POETRY: Through Rose Colored Glasses

THROUGH ROSE-COLORED GLASSES

1

The spastic stops shaking for a moment and
looks the moon right in the face
the stars and distant heavens become suddenly
still

The paraplegic gazes at his limbs where his limbs used to be
and not only feels them but sees them as
real as tree branches birds land on and
do that mysterious wiping of their beaks on their
bark-like flesh

The blind who waft through my poems like a
theme open not their eyes but their
hearts as if their hearts have an eyelid that only needs to be
lifted to let light enter both in and out
for that is what our hearts are us blind ones
great ovals or rectangles or dimensionless
supra-geometrical areas for the
conducting of light as if

an ocean were a word that only needs to be
articulated in order for its deepest denizens to
come alive
as if the sky were a space-cranium open to ever-new ideas
and the stars were direct beams to shine on their
unique and particular brilliance

The sad one sees things worse than his despair
and breaks off a piece of his own and throws it
overboard

The suicide stops suddenly in mid-leap and leaps
back onto the precipice from which he’d
leapt and grows an armful of antlers each fitted with
gorgeously tinkling bells at their tips
with which he strides into town to entertain the
orphans just before naptime

Somehow these souls are singing with full voice through me now
as if a hospital corridor had turned inside-out in my
blood and every war-torn raped or otherwise
violated soul could be given back the
dimension stolen from it and could see the
possibility of Paradise on earth again through its
body of tears

Even death sitting there in a dark slouch at the
end of the hall looks up briefly with its
no face that fits all faces

and wipes a bit of strange moisture from its
sandpapery cheek
its eyes glistening in an unaccustomed way
and its imagination fills with a
vision of banquets on board Charon’s death-barge
with souls raising glasses to the great
goodness of God in all circumstances
drinking down its heady wine with
no regrets and no complaints

as reality falls slowly over things again with its
tarnished pewter finish and its
pulsing flesh and bated breath


3

I’ve seen my dear friend’s mother curled in her wrinkles like an embryo

her once glittering eyes gone flat and blank
her over-agile mouth wrenched down at one side now and slack
her active feet now stuck together as if lame out of feebleness
her often-wicked turn of mind now probably a large
windy place full of skittering dry leaves which never
find hard edges to fall against

thin cold and bony hands though the skin soft still
shrunken body largely useless now except as a
transformer of food from one end to the other

cared for by a bounteous black lady who’s beginning to look like
James Brown a Jehovah’s Witness with a heart bigger than
the moon but a body also held to this world by the
tenuous thread of dialysis

Where are those restless days and sad nights she passed so recently?
Where have the invisible children gone she used to
shoo out of the house in the middle of the night now that it seems
even her fantasy windows have clouded over
and the world’s narrow compass of her body is helped from bed
and back into bed again?

“Your hands are so warm,” I think she said
when I took her gnarled tree-branches into mine
though the recognition flickered out almost as
soon as it came

The stars and their slow circulations through a
shape of the universe we may never know

The arising and continual arising by God’s command
of endless life as flakes of it fall away like shed skin
sloughed off by the friction of the forest floor as we
slide ever closer to the earth from which we’ve sprung

interpreting the heavenly signs written out on the blackest of skies
as personal notes to us from the
voice of love we can always hear in our hearts
if we just listen hard enough

as our body turns more and more to paper lit now by a low lamp
on which His words of love in careful watery script are written


3

The seashore has a foghorn that blows with a lion’s moan

The palm tree has a cluster of berries whose oil burns an odorous red

The night opens its stary jacket to let fall burgled dreams

The day kicks a can down a desolate street in a downtrodden district
where the windows are blown out
and the doors are filled with rubble

The fat lady in the middle of the road’s face
is more beautiful than a cluster of roses

The camel’s eyes with long black lashes are those of a slave
handsomer than the king

The tail of the serpent of life disappears up ahead around death’s unforeseen bend

The smile on the circus acrobat about to leap into the air turns into a
trampoline of white butterflies then into a deep cloud of blood

I’ve lived one life from its beginning to now
but dreamt of origins earlier than my own
in our horizontal human consciousness that knows no bounds
and whose endless deserts are lit by an alizarin sun

Whose eyes have these eyes encountered?

Into whose eyes has my heart descended in a single glance?

Our pupils are orbits greater than the transparent roads planets take
as they round their circles in space

and the pupils of our hearts are even greater still

in which the whole world continually turned inside-out
tunes and retunes its celestial song

10/25

WAR

War bubbles up in the tea we’re about to drink
between the alligators who live there
and the giant dragonflies who want to

a lumpy black form pulls itself up from the murky dregs

when the war is over a white cloth will fall from the sky
whose hem will be drenched in blood

I hope no one notices the heavy breathing in the corner
where the war began

I hope no one’s fortunate enough to have won

11/9

 

pam


Google