I'm a poet and artist living in Maine and often in Mexico. I have three books: Guerrero And Heart's Blood, set in pre-Conquest Mexico, Where They Know, poems, and In Love and Wonder, paintings. Poems have appeared in Little Star, The Caribbean Writer, Numbat, The Adirondack Review, Wolf Moon Journal and others.
One quick cast, flicker of a silver lure,
was all it took and it was all too fast
for even any stalking pleasure.
But the view was right: a brutal fog,
a barely tipping dock, and deep salt tide.
My barbed new target, fresh from cellophane,
hissed and with a plonk began to sink.
I'd snapped the bale and turned the spool but twice
when the slender rod began to quiver
(like my heart) and I knew I had one hooked.
And so I plucked him up (too beautiful to keep!)
abruptly on my lightweight line: tiger-
mottled green and dagger sleek, his flank
a molten plata, astonished (I saw it
in his onyx leer) to be suddenly
so gasping in such a choking air.
I held his trembling life in my left hand
and with the other eased the hook on out,
then knelt to put him gently back, alive.
The fog was cold, the water, as I knew, was ice.
I cast again and didn't have to wait,
cut the three allotted to my taste, quick
each time across the spine, and quite the place
(fog now inside my head) to drive back home
where an hour exactly later I could sit
with book and chilled down glass of wine to
a long anticipated, solitary feast
of tinker mackeral broiled up crisp with
pepper, oil, shake of salt, squeeze of lime.
-Tinker Mack first appeared in Wolf Moon Journal and is published in Where They Know
First Poem in a New Place
- The Yellow Bird -
And nothing. Windows gaping, clouds passing through.
Somewhere, an engine is shredding damp air...
A yellow bird stops to gawk, then flies away
while I, strange denizen, floating tourist
lingering tongueless, go on praying
to Ample God, then watch as that bird
with the hot black eye flies back again
to sway at lunch in a gentle frenzy
while another skitters songlike out of sight:
licks of sunlight pecking at a few blood drops,
upsidedown the moment in mild mid air.
Mind the all day sun. Douse the dry ones left, first thing.
Go swim beside what's promised to be swimming
in the wide lagoon. Forget not the love
that's winnowed you from all who've rushed to die.
Blind, the fruit gives wing. Bright, the seed is buried.
-First Poem in a New Place is published in Where They Know.
"...writes with flowers, colors with songs"
We serve, become the flower feast,
Prick ourselves and perish so,
And then again and then again.
A flimsy fortress thus is made,
Of petals soft and colored high
In melon greens, let's say, and white.
Who enters here is lost a while
In scent and sound - a voice proclaims,
That wanders off, its strength not ours
But free of that, a dream's affair
That pays the price in dividends
Of how we rescue life as sounds
And in life's blooming so, we walk
The roads of where the gods of pleasure
Say to go, and like the petals,
Fade away, though something lasts, or
So the gods, and so did we once say.
Li Po (701–762)
To Li Po
We're all so strictly sober now,
no falling off allowed, no waking
dirty as a root or like you
buried under leaves and dust
and then forever off to toast
the mountaintops with cups of wine.
Your filled up jar becomes our drop,
but hey, the moon is up and some
of us tonight will pluck it down,
and truly it's the same old deep
and mirrored pond of yours that
in the end will have us all.
©2014 Alan Clark