begins with water:
the mouth of the Euphrates,
villages, city-states, empires,
all our ideas
down, one place,
And stays alive
as well: cell,
a creek bed thirsty
for a few drops
to roll eyeballs around in,
to swallow so naturally
air is gourmet.
Surface leaves, twigs,
plants dried up like the privates,
their ache for this element.
The need not to always reach
Published in The Spoon River Poetry Review
…for everything flowers from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness…
In the endless mall of Florida—a French patisserie run by French people.
Birds flit for crumbs.
Sherbet umbrellas beckon Town Cars of the aged to dock nearby.
Scents of hibiscus, sunset-hued blossoms of tropical vines blend with that of yeast, humid asphalt, and Estée Lauder.
There is no one left to love.
Sometimes the evidence is overwhelming.
Sometimes I wish a gull will miss landing on its piling.
The real truth is that nothing mitigates.
Lonely birds call through a pink dusk.
If I could name the flora and fauna, I could cope with uncertainty.
I could walk outside to a gator in the pool.
Surprising things happen.
A double murderer was just arrested in Chicago where he’d lived as a poet for twenty years.
I have to write so many words just to survive.
How many will it take to endure? To be happy?
The many places I’ve been make me like every place less.
I love the romantic excess of Spanish explorers: cities of gold, fountain of youth.
Here the old grow younger or think they do.
Who am I to shadow conquerors?
Sometimes a clean, well-lighted place is fine.
Sometimes nothing is enough.
Always that restlessness in the stalls.
The need to be touched.
The need to be reminded of my loveliness.
As if I am one of the few who are chosen.
Carlos Fuentes described Frida Kahlo with her jangling jewelry and intensity as her own opera.
At times I am so tame I wonder if even the trained can prepare me for a return to the wild.
At times the Leo in me sees the world as collateral.
A woman in a poem hopes in the growth of two dozen seeds.
The man thinks she expects too much: “To grow her a whole new life.”
What can I expect here beside the ocean?
I do not ponder the damage done—a cul de sac of regret.
Not everything happens for a reason.
I hear orchids grow in wet seclusion.
Stones are silent by choice.
Water builds only to lose itself.
Blue calms my tendency to wander, to see other sides.
Life, like anything, is a habit, can be found almost anywhere, can happen to anyone.
Published in RHINO.
There’s love and there’s painting and we only have one heart.
How can I not repeat, as each gesture of the living does?
The aureole of Paris, fluid sleights of a pas de deux,
a racehorse against air. A crumpled handkerchief is a cloud,
towel draping a chair in light—translucence,
day glow not true as gaslight. A back bends, twists—
I know the animal, the desire to be—without sense.
Girls in tulle and tricot are trees, a forest of hesitations, starts.
Generations of the same movements and they still matter,
like the fatigue of the absinthe drinker, the flow of hair groomed in silence—
no water more lovely—brush on a vanity, waiting. Memory is landscape.
I do not aim for fields or windy spaces. A collection of hats is my bouquet.
My heart was never a pouch of faded, pink satin.
A cliffside yielded her beautiful shoulders.
After years of drawing, sculpting bodies, I find my love alongside the sea,
exposed, seen by anyone, being born into an old world, complete.
Marc J. Frazier has been widely published in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Caveat Lector, Ascent, Permafrost, Plainsongs, Poet Lore, Rhino, and Evansville Review. He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry. He is the author of The Way Here, a full-length poetry collection, and two chapbooks The Gods of the Grand Resort and After. His second full-length collection, Each Thing Touches, is now available from Glass Lyre Press or on Amazon. He has led numerous workshops and participated in poetry readings in the Chicago area for many years. His website is www.marcfrazier.org.