martes, agosto 12, 2008

Four Poems From Clint Frakes

A Moving Life

I give myself permission to lull the savage flower
    like a phoneme from the infamous waves.

Today I saw a calyx atop every roof –
    pollens, inverted hyacinths,

        stunted euphorias at the mini-mart:
    fluttering glassy wrappers in the Trade Winds—
        like how the old poetess crept beneath the myth
    in her wrinkled skirt & shrugged
        loose from the pavement
    a radical new altar of sound.

The chorus ejaculated in antistrophe:
            The earth has a taste!

The problem is you’ve been dialing the wrong deity,
    cigarettes burning on the table—

        & you forgot how to use them.

A Brief History of Summer
    for Harry Smith

After the longest day of the year
independence was only fitting.
Some ruffians blew up the sky;
the Romans let the dogs out,
forsaking 13 moons & the innermost
juice of memory.
We gained only the dim
profile of an inbred king.
Then the chokecherries ripened
in the unfolding corolla of
long northern light,
filling our freshly opened eyes.
We ate dog,
rubbed its fat on our heads.
The elders say it cures all.

Desire #4

What is Thanksgiving to a born-again-Lakota-Celt from Detroit
        alone in Polynesia?
    An excuse to hit the titty bar--
& gratitude is elusive as Maverick does the splits in a pink felt hat;
Chastity works her lollipop,
    dropping her Catholic skirt;
then comes Eclipse, hugging a beach ball
    painted like the globe.
Her booty shorts say Total.

What are the chances a Pine Ridge
    girl would glide on stage 2400 miles from Turtle Island?
The zealous MC introduces her with incongruent hype:
            “Come and see Wi!”

    Wi means woman.

    A dream catcher burned to her sacrum with the four sacred colors:
        red north of lowest lumbar
        white disappearing south at the cleft of coccyx
        yellow & black along the impossible axis
            of pelvic east/west
        its promise of the Seventh Generation.
She’s surprised for the first time all week when I
        greet her in her grandparents’ tongue—
        “Toniktuka hwo?”
    She stumbles slightly at her spinning pole
        garter drawn almost inelegantly for a bill.
    “Lakota?” she asks, bending toward me.
Her tongue has a silver bolt through it.
She spills buckets of hair across my face
    cooler than midnight water &
        from under this tent I remember
            sage prairie, buffalo and wasna
          wild turnip & wojapi,
        black chokecherries.

I tuck an Andrew Jackson in the
        ankle strap of her shiny stiletto:
    the biggest Indian killer of all time,
    his face long and freakish in the glint
        of rhinestones & strobelight.
But we should sing in sage beds under cottonwood
        & morning star, skinny-dip in the shallow
    limey creeks at Grass Mountain
        lollop in the Paha Sapa--
            its primrose elk trails
        on citrine-belted hillsides,
    eating raspberries & rosehips,
        passing secrets mouth to mouth,
                belly to belly.

But her belly has a bolt through it too:
        Custer just a tumbleweed in a wintercount there;
    Crazy Horse himself a faint, curious melody;
        calendars of Jehovah wan & forgotten
amid the roar of the Wind Cave,
    the song of all our beginning.

No, the lolloping won’t happen;
            but I am her favorite at the bar,
        getting twice the shine as the suits
            from whom she plucks bills perfunctorily
        & eases back my way in some esoteric reward
            for a few words brought across the ocean from her native plain
        where I carried the Living Tree with ninety warriors
            to the Sun Dance grounds,
        laid red earth
            on the half moon altar
    believing there was a center to everything.

Desire #28
a Valentine, 2004, Honolulu

Dear Sonya, It’s 1:51 a.m. & I’m drunk,
rebuking the ruse of St.Valentine,
glued to yellowing books on a balmy night
like a raft on the Danube,
bristling calm, eying an opulent shore.
It isn’t easy to meet Orion’s gaze:
his bullets & arrows
sheening over my tininess.
Then a final sip of whiskey on the koa stump,
thinking of old chums I thought would never forsake me.
I turn pages of Arthur Sze & find a lottery ticket
my long-gone wife played in ’92.
Wabi-sabi floods the evening & I hope
she probed the Arizona Republic
for numbers the next day, expected
a miracle one autumn,
even if our egg was fried.

No patience for entropy these days,
nor joy in the curve of the moon--
on this, Edgar Poe’s birthday!
Nouns gang up on me at Foodland
among the walking dead (now 3 a.m.) --
the machinery of lips & Whitmanic glances
studying varieties of relish.

I think of your Betty Page bangs & how you made
cigarettes taste like chocolate the night
I slid into second base on the abandoned diamond
by Anna Banana’s, sure I’d never do this again.
One must be sick before one is brave
& the palms bow softly & for good reason.

Clint Frakes currently lives in Sedona, AZ. He has recently received the James Vaughan Award for Poetry and the Peggy Ferris Memorial Award for Poetry. He is a graduate of the Jack Kerouac School at the Naropa Institute and Northern Arizona University writing programs and received his doctorate with emphasis in Creative Writing from the University of Hawaii in 2006. He is currently working on his second full book of poetry, entitled Citizen Poems. He has work forthcoming in Decanto, Orange Room Review, Otoliths, Horse Less and Best Poem. He is the former chief editor of Hawaii Review and Big Rain and currently works as a free lance writer and editor.