Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. -Yoda

Brazilian Music      

“I like the few sad noises in this smoky sunset.”-Elizabeth Bishop

                                                Farmers chanting, Abacaxi! Abacaxi!

                                                shift crates bunglingly

                                                over the knobs and wrinkles of the cobbles.

 

                                                Cachorros and chickens

                                                rut and roost

                                                in the fringed grass

 

                                                while children with naked feet

                                                wearing hoary smiles,

                                                suck on mango husks

 

                                                and patter the powder of a pitch

                                                with a checkered ball—a

                                                Capoeira-like chase to gol!

 

                                                The slop and patch of bricks

                                                into casas mingle with daze

                                                of liquor and Samba.

 

                                                The swoosh of a switch

                                                scatters the scritch and scratch of

                                                cockroaches under the stoves and kilned tiles.

 

                                                Fumes of lye and melted tallow

                                                foam and pop

                                                congesting the hum of pao de queijo.

 

                                                These susurros tiptoe

                                                in sonhos trilling

                                                a Valinho’s lullaby.    

 

Mormon Missionary

 

In the salted rain

Or heat and dust

strewn caminos

I danced

my religious steps

among your painted houses

clapping my hands

at the edge

of rock and iron

fences steepled

in shards

of glass to keep

the foreigners out.

 

Annie Schmidt

                  “. . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14: 27                                                      

                                                Flint-like, your feet strike

                                                the serrated cliffs of Munra Point, beckoned

 

                                                by the blankets of spongy moss, Douglas Maples, and

                                                     Trees-of-Heaven, shedding

                                               their yellow and orange sheets of veiny scarves,

 

                                                despite the rage and thrash of falls

                                                misting and clouding each imprint of tread and wear

 

                                                on the soiled earth, an invitational misstep into the depths,

                                                this ruin, the Columbian Gorge.

 

                                                Tumbling over an edge do you

                                                return to dust amid enveloping ferns and dogwood,

 

                                                you leached

                                                by the descent of winter rains, bleeding

 

                                                into teeming water, racing

                                                to the Pacific?

 

                                                Though, for days your sky father hides

                                                His face behind a pillow of grey, tears leaking

 

                                                from the seams, and countless feet search

                                                the gritty terrain—miles of empty

 

                                                trails filled with prayers—

                                                you, silent, linger.

 

Juggling Oranges

 

It was not a clasping

of fingertips at arm’s

length—you spun me

in a circle—singing

 

“Together Forever,” a sharp

rending of Saturday’s Warrior.

Or the first time you erased

the space between

 

you and me, and your

mouth became mine, swallowing

all the air in the world—a

single ream of ribbon beginning

 

to fray. Nor when obedience to

a religious ideal pushed

me to kneel

at an altar, entwining

 

fingers in covenants I feared

to keep—promises reflected

in the gold-plated

mirrors behind our heads,

 

images smearing

into one eternity.

But in a tight

rented kitchen, the scent of

 

saffron and curry fowling

the matted carpet, yet

fluorescent bulbs gifted

an irridescent glow

 

to our daughter’s eyes, wide

in amazement as you held

three oranges in the air

twirling a seamless

 

circle of flame, a

window of revelations

I no longer

doubted to see.