Friday, February 17, 2012

watch rain turn to snow


watch rain turn to snow

as flakes fall they struggle for their

ephemeral dominance

as the temperature turns just so

they emerge in a slow fall of self-creation

quiet seeps from the ground

settles within our own cold atmospheres


clouds pause



c. 2012, Martin A. Bartels (working draft)
part of my new collection, "Unlanguage."

Digital Memory


I’m sorry now
I deleted the
photograph of you.
It wasn’t that good,
quite blurry, actually.

I needed the space.

c. 2012, Martin A. Bartels (working draft)
from my new collection, "Unlanguage"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dream Strangers


Those strangers who sometimes populate
our dreams, those whom we have never met
yet in our somnolence, know well.

How is it they take such fleeting residence
in our dark night minds? Last night, this visitor:
the lovely, tall woman whose name is Lor,

short, I guess, for Laura. She prefers Lor for its
mythic quality, a conceit that may be true of all
dream strangers. We share a mutual but

cautious attraction, the beginning of a courtship.
I feel the irresistible lure into unexplored spaces
of the heart. She shares a ground-floor apartment

with a male roommate, Joe or Tom or Steve, a
monosyllabic who is trouble. Her sister is Pamela,
photos of her frame the hallway. Lor is thin, with

sandy skin and short-cropped blonde hair that
suggest California and sunlit beaches, ocean.
We sit outside her apartment now, afternoon,

plastic deck chairs on a concrete slab, while her
roommate throws a tantrum inside. Sawdust
from a construction project across the street

floats in the air: wooden snow. “Is it always like this?”
I ask, meaning him. “Pretty much,” she admits,
resigned to his behavior for some reason she

fails to elaborate. Later we are inside, her space
daylight in springtime, discretely floral. I have
never seen this place awake, yet the subtle

scent of lilac drifting from her bedroom lingers,
coats me in a kind of memory that folds around me
long after I have finished my first cup of coffee.

c. 2012, by Martin A. Bartels, working draft
(part of my new collection, “Unlanguage”)



Friday, February 3, 2012

Raise the Dust


If we breathe a little slower
we’ll last a little longer.

The poetry of life might beat
so that our heart-seams heal.

If we walk a little slower,
taste the pace instead of outrun it,

if we close the doors of all the
stress… well, easier said than done.

I’m not here any more. I gave up my
self for Lent and listened to the

Avett Brothers a little more.
Classical music, too. Mompou and

Barber are underrated for healing.
If you look closely at the brushstrokes of

Van Gogh, Monet, the dots of Suerat
you will momentarily inhale the infinite.

There are no judgments here. Flakes of
relevance are the new snow.

In Mexico there is a rural church
outside Puerto Vallarta where a

velvet Jesus hangs in black light.
The doors open to their velvet

cathedral where the glow mimics the
northern lights. It’s okay to feel

sacred here. Children kick soccer balls and
tires on dusted streets. Mothers hang

laundry on tight lines strung between
scrawny trees. A tiny café serves fresh

fish caught off the coast. It’s dark enough
here that stars are thick as mist. For

some of us the mist is a transitory
residence. If we walk slowly through

this mist, hands held as loose tethers to
this earth, our footprints raise the dust

of future memories, surround us in the
final blanket of our comfort.


Martin A. Bartels, c2012, working draft.
Part of my new collection, “Unlanguage”