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Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

the ether screams
headlines blare
so many voices
shout

warning taunting
upscale vaunting
always wanting
me

to fear to hear
to see to go
to buy to know
as if

my happiness
my meaning
my purpose divine
needs

their secret their special
their proven hack
their inside track
when

what I really want to do is

stop

lean back, feet up
feel the cat’s rumbling purr
taste the wine’s memory of summer
smell the coming rain
hear my lover’s laugh

k

Kurt R.A. Giambastiani

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Most of all, he enjoyed pruning the Japanese maples.

They stood beneath the canopy of evergreens–spruce, pine, fir, cedar, cypress–the giants of his garden. The tall conifers took the brunt of the weather, snarling into the winds, sacrificing muscular branches heavy with sap and resined scent to protect the more delicate growth at their feet. There was little to prune on these living towers; mostly he just carted away what the ocean-birthed storms snapped off, trimming back broken stubs, fulfilling his custodial chores while they, aloof and inscrutable, heads in the louring clouds, faced the southwesterly winds, ready for the next gale.

The other maples, the vine maples, were not his favorites, being a bit too boisterous, sending up trunk after slender trunk, reaching outward with multiplicative hands, begging for alms of sunlight. Pruning these, even the eldest of them, was like wrangling twelve-year-olds on a class trip. Just retrieve the one and you find that two others have ranged away from the pack. He loved them for their fall displays, though; their sudden, explosive shift from simple summer green to riotous fires of autumn could happen during a single night’s slumber. He was especially fond of the precocious one in the back, tucked under the pendant drapery of the grandmother spruce, because that maple was always first to change clothes, eager for colorful sweaters and winter’s onset.

But most of all, he enjoyed pruning the Japanese maples. Not the winter’s pruning, but in summer.

In winter, when they slept naked beneath the grey blankets of somnolent skies, he would trim them for shape, for strength, for optimal overlap and layering, and with an eye toward the tripartite growth that would come in spring. This, though, this was straightening the curled hand of a sleeping child, tucking them in beneath the covers. It was the trees, and it was him; two species, separate, unattached, isolate.

In contrast, the summer pruning–he could think of no other metaphor–was making love. The leaves of the Bloodgood–deep magenta, finely serrated, with thin, questing tips–rustled as his hands moved through the branches. The Autumn Moon’s leaves–pale green, delicate, so sensitive to light that a week’s sun would make them blush and August’s searing gaze could shrivel whole branches–bent to his ministrations, be it to rub out the dried tip or snip off a sere frond.

The two of them, though they were as old as others he’d planted, were barely half as tall. Theirs was a patient habit, a measured expansion, with each branch testing the world in three directions: one twig right, one left, one forward and upward. As his fingertips moved down each limb, each branch, each twig, he could divine their logic. They knew their limits and worked within them: send out scouts, read the reports, proceed only if conditions are favorable. He loved their caution to the point of emulating their unhurried approach in his own life. Knowing that his eyes could sense things they could not, knowing where the dappled sunlight would be best, he would pinch here, pluck there, and encourage them toward the unseen goal. Of their failures, his gentle caress revealed the abandoned twigs, stiff and pale where successes remained supple and green, and he would thumb them off. The snips were a last resort, for each leaf was a gem in the rough.

For when Summer packed its bags and Autumn came home to do its laundry, the evergreens remained dark and disinterested columns and the vine maples played frat-boy pranks on one another. But between the constancy and the chaos was the slow flood of color of his Japanese maples. The Bloodgood’s leaves crept from maroon to red to rust to scarlet to a crimson so sharp it could cut, while the Autumn Moon caught fire, dropping green for chartreuse, adding dry-brushed pinks, until October’s cold hearth brought the touch of orange hearthfire to each leaf.

He was aging, now, knees creaking, back growing stiff, while for these trees their youth was barely begun. He wondered–frankly, he worried–about what would happen to them once he’d passed. “Scatter my ashes on my trees,” he’d often say, though he only dreamed he would die while still near them. For as long as he could, he would remain there, caring for them at the same tempo they lived.

Because, most of all, he enjoyed pruning the Japanese maples.

k

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From waterfront to high market
the climb wends upward through the city’s memories,
from old brick painted with faded names
to new concrete laid at the feet of giants.

Gulls cry below, scudding along the shore’s hungry limit,
wings suspended on the taste of salt and kelp,
while above, the rumble of metal and power
and the chatter of caffeinated urbanites.

My breath rasps with each tread
as I climb the twisting caverns,
Orpheus returning to the light
through tunnels rank with piss and sorrow.

From beyond the turning, a note sounds,
pulled, tightened, anxious, lonely,
until another twangs in, rising too,
birthing tentative harmony.

The notes repeat, nearer as I climb,
others come to shimmering life,
intervals congealing out of tortured dissonance
as sympathetic strings pull into focus.

At stairs’ end, a cavern of poured stone;
a sunbeam paints harsh shadows of two men,
one seated, one who steps close,
beckoning, wide-eyed, his smile broad.

The seated man shifts,
and his guitar catches the light,
its varnish a Renaissance craquelure,
its strings twelve lines of fire.

I draw closer to the player, unsure;
his companion encourages me
and with beatific confidence instructs,
“Listen, and believe.”

When the chord is struck,
the world retreats, sirens stop,
pistons grow still, the machined ostinato
becomes a heartbeat bass.

We three form a tableau,
the creator, the disciple, and the skeptic,
as the divine is released by dirty fingers
and earthen hearts are lifted.

 

 

 

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just put up a poem

she said

when I complained

of having no ideas

as if it was

the easiest thing

to do

and so

I did

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———

our eyes spill
waves of notion
across the eternal void
into the depths of time
seeking

intention precedes our questions
of who we are and why and how
but the answers received
are not answers
any more than
we are we

the aeons stare back
drop clues
of intricate detail
tantalizing the ape-minds
that think themselves gods

———

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lazy bumblebees 
ride from bloom to fragrant bloom 
in yellow jodhpurs

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sure we are like gods
we created a machine 
that fears its own death

(more…)

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