” Adioses ” by Pablo Neruda

IMG_0962Goodbye , goodbye , to one place or another ,

to every mouth , to every sorrow ,

to the insolent moon , to weeks

which wound in the days and disappeared ,

goodbye to this voice and that one stained

with amaranth , and goodbye

to the usual bed and plate ,

to the twilit setting of all goodbyes ,

to the chair that is part of the same twilight

to the way made by my shoes .

 

I spread myself , no question ;

i turned over whole lives ,

changed skin , lamps , and hates ,

it was something I had to do ,

not by law or whim ,

more of a chain reaction ;

each new journey enchained me ;

I took pleasure in places , in all places .

 

And , newly arrived , I promptly said  goodbye

with still newborn tenderness

as if the bread were to open and suddenly

flee from the world of the table .

So I left behind all languages ,

repeated goodbyes like an old door ,

changed cinemas , reasons and tombs ,

left everywhere for somewhere else ;

I went on being , and being always

half undone with joy ,

a bridegroom among sadnesses ,

never knowing how or when ,

ready to return , never returning .

 

It’s well known that he who returns never left ,

so I traced and retraced my life ,

changing clothes and planets ,

growing use to the company ,

to the great whirl of exile ,

to the great solitude of bells tolling .

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The Glory in You

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the ermine shiver

a page ripped out

a passage cries to quiver

anointing poems , a frozen room

this grey land storms a labor pain

the puddle , the bellies lake

does blackness wane

upon an empty beds membrane.

the night frock flees

this in between

the spider crawls into the snow

the crow suspends , the fish lay low

blood stalks the stars

and Venus reigns

a dream that drips does not touch down

a dream where wings salute the air

to spill the scent of sweet champagne

she walks the wire a forsaken domain.

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Photo credit : Janet L. Doane

her hair hangs ore the river

her hair hangs ore bare skin

her hair an adoration

her hair tormenting worlds

harpooned

the great whale dead and bloated

ice screams from broken bone

Hail Mary full of grace

the river smells of outer space .

Wonder

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rare things are growing

the moon is moving , shalom

fly the burning flag of freedom

do you know what it’s like

to be almost swallowed home ?

 

he pours the tea

gold sugar , emotional weight

unfurls her hair

upon dew shoulders , a soul

scratching in the still and quiet

she is scared

and not scared

an amateur actress standing bare

first on center stage fore square.

 

” Mary did you know ”

you have a regal stance ?

all mutate in your presence

the camera clicks

she turns her head

and when she sees she does transfix

her human vanishes

the bleak cold winter

a bountiful banquet

shattering dry in the rain debris.

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Mary don’t dye your hair

wanting to change your wild esprit

I too am thirsty seeing you there

the moon is moving the tall pine tree

over passing Traverse Bay

glory joins utopian pupils

the lake of her eyes my northern stay .

 

a spaceship jolts

Issa is here and

he is calling for you

Mary , do you know what it’s like

to be swallowed home ?

I am scared

and not scared for you alone .

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White

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I loved holding your hand

what piece of that is you ?

there , a white horse loose

and hit by a car on Paradise Road

its a curious land

God allows .

do you recognize me

the red spruce , the snow goose laying in lake sand

the turntable now

an alleluia instrument

sounding swallows to reproduce

and me to the dance band sway .

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Who is that boy

who is he that proclaims

I need to feed my girl ,

not you .

the sky is pushed so far away

is there anything saved for me ?

great fog in our upper peninsula settles down

the snow land to arouse

the symphony of crying voices vows

a cracking chord

ice lies over the Crystal River

love insane a disarray in unison on my brows .

 

I loved holding your hand

until it held me down

and I emerged a white peacock

no more tomb in the middle of my bedroom .

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The Narrator Returns

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Day One :

There a bloom has fallen , laying off the path , red fading  almost grey . She picked it up and buried it . She was a reader of fairytales . The birds left broken shells under their nests and all the fields outside the city were soft and green . Voices , insects digging , wheat grass , musk , rusted gates , warm winds , always the wind , all of it , all of it in that green . She walks here often , the odor of pink painting the tender joy of her life .

Day Two :

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There the white sheets are flapping on the clothesline when he appears . She was sitting on the front steps of her house on the corner of Parmalee Street . She is thin , small breasted and fine in stripped bell bottoms , poet blouse , Moroccan sandals , the leather pale and worn wrapping around her ankles , such beautiful bones . His heart was going like mad . The out of style clothes and the arch of her foot , unusual . He knew he would panic if she moved . She held a baby . The neighborhood lights dimmed . The summer of the year 1983 was ordained . The humming of the lawn sprinklers sang it .

There , under the sky , she  looked at him and looked at him longer and in that pause they both heard the birds screaming on the road above , so resplendent in escape . He would never forget the sound of her voice and she would never forget the sad drooping of his quite lovely left eye or the music he would later play for her . He stalked her with a plea that turned into a gift . His name is Paulo .

Day Three :

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Well , he was young , just out of university . She was older with no education . He slept with ” Abba ” on the wall above his bed , she slept under the long neck of a Modigliani print under glass . Truth has an oblique face , an extraordinary stone the gods hide deep within . The hunt began the day they met , maybe paradise , maybe a nightmare , maybe both . Her name is Mary .

That same week :

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And there , two hundred miles to the north , along the coast of the Great Lake Michigan  where apples hang heavy on the trees , a young man overturns a silver rowboat , pushing it into the waves of an inland lake . His name yet unknown .

The 13th Month

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In the pause

the year of our Lord

with moons soft skin surface

she did remember

ashamed to be on cemetery road

with a wearisome lover , a toxic presenter .

her light lit in strangers

his first underground tantrum

the animals digging demanding ransom .

she did not die

she just went somewhere

the shrill trumpet

one long note , a siren cry .

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in the pause

the lunar month kingdom come November

she did remember

relief to watch the fish swimming shallow

scales of gold leaf a washed in splendour

like spaceships on cathedral wall frescoes ember

with Saints and kings

their cut off heads in glass case transgender

again the drum , again the drum

she did not die , she did not die .

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in the pause

in the headlights of the dark

she did remember

the moon , her body massive

a swell , no bones the cosmic fish anointed

river salmon swim the wrong way

yearning to be back home

the second tantrum

the compass north to abandon .

platinum gifts arranged before her ,

potatoes cooked in caves and grottos

a blind pony , perfect braids , a shiny shell anklet

the Good Harbor passage running

herds with broken heart clefts

a whirlpool startling birds

causing snake movements straight into a tree

where again the drum

booms lyrics now of Vermeer mood to see .

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she did not die

she just went somewhere

the shrilling trumpet hallows

its final note , Michigani’s brutal storm

her throne to sail on rising confessions possession

again the drum , again the drum

she did not die , she did not die .

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Last photo by Rosemary Alpert Photography

They Meet October

 

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there sways a hammock on Orcas Isle

yet shall she go towards Manitou

she moves upon a passage kissed

suspending ore the northwest sea

resting rains of pale pollution

to change the clouds of milky water

to hear the heron landing

to bend the limb from sky

a borderless world exists

a daybreak smell persists .

 

we are here now

truth turning feral in flight

where bird eggs roll

to smash on cliffs felt far below , a revolution

her wound a souls disaster

cracks at the feathered moment seen

his pupils naked thru the clothes of mist

a nest of sap flowing blood in substitution

ore the cobalt sea

a borderless world exists

a daybreak smell persists .

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there stands a doe

the deer of Mount Constitution

the ravens  caw giving words to sky in echoed elocution

and from under forests debris

infant squirrels twist

a heart huddles

how she reaches

his thighs , his belly

how she reaches , he stares

the sky now jealous of his eyes

will he shoot the sheltered deer

if a borderless world exists

if a daybreak smell persists .

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there sways a hammock on Orcas Isle

but will she sail to Manitou , alone upon

her land of blue , beloved blue

her land of blue .

 

Poem for my soldier

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decades three times gone by with tides descent

silvers sliver

mark liquid light upon her skin so white

the warriors sword cuts gold the blues deep sleep

a memory weeping

nocturnals curse a fragile stain

at choirs of gulls positioning

Shakespeare’s lover listening

I love you her breath glistening

there it is he said , there it is .

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her body multiplied

mirrors of eternity that wouldn’t die

began that summer in the Falklands burning

the footlocker laying still , laying long

medals looking from the wall

the soldier and his conquest quickening

pictures of her there inside unfolding in their christening

anywhere with you , anywhere with you

I love you her breath glistening

there it is he said , there it is .