Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Stranger

Consider life's billion anxious
gulps of oxygen, smog porridge
sucked ad nauseam. If a wily

Camus invites us to agree
that Sisyphus is happy, I'm
satisfied to dream Camus'

Algeria: super-heated sands
hemming the Mediterranean,
and a raucous newborn

gleaming with slime, a just-plucked
shell held high into the sun. Her
nomad-father's rutted palms

obliterate all light, his desert-
dimmed eyes squinting to find
stripes, moles, stigma, signs-

imperfections to justify
a drowning. No surprise. Just too few
dried figs, no gods or fires

driving them forward, into the sea,
ancient terrors, shallow waters
heaving salt, fish, history.

originally published in The Brownstone Review No. 5

Bridge

I know your arms & legs are cold.
In November the river shifts

slowly, silver ghost of its body
barely stirred, ice already forming.

And today, midday, I heard you moan.
Grinding bones of a steel-strapped frame.

As if you had moved, or tried to.
As if the surging light was painful.

originally published by the Toledo Review

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dune Rose

It's the name of a lipstick I wear
most days, proving
poetry's indomitable, ingrained, like the Namer

herself, wrestling thousands of new
untitled tubes- scarlets,
magentas, blue-reds, browns- but none

a gash, none a wound, no blood,
nothing wilted.
Stumbling cylinder to cylinder,

knowing full well what these balms
mean to a woman
dogging beauty.

Then at night, alone, aged skin
phosphorescent & furrowed
as a moon, she tends garden.

Pruning, shaping, watering
roots she planted in sand,
watering the sand.

originally published in New Zoo Poetry Review Volume 5

Freud's Bowery

The artist means to take control: ribboning linen,
preening paint (ochre, ebon, gold!), laying
light in oily waves to an image

he creates: one absurdly out-sized, nude,
hairless man, mounded bellies hung over dancer's gams,
long mauve penis ripening with blood

while eyes once lost in a sea of fat and skin
press forward to command, first the painter,
then those who stand in the gallery gaping.

originally published in Threepenny Review 73