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She lifts a pair of bug-eyed glasses and leans in to read over his shoulder. I feel
like a voyeur, twice removed. It must be good, or he must be good, because
her body opens to him.
Is it the book or the flecks of foam festooned to his handlebar mustache?
Maybe he smells good. A mix of coffee breath, bike grease, and Aqua Velva she
simply can’t resist. They say smells can overcome sense, and I’ve never seen such a sharp contrast
to her jet-black dress, wrap scarf and matching knit beret. Even her eyes are flakes of coal.
He’s lean in blue jeans with a Cardinals cap, while she dwells in Parisian cafes,
sips black coffee with a vintage cigarette holder perched on pale lips. I must be grinning,
for her eyes flick up to lock mine; glasses drop and she quickly checks her texts.
One quick look, her only adieu, as he hops of the bus, bids the driver, “Thanks, dude.”

1.

SHINE light through mists and pedal toward your bliss,

  Rise with the sun and choose to find some fun;

Go seek out the day on a road and rest

  In mounds of colored leaves dried by the sun;

Repair the rubber of a flat with ease,

  And get back on the road to ride some more;

    To crest each hill, and pedal into dells

With quick speed downhill; to let yourself soar,

  Wildly soar, wheels spinning through the trees,

  Until you reach the farmland’s flat release,

    And feel the breeze o’erwhelm your winded selves.

2.

Who hath not heard the crunch of frosty hoar?

  When Summer’s sunny days with haste unwind

And make the ground a frozen slippery floor,

  Thy tires quick-sliding through a harrowing bend;

While struggling through a field of harvest wheat,

  Push’d back by wind’s cool whisper, when a look

    Spots the quick flash before thunder glowers:

In moments when the weather dries the street

  Surface and day breaks through the storm’s loud hook;

    And finding that tail-wind, and downhill crook,

    One glidest then with ease for hours and hours.

3.

Why must the rain pour now? Why, why today?

  Think not of it, there is still much for you, –

As tree’d isles burst from fog-morning day,

  Caressing shimmer-seas with emerald hue;

Smell as the fresh-cut grasses slowly warm

  Beyond their frosted furrows, let them waft

    In sweetly and blend with the salty tide;

When ravens cry to clouds and small gnats swarm;

  Cold lovers cling; and now in blankets soft

  They gather wordless in a cozy loft;

    Together for cider at each others’ side.

A missed bus is a chance to catch a cappuccino. Don’t stress about
the waiting mess. Take slow steps on freshly wetted streets
with your soundtrack of choice, inhale rosemary and lavender mists until
roasting beans assault your senses, then skip to wakefulness. A little gold-haired girl
will smile through oatmeal cookied teeth and wave when you smile back.
Let your croissant crumble like flecked leaves on your notepad to remind you
of the changing season. Fuck deadlines, this is your first fall morning.
Watch fog-eyed couples drift in with the breeze, barely holding each other up, then
bound back into the fog with vigor. The smiling girl will hug a wrought-iron
maternity goddess as if some archetypal instinct compels her. Taste the bitterness
beneath the foam and wish you’d added sugar. Check to see if the leaves are changing, then
get caught in a drifting sailboat of cloud. Let the damp morning enjoy your company,
just don’t miss the next bus.

First reblog, but Neruda hits me like a heart-shaped sledgehammer.

Pandaemonium

pablo neruda 2

It was forty ago today that Chile’s General Augusto Pinochet overthrew Salvador Allende, in a CIA-supported coup, replacing his democratically elected government with a bloody dictatorship. Twelve days after the coup, the poet Pablo Neruda died in mysterious circumstances, many believe murdered by the Pinochet regime. (Earlier this year a Chilean court ordered Neruda’s body to be exumed for forensic tests and a warrant was issued for the arrest of the man supposedly involved in poisoning the poet).

Gabriel García Márquez once called Neruda ‘the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language’, though asNew York Times Book Review critic Selden Rodman observed after the poet’s death ‘No writer of world renown is perhaps so little known to North Americans’, or indeed to the wider Anglophone world. Born in 1904 as Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, Neruda chose his pen name after the Czech poet Jan Neruda…

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Deny your muse. There’s no practicality in poetry. Write, but write for work

first. Secure yourself and try to craft in moments spared.

Spare tires build around your waist while you waste time

you wish you’d spent writing. Yearn for that metaphorical core of language, but ignore it

when the inspiration hits. Instead,

*

write sales pitches; ditch your dreams to craft a tale to market the Next Big Thing.

Write sycophantic sentences and call yourself a “Creative.” Let your servo-

mind guide the words you spew to sell. Make-

believe you’re making it and one day, when you “make time for it,”

try to find the words you want to write.

*

Deny your heart. There’s no practicality in passion. Love’s cries are lies

your mind can’t reason away, though they cut deep like

a knife no logic can heal. Hearts beat. Hearts keep

beating you senseless. Don’t dream

closed eyes will open to the insane world. Better to

*

deny compassion, since there’s no practicality in pretending

there could be a better world. Don’t dream

of that world you see when you close your eyes, where everybody

there is taken care of, fed, and working. It’s just another lie

and you’ve already got a job. To idealize is to

*

deny your potential to abase yourself for a footnote in the book of Paul,

Bill, Jeff or Howard. Root for their teams and pray they keep them here

this time. Lose your mind to eyes more concerned with gossip and gadgets

than the all-seeing soporific vampire state, but smile and offer yourself.

Do your job, pay rent, delay bills, pray you don’t get sick. Slave for wages

*

paid by dependents writing checks you depend on. Erode your dreams for scraps

from the tables of Titans.  Study business, law, tech or medicine – something practical.

Don’t dream or you’ll starve. Buy a house and plant a family in it.

Deep roots keep you in place and put you on the path

to proper prosperity.

*

Deny your dreams. There’s no practicality in possibility. Dreamers become druggies

become drudges when they can’t afford the drugs they need to feed their dreams.

Don’t dream. Why even sleep? Even sleep is selfish

in a world of global profits and 24-hour news cycles. Deny your muse.

There’s no practicality in poetry. Who needs poetry?

*

You might. While their eyes are tied to screens while the world wakes

outside a Metro window, someone should be seeing.

Watch the grey-haired woman struggle five miles-per-hour up a shallow hill

on a bicycle with empty tires. Listen to a man rant beside the gum wall

to a mother dead for decades. Feel the wind in your hair; smell salt in the air;

be willing to admire the emerald isles that surround your ferry ride.

Savor the bitter of the first coffee brewed at sunrise

to the last beer shared with a girl before the bar kicks you out.

Take note of a red house

boat drifting wide behind a tug

in the rain under Highway 99 at 8 a.m.

So much depends upon it.