Michael L. Newell
Two of my poems this month come from a year I spent in Amman, Jordan, in 1992-1993, living on a small suburban street, one of a half dozen or so dead end streets that were all surrounded by farm fields, Bedouin, and wandering goats and sheep. The other poem is a new one from my retirement to a small town on the Oregon coast where I live in a land of rivers, creek, wooded hills, wandering deer, a profusion of birds, and trains that roar past in the middle of the night. When my knees permit it, I wander the town in search of inner peace.
Crumpled on the rug: scraps of sunlight, ripped
socks, soiled shirt, strewn papers, dog-eared books,
a hope or two.
But wait. Wait. Night
will come, join me. We'll stroll beneath
a quarter-moon draped in billowing cumulus.
We'll scan the sky, find warmth and grace
rooted in the steady gaze of stars and planets.
Fields will crackle with late November frost.
Our breath will blossom, weightless
as dreams or moonlight.
When a shooting star blazes across
half the sky, we will gasp, stand motionless.
We will shun speech, content
with sounds of breathing, footfalls,
dogs barking across darkened fields.
Our hearts will careen through the dark...
Amman, Jordan, 1992
Previously published in Traveling without Compass or Map (Bellowing Ark Press, 2006).
Late afternoon sprawls across the bed,
and I flop there also
half-asleep — bathing in children's laughter
and a November breeze
as they spill through a half-opened window.
Branches sweep across the window.
Against a distant deep-blue backdrop
broken by a single cirrus cloud,
a large bird wheels in lazy circles
like the old man who rambles
the road looping nearby fields
where goats forage and small boys skulk.
My little mutt drops her muzzle
onto my shoulder, yawns,
and dozes. Curtains lightly lift
and settle. Before drifting off,
my last thoughts are to get up,
write letters, start supper, pay
some overdue bills. When I wake,
my right arm is asleep from the weight
of the dog, and a full moon
tangles with the sleep crusting eyelashes.
Its gold splashes my face.
Amman, Jordan, 1992
First published in Miles of Highways and Open Roads (Four Sep Publications, 1999).
The Eye of the Beholder
Her perfect face was boring
until I discovered a slight bump
on the nose and a smile
that sprawled across her wondrous face
wild as a crooked dirt road
winding through wilderness.
©2017 Michael L. Newell
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