Neruda

Sometimes, Pablo
when I return
to the sprawling city you built
it’s as if I never left,
and I wander from old haunt
to old haunt,
hearing again the people voicing
their love
of song
of sex
of food and drink
of the salt ocean breaking the land
slowly from stone into sand and foam
and their grief over
the stillborn
the hungry
the promised prosperity reneged upon
the dead laid out stiffly in their Sunday best
on tables and benches

but other times, Pablo
it’s as if your poems only begin to exist
in the moment I step onto
the first warm and dusty stone
of the first narrow street
on the outskirts,
with the smell of onions
and fresh bread
freshly broken
breathing from the mouths
of lanes and alleyways
whose esophageal depths
you detour through
without warning
never pausing—unlike Orpheus,
that sweet liar
who saw in all others
only his own faithlessness—
but trusting me to follow,
to keep your pace
in sunlight and shadows
and I do
though I’m never sure
where you’re leading me
even when I know I’ve been
down a street
with you
one hundred times before

but, Pablo, it doesn’t matter
because we always cross
eventually
from one direction
or another
the Avenue of the Aggrieved
to spit upon
the Boulevard of Bastards
on our way
to unnamed plazas
that broaden with each step
and contain mountains
pouring glacial melt down their steep sides
into open mouths
which never knew thirst
until they tasted that water
and jungles still experimenting
with twilight
after all these years
and between them
fields of corn and potatoes
and great stretches of grain ripening
and through all that
rivers running dark and mottled with silt
tasting
of time and tomatoes
the dregs of wine
and murmuring with morning laughter
at every bend

until
around the centre
they collude with gravity
to pry open the oystered ocean,
let its brine seep into everything.

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In Such Hollow Stems

Someone must sit for months,
Dandelions,
Every year
In some greenhouse,
Never sleeping,
Spending the nights keeping
All the glass gleaming—
Polishing it
With ragged leaves gathered in autumn
And endless gallons of starshine
And moonlight
That pour anew
Nightly
Into precisely positioned rain barrels—
And each day drawing
Into thinner and thinner wire
The thinnest rays of the winter sun.
Where do they find time,
Then,
To screw a jeweler’s loupe
Into an eye socket
And wield their tiny pliers
To twist and tease so many strands
Into place
Atop such hollow stems,
And where do they find such bitter milk
To fill each to the brim?
I suspect they built
Beyond the greenhouse long ago
A barn
In which to keep cattle
Whose hopes
For years
They’ve daily raised and dashed
By wafting in fumes of sweetest hay
And the whiskey scent of corn silage
But feeding them
Only
Musty timothy never raked
To dry in the July heat
After the rattling swather sped
Up
And down a field
Before a sudden summer rain.
And all of this to leave you,
Dandelions,
Scattered brightly in the grass
Where so many might worship you,
Where so many will drop
To their knees
And dig
Religiously for your essence.

Posted in Delusional thinking, John MacKenzie, John MacKenzie Poetry, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Religion, Theology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

These Pale Blossoms

May tries
to beguile you
but all these pale blossoms
only leave you cold and yearning
for June

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Another May Night

Another May night—
Cold moonlight keeps on seeping
Through the ragged sky—
Is there anything warmer
Than an old coat of sorrow?

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This Way and That

I’m not here to tell you just how the days must flow.
They will flow as they will, as water down any grade;
Not because it seeks a slope but because one is there.
And the stream is dark in motion as its lead tendril
Slides this way and that through dust, around leaves
And stones. And the stream is dark when it pools
Briefly behind a slight ridge or seed or wormcast
By chance somewhere nearly level until gravity
And pressure bring it round and down and down.
It stops only when it finds a hole it cannot fill,
Cannot overflow, yet must pour into under the sun.
I’m not here to tell you just how the long days flow,
Only that they do flow; as randomly as a forming river,
As subject to gravity, and opaque with gathered dust.

Posted in Art is lies, Cosmology, John MacKenzie, John MacKenzie Poetry, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Randomness, Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May, Clumsy as Always

May fumbled slowly
Through another night last night
Against dark, cold earth
The first magnolia opened
I know I heard silk tearing

Posted in Art is lies, Charlottetown, John MacKenzie, John MacKenzie Poetry, Magnolias, Micropoetry, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Spring, Tanka | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Study

She hangs heavy sheets
On the line in the spring wind
Her throat clenched with songs
Written deep in winter nights
The wet cloth cold in her hands

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