More poems

International

Off the plane, down blank corridors,

Absently herded here, then there,

Down these stairs, out this doorway,

Onto this shuttle, strap-hanging

Past interchangeable buildings.

 

In this terminal door, and now

We’re on our own a weary while

In early-Sunday corridors,

Inhabited by those, like us,

Finding coffee instead of rest.

 

Then an empty time of waiting:

Nothing to do, nowhere to go,

Pinned by lighting and loudspeaker,

Trapped between waking and sleeping

In the country of the airlines.

 

Ramdan

He was the little boat’s crew chief,

An old man, seemingly idle

But always observing, always

Arranging accommodations,

Seeing that matters ran smoothly.

 

I got sick on one occasion,

Spent a day lounging on the deck

Waiting for the wells to refill.

All that long day, and afterward,

He asked me if I was better.

 

Much later I was told that he,

Seeing me asleep in full sun,

Arranged a curtain to give shade.

To those observing him, he said

Only, “It gets very hot here.”

 

Cairo Museum

We have been like crows or magpies,

Choosing among shining baubles,

Stashing, or working at stashing,

This fact, this view, this stone, or that,

Wandering through millennia.

 

But here in this huge museum

Is the ravens’ full treasure trove,

Filled with survivals of the years

(Fragments of forty centuries),

Our own brief scavenging, writ large.

 

 

I am enjoying reliving my Egyptian experience

Aloft

The intermittent roaring flame

Urges us upward. To the east,

The emerging sun paints shadows:

Cairo, suggested in layers;

The Nile, suggested and unseen.

 

Slowly we rise into daylight,

Remembering seeing balloons

As one tranquil spot of color

Floating above the new day’s cares,

Ourselves a promise for others.

 

And still we rise, and rise, and rise,

Seeing the Valley of the Kings

As the ancients never saw it:

From above, in far perspective,

Pasteled, shrunken to a postcard.

 

Our wicker basket hangs in air,

Drifting; frequently in silence.

Words desert us, both among us

And within us, and we absorb,

And each one dreams forgotten dreams.

 

 

The King’s Chamber

I sent some pix and a brief text to our local metaphysical paper, which published it in the present (April) edition. You can find it here:

http://theechoworld.com/Magazine/magazine.html

I don’t know how easy it will be to read the text, but the pix are nice in any case.

A poem about flight

Cabin Fever

 

Our warm lighted bubble drones on

Through waning sun and sky and cloud,

Making its great-circle home.

 

And here, as always, is the life

We lead: The stratosphere beyond

Holds death, but death unnoticed.

 

Here it is music, meals, and naps,

And video screens, to kill time,

To insulate us, from life.

 

 

Of spectators and (other) tourists

Midday, with audio

 

Behind this parking lot’s stone fringe,

A tide of tourists, restlessly milling,

Everywhere, and from everywhere,

Chatting in Mandarin or Spanish,

Arabic or English or Greek.

 

Always the click of cameras or cell phones,

Identical muggings for identical shots,

Endless closed-off interactions, seeming alive

Only to each other. Offstage but not forgotten,

The braying of camels and vendors.

 

Ahead, half-unnoticed, the pyramids,

The unseen Nile, and Cairo’s 30 million.

Like golden sand and pristine sky,

inaudible amid the tourist din; remembered

as cinematic backdrop.

 

 

Another poem inspired by Egypt

In the Valley of the Kings

 

These bright hieroglyphic symbols,

Undamaged, in appearance new,

Transform the arch above our heads,

Filling the eye from every side.

 

Drawn here from around the world.

Rapt, we stare, seeking to engage

What reason cannot comprehend,

Absent eyes to see, ears to hear.

 

For untold decades, for centuries

Mounting into four millennia,

They sheltered, in protective dark,

In the silent tombs, memories.

 

Modern searching discovered doors,

Opened passage, admitted light

For scholars, for tourists, pilgrims,

And still we look and cannot see.

 

 

King’s Chamber

They call the room the king’s,

But no one knows a name

Or a true function. (The room exists,

That’s all the scholars really know.)

We enter like mice, emerging from a corner

After a long climb.

 

The way up was a ramp of wood, cleated

To offer foothold. We, fitting ourselves

To the low constricted passage, walked contorted.

Under the gallery’s stone sky, we walked upright

But dwarfed. At passage’s end, after two iron rungs,

Again, we crouched.

 

Souls were tested in this room. Ceremony

Filled it with astral images we will never know,

Creating, employing, dissolving forms, leaving,

For those without eyes to see, only an empty room

And a stone sarcophagus (as the scholars name it).

Only stone.