The moon has an erotic scar,
a gash made by politics.
At least it’s not alone—
this world has so many scars
wrought by politics
that the moon might yet be thankful.
And sometimes the erotic scar
the world carries is not even a scar—
in its beauty there’s only room
for wonder and the death of politics,
a bed in a room overlooking
a sea beyond its walls, naughty glances
while the “eyelashes of angels”
whirl around the lone light like moths—
like light itself, more at home
than on the moon, in any heaven.
Always on the lookout
for a village to defend
against assorted bandits, the city
a far more complicated proposition.
Swords hacking through the air,
skirmish after skirmish, moves
precise amidst the chaos, a ballet
of death deep in a thick forest,
the carnage of blood seeping
into the huts, the river, the earth
and yet everything redeemed
by the assurance that the samurai,
despite a loss of one or two,
will win and reestablish justice.
Every time I meet samurai
we greet each other as if we were
the best of friends, share plum wine
as I listen to their exploits.
Every time I tell them I’m a lover
not a fighter, how I love how
in the movies all those killed spring
back to life when the director
says Cut, and the samurai laugh loud
and give me their swords to hold,
swords that carved up many men,
swords I pull from the sheaths,
dazzled by the craftmanship, the beautiful
instrument samurai use only if necessary.
The mops in the alleyway
today hang differently
than they did yesterday—no two
ways the same, unpredictable
as life itself. Workers get some
satisfaction in the lounging
on orphaned chairs of white, yellow
blue and pink, paradises
but for the briefest of moments.
On the congested main road
The fish balls are dancing, a model
from the Mainland makes certain
everyone notices her long legs, her
mouth hushed about the politics—
a teenager lights a cigarette, a kitchen
cook joins in and someone’s cheap
but revered pair of pants parachutes
from the clothesline forty stories
high, landing on a grime covered mini
statue of the Buddha smiling, smiling
through his stoicism he cannot change.
What must the mops be thinking?
Amidst the busyness of the city
I buy a hot dog from a street vendor
and eat it slowly on my way home.
My wife having arrived ahead of me
will be simmering a healthier fare.
I pick up my steps when I see myself
falling into her arms and the last
bite of the hot dog feels exquisite.
If I were any happier they’d have
to arrest me—they know where I live.
THE COOLNESS OF THE DAY
with a spread of sun.
under the apple trees.
A husband and wife walk
along the canal of swans.
A man conflicted, trying to decide
says to the birds he will.
A dog bites the do-nothing local pol
scrouging for votes—just right.
Tim Suermondt’s sixth full-length book of poems A Doughnut And The Great Beauty Of The World will be coming out early in 2023 from MadHat Press. He has published in Poetry, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Stand Magazine, Smartish Pace, The Fortnightly Review, Poet Lore and Plume, among many others. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.
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