width=61 height=87> Voracious Verses - 2014


Mark Vogel


Blind Love Going Strong

In the beginning a surface emerges 

to be studied, like the rarest find.

Caressing stares love as a whole hair and eyes,

moving lips, the flex of ankles.  The head turns

following the magnetism of breasts under fabric,

even toenails painted exotic pastel blue.

Like a familiar movie the first days so soon

documented—her proud profile

fascinating, the way she pronounces

Appalachian, the electric shifting naked legs, 

how her eyes flash as she pushes hair from

her face, how shyness drops her chin.

Meditation memorizing the exquisite moves,

like reading a new book, though soon enough

surprising habit slides forward, eyes blinking

behind bifocals as first memory fog projects past

the newest bulge, the newly learned twisted and rough,

the not so hidden stretch mark, the wrong angle.

When a loving familiar path is energized in the grit,

            hands know a surface menu and eyes

are not necessary, though a felt vision lingers

singular, frozen—the tilt of the head, a stretching

whispered smile, eyes sparkling green.  The rhythm

in loving drama, when in sleeping peace combined,

breathing one Buddha, under blankets a foot

in familiar game, so well hidden,

stalls, playing forgotten.  Then insistent

reaches to touch.

© 2014 Mark Vogel


As the Sun Burns Through

The morning sky is stained gray

painted all the way down to the ground.

Under this lowered sky, this sodden land

accepts as normal sober persistent invasion— 

a steady thin mist drips on pine, fir, hemlock,

and unbelievable in the openness between

power lines is the Pacific Ocean.

Closer in a finch flits on wet branches,

then flies towards the unreal fogged beach.

In the looking a flicker of change blinks—

no thick layer of new yellow lilt,

no distinct categories of fresh intelligence,

just a shift in uniform drear,

a newly lit unseen possibility,

as if new energy has been created.

Three gulls fly higher like they know a plan,

and far out over waves a west wind

pushes fat clouds—new clarity dissolving

glue, revealing endless rolling expanse.

At the surf line a solitary eagle stands waiting,

while from ground to sky another layer

of gray disappears, like it never existed.

© 2014 Mark Vogel


Interstate Motel Room, Part Nine

The facts stamped in the carpet—

the herd has been here and partied,

while outside, Cadiz, Kentucky squats

on flat land stretching west forever.

Because trees on this neutered frontier 

have long been erased, nothing in

the lime spring field obscures two great signs

luring cars, or closer, opposite the Country Kitchen,

three buffalo shuffling in a fifty foot corral

before gawking tourists.  An army of rumbling

trucks threatens a peace garden populated

with red/blue gnomes.

In the world’s quietest room a movie

is stuck on replay—a wild turkey tom coming

a hundred miles an hour from interstate void,

flying at a white van—coming to die in speed

and hiss and diesel wind.  Over and over above me

inside super duper Super 8, lying on a bed

big enough for twelve, frenetic suicidal turkeys fly.

Dear Jesus disembodied, thank you for no talk radio,

for pushing back at droning road shuffle,

the linear locked in plunging away. 

But still, please explain.

Outside orange smudged clouds quiver

and darken as neighbors talk loud

and head en-mass to eat biscuits and jelly.

Maybe once no Cadiz green BP frothed

coffees and collected pralines drew travelers

from the trail, but now the history has been bulldozed.

Because stopping to quiet the blood was a mistake,

the magic lies in standing erect, crossing the river,

plunging back into the flattened race,

moving fast away from black feathers

exploding in tornado air. 

© 2014 Mark Vogel


Ahead the Unwritten

In the newspaper strewn garage wanting the job

was enough in an ancient age when no credentials

were required to see or smell the mile wide river.

Like riffraff spawned by the chocolate water

a white cat stained with newsprint, a tail-less yellow pit bull

sleeping on an oil stain, guarding four cars beaten

into submission.  My car, like a slur,

a garish lime-green Chevy Vega with the front

passenger window gone, as if by design by the soft talking

hairless boss in flannel mumbling every other word,

teaching in two days the essentials about delivering the news.

How to race darkness in a seventy mile Ozark circle

fast as fast can go—how to throw and drive, throw and drive,

dropping bundles in Fredericktown, Poplar Bluff, Clearwater—

always pushing for speed, always moving away.

Inevitable the gray drizzle days when machines fail,

like the afternoon when the Vega wouldn’t start,

and the master pointed to the monster black GTO,

already teaching again, how to shift and use the clutch,

to control throbbing tires begging to squeal.  Then I was

alone, energized cruising tree lined freedom

before I killed the temperamental beast thirty miles out.

Starting and stalling in ominous darkness, starting and stalling

with no one hearing, no adult came to rescue the day.

The engine roared, the car lurched five feet, then died again

with the sweet clutch smell filling the air as ten thousand

cicadas sang on this road where even the dogs

remained asleep.  Time has created voices for this story—

a real enough Steve McQueen saying push on  

like speeding momentum is the only horse to ride,

the necessary youthful edge.  Like a religion blooming

the ignition turns over, rewarding persistence

as a drug seeking strength, searching and finding

ways to move, an uncharted new way home.    

© 2014 Mark Vogel


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