Eileen R. Tabios

Life Lines Lies

Life cracks this
palm—such weight
on thin skin

I cup it
to hide how,
yes, I hid

as the snake
in the fruit
known as Eve’s

Wind Gusts in the Drump Era

               Napa Valley, Oct. 27, 2019

The fields of Mexican
sage sway
No, bend
No, heave
No, fragment blossoms from stems
       petals from blossoms
       children from parents
       parents from children

No, break
into flotsam and jetsam
       stripped of their typical beauty
       stripped of their typical perfume
       stripped of their typical enchantment
       stripped of their typical swa…a…ay

Hummingbirds flit in vain
to birth a new metaphor
for ever-persistent loss
as the paltry debris of desire

As the sky grays to black
       soot replacing air
the fields of Mexican
sage break—

               “salvia leucantha is prized for showy
               velvety flower spikes produced
               from late summer to first frost
               when other summer plants
               have given up hope”

Never have I seen the color purple
be so fragile

Note: the salvia leucantha description is from gardenia.net


               my story is in
               water, as bones
               — “Waters” by William Allegrezza

My story is not in
fire, as bones
from gutted trees

as the sooty sketch
of a fallen bird’s wing
splayed atop a rock slab

as the new stone ruins
rising from the felled
once ivy-covered winery

as a memory doomed
to battling itself
to survive—

Thus, this poem is for water
shape-shifting to flesh
out what stubbornly remains:

a concrete wine barrel
its makers long-dead
but still tall, belying
the ashes it surrounds

Unsaid As Ekphrasis

When fire colors an entire mountain range
scarlet, orange, and other colors of autumn

the image becomes lovely—nay, gorgeous!
—only when transformed to oil on canvas

and only when the artist narrows the image
to three inches wide by six feet high. I asked,

“Did you thin the canvas to avoid showing
entire forests—with all its animals—on fire?”

Someone’s son smiled as he replied, “I imagined
the scene as viewed from behind prison bars.”

I didn’t want to raise the obvious question
so I asked, “Why is the painting so tall?”

He smiled again as he replied,” To make viewers’
eyes travel upward to where our Lord waits.”

This time, I asked the obvious: “If there is
a God, why does he allow horrible things to occur?”

The artist shook his head. “Bad things happen
because we are sinners. Some of us deserve jail.”

Eileen R. Tabios has released about 60 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in ten countries and cyberspace. In 2020 she will release a short story collection in the U.S., PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora, as well as a book-length poem translated into French in Belgium, Double-Take. Her books include a form-based “Selected Poems” series which focus on the prose poem, the catalog or list poem, visual poetry, and tercets: The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku: Selected Tercets 1996-2019, THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL: Selected Visual Poetry (2001-2019), INVENT(ST)ORY: Selected Catalog Poems & New 1996-2015, and THE THORN ROSARY: Selected Prose Poems & New 1998-2010. She issues “Selecteds” based on poetry form in order to show how she expanded a form’s landscape. More information is available at http://eileenrtabios.com
previous page     contents     next page


Post a Comment

<< Home