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My World Exists

but in a sea of graphite,
an infinite reflection in urban puddles
beyond a contemplative visage
and skies of passing clouds,
layers of colors, clothing and canvas
in hues of green and red or blue neon,
in photographed memories
of aged sepia or scalloped black lace,
momentary convex stills in chrome faucets
and a centrifuge of spinning vintage records’
timeless melodies.
My world exists
but in the voice of a stewardess
announcing regretful points of departure
and estimated times of arrival,
in unfolded compressed luggage
strewn across uninhabited floors,
in candle flames rising up bodies
of pried-open wine bottles.
In touches, tastes, tangibilities,
breezes through translucent curtains,
golden sunlight dancing over wheat fields
and books about one Man’s obsession
with sunflowers.
My world exists
but in a mariachi band’s boisterous canción,
in the night’s shadows of swaying silhouettes,
goblets, torches, revelry and the lyrics of gypsies
performed on Las Ramblas,
across dark Mediterranean waters
speckled by ghosts’ footprints in the moonlight
and in your glowing, fiery eyes,
your half-unbuttoned, moist, linen shirt,
an unlaced corset, luminescence
and your open mouth’s shadows.
My world exists
but in nightmares of hungry wolves
barking at my severed ankles across
bubbling oil pits and endless suspension bridges,
trembling beasts with blood-stained teeth,
flaring nostrils, revealed claws, taut snarling lips,
elongated torsos of erect barbed-wire hair
and steam rising from tightened follicles
in the dead of winter.
My world exists
but as a child on a tethered rope swing,
singing loudly across hollowed ocean swells,
with wide, wishful, hazel eyes
and warm, ruddy, freckled cheeks
over-caste in the purest of blues.
My bare feet, outstretched,
and wind between my newly painted toes.
My world exists
but in a cool silo of slatted steel,
in a dusty dress with blackened elbows,
my hands embedded deep within harvested grain.
Pressing my ear to rusty rotund walls
listening for the hum of a truck’s engine
and the deep suburban voice
of my grandfather’s next client.
My world exists
but in the white caps of the English Channel,
in the aqueous eyes of my new Swedish friend
and our hopes for his new life abroad,
in the French mother’s swollen breast,
the trusting eyes of her feeding child
and his plump, swollen belly
as we all remember Calais
and gaze at Wordsworth’s cliffs in the distance.
My world exists
but in the dance of the matador,
a cheering crowd, blood-soaked sand,
tiny wrists garnished with silvery bracelets,
tailored jackets and sweetened lemonade,
bleachers vibrating with every kill.
My mother’s hand on my sun-burnt knee
and breathing beneath sweaty palms
pressed to my eyes.
My world exists
but in Paris’s Opera house,
in both the spectacle and its celestial ceiling
mirrored in my weeping eyes,
consoled by the embrace of a familiar staircase.
In the chanson from a florist’s hi-fi radio,
flirty skirts, taut trousers and passing bicycles,
in Doisneau’s everlasting kiss,
an animated jardin of blue, yellow,
Le Vie en Rose and fountains embellished
with change, children and cherubs.
My world exists
but in a final parade down a catwalk,
acknowledging cameras with a profile
avoiding my own smile,
“chest out, shoulders back, backside in”
Inhale, inhale, inhale…
Glazed eyes and disassociation,
wishing my colored polka-dots
were Valentino’s bold stripes
of sheer black and pure white.
My world exists
but behind a mask of words and memories
with crimson satin straps gripping tightly in a knot
at the back of my nodding head,
behind a half-filled inkwell
and in a mountain of crumpled papyrus,
under layers of multi-textured imported cotton,
above pillows of matted feathers
and on a bed of tired, endless dreams.

[ from Transcriptions of Time ]

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