Friday, March 12, 2010


Look...upon this night
of murmurs and drifting smoke
from ceremonial fires!

Costumed figures gesture
from under feathered hats,
wide-brimmed and pulled low --
shadowed countenances,
veiling conspiracies,
obscuring dark motives.

And there!...through this haze,
seven ravens slowly flying
backwards in single file.

Who is that blond woman?
Is it Monet's dead wife?
She's wearing a dragon
sewn on her gown,
full-length, aggressive
on quilted red silk.
She makes me uneasy.
She glances so coyly.
She has some old power
from the womb of time.

Bread loaves and dark wine
arrayed on long tables,
where small waiter monkeys,
tuxedoed and yawning,
are pouring from bottles
while moving round vases
of glowing nasturtiums.

And there, gleaming lights,
soft colors rotating --
a great Ferris wheel,
with pairs of young lovers,
men speaking in French,
women laughing in Navaho.

A black hippopotamus,
standing forlornly,
is lost in the vast marsh
on the carnival's outskirts.

So many years are breathing and heaving.
So many years dolorous, withdrawn.
So many years here, looking for someone.
So many years in this swirling pre-dawn.

One armored samurai
demands that I drive now
that small locomotive
attached to ten cars.
That train is filled up
with passengers rattling –
boisterous, chit-chatting,
top-hatted skeletons.
I curse that dire warrior
because I'm distracted
and have no intention
of driving this transport.
I curse him and walk off
toward lonely gardens
and whisper to roses
night-blooming with secrets.
Those roses know rumors
about certain letters
and what was unspoken
between all the lines.

Politicians on stumps
plead with such passion,
plead with such fury
for votes that mean nothing.

The band strikes up!...
a tango for gypsies,
and everyone knows
how to dance except me.
That coy-smiling woman,
emblazoned in dragon,
sashays to the center
of all dancing couples.
She beckons to me
for one sultry tango,
then shows me the way
to move without thinking.

Soon disenchanted,
I go back to roses
to breathe in their wisdom,
to breathe in lost dreams.

Someone is missing,
someone important,
someone who knows me,
someone I love.

Here at this wild fair,
a subtext is pushing
like a tender new shoot
from the soil of old themes.
And here in these moments,
so heavy with meaning,
all of these characters
are in perfect place.
Here in this drifting,
pine-scented smoke fog,
something is leaking
out of my heart.

So many years are leaking and falling.
So many years of colors and lights.
So many years here, looking for someone.
So many years in this carnival night.

But let there be laughter
and moving absurdly!
Why wail and weep?...
it might wake the specter.
Carnivals are magic,
and moments are threadlike...
and time can be woven
as fabric for wishes.
Let dances go slower.
Let laughter now soften.
I'll drink unknown spirits
until she appears.
We'll hold hands for hours
and maybe forever.
We'll write living poems
on this smoke, in that fire.

Seven ravens flying
slowly and backwards...
who cares if that seems so
damn unusual?

Copyright 2010, Tim Buck

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