Monday 30 May 2022

Five Poems by Stephen Page


Sugar canes red, yellow, green,

Whitening porcelain roots atop bed wood

Roses railing daisies raising bumblebees

Raising worms which drop robins

From bouncing perches clung by

Sleepy squirrels watching for the hawk

Shadow that lifts pigeons from

Their rock niches and flutter

Wings waking the cardinal, bluebird,

And sparrows to witness dandelion

Seeds drift across the colouring

Field that memories new space.

The Grave Robber

You exhumed me from a silent casket,

Shovelling with your flat spade,

Hair stuck in all directions,

Grill-cage eyes open and waiting.

When I stepped out of the hole,

A lane of gravestones led me to

A hanger-type building brightly ballooned

With smiling faces of whispering teenagers.

The classroom greened with washed blackboard

As if I were in Warren city;

Students gawked at my paisley tie,

Alphabetically lifting arms to names.

I had been lowered in the untongued box,

Where splinters festered under fingernails

Maggoting my throat-skin from vocal chords;

Staring up at the downturned faces.

A waxing moon sank and I exchanged

My three-piece suit for tweed and khakis;

The sun reddened as I transformed,

Sporting jeans and a denim shirt.

Sometime into a Venusian transit,

The rains that lasted days began,

And the space between the windows and desks

Puddled footprints toward the door.

When your essays were corrected in red,

The podium’s neck algebraic wood,

Memory was mine as mercury rose;

My popularity balsamicked but not needed.

I was finally given the skunk works,

A roadside canal with a rotting cow carcass,

The shit-loaded sewer under a slum,

The effluvium of unphysicked barrios.

I want my mouth stuck with splinters,

My mind mathed into coffined schematic,

The exponential expanse of a closed lid,

The eulogy read and tossed away.

Escaping the Millennium Bug

Beginning with a computer I bought six-years ago

My credit card has never stopped running away with my money,

Multiplying exponentially like the fornicating population

Of an under-educated third-world country.

A month after my new Mac I needed a new shirt,

But had no green because I paid my minimum,

Then I could not buy my girl champagne,

Nor take my other girl out to dinner.

Has AIDS hit my plastic as it reached its limit,

A disease that my penicillin paycheck no longer cures?

If I had kept the card sheathed inside my wallet,

Would it have withered or gone completely flaccid,

No longer producing semen from lack of use?

Or would the identity have worn off from jean friction,

Sprouted hairs along the edge,

Unmagnetized and no longer pheromoned?

My life was more simple when I used cash,

When no one could trace my nightly prowlings

To singles’ bars and liquor stores, and now adult book stores

And motels fucked-in by the hour.

I would like to cut it in half,

But feel emasculated without my leather-jacket,

My whiskey, my car to take me out of the city

Away from the acridity of prostitute cunts.

I shall declare war on its weapon of mass destruction,

Invade it, give it a military tribunal,

Incarcerate it in the neutral corner of a desk drawer,

Torture and burn it for the history I credited.

Building a Beach-House

Even though I hate you,

You jumped in the sea when I was drowning,

And there returned me my legs

That I might plant them in sand

And not be violently ill, tossed

About the surface like loosed kelp

Waiting to dissolve into salt and sunlight,

Or bitten and passed through fish gullet.

I hope this sand is not weakened

By a denuded coral base,

Or oil-slimed sea-worm tunnels

And chlorine-bleached sand dollars.

I have yet to firm with barnacles

And reroute thermal sulphur tubes,

To tropically colour with angel fish,

And reef to keep ships out bay.

Off to War Again

The Marines awarded me two silver stars,

But you demoted me to six stripes.

On the ship your troops were readied:

Helmeted and flak-jacketed they covered and aligned

As the deck keeled new direction

And the stern flag changed colours.

My Russian training had prepared me for this

Though I paused from falling in rank.

I could have read it on the ticker

Had I kept my ass on the bridge.

I saved my mates from a security breach

By modifying the chow cart’s labels,

Then teaching them how to start the motor

By turning buttons and pushing knobs.

But when you began to move it laden,

And the regiment columned behind,

I defollowed when I could not find

My right high-top canvas sneaker.

You disembarked but quickly scrambled

When smart missiles toppled into the sea:

The topaz banner you brought back

Floated across-deck on a torrid wind,

Unfurled into an intake valve

That spewed caustic roses ankle deep.

Stephen Page is part Native American. He was born in Detroit. He holds degrees from Palomar College, Columbia University, and Bennington College. He has 4 books of poetry published. He loves his wife, long walks through woodlands, nature, solitude, peace, meditating, spontaneous road trips, motorcycles, smashing cell phones with hammers, dog-earing pages in books, and making noise with his electric bass.

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