Pink Building in Valparaíso
Gracious woman facing the sea –
In your many eyes, I witness
eternity, bending around the bay’s reflection,
clothing, draped like eyelashes,
drooping over cement banisters.
Balconies whispering the secrets of those
who stood within them kissing under moonglow,
or fighting, or alone half-dressed, wine
in hand, planning an affair.
In your wide face, intricately carved pillars
align themselves, proud of their history,
and remind me to do the same.
Pink lady, how do you manage such pride,
marred as you are, and somewhat neglected?
How do you stand so solidly
on Valparaíso’s sloping landscape
when it would be so easy to slip away
over the sea wall, and into the cold, winter sea?
(published in Carpe Articulum Literary Review, Vol. 3, Issue 2, Summer 2010)
– your work truck, your van,
the vehicle I met you in.
White the ones I see now
coursing through the streets
and each one empty of your face.
The broken lines that spread
along those roads, the lines
upon this map that separate a country.
White like a cigarette, a pale cylinder
hanging from my lips, waiting to billow
pleasure! pleasure! pleasure!
in less and lesser measures till whatever
flush is gone, seeping into sheets of white
where you are pressing close and
still I see the whites of both your eyes, wide,
and the wild dove inside my chest
skips to see you still awake.
White on white these marks you’ve left on me,
near invisible (but still they are profound).
White my father’s hair, his casket.
White the stories, lies we tell to whitewash
what would otherwise be blue.
White like me and you:
never more than that albumen stage.
Heated by the yolk – a sun –
the brilliance of one lush beginning.
White the page before we write it.
Ophelia’s dress tragically unfurling,
or empty noise with all its hissing yearning.
White as beauty too, because of course that matters.
The convolutions on my brain twisting ever-free.
White like all you are to me – a hefty blank.
White the many keys, this toy piano that you left,
now open on a table near a wick.
White the deepest part of any flame, white
that burns you every time you touch it.
(published in Cloudbank, Number 4, Summer 2011)
En Route to the Land of Whales
Tell me, is it true my friend?
That to enter el mar, you must first
hold the bitter sting of brine within your mouth?
Scrape your pink heels & soles on razor sharp rock,
on the edges of clam shells opening toothy jaws,
strewn along some craggy ocean floor?
Es la verdad? que se debe entangle your body –
already heavy, water-logged from the plunge taken
(rather ridiculously) fully dressed?
That you must become ensnared in seaweed,
or vacated strips of fish corpses?
And what of hunger? Is hunger also necessary
as you make your way to the sea’s corazón,
to the place you’ve been promised holds
some kind of relief from Patagonian cold?
Where you’ve been lured
by stories of a more festive turbulence?
Is hunger a requisite, as you suggest?
How so? when ocean algae abounds,
when gulls drop fish, with regularity,
in their airborne haste?
When jellyfish cry to be spread onto your flat palms.
To be eaten.
What needs could one have, anyway?
Trekking further and further toward
that forgotten land of whales.
Swallowing their siren sounds – louder,
more piercing with each forward foot stroke.
Acquiring barnacles and silvery green scales –
las hermanas majores of polished emeralds.
When hoards of curious, chattering plankton
gather like a fur cape buttoned at your bodice.
¿Qué le falta? when a monstrous black sea horse
buoys up between your thighs, then cantors,
outruns each frenetic surge and breaker?
Friend, las nubes me han dicho
que la manera in which you consider,
soon becomes your only route of passage.
(published in Sierra Nevada Review, Volume 22, Spring 2011.)