Saturday, March 26, 2011

One thing we don't like at all is a speck of grace.
And grace can be found where you least expect it.
An animal ready to flee. See its eyes, its bent back.
See its ambition to get away. It will appeal for sympathy,
Don't let it fool you.

And for God's sake don't let it out of its corner.
Or It will leap through the woods with a grace that confounds you.
Its supple bones, its wonderful muscles that flex and stretch
And navigate it through the woods, in loving step with the woods.
Watch it disappear into a bush without dislodging a leaf.

But if it gives you chase, be a brute about it. Be clumsy
In your pursuit of it. If a tree stands in your way, uproot it.
When you find it set fire to the woods that hid it.
Then bring it to me on a well garnished plate, because
One thing we don't like around here is a speck of grace.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Along my usual morning bay, I came upon
A miner sifting and crouching down
At a pan as a miner should,
His mind between the gold and dirt.

“Such a morning – fine –
That I should be finding you along
My path, as I have found many men,
All equally gold-absorbed.”

He said into the pan “I am a mining man –
To keep the thing that I may find,”
And pointed to the sign that said
In withered letters, “Miners mine.”

“To see a miner so enthralled
Makes wishing to take gold from the Estate of Earth
To put it on a selling shelf among the Estate of Man a chore –
Never should I find a worthy gold.”

“Mining is the procuring game – I mine
As one may give away an elfin foot
To in return receive an eagle’s eye -
I mine to give, and get mine, too.”

“I once knew a judge - he mined the Estate of Man
For the guilty few to keep for show
Then gave as dirt back to the Earth
To purify the many others – gold.”

“I once knew a thief – he mined
The gold of others in the Estate of Man,
And gave for more, to and from
The Estate of Man – now he is in the soil”

“Men are to me but miners – infinitely –
Wind but for the gold they mine,
As a twister is something feared,
But bereft of the Earth it pulls – disappears”

The miner finally looked up from gold
To see the face of the voice that so truly spoke,
And saw but a lonely tree, and laughed
At again entertaining a sylvan guest,

And turned homeward with two ounce gold
With which to make his old house new,
And miles to go before he wakes,
And miles to go before he wakes

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Tajik walked toward the small Uzbek town. It was twilight. His red moccasins that carry dirt from China to Uzbekistan, his oversized rucksack. In it he carries homemade instruments for sharpening any type of blade, some of his own invention and some copies of what he'd seen used elsewhere.

He finds the woman's home.

The knives displayed on a cloth on the table. He used simple scissors to sharpen them - both sides at once. The boy watched him from behind his mother's leg. Her rugged face, her crisp beauty. She reheats meat and potatoes for him on the stove. She sent the boy off to bed. The Tajik put down the knife and scissors and came up behind the woman. He placed his hands on her hips. He inhaled the back of her neck. No, she said. He went back to the knives.

When he finished sharpening her knives she watched him eat. His graying beard. His dark mongoloid face. How silney he must be to carry around all those tools, she thought.

He finished his food and nodded at her. He sat with his hands on his knees. He waits for her to come near. She does not want to look him in the eyes, but when she does it is the same feeling as last year. He brings her closer. He lifts her shirt and presses his face against her belly. He remembered how she likes to be screwed.

The next morning he is on his way to the town center where the people expect him. They have laid out their knives in preparation for the Tajik who comes once a year to sharpen every knife in the village. He smiles at seeing the old faces though they speak a different language. He and the woman fought in the morning. She claimed that the food and board was payment enough and she owed him not a cent for the blade work. How can I argue, he thought looking at her face. It reminded him that although men have always done as he told them, women are a different story. But why are they a different story. He kicks at the dirt and says to himself, you hated them once, you know.

He stops just short of the village.

The travails of his life. All the times he was robbed before he took to robbing travelers in order to break even. The face of the young man who died at his hands. The boy's earnestness, his eyes which were not quite cold. The Tajik kneeled at his grave for the rest of that day and made camp nearby when the sun set. He owed the boy no eulogy but he contemplated at his grave a while. When it came to him to keep on going he left the grave of the boy who made such a convincing impression of a killer. A body can't know what hunger will make it do.

The Tajik stands there at a point between where he came from and where he's going. He looks up at the sun that will berate the desert after he is long dead, to which his life's journey holds no significance, his life itself being a series of trips across mountains and deserts and valleys to reach people who have something to trade for his one useful skill. The moments of what he allows himself to call love that after all dot his life's journey. If his death will come at his own hand or the hand of another's. It can not be any other way. It must be at your own hand. You never know when the mood will catch you.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The beautiful girl growing up, she was the girl bound to be kissed in the dark.
She sat in history class and dragged her pencil oh so slowly across her lips. Her eyes closed, her breath held, she is lost in the imagined embrace of that boy or this boy. When the bell rang she looked around nervously. She did it again in math class.
She did not know anything until the lights went out and her sister's boyfriend pulled her to him and put his lips on hers. When the candles came out it was long over and they both pretended like nothing happened.
The beautiful girl riding her bicycle fast, her eyes closed and her face open to the embrace of the wind. She steals away with their secret. She lets the bike fall and lays in the grass. She finds herself. Her sister's little smirk makes sense now. She understands her mother's happiness some mornings. She remembers the day of the bloody bedsheet differently, now.
She decides to leave her bike there and tell her parents it was stolen.
She masters the strange art of makeup.
She cultivates her beauty.
She grows into her imagined self.
Love her God now, love her only thought.
Things like college a place for meeting men. Work, a place to practice endearing herself to others.

Oh, a girl's sacred right to grow up to be an adulteress.
She sits in the park. She catches the eyes of men. She can't help it, her curiosity is too strong.
She catches my eye.
I make believe I don't have to be home at the usual hour today. I change my course.
I sit next to her on the bench.
We look out at the evening crowd. These two pirates of the heart set apart from the crowd by our love's ambition. We sit there with racing hearts and enjoy it. It drives every other thought away.
We watch everyone go home. Our stillness. The bench an anchor, we've escaped the pull of the crowd but time persists. We travel in time together, as it were.
The wind begins to pick up. It strained the roots of the trees, it pushed the branches all to one side. Soon the leaves were stripped and the trees bare. The naked trees like wicked hands come up from the Earth with a will to secure something floating on the wind.
The wind stopped like we knew it would and it all settled on the ground. Finally the sun has set.
Our faults, our misdeeds hidden in the dark of the night. We no longer have to make amends.
We turn to each other.
No need for formalities, in the dark.