Allegro Poetry, a UK based publication, archived by the British Museum, published my poem, Houston’s Ark, in their December 2017 issue.
When the river rose, and water came knocking like a stranger,
the family got out, somehow, to higher ground, leaving behind
the second-hand furniture, the neatly-folded clothes, the new
toy elephant, and hardest of all, the old piano. Well-loved, but missing its pedals,
obtained for a song, a while back, from the local church, where the pastor
wanted to see it find a good home. Now, the spinet would be orphaned once again,
abandoned to the flood.
As they were leaving, the man raised a wet fist to the storm, and
cursed the housing project built too close. And he counted his children,
by head and number. Four, four. Thank God, there were still four.
And then the rains stopped.
And the man and his brood returned home, to the place where the windows were now
shattered from the wind, and the bedding and walls were plastered with frog-green scum.
But the old piano had stood its ground, up to its knees in brown liquid, its guts still dry.
And the man, shaken, but safe, sat down to play,
his feet keeping time on the soggy floor, the linoleum squishing.
And all around him the air was damp, stenched, sweaty as an armpit.
And the man released music, like a dove, into the sky,
and it flew out the broken window and circled above the swallowed city,
and the bayous, and it cleansed the muddy places of his heart. And two children
clapped and two children cried, and the man kept playing because he could.
New Works continued:
Poetry Box published an anthology of love poems in December 2017. My poem Only Half of It was included. The launch took place in Portland, Oregon.
Only Half of It
Douglas shops at the Big and Tall Store, trying on belts the size of small alligators.
There’s a lot of me to love, he says, bashfully, when I first see him in a bathing suit.
By then, I already suspected about his heart. Extra, Extra Large, just like his swimming trunks.
When he moved in with me, Douglas knocked on the doors of the neighbors. The ones I can’t be bothered with. He quickly drew out the recluse on the corner, and the crazy plant lady.
They’re people, aren’t they? he asked.
His goodwill, like his appetite, knows no curb.
Of course we’ll drive up to Portland and see your friend. She’s frightened and alone in a hospital bed. How could we not go?
I look at this full blessing of a man and I wonder….who else has such wide chambers of affection? The Buddha, heavy-bellied and wise? Santa Claus in his red suit?
Surely none of the scrawny prophets, all rib cage and hair shirt.
There’s a lot of me to love, he says, with a sheepish grin.
But that’s only half of it.