Poems from The Journey to Kailash VII

/ Sunday, April 24th, 2011 / 1 Comment »



field of memories
flickers, blooms brushed
by charnel winds;
desperate to preserve
what searing gusts
leave behind,
I crawl amid
the vein-dark stalks
that sting my
hands, my face;
I crawl amid
the nettled stalks
to find the flowers,
to eat:

petals from
my island childhood,
papaya thick,
at first breadfruit sweet
but bright yellow inside,
tinted with red ant fire,
full of wriggling legs
that struggle
in my throat;

petals from
my mountain boyhood,
tobacco tang,
coal bitter,
thorns hidden
in the creases,
blue as chill air,
blue as bruises
under skin of dust and mud;

petals from
the brink of manhood,
white as paper
and as dry;
the salt of lust,
phloem of love;
visions burst on the tongue,
blood-red hope,
blood-red despair,
flavor the same;

petals from
my middle age,
blackened before
I arrive:
brittle ash,
peeled paint,
crust that crumbles
as I pluck;
who could want
such tasteless dregs?

I blow a kiss,
scatter the petals,
share them with the wind
that sears my face.

“Petals” first appeared in Star*Line, Vol. 31, Issue 2, 2008. Copyright © 2008 by Mike Allen. Reading by the author, © 2008. Art: Detail from “The Triumph of Death” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1562.

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