dusk in the garden of poetry

listening to poets shaping the air
with their words, everything
starts to feel like a poem;
the tall trees listening like spirits,
their foliage, huge green leaves,
waves like elephant ears
or hands silently clapping,
the answer to the famous zen riddle;
the helicopters that zoom
overhead like oversized bees,
passing so often that everyone
cranes their necks to see them
and poets have to pause
to let their loud intrusions
pass; the tiny mysterious
ceramic figurines peeping out
from a niche in the wall
that looks like it should have
once held a fireplace;
a squirrel that runs across
the telephone wires and then
hangs out for a while, watching
these strange humans engaged
in their weird rituals.

seems curious about
what we’re doing here. nearby
someone is cooking, or maybe it’s
a restaurant. silverware clinks
and delicious, if unidentifiable,
aromas drift over the fence.
my ham and cheese sandwich –
bolted in the Uber on the way
here – starts to feel like a long
time ago.

the gravel crunches
under our feet and everyone
jokes about it. stones get stuck
in the soles of my black plastic
jellies and I pull them out
one by one in the bathroom,
a futile endeavor which
will have to be repeated.

as the natural light fades,
the lamps and rope lighting grows stronger by comparison and
the mood seems to subtly change,
but I cannot tell what it is
changing to. the weather
is that perfect, magic
temperature where you can’t tell
where the air ends and your
skin begins. only a few
small flying bugs disturb the
tranquility. I stare
at the backs of the people
in front of me, fascinated by
the textures of their clothes
and hair: rough, pebbled linen,
tight-coiled curls; necklaces
showing their lobster clasps
at the vulnerable backs of
necks; velvet soft and black
as night, with lace edges,
a dark, glossy braid, intricate
and messy at the same time;
iron and silver hair and
earrings of clear glass, iron-framed,
lit from behind like a puzzle
that might be solved by seeing it
from the other side.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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