Strange magnetism that brings together separate strangers
Through fragmentary messages
Telegraphed in newsprint, voicemail
Surfacing as anonymous phone calls that weave
Wary voices, disembodied
And so open to the imagination's idyllic disguise
Mutually late to the noon lunch date,
The awkward seating ritual unites two people
Whose personas on paper
And through the safety of wires
Were more alive than the living flesh
He is relieved at the lost prospect of desire
She is nonplused
And begins the long drive home
Mentally spelling out another spell
To circumvent passion's natural waterways
My desk swims in a sea of white sheaves
Forever shifting, until their ebbs and tides subside
And from their parting wake emerge:
Publications, the meaningless Poseidon
Struck in the form of offset printed stock
Signifying mainly that
Even through mail bins and compost heaps
From reams to bookstore displays
Ashes to earth to sap to lumber mill,
Paper is eternal.
Leaving Border Smoke
Moving north beneath earthen colored overpasses
And steel spans of riveted signage
Focusing on the hypnotic sway of a rusted shovel
Strapped alongside massive grease-blackened chains
Cold coffee and freon draining the mouth into draught
The dusty horizon is besmirched
With airborne geotechnical fallout
Billowing from the heavy wheels of yellow steel
Lining the other side of these claustrophobically close abutments
Industrial gray clouds taint the sky
Like some spoilage retardant sprayed on the day
A world like any other
Without, perhaps, the cane fires, floods and malaria
Sweat and stone
That knows these hands that know the contours
Of pressing into you from behind
This city's fading pulsation
Memory like a sweet film of drizzle
Drenching the dryness of the skin
Licking your neckline, faint tickling
In the constantly strange landscape
Of your earth and these limbs
A skyline flood of nimbus forms
Above two friends trailing dusty tires and sweat-sweet limbs
Where nothing awaits them:
Not the obstruction of trivial exhaustion
Nor the stifling anxiety of survival.
So “nothing” is love—
Or peace, at least.
Stranger dreamers than their common destination,
The trapped light in the layers of sky
That spiral overhead,
Where hanging water suffused with sundown
Moves mountainous above them.
Gorgeous sweetness of evening,
Wending homeward with them,
Mingles in the sweet nostalgia
Of any nighttime
Not spent alone, life
Alive and going home.
In places unknown I trace
Intersecting lines to fleeing points
Of humbly divergent grace
Until, the city exhausted of 9 p.m. possibilities,
I turn my oil-parched car north,
Determined to stay safely within the double digit limits.
Riding out to the county line at a cautious gait
I spot Rip Griffin’s: hulking bulk of corrugated yellow,
Florescent glow, paternally large rigs, motionless
And cocked open in the 20 foot bays.
It is 10 p.m. before the mechanic cranks out the drain plug
And I turn away not to see how little Penzoil
Dribbles down from the dusty gray undercarriage.
But Joe—who shares my father’s name—
Is nonplused, as my namesake for him would be.
His face contains that youthful age
Of hard work, naïveté and sweet, incredulous innocence
That his mock hunched macho posture and cigarette
Would like to hold as braggadocio, “tough,”
As I do in my sudden southern ease with words like
“Ol” and “Reckon,”
Reading into this shift in speech a certain exhaustion
And underlying layers of Texan time and ties--
Only so much hereditary sediment stirred up in the moment
Like the primitive lust for the earth
That fills these would-be sons of the plow
Vicariously replicating that contact with deep soil
By fondling these mechanical bowels.
After our simple transaction
He guides me off the straddle ramp with a concerned intensity
That could almost be termed love;
I nod, smile, flick on the headlights
And popping the clutch, give a brotherly thumbs-up
And wheel away with oil-burning haste
To rejoin the blunt looming blue
Of another midnight highway.
Gladys’ husband always uses
A muted voice with her here,
Amid the particle board paneling
And metallic desks.
It is as if to say:
She is the mystery he has held for years
As her nervous laugh grew thinner
And her body more rotund.
Through children and middle age,
Their fundamental rapport
A fist of unclenched virility
Caressing the almost pretty tangle of hair.
. _ . _ . _ . _. _ . _. _ . _. _ . _. _ . _. _ . _. _ . _.
Unfolding her flowering wetness
In an unending kiss
That drinks in the saline sweetness
Caresses the petals, tongue
Transpiercing this ultimate molten beauty
Until she knows.
Life has no holds on a hungry raven gaze
That begs its way into the transubstantial union
Of skin, liquids, and rolling emotions,
Writhing richness of sensation
Exploding into calm elation,
A heavenly drifting of flesh on flesh
Where we have blessed each other like the springtime rains.