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Page 11


Poems about struggle and hope are listed on the index of poems

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poems of struggle
your damaged life
kept leaking
out of your pen,
in your inescapable quest
To reify who
you were,
who you were not,
anagrammatic ancel,
the murky Seine
drank you at last,
your death--
a poem;

confess, reveal:
what is greatness?
does it matter?
the pain is raw,
you can feel it,
ganz und gar nicht hermetisch,
it lasts and lasts,
in a string of words,
long after
the almond
is enfolded again
by mother earth.

poems of hope
Blue wave suspended
Miles above,
Sun burning a hole through
The surface of thought,
Clash of a nearer wave
Yanking my body
To this jut of granite,
Muscles clenched, my legs
Less strong
Against an inexplicable force
The thick muscled shoulders
Of the sea
Barrelling through the narrow
Between the jagged
Wrenching a broken rope
Of kelp
Back and forth
Its thunder through my blood--
I was giddy, strangely caught,
Looking down
Into that sucking froth,
Though the wind seemed
The surge
Was fierce in this spot,
Dark water heaving itself
Then madly ripping out--
Haven of starfish and mussels--
If I slipped into that cleft
I would be pulled
Under fast
I would be gone.

Not far away
Was a safe stretch of sand,
The surf benign,
The sunbathers relaxed,
Minds lost inward,
Eyes riding outward
On a veneer of rippling light,
A postcard dream
Undisturbed by exploding Supernovae,
Upheavals of distant space
Or the bones of the dead,
Breathing in time
And out--
An almost natural rhythm
On the floor
Of a star-scattered sea--

Yet even in these moments
When beginnings and endings
Drift together,
There is still a distance
Thousands of feet deep
At the bottom
Under tons of water
Where earth's furnace vents up,
The crushing blackness
Down there--
Undulating tube worms
And eelpout fish
Quite content
In a world deceptively full
And complete

poems of struggle
They were live jelly beans
With eyes and a mouth--
Sort of fat roundish
Rubbery slippery things
Waggling and wobbling
Their life-stuffed bellies
Teasing the crayfish
Churning up clouds
In the warm dirty puddles--
Too many to count--
And we were their gods--
Though we hardly
Gave it a serious thought--
While all around
The crickets thrumming
And little winged bodies
Flittering inside
Our dream-filled heads;

We scooped a bunch up
Dancing in our hands
And plopped them all
In empty pickle
And mayonnaise jars,
Then reverently eyed
What we'd got--
Ripe throbbing balls
More head than tail
Some with teeny knobs--
The promise of feet--
Circling in a dizzy
With no way to get out;

We handled the tykes
Gingerly for the most,
But now and then
We'd accidentally
Drop a few
And a small black urge
Would grip our hearts,
Seeing them twitching
And jiggling like fools;
A poke
With a pointed stick--
A test, that was all--
To find the frog
Inside the pollywog;

A tiny pop--it was done
Breaking open
The skin
That kept the insides
And the outside
That strange
We already knew--
Once you stepped
You could never
Ever come back--

Entranced we watched
As a thin
Spaghetti string
And spilled
While the rest
Was still
Squirming and flopping
In the steaming muck--

Strange to say
We felt slightly betrayed--
In that moment
A glimmer of truth,
A wince of disgust,
And turned
Our backs
On the sickening heap
Of gelatinous guck--
Then as quickly
Recovered what we'd lost:
A bigger pool bursting
With even bigger wogs--


We slid into summer
Fell with the leaves
Slept through winter
Melted in spring,
The brimming creeks
Waiting there for us;
Yes, in that curve
Of newborn light,
Despite the pulling
Inside our limbs,
We let go as much as we held
In those perfect transparent
Days of forgetting
And finding ourselves.


I stood there remembering
The tangle of thistle
The milkweed, the chickory,
The sunny buttercup,
the whirl, the buzzing
The throb,
The eternal leaping frogs--

All chewed up--

All choked under--

Tons of gravel--

A field of asphalt

Now smothered the earth
Where once
Time had filled our lungs.

It wasn't these changes
That were so unsettling
I haggled with myself,


The steady unwinding--

The unstoppable




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