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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Judy

Judy is now
In her forties she works a bit
In a shop full of silk from Bali
Bags from a Women’s collective in Southern Mexico,
Incense
Gum carefully liberated from trees
Who, I’m sure, happily gave it up
Knowing just how trendy it would be.

I saw her again after so many years
Said hello, was greeted in a way
That left me feeling emptied,
But I didn’t say anything about that,
I just asked her how she was.

Her voice now cracks, gurgles, croaks
The effect on her of too many cigarettes
But that’s ok, says Judy.

The more we smoke the fewer people
She explains, smoking is a way to eradicate
The plague she calls human beings.
One fewer person, she explains
Is good for the Earth,
Even if that person is her.

And I don’t mention the greater drain
The ill are to the world
Or the damage tobacco crops do
To the land, the waters, and, ultimately
To Judy.

We use to sit, she and I,
Naked in the water,
A lake or a pond,
Sometimes a puddle would do,
Staring up at the reflected blue
Or at a moon whose bright opal
Set our bodies glowing in effusive glory
Against the background of the darker sky.

Long hours we sat,
Planning our next action
In defense of that which could not defend itself.
What would not get built on our watch,
Who sits in the tree this week,
Where the fence was weakest,
How to fight is won
By the compassionate warrior
Fierce and joyous.

We would look at the moon and she would howl
As I stood mute, in thought.
Now, the howl sits bound in her throat,
Unable to escape
Through the dark-matter mass grown of
Her loathing for herself,
The hatred for her species.

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Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Culture, Gainesville, philosophy, Poetry, Social

 

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Boone Tavern Hotel

Rocking chairs creak
At the Boone Tavern Hotel.
Two rows across the wide
Inviting veranda.

Rails, boards, seats all
Singing smoothly in the
Kentucky July.
We were simply passing by,

My friend and I,
In the impossibly bright light
Of afternoon. Walking
Far too industriously.

Inviting and comforting
Like an old black and white movie
Of Southern days gone by
The veranda calls us

Though we are not guests
Of this hotel. I think of sitting
Among the paying customers
As illicit; theft of comfort.

Still, I am a traveler,
same as they, though
who knows how many
are registered at the desk.

I am a traveler,
Same as they,
Looking for a way out of
The summer heat

On my way to where I am going
Why not stop and have a seat
On the broad chairs
In the cooler light?

Two empty chairs together
We take our places
And begin the slow, rhythmic function
Dictated by form.

If the air will not move against us,
We can move against the air.
We are our own easy breeze
In the thick, tepid quiet.

Soon, silence turns
To slow talk. Before we
Know it, we are
Discussing spoonbread.

The temperature of a slow oven,
Debating the perfect number of eggs,
Their size, sour or sweet milk,
The color of corn.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2011 in Food, Poetry, Travel

 

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Gabriel Erector

At a garage sale last Sunday
I purchased an erector set.
Not an ordinary erector set
but one in a sky blue box
and in it everything I need
to build angels.

It’s an angel building kit.
Not the kind of angels
made of plastic and wire and
glue makes your head hurt
and the world dizzy spin.
Not like a model set.
Not like the kind of angels
who blow a horn
and my living room walls
come tumbling down
or talk in my brain and I go off
to fight the English,
but the kind of angels
who open rain clouds,
tug at grass blades until they’re long,
lift up the corners of a baby’s mouth.
The kind of angels who pull open irises
and make it so you can see
the chest of your loved one
sleeping next to you
rise and fall with each inspiration
even though it’s completely dark,
but you know you see it.

It’s my angel building kit.
So far,
since I took my kit home
and opened it,
It has rained,
my grass grew,
my irises bloomed
and I can see my loved one’s chest
rise and fall in the night
even though I have the shades drawn,
and it’s completely dark.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Family, Poetry, Religion

 

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Pits

I was there when the first pits were dug,
after the trees were cleared; torn, dragged and burned.
My family and I searched for concretions in limey sand
that had not seen the sun
in a span of time that can be measured, but not understood.
Set as coral in the ocean,
became limestone,
became oolite,
Miami Beach,
became my home.

I use to roam and dig under what is now
Aventura Mall
in what was an elegant, high-rise my girl comes three days a week part of Miami,
then Aventura,
now The City of Aventura
which lies engorged between the end of
a double-decked Atlantic Ocean causeway,
named after a State Representative
who owned a Chevrolet dealership,
and a bypass so long, so high
I can no longer see the vast expanse of shrinking ocean.
Only solid walls of perpendicular road
and the mall.

After the palms were greased
and the foundation razed,
one of the first stores to open
was a New Age Giant,
moved from across town,
far from its humble beginnings
as a place to launder cocaine
money through the sale
of health enhancements only slightly less dubious
like vitamin k, brain hemispheric synchronizers,
Angle Cards, singing bowls composed
of cave grown,
high-pressure hose harvested
crystal,
designed to draw the harmony of nature and increase inner-peace and compassionate abide, and
classes teaching the myriad ways to simply life.

It opened after the protests
and the building and the pickets
and the building and the threats
and suits and the building
to sell books about the preciousness of the environment
and bumper stickers exhorting patrons to “Thank Goddess”
customers took home in pastel pink paper bags
printed on each side with delicate seashells.

And they were swamped
along with the Sears and Burdines
and Macy’s where the Cellar had to be on the top floor
because two feet underground,
just below where I use to dig,
was water.

The mall became a focus
for the area
as it drained and dried the commerce and custom from the west
as events were held to
draw crowds like the
“Parade of Whores”
The Cardiologists’ Wives Look-a-like Contest,
The Peach Polo Shirt and Beige Shorts Fashion Show and,
just down the road,
a bit past the beach you don’t dare tread barefoot,
the weekly
“Race to the Floating Bale.”

And so the mall grew,
so much so, soon
it was suggested the East Coast,
should be extended
to allow for its expansion
and, last time I was there,
I swear I saw it breathing.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2011 in Culture, History, Nature, Poetry, Social

 

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