Issue 71 — 

Michael Larrain (ArLiJo #71)
Miles David Moore (ArLiJo #71)

Michael Larrain

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 71

Sweeter Still

Not even apples
are as sweet as water
in the middle of the night
after falling asleep after making love
after all had seemed lost
the night before
Now the sight of you
turning in the tangled moonlit linens
like some other, older form
that water has descended from
is sweeter still
your breasts swimming out of your body
and breaking into purest elsewhere
your muscles moving
as though music
were swelling under your skin
I’m warm in our home
beside my heart’s companion
but I can hardly wait
to fall back to sleep
and wake in the morning
and hold you

Copyright © 2014 by Michael Larrain.

only early every always

Only when. Only when you come walking toward me down the beach, silver spurs jingling softly on your bare feet, will I be able to steer by the first few stars, and by the salt adhering to your warm brown skin. Wait there for a moment, would you? As soon as I reach you, my arms will know what to do. Now all we can see or touch or say is promise pure and simple. Whatever you feel is known to the air around us. The golden syllables along your spine will welcome me home. How good to have hands. Let me brush the stars off your body and the sand out of the sky. Only then.

It's early, so very early, when, lovingly, we quarrel with birds because we cannot distinguish treetops from sleep. Did the world decide us or we decide the world? Now the apples can carry their handfuls of snow across the river without fear of pursuit. May I twirl you in the water while we lie here, may I mean for once early what I'm doing? May I early your eyelids and your neck? No one's early been this happy before. First light is always the last to know. Sleep would take you back and be glad of your company. But let's just be happy and thoughtless and silly instead, because, after all, it's still so very early here upon the newborn earth.

Every day every time every chance
every danger every lover every dance
every kiss a final notice
every call you'd rather not take every call
you'd rather not make every single drink
every question in the dead of night
every breakfast every berry
every girl delivered from worry
every time you have to cut the blue wire
every name every story every stone
every letter of the unreadable alphabet drawn
upon the sky etched into your face and body
every pardon granted every kindness recalled

Always our fingertips ask the shape
of the ever-changing world never
for an answer but always to prepare
for the tumblers falling into place
just this once the messiah of timing
just in case

Copyright © 2014 by Michael Larrain.

Hope Chest

The dreams of the nude figurehead
steer the ship
which accounts for the comings and goings
of the velvet rope
Nights can be reconstructed
from the insides of dresses
The tape threaded in you
turns at the speed of the earth
pulling its rivers through space
My blood sleeps
in the fine blond hair of your thighs
I can hear the furniture yearning for lemon oil
None of my crimes is imaginable

Copyright © 2014 by Michael Larrain.

Michael Larrain hails from Los Angeles. He is the author of four collections of poems: The Promises Kept in Sleep, Just One Drink for the Diamond Cutter and For One Moment There Was No Queen, and How It All Came True: Poems for My Daughter. Rainy Day Women Press of Willits, CA, has released a CD of his reading of his selected love poems called Lipstick: A Catalogue for Continuous Undressing. His novels are South of The North Star, Movies on the Sails, and As the Case May Be. His children's storybooks are The Girl With the Loom In Her Room, Heaven & Earth, Homer the Hobo & Ulysses the Goat and Wilder & Wilder Still. He lives in Sonoma County (California) with his wife and eight year old daughter.



Miles David Moore

Featured on ArLiJo Issue No. 71

Hopper: Cape Cod Evening
(at the National Gallery of Art, Washington)

Only the dog is alive,
standing alertly in the brown marsh grass,
ears and nose quivering, pointed toward the distance.

The dog is indifferent to the squatting man.
The grudging stretched-out hand is bereft of treats
or anything a waxwork couldn’t give.

The cross-armed woman slumps against the window,
straitjacketed in her hard teal dress,
wishing the man, the dog, the world were dead.

The blue spruce forest crowds against the house.
The closest tree lifts a branch against the clapboard,
tasting it, judging if it’s time to move.

Copyright © 2014 by Miles David Moore.

Ships and Barges

Some wreck themselves on the rocks
or, more perversely, against each other,
drowning all that swims or flies
in the smothering darkness of their poison.
Some, with damn-the-torpedoes courage,
sail into Force Five hurricanes,
and all that survives is synecdoche
of flotsam, jetsam, caps and shoes.
Some dock at home in a hero’s flourish
of flags and trumpets, the people cheering
the brigands who will rob them blind
in the flash-toothed sale of cargo holds
engorged with zircons and mica.

Then there are the quiet ones,
weighted with coal and bread and wood
till their gunwales are nearly flush with the waves.
In daylight, their rust spots fester;
at night, their lights are faint
even to those who would die without them.

Copyright © by Miles David Moore.
Previously published in Passager.

A Vandalized Churchyard

The headstones that withstood
A thousand storms and snows
Slant broken in the mud
Like fallen dominoes.
And that’s the way it goes.

Why should we make a fuss
About some shattered stone?
To be anonymous,
Unheeded and alone
Is the one truth we’ve known,

So do the dead deserve
The dignity of name?
Time throws all life a curve;
It’s just a children’s game,
From age to age the same.

Children must have play
Before they go to bed.
They run an ancient way—
Where those now ashes led—
To unname all the dead.

Copyright © by Miles David Moore.
Previously published in Measure.

Miles David Moore is founder and host of the IOTA poetry reading series in Arlington, VA. His books of poetry are The Bears of Paris (Word Works, 1995); Buddha Isn’t Laughing (Argonne House Press, 1999); and Rollercoaster (Word Works, 2004).