Stanley H. Barkan
but no winds blow.
This trip I visited the Egadi
not the Aeolian Isles.
Besides, I made no request
for the bagging of any kind of storm.
And I’m no Odysseus anyway.
Is it that the gods no longer determine
or interfere with our doings?
Our journey is our own thing,
and it is we who decide
even Nature’s course.
Yes, even the seasons change
at our untuning of the string.
Will March then come in like a lamb
and go out like a lion?
Can we even expect spring
in its appointed time?
We are at the table and have just
finished lunch, you are
reading my poem.
I stare outside, at the old
huge banana leaves,
at their slow waving, their vast green
and their rust-like tips ending
with a jagged black line.
And behind, the yellow wall
with stains whose shapes
clouds that never change.
You keep reading the poem, another
possible asset sailing
on foundations of silence.
Then my stomach rumbles, as ever
and you say: “What’s this?”
and laugh, as ever.
with the banana leaves, while I am
the words you are taking in,
thin clouds’ strips
over the silence.
Must be the water
I look up from my writer’s notebook:
“ 8-7-07 – Metropolitan Museum of Art –
walked around the modern art galleries again:
Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko,
Andy Warhol, Willem de Konig,
not sure I understand it all that well yet,
but it’s amazing stuff, simply amazing,
a fresh new way of seeing (and
interpreting) the world.”
“Does your hair always
when you wash it in
a place like this?” asks my wife
standing naked and beautiful
as a field of yellow flowers
on the other side of our hotel room.
I respond, “Yes.”
“Must be the water,” she says.
the poet Spiel
through all your foolish lovers
you remained your father’s virgin
child his faithful paramour
he chose to be oblivious to your users
those who slammed your tiny
shoulders against the wall
then wallowed atop
you like gargantuan beasts
charging your ears with drunken
barbarisms robbing you of breath
your daddy remained mindless of them
knowing in a wink he could beckon
you his bondwoman
his lil punkin to his side
fettering you with guilt
and obligation showering
you with frivolous toys
just to be seen with you dangling
from his arm—that ruined
and pathetic old man
checking in at posh hotels
with a chic young lover—
believing no one
could guess you were the fruit
of his groin: his forever-virgin
child oh how i recall watching
him kneading your collarbone
his hard selfish fingers pressing
beneath it as if they were his prick
stimulating your clit
and i was embarrassed for
ashamed and disgusted
at the intimate display between
the two of you i asked him
did he treat you well
oh yes he grinned his eyes
glistening something inhumane
a fat lump of loose change jingling
in his deep pockets.
all the everyday worms
these worms that crawl through us
are the terrible fascisms that biology
seems to have left here, obligations
to believe and to want to be,
to belong to a meaning.
we can stamp on them, and wipe them
from our facile feet like the shit
a dream is, cleanse us
of this fearful hygiene,
fascisms and fool’s beliefs.
and yet the perfectly normal worms
that come as scavengers, liberators, little
pink wriggling things, those that shall
eat us helped spiders and beetles,
we shall not stamp on their feeble being
for dead feet do nothing, know no reasons –
just another fascism to believe in