Pipedream : Lincoln City, Oregon

 
 
          Tarry, then turn away. Which is my prayer.
          Which is the length you tiptoed naked
          to the motel door, the stale room staring out
          to sea. Which is how I see you before
          my father interrupts us—you & I
          goose-flesh white or as sexed red
          as the mermaid’s red bulbs behind
          the neon sign that read Sea Gypsy.
          Which is a separate sort of drowning.
          You drowned me in coral and anemone,
          the rushing O of sea’s rising rhythm
          echoing counter to the last sleepy sigh, broken
          by a knock on the door.
          A juvenile history of love. It counts
          so long as the surf remains at its pinnacle,
          burying the tidal pools in sea-wrack & jetsam.
          May be you followed me around that metaphor,
          toward the ebbing time, our last draining days.
          I’ve tarried on this flat part of shore to see you
          & I make naked waves on the sea still to shudder
          their way through me. Which is it, I wonder,
          picking through the sea-weeded bones of us,
          are we the calcified thing beneath the surf,
          or do you catch your breath as well when
          the heady rush of water breaks? Between our bodies.
          Older and scarred. I’ve stayed too long.
          I linger to hear some part of you call back to me,
          licking long flecks of sea weed over wounds,
          opening, closing, the dead rising from the sea.
          
                                                                      —for L.
 
 
 

Averno

 
 
          The point is I started early. Which wasn’t about leaving.
          Which wasn’t as rotten as a rusty can. It took.
          Thirty plus fourteen billion years. I started early.
          In between the cedar and spears of tall grass, a ground.
          I can say what it was. An ascetic’s circle, I can say.
          Perhaps. Also the madman’s escaped his paper cage.
          Also the point is. An empty circle in the grass.
          A campfire at its center. Yard stakes on the compass points.
          Points and the bulbs of metal flowers spinning.
          Which were about as rotten as a rusty can. I can say.
          I started early—took my dog. And I passed through.
          An ascetic’s sphere. Into some place. Picture.
          Two layers of white sheets. One slit imperceptible.
          To an eye. To a hand. A hand slips through.
          Also a lunatic knows star from satellite. Which isn’t.
          To say it took. To pass through or into. Start to see.
          I started early into a slipping world which wasn’t.
          And about leaving. I called out to quit. I called for road.
          And road occurred. I stepped back in to reason.
 
 
 
 
 
JAMES MAYNARD is a bookseller in the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Milo Review, White Whale Review, Arch, and Blueline, among others. His chapbook Throwaways was published this February. He edits the blog Work/Life. Please visit him online at www.jamesmaynardpoetry.com.