Worlds Away

what the nomad brought home

Marco Polo

This is the classic game that no one ever wins —
When we go swimming in your pain,
Shooting echoes out of time,
And each is desperately hoping to throw out a lucky hand
To touch what we can’t see.

Over and over,
I call out,
And you sink beneath the waves,
Thrashing to elude my reach,
And I choke on the turbulence that surprises my lungs,
Left to spin circles around myself,
Lunge and grab at air,
Wade through all the sluggishness.
But, lo and behold, by some miracle, I reach you,
And it becomes my turn to submerge.

The ripples close in on me,
And I duck under to escape your cold fingers.
I watch from below as you sail past
Like some blinded Odysseus.
You’re the merchant king of some empty world
Where visions sting,
Movement distorts,
And cries are always muffled.

Filtering through a once-impossible distance
To the aquatic trenches where I buried myself
In hopes of somehow obtaining a victory,
There is a blinding shimmer,
And I remember
That there is sunlight,
That I would rather walk than wade,
Emerge than hide,
Feel warm than cold —
So I steal to the surface
And quietly go.

That’s when you open your eyes
And finally find
Yourself,
And while I drip off what’s left
Of this interminable hide and seek,
I observe as the scorching summer sun
Burns wet footprints off of concrete,
And I wonder
Just who walked away.

July 16, 2008 Posted by | Poetry | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anachronism

Rome was already dead.

It was her ghost which emerged from the barbarian raids
To witness the moment the Tawantinsuyo awoke to its own splendor
Just moments before discovering that the seeds of its destiny
Had always been germinating there among those Seven Hills.

And as the mountain kingdom lay bleeding,
With one final, desperate gasp before her altar,
A deathbed convert, but all too tragically late,
The prostrate Inca warrior poured his libation of virgin tears
Over the marble belly of Venus–
Whose alabaster robes had buried
The quena
That opened those last decisive battles on the páramo–
And an empire built on granite
Fell to dust at the feet of a fading Classical apparition.

When the most bitter of Andean chills
Mangled the Mediterranean olives on their branch,
Two great empires
Reigning out of time

Clashed in anguish.  Fused.
And fell
Right there

On our bed.


* ~ Ñoqa Chuquiagomarkamanta Pichopaq ~
Quena =
type of Andean flute, held vertically at the lips

February 10, 2008 Posted by | Poetry, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment