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poetry and digital art

19 Poems

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  Working When Mozart

As rain renewed its luster upon the pavement
the afternoon eddied its elder passions

in an eventless release.  How benign this movement
then appeared.  Characters scrolled down the monitor

in green, numeric cascades—as research answers
for aggression, a defense for planned enterprise

when the rain ends:   when Mozart began
an old melody I saw through the window a hill

rising up, cloaked with brush and weed
trees and lumber pines of primeval majesty.

I longed to cross that blacktop to the deer trail
and follow it to the top—but I did not.

  Wind River

The weary traveler travels with a hope
to find something established or to see a place

and feel assurance in the amenable landscape.
He hopes to disarm that which abrogates

his wanderlust just long enough to rest it.
Rest assignates the weary man who sees

dark clouds ahead and a thick rain
obscuring the afternoon.  Longing is a sign

of another desire he might wish to see
revealed:  what prompted this town, what

limits this valley, what passions carried
the trail through here—whose eminence
      should we address?

  Little Wind

A little wind was stumbling through the nut orchard
as a hawk rose in anticipation.  Some form

of implied consent seemed always to accompany us
like an incidental music.  There was a drum sound

or a sheet flapping on a clothesline, and the sky,
sky blue, appeared to be moving in ways that were

both exciting and melodic.  It was like finding
a clearing suddenly full with the mystery of life

and we then wished, like kids, to discover what lingered
across the drainage canal.  Evening was coming on

and this little wind was stumbling through the nut orchard
as a popular song traveled to us from a truck radio.

  Journal of Youth and Fish

Ablaze with the fecund arrays of his mysterious pan-
existence, he pondered distance through the deft simile

of the ocean's repetitive motions.  He was adroit
with youth—dilated—as sea lions reclined

on offshore outcroppings where pelicans extended
in the lower, non-aquatic planes.  Somewhat behind the

tide's penchant for reach he considered the odd fenestration
of what was curiously abstract:  the wetted sand

he stood upon; the land loss the water swelled up from,
the riven seacliffs crumbling onto the cropped beach—

shaken he was, disturbed by the void of panacea
and the cunninglessness of the ancient, butt-ugly fish.

  Journal of Grace and Foam

Opus of afternoon; grace of the avocet—ancillary
expressionists; grace of wavelets and small, black stones.

Light on a water; post-light turning to shine; the shine,
the light finding the edge or moving quickly through.

Young men peel wetsuits off between parked cars;
the pageant of surf curl and dogs; the opuses

of kelp—graces of the long afternoon; the strength of
unbested manifestation; opus in A minor, 132.

Pageants of casual examination, the long look, the dead
left on shore; the congealing concentration. Journal

of wet hair dripping from the naval; shrill
of the avocet; ancillary tide; the old grace of foam.

  Morning at the Quarry

We lit filter cigarettes and pursed our lips
leaving eternity to burn like a match.   If
anyone possessed a jealousy that could
articulate the absent night, the quarry still

rose in gray, reticent layers showing a desire
to be reclothed and remunerated for this.
The unexpected trees grew into a sunlight that
surely seemed so strong it could easily manifest

itself into something we could only honor as
the jist of our gathered affinities:  we did not
wish to remember or at any time to aid that which
allowed us to elude that which stalked us.  We did

not think of our beating hearts, or the shared risk,
or the brooding, assiduous certainties now beginning
      to gather about the quiet pond.


We were fortunate to distribute aspects of our life
in a binary exchange.  It was urban.  It was high-rise

and generally corporate.  Yet who knew what this meant
or where it would finally lead—the shipped product

was scintillating; its commercial options were
unusually attractive and effectual above this landscape

and its perpetual fog humming a brave, progressive
arpeggio.  The sea licked the wharved shores with avarice.

Fishing boats bobbed in friendly ways somewhat opposite
the opposite hills and the land-filled flats—and, very high

above, in nacimiento, we walked among an assemblage
of sofas, lamps, and chairs most deftly, admiring the sea
        and its influential presence.

  The Night

Where we hoped to find a receptive dance
we heard a music drawing in, as if touched

pensively; then, it diminished as a neon buzz above
standing water.  The night was assiduous and knew

it soon became an obscured time.   Its glance
was seldom and filled with jokes or longing

for abrupt tenderness, one that might not
divulge an arrogant wish.  We hummed a quiet tune;

through the smoke of abandoned cigarettes
we sat with our company of unshaven, uneven,
        uneventful men
noting the continuum, and how much of it spread
unabated, unattended, wide-buttocked and conspicuous.

  The Evening Light Through the Eucalyptus
Rather disputedly and near the aloof delimiters
of what you might discern as your receding desire,

all things remain safe from examination.  We try
to think of it as something else:  something

sipping iced tea on a redwood deck in June,
gazing across rooftops while gunshots are exchanged.

She reads a magazine in the pseudo-pastoral beauty
while holding a strong bearing and the notion of truth.

But even truth can lead to a sudden remorse, the sudden
wound; and it's the music that is so unnerving.

A warm wind remains, breaching the gathered trees,
leaving behind them the besieged, beige hills to plunder.

  Homage to Georg Trakl

The pull of two planets cannot be abated
nor deferred.  Even the tides coalesce

in rising abeyance:  mutual insinuation occurs
and the knowledge of this, the insight

toward a celestial speculation is, finally,
an urge to malinger.  A hawk takes its prey;

shells fall on the ancient city; the restless
wander from triage to tavern to quiet glen.

The moon tears through leafless trees, losing
itself in blackness; in a splendor the sun rises

and is defied by the frost.  The chosen one stands
in an empty field, regarding some distant mountains.


Spring fetches another life
to the grassy meadow.  The sun

sends its warmth to free the snow
from its sterile kingdom

so the waters flow.  The waters
thaw and flow.  And the night

lays down its frost—its hard,
hoary discipline.  It can seem

unkind.  It can seem unkind
to know:  a red-winged blackbird

has landed in the blue oak.
At the edge of the green meadow

a red-winged blackbird finds
a branch offered by the blue oak.


April clouds reduced the dusk
and all things beneath it

to a dimming glow, or headlights.
Yet the swallows still darted

and other lives began or ended
in the heavy, biting incense of spring.

Young lovers ignited their trek
through metal gates and down dirt roads.

And in still, dark houses the living
commenced what they loved to do:

on the way to poker I stopped to buy beer:
she was propped at the pay phone—her legs

so long and her dress so short and open
it weakened my soul just to see it.


I used to sit in the arbor
with Grandpa Dan, while

Grandpa made his morning noises
and the bees took to the catnip

in the house shade.  Dad and Ken
would leave the kitchen for work

and Ken would have his window down
and the car would break into a shine.

Everything was so neat
and clearly empowered with abundance

that I would be held in place
purely by the notion

until Aunt Sarah brought out breakfast
and Mom set a hose out in the melons.

  On the Plain of Smokes

The sky was neither blue nor white.
It was yellow, and the small
scattered clouds had appeared
quite suddenly like explosions.

Beside the diaphanous pool she lay
on a vinyl-covered chaise lounge.
It was morning.  It was
already warm when she broke

into a sweat and then she
wanted not to be a part of it
anymore, so she moved
beneath the white-fringed umbrella

where she told her desperate tale—
to the boy, and the white hibiscus.

  The Evening Light Behind an Unlocked Gate

If we could anticipate the sway as a music
drifting where we had favored to rest, allowing
our desires to graze unhobbled, untended—which
that afternoon had seemed uneasy, uncertain

about some ill-fitting new portent now included
in their locale.  As an essence of being—inarticulate
dispute—as the child of an emigrant, or
the son of two beings traveling away from

those unremarkable brown hills always rising upon
the traveled horizon, moving toward that place
where a pact is made and duly broken with a few
virile statements of contempt voiced in a dusty bar,

we then sat for a long while and trained our eyes
on some women dancing in something-less-than panties
      or less.

  The Evening Light Remembered with Uncertain Anticipation

I wish to be admired by others, and not left
to carry their refuse to some nocturnal site.
Do believe:  it is my hope to not be seen
as one more thing hiding out there, stilled

in the herbaceous forage.  The rain can, and does,
renew some aspects of this life for those of us
who enjoin reform.  Sharing coffee by a river,
or on an interstate—gazing from a warm room

through broad windows I see us standing out there
among the restless and the all-too-lesser in scope.
Time, it appears, is ubiquitous or unkind—and then
even that grows superfluous and memorial in aspect:

I watch you disrobe and roll onto your side
of the bed.  Your breasts swell with each breath
      as you seem at ease with the moment, sleepy.

  Again My Heart, the Evening Light, and the Surprising Value of X

What we conceived was a value for X, disambiguated
perhaps, as we gathered upon an urban balcony
which was, itself, like light above standing water.
A solo cello accompanied us through a slider

left open as we elected to ponder the dusk
illuminate falling upon distance and its brown hills.
Sweat collected on our breastplates and with it left
a residue of distraction and sexual fantasy and plain,

dank love.  Some of us drank water.  Some of our hearts
beat wildly in our chests and may have been target
to schemes wholly undetected by ourselves or the minutia
of our existences.  For a moment I paused to see this

as my heart now beat against the thought of it
and our lives expanded toward something surely elseish.

  Trucks at Night

Brooding and assiduous are the trucks at night.
Brooding and assiduous are the trucks at night,
vibrating the inroads through our country's heart
like cellos, sad bellows, slow solos in dawn light.

Brooding and assiduous are the trucks at night
drawing the young men from out of the hills
like cellos, odd fellows, slow solos in dawn light
to carry our effluent to the quiet ponds.

Drawing the young men from out of the hills—
big-winged angels in little t-shirts—
to carry our effluent to the quiet ponds
in silver cylinders, slender, shiny, and bright.

Big-winged angels in little t-shirts
with coffee steaming from the core of a thermos jug:
silver cylinders, slender, shiny and bright—
big-winged angels in little t-shirts with bellies extent.

Coffee steaming from the core of a thermos jug
is witness to this release in the holding pond.
Big-winged angels in little t-shirts with bellies extent
joke and make wishes regarding food and sex.

Witness to this release into the holding pond
the tractor is our savior.  The rain falls like a boxer
making jokes and wishing for sex from a girl
vibrating the inroads through our country's heart.

The tractor is our savior.  The rain falls like a boxer
brooding and assiduous as the trucks at night
vibrating the inroads through our country's heart,
vibrating the inroads through our country's heart.

  Tractor Logging

These ancient lakes appease the canyons
as trucks surely pass the meadow.
Meadow by greening meadow
the lakes protest the upstart, ancient trucks.

As trucks surely pass the meadow
the mill waits quietly with ready men—
the lakes protest the upstart, ancient trucks.
The likes of resource ascend their heads;

the mill waits quietly with ready men:
has Billy passed his aspect harness?
The likes of resource ascend their heads
like rooted sunflowers addressing source.

Has Billy passed his aspect harness
while commerce hopes to service trucks
like sunflowers addressing a regal source—
a service not yet sanctioned by meadow.

While commerce hopes to service trucks
the meadow jumps on Billy like a necklace—
a service not yet sanctioned by meadow
or the oval casualties of the new road.

The meadow hangs from Billy like a necklace
so he will not negotiate with the mill
or the oval casualties of the new road.
When passing time and draft resource numbers

he will not negotiate with the mill;
the ancient lakes appease the canyons
while passing time and draft resource numbers
of greening meadows, casualties, and trucks.

© 2012 rdking