A New Poem | “May’s River” (Part Deux)

Illustration by Stephen Pickering. "May's River" (cc) 2010. painted on iPad using ArtStudio, with added figurines using Picnik online graphic editor.

You tore on past the river’s flow.
Now I know, now I know.
You walked from the house’s door into the snow
An instinct to let go, to let it go.

The menagerie fortress tower
looms larger by the hour.
Talking to the morning’s vestigial crops
into the elevators’ chop, chop, chops.
And disturbing them like making rings
Outward bound as the sunshine morning sings.

You of the potato patch’s mouth, mouth, mouth
have grown up too early to shout, shout, shout,
and now you’ve got trouble in the military man’s
house, house, house
given way to your sacred gifts’ sound
down South, South, South.

All the Milky Way’s a stir
with the blasted World,
of the strange gifts at night when two strangers eyes meet
down by the wharf with fresh cod to eat
and malted whiskey to drink.
They drive back on one tire
As a family waits by the hour
For some vestigial return at least
For some reason to leave the porch and heat.

‘Twas you that rounded the edges and fastened the ties,
soaked the oars in morning dew butter
before the wind in the hollow’s current died?
Each moment a little more dishonest, and a little piece of you tries,
A little piece of you dies.

Dies to the factories making crap
for the kids churning and drowning in the school’s cyndricular vat.
They reach for the elbows of the crow’s soaring flight,
but their hands seem too tiny in the subliminal sky.

They do not sing beyond it’s beauty.
They come home and sink their little heads into the factory pillow.
The hawk haunts the sky, and the ducks huddle under the willow.
All morning long with a fever blistered pitch
Those sculpted cliffs dive headlong into the ravine’s ditch.

Could you shower up for morning sup
And return fresh and green like a planted cup?
We’ve made winter soup and duck.
We’ve made sauces in planters and pink strawberry wine;
All of this and more from the edge of some perennial vine.

You will come to the forest edge when it’s time.
This we know from the story book rhyme.
You will pass through the walled garden’s oval arch
In time to escape the troops’ Kaiser’s Day march.

We will gather for a picnic ’round Robbins’ Lake.
Take a turn north just before Haliford’s gate.
Be sure and set the case of our dozen forebears down.
So that she may rest without soiling her satin white gown.

Two minutes into her eyes:
the inter tube by sunrise.
Back by noon for a surprise.
Smoothed over by gems from the boogie nights.

The Queen you ask, the heat of the midsummer Sun.
Aye it’s her, that’s the one.
Hold her in your diary secretly until the pressure of emotions
Lifts the gold of the ancient Spanish wreck.
May the two of you bathe in doubloons
Never leaving your room.
None are good enough to fly into this sacred space
that all of eternity’s changlings cannot erase.

But before you leave if you could do only one thing:
Pick up that dial, call the complex, and let it ring.
They and their party will have gone to the beach for the day.
This will give you time to think of what to say.

She wants a little house deep on the other side of the woods.
We know she talked on and on about the city and her friends,
but some lies are understood.

Go wait under that shed and close your eyes
blasted even as it is by flashes of the darkening sky.
Don’t you think she would if she could?
(I mean turn around and stay. Of course, she would.)
But the dancing goes on all night at Park Place.
You’ve done the right thing to leave without a trace.
They won’t remember anything not even your face.
All this time you thought that one memory couldn’t be erased.

Ruby lights throb chaotic motions from the room.
Blue, crazed, and wild, they lay out lines for the glowing Moon.
The jeweled lights never cease
to point toward the balcony’s deserted seat.
You come down a golden flight of stairs.
The company has arrived, waiting down there.
Up from the bottom and flopping onto the beach
even she comes up from 20,000 leagues.

You turn the corner and walk up the street
Thousands of children are at your feet.
His majesty HRH has just flown in.
No one met him at the gates for the parade to begin.
Inside even the cells of the carpet nubs couldn’t withstand
The pressure of a human being freaking out the light barrier
And so dragged the little shanty of a house back in time.

Passed out by the celebrations you left in time to climb the ocean cliffs
leaving alone the flowers she brought you to bob on the tied up skiff.
Parsing weed, bushes, trees, and vine
you’re bruised, scared, and knee-scraped by the sheer climb.

The circled gate
Opened not a minute too late.
And there further than the mountains dotting the African shore
lifted the hand of the one whose eyes gave birth
to an opening in the middle, between Jason’s clashing rocks,
of the Universe’s sacred door.

Sent from my iPad

(cc)2010. Stephen Pickering.

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