Embajadoras

“Maceta” she said
a place for flowers
chilled white wine
cafe nights, friends
stopped at our table.

Step by step walking
each other home
the stars not there
just the rain, the lluvia
the closed secret
of her name.

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In the beginning

I haven’t seen you in 20 years
except in my mind’s eye
the hurricane center of the hot black night
when I slip to our trip to

Galveston. We drove all night,
knowing already it was the end,
and rode the ferry at daybreak,
the sound of the sea and the sad
cry of the gulls
scored upon us.

Then earlier, the southward journeys
past rice farms and shrimping towns
the thick humid patio nights
catching lizards
and laughing.

And earlier still, in the beginning
when we took LSD and lay
all night in a field of sugar cane
tasting the forbidden fruit

afraid

       but liking it

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Lost song for Meng Jiao

I too have seen the winter stream,
waves beating the swords
of ice, dreamed

of imperial jade, green and blue,
of topaz the color of honey.

Cold streams crumple
the ragged banks of dreary forest,
Above the stream the swells of snow,
Further still, the stars by time and distance frozen,

as far away as your language from mine,
as your solitude from mine.

Spring comes on apace.
The waves beat harder. The swords
of ice break like paper branches. We turn
inward, you and I, creatures of the winter, to seek

someone or something approaching,
cold comfort in translation, here,
the icy clarity of the mirror.

Meng Jiao (751–814) was a Chinese poet during the Tang Dynasty.

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Day’s end

Who needs gods or heaven or moral philosophies?
Your body at rest on the hammock is worth
more than all the imaginary heavens
of all the religions
ever invented

more than all the first principles
of all philosophies. All you
need to do is look at it
and see. If you listen

closely

you can hear the birds singing

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At the mirador in Noria Alta

Dragons of the earth flashing
red and green and gold
once moved to the galaxies
above cry out, they rage
against fate and thrash
their tails in a glitter
of fiery stars.

Sirens of the ocean weaving
seaspawn and seawrack
removed to the same
night sky, they rage
against time and weep
for their watery home
in teardrop stars.

And we, what have we to do
with dragons, with sirens, we
who see only the stars, only
beauty, we who’ve lost the exquisite
pain of those elemental beings?

We have nothing to do but
await the next wound, await
being ripped aloft from the earth,
soothed for now in soft forgetfulness,
in the bare beauty of the night sky,
where sirens silently weep the more
because they cannot
weep for us.

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