Feed the Dream: The Palmetto Poets' Place
SCENES IN A MINOR KEY
Jonathan Maricle

FOR MY FAMILY; YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE

In Osaka
at a stone-shaking hour of night
during a hailstorm
on the longest day of the year

a fisherman is hoisting an 800 pound squid into his boat.
Reeling, captivated by the odyssey
he self-exclaims:


PRELUDE


Summer lies heavy upon us,
the humidity too thick to take in through the nose,
so we breath, mouths open,
gaping and gasping and searching for skin.
We are trying to find each other in the dark
with eyes shut, fingers grazing goose bumps like braille.
You are the last ember of a dying fire;
the gentle breeze incites a shiver under my touch.



I JUST WANNA HAVE SOMETHING TO DO
         They're generating steam heat
         Pulsating to the back beat...
         They're all revved up and ready to go.


Last night we drank, too much.
And we slamdanced, sloppy
to Joey Ramone and the Clash
in your kitchen           All Night Becky.

And you asked me to stay, smiling
over the rim of a thin cup
that you had been gently biting
and prodding at           All Night Becky.

But I was too drunk, and someone,
deciding my luck was too good,
dragged me away, to sleep it off,
in my car           All Night Becky.

And waking up dry-mouthed today,
there's a new car in your driveway,
and I have a feeling he might
just stay here again, all night, Becky.



FANTASY FEST, KEY WEST


There's a certain amount of sex swaggering
from Sarah's heels: they click through parade wake
and cologne - around conversation
and steel drums. I want the streets to want
to bring us home. But they won't.
She's not concerned with keeping pace;
so I stop and she leads the way, moving
easily between florist and jeweler, kitsch vendors.

The TVs are on in shop windows;
I stare, hands in pocket, paying
more attention, really, to the white-washed
reggae, throbbing down the avenue:
       The end of every party's all the same,
       Too much wine and we've both changed.



ON MY BED


I sleep; printed
on my sheets, a map of the world.
I sleep on the right side,
my head above Antarctica -
my heart resting somewhere
along the eastern shore.
Across the bed the unwrinkled face
of Europe and Asia, which
stay so cold; it's winter.

At night I sometimes toss my legs
through the muddy Atlantic
and awake with my face
inches away from the beauty of Whales.
There was a woman who slept
under the warmth of Europe -the Baltic
rising and falling, charting her form.
She could always pull me from the coast
to make love in dark waters in-between.



I HAVE CRACKED


If there was an equation,
some formula for tending the garden,
then I was never taught.
Too much or not enough,
but the weeds and ivy grew just fine,
growing like a savage,
feasting on the carcasses of oleanders.
It grew, stretching gaping jaws,
pushing arms against the soft wall
until it cracked;
the iron vines extending like the sound of a train on rusty tracks,
splitting my forehead in two:
      a fresh grapefruit, shared between two lovers,
      to be eaten on the front porch,
      the wind paramounting,
       temperature falling,
       on the eve of a violent storm.



INDULGENCES


I.

A slaterned light weeps
through windows;
it passes easily
through the glass
beads of a rosary
on the wall, and reflects
a speckled light
on her chest.
I can spot Orion
in the cluster,
his belt at least.
As night falls faster,
our Hunter is on
the move, down
from freckled ribs
to supple hip.

II.

Early
in the evening,
after arching our backs
and matching freckles
to birthmarks,
I hear the erratic
fall of water
on the shower floor.
A murmur, low
and penitent,
jostled by drops
sinks to the floor
and I bend down
to hear it as it passes.
Mary, mother of God...

III.

Twice I have
caught her writing
dead letters
to lost lovers,
notes of no purpose.
I want to joke about it,
I want to send her
a letter, saying
her teeth are white
like 32 sheep.
But she won't laugh.
So instead I tell her
to release me;
and I will
release her too.

IV.

The sun spilled
through Venetian slats
and drew pictures
on the stone tiles
of furniture, of two people
slow dancing in the kitchen.
Night grew,
and swollen it fell
upon us like a clean sheet -
hiding our thighs
from neighbors next door.

In the morning, sun
leaks through tiny pores
in the curtains
drawing my eyes to
the particles illuminated
in the thin rays.
You stir and try
pulling my arm
to your chest.
As I step through
the shower door,

the last moment of
night is swallowed,
and the day arose
with fevered pitch.



WHEN I DIE: A SONG OF EXPERIENCE


Have you been here before:
where the rotting shingled roofs
house bodies and nothing more?
Here stretches a purple night sky
that unerringly advances forward,
punching through panes and rat-scurrying
under jambs.

This is a drunken fog
that reduces men
to whatever this is
that I am: aimless,
leglifting my way
through the streets; sallow,
glimpsing my skint frame
in jaundice windows.

But soon the cold will kiss your cheek
and you will die, outside,
no one there to shut your eyes,
and you will watch the night pass by.



HOME


We are racing our shadows home,
you and I. Why rush home so soon?

These humid, vernal nights trekking
amongst the flatlands of cobblestone,
charting streetlamps like bolted stars;
and tonight you stop -suddenly,
a knot of anticipation
gathering words into the question
that has been renting space
in your ivory neck for so long:
      Who will take me home
      when this smell is in my bones?

You search for my hand; I am still here.
Past the fireflies like ailing lighthouses,
out from the flatlands and into the bad lands
we run, with tall grasses whipping
and lashing forgiveness into our caducean shins,
toward your lover, you are racing home.


FATHERLAND
SCENES IN A MINOR KEY
SCORPIO RISING
LEAVING
GALLERY CRAWL
IN THE LIVING ROOM

FRAGRANT INFERNO
YOUR ONLY SHINY THING
ENDINGS
THE LIZARD IN THE WASHING MACHINES
AWKWARDNESS
MORE LIGHT THAN WE CAN HOLD
 
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