Monday, March 27, 2006

Poem Twelve


Hanuman Temple, Hampi

Of course these monkeys thieve:
Sidestepped veterans, victims
of the quiver
of time’s clowning
uncomfortably close to real
on the stage of these memory battles,

despite their degraded lineage,
their birthright still contains
the falling axe’s swiftness
harnessed to the chopping block’s

How many twists
up the whitewashed steps? This rocky plateau,
the awe-knotting sunset distance is
for them just for yawning at as
a merely practical lure for loose binoculars,
Germans’ cameras, pilgrims’ bananas.

Rice paddies explode into palm trees.
These Mogul-ruined kingdom scraps
to guidebook speculation: Dance halls?
Queen’s baths? What guesswork calls
a parade ground, the monkeys
call a graveyard (comrades
shredded blackened pink). And,
for long before that, a blessed place ropey clouds
of incense and mint nuzzled sheets of gold

hovering to shade
pools glinting a birdsong of crushed pearls.

Perfection for a golden yuga before humans split
mountain for sword,
this was Kishkinda, Hanuman’s kingdom. And they

were his to raise up!
Army as black wave, thorn static.
They’d achieve size enough to make
ammunition to crush demons with a mere thoughtless toss of

these boulders now dwarfing them, their
tattered divinity’s shit-matted uniforms, boulders
looking as though chiseled from gravity’s curved back,
cartoon impossibly balanced to lean dream against Japanese backpackers.

Every sunset
battles reawaken to press
into cakes of headache
like pebbly straw and dung.

Tacky reconnaissance
for cheapened ambush—
a raid for sunglasses?—
the hunger that swipes,
the hunger that forages leavings, that scalds

like Glory’s indigestion.
The ochre-robed renunciants,
who share this vista,
humble stone temple,

ignore the monkeys with one eye.
When you quit everything,
you need what you keep.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I am jealous

Os Mutantes reunion! You New Yorkers and Angelenos best not miss this one...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Poetry Contests

Hey poets,

If you're interested, I went to a bunch of websites of some good contests,
put together a nineteen page Word document with guidelines for about fifteen of
them. Some of the contests are for books, some for individual poems. The due
date is approaching fast on a number of them, so let me know if want this doc...It can save you some time and work.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Why we have two queues

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Poem Eleven


Sunk in the palm frond south’s
lost contentment of discarded
plastic water bottle-wading cows,

the Krakow Buddhist couple playing
backpackers with pirated guidebooks before
next month’s Dharmasala meeting

with the seventeenth Karmapa
aren’t speaking. Again. He’s back
sleeping off last night’s

argument-sparking high at the guesthouse; she’s
with their American travel companion,
a crocodile farm outside Mamallapuram.

In spite of appearances, blanched-
to-gray green logs baking
thicker their stillness in reputation’s steel,

the American’s frayed-staticky
educational television notions of

sees them in constant flux, degrees
shifting between air
and knotty vein in dispassionate exchange.

A Green Tara pendant glints
low on her neck, represents
transformed jealousy.

As a pile manacled by tooth and scale
snaps enlivened at a caretaker-flung
pink chunk of chicken,

she confides she’s considering leaving her man.
“People who get attached to objects
are stupid. People who get attached to

other people well,
it’s sad but understandable.”
Another possibility,

a Tibetan ceremony to have them play
some major role in each other’s
next thousand lives. “Sometimes lovers,

not necessarily, sometimes best friends
or mother and son.” That morning,
before the crocodiles,

visiting a two room orphanage,
drugged-seeming children, each
with an entry in a stained

three-ring binder, most of them
abandoned by parents who could no longer feed them,
or rescued from parents with alcohol problems,

not technically orphans,
he remembered the train station in Madurai, buying
idli for breakfast while the Poles, still holding hands,

bowed secret smiles, saying, “Trust us,”
purchased his ticket, this
town he’d never heard of, now

all bricked up around him: This heat.
On a mouse-chewed jute mat a little girl
sucks her thumb beyond the thumb’s

ability to help. Do not sit on walls!
Keep hands out! Crocodiles--

“What if,” he asks, “one does jump?
And what if it just keeps going up?

Why don’t you two
just make up?”

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bush pre-Katrina