The Movement of Hands

The moon is where now?
I have forgotten to look.
Time has tied itself
To the movement of your hands
On a keyboard in the night.

Posted in Art is lies, Autumn, John MacKenzie, John MacKenzie Poetry, Micropoetry, New poems, Poetry, Tanka, The Moon, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Cold Wind

I know of others said to be better poets,
Who claim to speak clearly and truly of everything;
Whose eyes, they say, fall on mountains or rivers
And see always the shape of the lips that urge them

To freedom, whose ears hear whispers of affirmation
Day and night from sibilant forests streaming
Down towards the sea in the air we know the sun
And the ice caps spin between them as purposely
As ragged fingers twirl fraying threads of sweaters
While quarters fall occasionally into a bowl.

How can one hear anything but questions murmured
In the cadences of birdsong and waterfalls?
There is a cold wind across these deserts of cash
And carry; why do you not feel its sting on your lips?

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When Frost Settles

I was born in the autumn
And, though I hold no wishes
Nor illusions of rebirth,
I do like to wake early

On these days when frost settles
Heavy and white on the grass
In the morning with the geese
Loud in their flight overhead.

I sip slowly at coffee.
I remember the dark taste
Of tobacco on my tongue,
And etching your name into
Frost layered on glass. Tonight,
Will I close all the windows?

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Charlie the Boxer Returns to Town (poems from old notebooks; April 23, 1990)

This road from the jail
makes better walking than driving;
more scabs and scars and open sores on it
than on all the bodies of my roommates
living in the ashes of the burned-out bar
on Sydney street
where we pillow our heads between rusting spikes,
and blankets belong in the same myth
as the second storey.

Some call the jail “The Sleepy Hollow Hilton.”
But, as far as I can tell,
locked up has this in common with knocked-up—
either you are or you ain’t.

Around here we collect
the drippings of conscience
like bacon fat in old mayonnaise bottles
shoved to the back of the fridge
and forgotten.

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Whenever light is dim, there is always
The sound of crows confabulating.

Mornings are different from evenings only
By old accidents of spin direction.

If all atoms were of reverse polarity,
The soles of our shoes would still grow thinner.

The blue sky would slide to and from red daily
As our eyes parsed relative angles of light.

In the distance, crows would continue
To display theories of pointilism.

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the persistent
illusion I suffer—
that an I exists—will cease to

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A Light Wind Whispering

The August marshes matted by blue herons
Passing from slow channel to slow channel
In daily pursuit of the tides’ swell and decline
Are scrawled between fields and the sea
Cattails are thin pencil strokes slanting now
In a light wind whispering out of the west

All day I thought of nothing but you
The sudden rain streaming from the leaves
The way it did from your hair one day
You bent your head forward into it
From the veranda towards the linden trees
The wet bark of their limbs dark as your hair

The sweet scorched smell of purple clover
Under the sun drifting from the fields
Before the rain began was the scent of us
On the tangled sheets after midnight
In the hours before we rose with the crows
And you wandered home, hair wild as the grass

Posted in Art, Art is lies, Blue Heron, Cattails, Crows, John MacKenzie, John MacKenzie Poetry, Lindens, Marsh, Memory, Poem tweets, Poetry, The Marsh, The Rain, The Sea, The Wind, Tide, Time | Leave a comment