Wednesday, August 31, 2011

cracks in the mirror

This moment that you poets love,
It now rings real with train wheels squealing.
Tooled to stop in time, the gears
grind to an angry release,
pensive beyond despair,
losing itself in the rain
that will not absolve me.

This self that you poets sing
does it find wholeness each day,
fitting life's empty core
at the fault line
between trust and deception?

these words, poet, that you say,
do they cage a promise that can't
be said, or spill wine
from parched, dying lips?

Channeling desire where shadows die,
a testament should machine
the soul to abide truth,
and shed light to repair human intent
when evil makes a surprise visit
at the truck stop diner.

But truth's as shy as a zebra moth
hiding beneath the porch light,
hidden in plain sight. Lost in desire,
barren of hope, there the demon
waits, and angels with bread.

Like you, poet, I sought to speak
the only tongue I came to trust.
The embrace at night.
The touch of lips at dawn.
Love's pristine desire defined
by its ash and gift of purer fire.

There's what you do
And there's what you say.
If you make the world in your image
make certain the mirror is not cracked.

copyright 2011 Charles David Miller All rights reserved

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In a Year When Thousands Died in My Name

Gray owl hunts beneath full moon,
sounding depths of pine, paper birch,
tamarack and marsh brush.
The north land winter ebbs,
spring's rimy nights wake
in mornings glorious with warmth.

Disposed to bird augury, I seek in wings
and whirring resonance in hollows
many things, but always just one:
What direction fly the times? From what angle
slinks fate? what freedom has a man
given to lies about heart and mind?
Fate of nations, fate of earth, an owl
flies above ruin or fields sumptuous with green;
it finds what it can to stay the day.

Hunter, predator, the field is ripe this year;
arrow of hunger, wise harvester of mice
and frogs, your razor beak slices meat
from bone and sinew with no remorse.
And when they return, the broken, the sweaty
with nightmare in their eyes, they will watch
your neat autopsy with beak and claw,
recall the pain they were trained not to feel
and embrace warm wife or gun’s cold steel.

copyright 2011 Charles David Miller

Saturday, August 13, 2011

For Deva, from Cozumel

Lafitte's ghost haunts Cozumel.
He belly flops down water slides and wades
in pools of five-star hotels plundered
and left to molder behind chain-link fencing.

We skim waves and scan the reef below,
where brain coral tends the mass grave
of an ancient, lost, magical world.
Schools of fish genuflect on the current,
their skin like liquid mirrors aglow with prayer.

When my strength ebbs against the tide,
we swim towards the beach, a faint whisper
of death in my breath. At that thin line where
beings become things, the sea offers up
her gifts: A sea turtle paddles along the bottom,
as perfectly graceful there as it is awkward on land.

Later, on the road to Ix Chel's temple
altar, blue, red, and yellow crabs
sidle from marsh to marsh across macadam.
We enter the sacred precincts by car,
but those who sought birth or carried seeds
in baskets across the water
journeyed on jungle paths past
Jaguars and fiery lizards in the ferns.

At night, I watch from the hotel porch
as locals mix bait and throw their lines
from the ruins of a concrete wharf next door.
Iguanas inhabit the basement now,
scrabbling through rubble for bread crusts
that waiters and tourists toss, amused
by their power to brew saurian ferocity.

It seems we were lucky, then, granddaughter,
to spy dolphins breaking waves off shore.
May the imprint grace your smile
years from now, a small thread
of light twining itself into your life's sinew.

copyright 2011 Charles David Millee