Clint Frakes

After Sitting Among the Candles

There lives a hidden syllabic man trapped in wicked points
of time, unaided by his braver thoughts. For most of his life
everything went his way as if the world’s chemistry danced
to the timbre of his wine glass. A shameless corpse-eater, loathed
even among evening’s gentle trees, he foraged the catacombs of
Cappuccini for stray medallions as his prescription demanded.

His time at sea was hard, sleeping cross-eyed each lusty night
nose-to-nose with the black clown he refused to be.
“I am a bone-picker of the most elegant legacies,” he would argue.
Ah, but it all starts and ends with a woman, the island would retort.
So he’d start out again without anesthesia at his favorite
Thai place, slender & concise at the bar.

Old rivalries pulled him over the speed bumps
of his conscience. He couldn’t stand it, tripped
the gaunt waitress with his thick, hairy leg just for the thrill.
Plates and hair scattered across the salad bar.
“I know it was evil,” he told the reporter, “but it felt so right.”
On the flight home he studied the pink feet of an infant.

His dad couldn’t walk far with the bad leg. They drove up
the Colorado Plateau in a fancy Jeepster one May,
pulled over for an enormous red agave in full bloom:
If ever there were a savage flower.
It was getting a little hot to marvel at much.
He’s since inhabited the language with vengeful nativity.

Only the chirp of the gecko delights him, its orange flag
of neck protruding with quick push-ups.
He pairs up a pile of black socks in the dark.
Thought is the thief of all glory, a handsome Icelandic poet had said.
That’s why he coddles the dead, forces himself to groom
& briskly fakes it through each uncertain door.

Clint Frakes currently lives in Sedona, AZ. He has recently received the James Vaughan Award for Poetry and the Peggy Ferris Memorial Award for Poetry. He is a graduate of the Naropa Institute and Northern Arizona University writing programs and received his doctorate with emphasis in Creative Writing from the University of Hawaii in 2006. He is currently working on his second full book of poetry, entitled Citizen Poems. He has appeared in over fifty journals since 1987 and his recent work can be found in Nexus, Bamboo Ridge, Hawaii Pacific Review, Tinfish and Ditch. He is the former chief editor of Hawaii Review and Big Rain. He currently works as a free lance writer and editor.

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