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.
Words For a Painting
'Steppin' Out' - Alan Clark (2011) - 24" x 18" - oil on panel
I’ve decided: clear night for the oaf
who galumphed into view, today,
though tomorrow it might be rain
he’ll endure and new steps to take.
I’ve already given him eyes
to stare back at those who would laugh
at his strange, surrendersome ways.
He’ll never be charming, my boy,
won’t dance with the girl he adores,
or be oiled in his talk, or sleek
like the cat I hold in my lap.
But under the galling neglect
he feels, there are wings of a bird
that will secretly lift him up.
Whatever the case, and it’s mine
to decide, I’ll surround him with
dazzling night, and burnished by this
he’ll gleam like a god, this hulker,
this oaf, this otherworld clowner,
this surrogate brother, my life.
It’s All About The Weather
Settling in to spin a top of gossip
As that old summer-sizzle feeling grows…
Ms. Cleary spied on Harold, said to Kim:
“Your man’s a cheat, you know.” To which our Kim
Then said to me: “I wish I cared, but don’t.”
This heat is hell, I said, and took a swig
Of Kimmy’s lemonade and, sizzle sure,
Saw in her some undercurrent glee;
A new romance had come to Kimmy’s shore,
And felt a stab of envy she’d the balls.
So, linger not, I told myself, and left,
Well satisfied this torrid August day,
All slow and damp, had made itself my friend.
Then howled a bit, to cleanse myself, I said.
after yesterday’s maelstrom, when the lights
flickered and the cold crept in beneath the doors,
when the birds lost sight of the strewn seed
and the mice who live in holes in the ground
went hungry, leaving their little circles
of no avail in the whited-out back yard,
when we read the day away and fretted some
about tomorrow, now today, ate long
from our store of gifts and prayed for the one
who had to be out on the stormy road…
And now in this dim morning hour of silence,
and snow that’s sealed up the earth from us
here in our warm enough rooms, we wait
for light to show us the way we will be.
Already I’m looking across
A too dark corridor, trying
To smile and wave from over here.
And there you all are, you I love,
Still alive in me, still living out
All your inevitable days,
Not ever looking my way, or
If you are, not seeing how this smile
Is lit with a sad brightness, how
My hand isn’t really waving,
But more a reaching out to touch
Your own, wanting to be back there
In that old place I used to live
And not so very long ago,
In that old country called desire.
©2015 Alan Clark