deaths,
a season’s offering, a tribute to your life.

Your Kingdom.

 

Originally published on September 20th, 2015 on my old blog. 

The Tavern

At the edge of an atlas,
by the border of desert cactus,
stands the lonely tavern.
An unhinged door, moth-eaten lanterns,
and chock-full of dirty feathers.

The sky is a piece of dry cloth.

You move through a generation
of peanut shells.
Abandoned cocoons
fossilized in amber lamplights,
childless, unmoving.

The tavern’s usual patrons
travel from one end to another
in the hourglass’ desert, sifting
through god’s thinning fingers
between each dissipating hour.

The barkeep settles your tab,
five full tankards for five full lies.
There is no salvation for the dried-up souls,
only rum and gin and
an apple

for the the drunken crow.
With a pair of blotched wings,
it flies to the fevered moon, pale-faced,
bearing a glass coffin,

clear as vodka.

 

originally published on September 14th, 2015 on my old blog. 

Departure

Remember when we were young,
we used to run wild in the fields,
easy footsteps caressing
the wrinkled brows of ancient hills.
We were dancing fairies
that made the whole forest sing.
The days were unhurried
and evenly pink.

Then one day you began
talking about a life elsewhere, a place
without metaphorical flowers or bread,
where you could sweat and tread
in your new sails and moccasins. You left me
half-hearted kisses
and bouquets of teary tulips.
Yellow petals fell, as soon as you were gone,
headlong into the ground. Those hopeless little faces
buried themselves in earth,
like obstinate ostriches, hiding
from unstoppable truths, capable
of neither running away
nor being saved.

At sunrise, trees bent down to lend shadows
to creatures who were fearful of their own.
In this world I marched alone
with a book of vacated love
and an undulating heart
that overturned ships
with each turning page.

Only with bruised lips and confessions could I remain constant.
I rid my body of metaphors you detested – romantic notions that
turned rivers into music,
and withering roses into unrequited love –
so that one day you could return
and kiss my hardened, concrete flesh.

Only with hollow bones and desolate passions could I remain constant
among this foliage of absences and
you and I and solitary stars.
At sundown, the world is devoured by her own shadow, whole
and complete.

Years later, I lay under the twilight of fading memories.
Children run across the wrinkled brows of my ancient breasts. My soul
is a bottle of dried laments.
Through half-opened eyes, I see you standing at the very beginning,
a hand in mine, brown eyes, a surge of delight.
Have you come back to say goodbye, my beloved?
This voyage, already so long, expanding into this incessant night,
is about to come to an end as I
gracefully close my eyes.

 

originally published on September 5, 2015 on my old blog

The Swallow

I heard the swallow has betrayed the south-bound league.
Into the fatal arms of winter she dove, a solitary soldier
leaving behind a trail of rain-soaked cloud
already mourning her death.

In the forsaken forest, the swallow often sighed,
breath full of sorrows.
Yet no one knew her troubles, desolate troubles
that bubbled up from her heart,
Like raindrops, like storms, like tornadoes.
Nocturnal feet danced upon unturned stones, under which those fearful souls
slept, seeking permanence in time and forgiveness.

In the land of darkened purpose, the swallow often circled,
tired of her own shadows.
Water fell from the her wings onto dried-up honeysuckles. Those colorless kisses
rested upon the pale bones of broken lilies.
So many of them, once green and alive, unconquerable for an age,
knelt down at the dark wind’s hand, surrendered their petals to fate.

In the night of coal-black ashes, the swallow often pondered,
Will there be courage in those tarried morrows?
Darkness came with furious gallops, as if maddened by her presence.
She stood on the monument of seasons, unmoved by doomsday’s silence.
How she came to find the bow and arrows
buried against the foot soles of an ancient dream –
No one knows.

I heard the south-bound league came to the shore of soft violets.
They put red cherries between their teeth,
and tied forget-me-nots around their feet.
But they forgot about the name of their homestead
and their trembling friend.

Come first snowfall, when all the babies went to sleep by the lulling mountains,
I looked up to the infinite sky,
and I saw her –
A solitary soldier, with burning plumage on her shoulders,
A few bent trees waiting on winter,
and a star, defied, without a murmur.

 

originally published on August 14, 2015 on my old blog