Poetry

Remembering, unremembering, re-remembering —

the daily thrum of ancestors under the Italian sun,

to water, to wine; to worship the undefinable divine

in an age of despotism and dirt, miracles and mercy.

We are tourists here on the Tyrrhenian Sea, a bumble

bee’s glance from Vesuvius where the mountain

once roiled and roared, pouring forth a Roman wrath

so complete that an entire civilization went silent in a gasp.

We are strangers to quiet contemplation

amid the rumble of traffic, seabird shriek, the bells

of Sorrento marking out time in precise interval.

Our own march on time is a mirage of city and complicity.

Water, salt, blood, ash, bone and memory — we, too,

are relics, and also forebears of story buried far beneath,

story yet to come, the mystery of sleep, the revival of

waking in radiance, boats coming to harbor, fish in their keep.

We return, together and separate, to our worlds of modernity

with the sea, the sky, love’s sweet tooth biting ever so delicately.

(read more)

Big dog snout resting

on the heavy of my thigh

dreaming of muddy chase —

rabbit, deer, horse — but, oh,

sweet canine, keeping that

rapid brain-beat breath with me

sacred syncopated systolic who

wonders who is the holy progenitor,

monkeys or aliens, and all that

messy DNA that seemed random

at first, but is the curse of mathematics

I never could learn, all those

right angles and decisive answers.

No, stop: The dog breathes in and out,

all that I knew, all that I forgot.

Forgive the happy brain of mammals

bred to please: They sigh, grumble, sleep.

I am the conduit, I am the audience.

Bark if you know what I mean,

howl if you understand — this insight

from the moon’s one good eye comes only

so often in doggy dreams on my thigh.

Big dog snout resting

on the heavy of my thigh

dreaming of muddy chase —

rabbit, deer, horse — but, oh,

sweet canine, keeping that

rapid brain-beat breath with me

sacred syncopated systolic who

wonders who is the holy progenitor,

monkeys or aliens, and all that

messy DNA that seemed random

at first, but is the curse of mathematics

I never could learn, all those

right angles and decisive answers.

No, stop: The dog breathes in and out,

all that I knew, all that I forgot.

Forgive the happy brain of mammals

bred to please: They sigh, grumble, sleep.

I am the conduit, I am the audience.

Bark if you know what I mean,

howl if you understand — this insight

from the moon’s one good eye comes only

so often in doggy dreams on my thigh.

(read more)

My sister floats on warm waves in Hawaiian seas, lingering
in the gently lapping water, all night haunts whited out
by the tropical sun, no fears of hurt by alien beings
calling to her through the radio, no voices that only shout.

My sister is swimming in the Pacific, she now is calm
too, all anger and demons settled down, sedated
for the first time in a very long time, this water, a balm
that washes over her, through her — she is sated.

My sister is disappearing from the shoreline, a bright
buoy so far out to sea that its sight fades to memory,
a question mark, was she really there, a slight
body rising and falling between white froth and sky?

The ocean has taken her ashes, what tooth and bone
remain, mingle with sand, shell, coral: her new home.

(read more)