Ars Poetica and other poems

 

 

ARS POETICA

 

Although I have dreamt

of floating virginal and weightless,

my blue gown ballooning on an updraft,

orange fire rippling off my fingers,

I am crouching naked, my pale

breasts stretched slightly,

brown nipples spilling into

the sandy foreground of a hidden

inlet. The tide’s flat out.

 

On a bar of grey sand, I round

my red mouth, sucking in

a quick breath to scream

at the awful singing of wings.

Knocked to my knees, pressed

wide open, I brace my bare

feet against the moist strand.

 

My spine arches back, back

pulled against his plumy

breast. His tongue flicks,

twists, licks at the air,

to spew its amorous news:

blinding wings overshadow

my seized, tensed thighs

as blood spills on the sand.

 

Airy drops rain down

wetting nothing,  tinted

blue by the night sea, by

my tears No emotion troubles

the yellow pupils of his eyes.

Three beams of light from each,

leave strange traces on the air,

heavy with his odor, part church

incense, part waxy quills.

 

Now his boneless fingers bend

to conjuring newborn shapes

from swirling clouds of matter.

A slippery pink litter, they drop

out of the blue, murmuring

first words to the sea, on this wet

rim where waves curl and beat.

 

 

ON THE VERGE

 

She’s made it to the porch, trees sweeping

their branches, bigger than arms

over the railing, each knotted it own way

to take her into the moonlight threading

through leaves that trail over the stone wall,

where egg-shaped mushrooms puff-up.

 

Her green coat, sheathing her waist,

thighs, and hemmed at the knee-cap,

shows off her silky, creamed legs. Mincing,

wobbling  to the freshly painted edge,

her high heels poise on the top step,

arching her feet, pointing her toes towards beauty.

 

Tap, tap of those stacked, big steppers

dies away on the creaking boards,

a weathered stage she’ll make her debut on,

shadowed now by a figure, pent in,

half hidden in the heavy window curtains,

that wants her covered up.

 

Right hand rests its attitude on her hip—

attitude the body is trying on for a size

or two bigger please! Fingers ball

into a defiant fist on a hip bone,

as her moonstruck buttons put on

their shine; all around

is what has overstepped and flourished.

 

 

TAM LYN: THE WISP

 

Brown eyes bulge with terror,

at this mist crouching over its pool,

eyes that roll back, as nostrils flare

the big boned head, spooked

by a hissing pipe? A water sucking

grate, a sloshing drain whirling up

a wisp of mist between her eyes?

 

She side steps, bridling,

hooves striking at the whiteness

packing itself around her. Air

stings the sides of the startled tongue.

Shoulder blades, hugging her neck,

jerk shut whipping him back;

reins rip from his sweaty hands.

 

Knees can’t grip her flanks

burning with terror fired blood.

He falls; unhorsed, his brain

rolls into the dark, a muddy pebble

sinking deeper, as the water trills

its tinkly, piercing notes

no horse can prance to.

  • A Varma

    Myths and folk tales come alive in these poems. Leda the Swan, Tam Lin. I love the up close details of breath, bulging eyes, feathers and heat that strip away the distance between mythology and the poem’s shocked character, living out the myth as a living, bleeding, naked woman. More, more.