GACELA OF THE LOST FATHER For Deborah Song, my song, raise grief to music —Louis Zukofsky She drinks her coffee black and unsugared. It is bitter on her tongue. But this is not grief. Day blooms off the bay with sunlight and salt and spring perfume in the air. Still, this is not mourning. When she closes her eyes she still sees him large and her small. Sees dancing on feet, ticklings, jokes. She smiles at the world. And her smile stays bright as a beachside day, but to her it is bitter as coffee, unsugared and cruel to wear. This is her grief. The is the cruelty of her mourning.
A POSTCARD VIEW For JSB A low mist, fine as lace, trembles outside the Golden Gate. The wind’s too still for songs— taut cables stay quiet. The orange sunrise lights a low mist, trembling lacy outside while a counterpoint shrinking moon strums tides. They pull away from this city, famous wanton— Misty, finely laced, that trembles beside her Golden Gate. Still, such a pretty song.
AN INVALID CARTOGRAPHER His blood’s dieting without permission. It’s too rich for his body. Far too warm for false Spring mornings. And time’s precision has stretched his veins into a relief map without a key. He’s outlined but not formed. Keeping his room cool enough to store cream, he smiles at endless notes he never reads. His condition is life—a constructed dream, cruel as a curling brown treasure map with no X. He sits still, so he won’t bleed. He treasures his fat blood. It’s opulent as silk. He’s sure—if his fingers could reach, he’d stroke the texture. He’d trace prominent mountains, islands. Draw his personal map on his left palm. And one pure, black sand beach. But deceptive life bleeds though his window, exposing thick dust. He’ll never depart these rooms. There are no fresh landscapes to know. All the countries are carved square on the map his soft fingers sketch for his failing heart.
BIRTHDAY RONDEL For herself on her Birthday He makes a mess—again. This time where they both lived, their small kitchen. She sees but doesn’t speak, again. He’ll clean some up after they dine. The day-to-day dance, simple rhyme of long love. She can’t recall when he didn’t make a mess. Each time they both cleaned the too small kitchen. Their passing years never confine his joy in looking at her when she doesn’t see the look. And then she faces him once more. She sighs. They kiss again, like the first time.
Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Roshi San Francisco, was just published by Norfolk Publishing. Starting from Tu Fu was recently published by Encircle Publications.
A new collection and a novel are forthcoming.
He is very fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster where he made his marginal living pointing out pretty things. Now, he works doing guy stuff, go figure.
He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and two full length collections so far. His first chapbook won the Negative Capability Award.
Titles on request.
A meager online presence can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter/
A primitive web site now exists: https://www.mark-j-mitchell.square.site/
I sometimes tweet @Mark J Mitchell_Writer
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