Friday, May 1, 2009

Robert Bohm

In Memory Of Vallana

What's beauty made of, or truth, or well-being?
Out of the same stuff as the words, I guess.
Well, maybe not the words themselves, but
the whole configuration of the words' existence,
how they arrive from wherever, dripping silence
just as newly washed grapes, their tender skins
stretched tightly over the flesh we want to suck,
drip water on the hand that lifts them
toward the mouth.

Night Thoughts In Little Gunpowder Falls

The tusk moon protrudes
from the black elephant's head.
The mammal, huge as a universe,
is too big to see.
Ignorant, we call its hide "night sky."
We don't know that what we see is alive.
The ego, too, is a tusk,
but of a different elephant: consciousness.
The tusk is only a tiny part
of the whole beast.
Forgetting us, the animal gallops, beyond the safety
of known trees, onto a prairie.
Brighter than at noon, the light there shimmers crazily.

Seeking What’s There

The snow's crust crunches under boots.
Sleet ticks against the underbrush.
All there is to know about silence:
an ice chunk floats south on the night river.
Tending the big vats in the Atlas Point plant,
Jimmy cracks his knuckles in an immense room, empty
except for him.
The narrow path winds through white darkness.
Sleet pellets sting my skin,
fragments of awareness trying to get in

-all three poems previously published in

Hotel La Caravelle, Martinique

A terrace outside the room. Weeds
grow through cracked concrete, a bottle
of warm beer stands on the broken table.
To the side, the orchid darkens as the sun
splashes down in flames, steam rising
from the heads of boiled fish, cockeyed
in the pot we all live in.
One knapsack and a few books
I never wrote, this is what I own.
A few hours ago, Miguel, the clerk, accepting
my gold chain and earring, said
“Tomorrow morning at seven. Out.”

In the monkey’s shadow where the gecko
scoots between two stones then disappears
only to reappear two minutes later
crawling upside down on the bathroom ceiling,
that’s when I first notice it, how
I can’t keep up with what’s going on,
the monkey gone before I know it and then, later
when I glance at the bathroom ceiling, the gecko
isn’t there either and neither anywhere
in these rooms are you, legs spread someplace else
as always, fucking another man
in Puerto Rico, or this time is it Arizona?


The mind made up of other minds, all of them
humming near the fragrances they want
My body is the sunlight beating little wings
above the nude you’s every inch
Look at them over there, the bees
swarming the coneflowers
On the ground, fecund with sweat
in my arms, you are the hot grass opening up
into the bright darkness of openings still unknown
Much later you smell of the rosewood soap
I wash you with, although
in an affair like this
we never can get clean, unless,
in spite of everything, we do

-both poems previously published in Red Booth Review  

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