The Age Of Waiting
We were waiting for the winter to begin.
We were waiting for the sky to drop its meaning
onto the absence carved along the scaled wall.
We were hoping the mother-of-pearl turtle
marked itself with the bleeding flowers of turmeric
so that we might know it in time,
so that we might return its love with our own.
Then we could accept the fact
that not all highways connect you to
the externalization of want.
The seas contract, the pine trees eek out a living,
the slanted contours of exile
reason out their compassion like a thrown-away fate.
I count the stars, the real ones,
which have camped out in the wilderness of belief
for one thousand and fifteen years
and admit there’s only one left.
One that has not crossed the sacred distance.
One that achieved nothing and spoke,
in a period of unrest, of its candle-lit gun battle
with all that did come to expect
its flowers of mercy left at the side of the road
in a child’s broken shoeshine box.
The police cars moved through the alleys,
the city reservoir burst and water flooded
the neighborhoods of separateness.
All was chaos. Then lonely men and women
took up pens, commiserating with what
could not exist outside of one’s nature.
They claimed in song, “Tonight no one dies,
one loves a woman with his temperature
already lifted into fever pitch.”
The winter was not long in arriving
but when it did it had no worry in its chain.
Shoeless, it sat as a drunk in the garden
and said nothing until the spittle on its lip
flowered an uncomfortable silence between lovers.
This little bell of pink and violet
sandstorm grew and grew until I knew
one never hurried before to know limitations,
one never hungered for the open casket burial,
so why not enrage the theater director,
let go of one’s safety and enter the mountain
as if already a dead man? Winter,
which was always beautiful, now undressed
in the bathroom while the shower ran.
Much happier than I expected,
and there in her eye the green I loved and married.
Old Cow Rug Blues
The old cow rug
came to life as we drank. I knew
we were safe from its radiation.
All alone it hung on the wall of a bar
while old people
nervously poked at it,
while the young tossed
their beautiful enigma
at its isolation. I became aware,
cow rug, that you are sound
in our ear, a word drawn
from rain, a shadow flower
made of our indiscretion.
You are all used up,
little cow rug, so resistant to
the culpable exchange
between our bodies
and minds and devastating
that requires of me six dollars
to think of thee no more.
Cow rug of disbelief,
how many crucibles
make one man liable to interpret
what’s not part of himself as more than himself?
sits with you on a park bench
in winter, no song does clip
the eagle of its wings, no
fragment of reality
is more so that
of seagulls which have outwitted
the clay of their form,
or where in a spasm of white lace
a fascist became president,
the faces of my countryside
driven mad with hate.
No police officer sits you
on the sand to watch the tide retreat,
nor at evening with a cigarette
on the porch do you hear
the confirmation of fear,
So, yes, they will meet behind
closed doors and plot,
you will never know
you were sitting there among them,
that you caught your crime early,
put a jacket on, walked outside.
On the wind the seagulls let go
the clay bombs of identities,
drop your mortal leaflets along the dead man’s cities.
Three Views Of One Sparrow In Particular
Sparrow, do not talk too much.
It might get you in trouble.
You might one day pour a double,
too tired after work to rush
into a poem. You might, little bird,
comply to give up your word
at a Senatorial hearing.
This might shorten your wing.
Though you no longer know
how to dance above the first snow,
though your flight might worsen
in a comfort of expiation,
think of the broken sound of song,
of knowing some might think it wrong
that you’ve brought us together,
made it through the shittiest weather
just to imply, well…the awful.
Do not compost the seed, your goal.
Think instead of the mountain
that surrounds your sad bird mission.
Think instead, dear heart,
of that cheaper song at Walmart.
This sparrow that I speak of
is not a metaphor, it is not time’s sparrow,
nor does it enchant the absolute
with its middle initial.
It is one of a billion. It is dirty and has no pride.
It carries its suitcase from place
to place and often worries
The window that it crashes into is a thought.
Not an intellectual thought,
not a caution of worldliness or a trophy
of the humanities.
It is simply a way to confront the impossible.
The sparrow is merely getting by. The
language which sets to entrap it has better
things to do, it can be led anywhere,
the earth can sing or not sing,
the rose can skip its bloom, the restaurants could open
and they might provide a service for a while,
satisfy a need for something lost long ago.
Then in the quiet a thousand more sparrows breed.
A poet sheds his skin in a bathroom.
That means nothing. Perhaps it was an accident.
One did not intend to bother anyone.
A hunger is catapulted into the city at dawn.
The sparrow cordoned
from other birds is a pinned-striped criminal
drinking the hours from the trees.
Always in shape, its leaf-blower
concentration is sometimes baffled
by the beauty of remembered things,
even the cities, the crowds,
even the agonies turn to light in the air.
The bodies of the dead are not
resurrected so much as re-created,
a small art. The decay of forgotten
flowers barely matches the arrangements
one will make of them in the future.
“The big wind up north knocked all the lines out.”
In this movie Peter Fonda lights a match,
looks out a window and one can see in his gesture
that calm reckless no-nonsense
sensibility we have loved and have become,
though breaking from reality to go our way,
movie-heavy, tired, forgotten,
but lips wet with the broken gloss of sleep.
The bird leaves the empire fallen from grace,
fluttering it knows it is a criminal
filing the bars of the sky down and going through,
slender and weightless,
toward the outer space that is shaped like a hand,
like a knock at the door,
like a crevice between worlds,
a poverty of the newlywed and the Jesuit,
a pregnant loss. The bird continues, turning
to the witness with a curious relief.
It has dropped all of its doubts where the ocean starts,
where the oil rigs turned the water black it nested,
placing the straws of absence in rotation.
It would make more of the singular,
it would devise from the madness a blue bandwidth
recycling the clock of history
to turn to stone what came too fast, to breakfast
alone on a promontory of the past.
Elias Siqueiros is a Latino poet from El Paso, TX. Work has appeared in Stirring, Moria, Former People, decomP, and elsewhere. He currently lives in southern Vermont.