Thursday, September 12, 2013

Three Poems by John Roth

A Geisha Reminisces Over an Illicit Love Affair

On leap years,
we used to romp through oriental gardens.
Such slipshod footing, lovers tumble headfirst
from airy gables.

We were blind,
our eyes congealing from the star-smeared visor
that once held a promise for the future, one 
of tortured romance. 

But instead,
our passion soon deteriorated―
An ancient scroll with burnt tea stains, frayed tassels
eaten by silk moths. 

Only now,
do shadows weave between the green bamboo thicket,
where hibiscus flowers loll their citrine studded tongues
like a yawning corpse.

Drowsy gnats.
Shapeless mantles of light suffuse a pond’s dark edge.   
Puffs of white mist float like Chinese lanterns,
a moonlit paper nest

for swallows.
Mirror-scaled koi flick their whiskers at the sky
as water sloshes over a lipped-rim bowl of clay,  
nourishing silt.

Red crowned cranes
stalk the muddy banks in search of a lost mate.
Long necks stretch, trill cries erupt into the night

cherry blossoms litter the small pagoda
where our hearts bled into rose tinted vials.
Mingling souls

but keeping bodies apart.


It starts with a dry spell,
a nagging cough,
and soon becomes
a burning hole
in one’s throat.
The desert gargles
sand in its mouth,
picks the blisters off
its scorch-split tongue.
If only it had tears
to spare, some hidden
reserve of water kept
deep within itself.     
Some way to taste
of its own sorrow.    


The sun hangs low
like a gold medallion
looped through a blue
prize ribbon. 

There is nothing
to be won but red dust
and desert flies, rubbing
their greedy legs together
like dull violin strings.

A stone-painted lizard
sleeps flat on a pillowed
rock bed that’s been drunk
bone-dry by mouthfuls
of burning sand. 

The land cries out,
then comes
a noiseless surge
of black-bottle storm-clouds,
descending from the splintered
planks of sky like anchors flung

Then comes
white lightning, shackled
to earth’s hot ground plate. 

Then comes
the calming hush of rain.

John Roth is a poet from Ohio whose work has mostly recently appeared, or is still forthcoming, in The Orange Room Review, Boston Poetry Magazine, Bone Parade, Aberration Labyrinth, and Dead Snakes, among a few others.  He hopes you have a nice day.  

No comments:

Post a Comment