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Poetry way back when I should have known better (Tres)
By: Esther Maypole
Posted on: Sat, July 31 2021 - 11:57 am

Poetry way back when I should have known better (Tres)


I never liked gardens

No I never did like gardens

With a plant       here

One                                                there

With all that upturned in-between dirt

Uncomfortable under the sun.

Roses nodding amicably enough

I'll admit,

But each living up to its own (equals owner's)


    (having no choice where there are 

no nasty weeds deep-taprooting below

the level of roses roots incidentally scaring

up precious secret substances that might

give those roses an altered hue,

an unexpected growth-change shape)

(the most beautiful-to-my-eye roses form and scent

being in the jungle behind the empty barn

in the vacant lot on Alonzo St. anyway.)


Since meeting you again 

I have gone off reading

Murder mystery novels.

Now I choose

One green adolescent rattler,

Incandescent blue sky,

Mud nests buzzing with

Cliff-hanging family life,

Black and white flurry

Of freefall mating,

Straight- and low-flying

June-bug on a mission,

Scales of the giant form-free lizard,

Indeterminate dusty brown creatures

Too swift for seeing -

The unbelievable beauty of breath.
                                                                                 June 1998


Not for canvas, this
Clear blue dawn
Banded with the
Pale gold leftovers
Of last night's
Rising moon.
Maybe for later, hidden
In the submerged
Smoulder of a
Glazed pot,
Rousing us from our
Afternoon's lethargy
Like the sudden
Emerging memory
Of Venus rising
From the sea


The comfortable-looking woman is my age.
She is sitting across the table from me -
At McMenamins -
Over an almost finished
Reuben sandwich
"But don't you have a sense of
Twilight approaching?"

I look down at my plate.
I have been pleasantly visited lately
By images of Tess
Threshing in the gloaming
Of a golden English countryside.
I have been invaded lately
By a sense of the beauty of those
Fruit-laden fields
And the coming darkness.

But right now
I am looking down at my plate.
I have a sandwich that is almost whole
And I feel it is barely 1:30
In the afternoon
Of the longest day
Of a long Oregon


American Leopard

A black jaguar is invading my room,
Churning up my bed,
And in a pivoting spring
Hurtling headlong at my
Closed wooden door.

I am terrified for him
For one split-second
Before he is through it
And out -
The ghost of a jaguar
Leaping back and forth
Unhurt and undeterred
Through the walls of my cabin.

He is wild.
He knows no boundaries
And I can erect no barriers
That will keep him away;
But I am coming awake
In a warm pink dawn
Watching not even a ghost
 But a mere dream
Of a ghost.

The jaguar is not looking at me.
He is hunting on a phantom plain
I cannot see,

And I am not his prey.


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