Friday, February 17, 2012
watch rain turn to snow
as flakes fall they struggle for their
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
c. 2012, Martin A. Bartels (working draft)
part of my new collection, "Unlanguage."
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
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
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”