Thursday, September 29, 2005

Poem Five

I'm sticking to posting one poem a week. Any comments are appreciated.

Goa, India

What comes out of
Erik and Olaf, their decision
to just stop nodding to the trance beat and step
up to their Christian duty, warn
their countrywoman that smoking
charas is dangerous because customs
will yank her handcuffed off
the plane back to Stockholm
to test her urine
sounds even more absurd in Swedish.

Everybody’s laughter
sticks to the palm fronds. Sticks
to the waves and this sky
starred-up like the air bubbles in plastic water bottles set
on the ground in the banyan tree shade come dawn.
The party’s next phase, next place,
the rumored one at Disco Valley
cancelled. A barefoot chai wallah sets down his kettle.
“This DJ knows his morning
music.” The crowd dances one blind heat.

She has spent seven months
trap-mad in an editing suite at the art school,
patching together her documentary on how
witch madness tore claws through the heart
of Torsaker, 1674, so
everybody’s demon began to look
and act exactly like them,
except for the left eye and the torturing of horses.
Over seventy women beheaded and burned. She still
itches from learning how some were accused

of animating balls of wool of nine colors with their pinky blood
and a devil’s vow to fly and suck
any warmth from the countryside air, and cows’ milk
just before their farmers came.
All she wants now is light transgressions, to adopt
a God that’s an elephant, to touch
that English boy who brought his acupuncture kit.
Instead she gets Olaf’s self-
illustrated pamphlet on abstinence and
Erik’s claim that their band

in Norrkoping sounds
just like the Strokes.
She mutters something about Vissogar, the Sage Boys, those
itinerant orphans gaunt
with dark abilities who, posted outside churches,
pointed out Satan’s mark, got paid in gold.
Sun too high she’ll return to the guesthouse, sandy sheets,
the back of handsome Olaf’s sober motorcycle,
wobbly and awkward of touch, a vague
unease that someone’s been using her footprints to cover their tracks.


At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's so compelling. That's a poem that grabbed me by the hand and led me through it. Nothing dropped me out, it had great momentum. Vivid imagery everywhere. Hell if that's not a perfect poem in my book.

I wish I could give even one piece of constructive criticism, but I'd be making it up.

At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

really cool poem. I have nothing useful to say cept I loved it.

At 6:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really capture traveling in your poems.


At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oooh those flying balls of wool really freak me out and make me feel creepy.

i love the mellowed-out feeling of this poem. it makes me feel relaxed. i mean, except when i'm thinking about the wool balls, then i feel scared. but mostly the poem is so mellow that reading it is like immersing myself into a tub of perfect-temperature water.


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