Friday, May 24, 2013

Daniel Wilcox- Two Poems

The Last Libation

Jim Town, across the county line
Where many a poor Cheyenne
Emptied his dim future
In the short, sotted glass;

Nothing new of this watery fire,
The forked-tongue libation
Passed from the pallid men
Down to generations of the lost,

To those hunched at the rail-
Descendants of red men who
Counted coup with shining valor-
But these instead pour out their souled

Lives to Chief Bacchus of the bottle;
Restricted to behind the dark bars,
They shuffle the time worn cards,
Then slump, no longer ruling the plains.

But the Rez’s young girl, his cousin,
Only 12, copper-templed and kind,
With glorious raven hair, now
In the gathering Montana dusk

Tips on the dirt walk, sour breathed,
Staggers on the ‘warn’ path
Through Lame Deer village,
And passes down, then gone.

Says another tribe’s brave,
A leader in translation,
My heart is sick…

I will drink no more forever.

Previously published in Sentinel Poetry Online, United Kingdom, November 2007

Midnight Voyager

Past muggy midnight,
Working 7-11 on the late shift,
I’m the moonlighting student
Washing the wall-to-wall windows outside,

Pushing the strong pole up and down
In the fogged, moist
Huntington Beach night,
Then I go inside and stock shelves with the last

Of the cans--sweet peaches, chili and meat,
And wait on the handful of customers,
A trucker, two teen cruisers, and an elderly gent.
Later a friendly Mexican family comes in

With 5 rambunctious kids
Going who knows where at 3 A.M.,
No doubt journeying far.
While the kids scamper in lively dances

And the parents load up a large basket,
The door chime sounds
And a comely young woman strolls in,
Frilly skirt swaying;

She walks to the cooler in the back,
Side steps two running boys,
And returns to the counter
With an Orange Crush

Smiling up at me,
Where I’m reading “Recuerdo”
By Millay from my college text--
The girl leans forward on the counter,

Her green blouse like a palm-frond basket
In the market, the partially open scarf
Revealing her harvest,
Two soft mangoes, succulent skin.

She looks up, her soft eyes
Large and luminous;
I return her warm smile, then look away
To the permanent ‘Keys’
On the register;
Rejecting the easy way, the brief flush and rise,
Longing instead for the music
That moves the invisible spheres,
The endless, passionate ‘reel.’
No voyeur, I am a midnight voyager
Journeying toward another country
Like the Hebrews, longing for the hidden one.

Previously published in La Frente International Literary Magazine, France, November 2007 

Brief Bio:
Daniel Wilcox's wandering lines have appeared in many magazines including Word Riot, Recusant, Write Room, Mouse Tales Press, Camel Saloon, vox poetica, Mad Swirl, and Unlikely Stories IV.  Three large collections of his published poetry are in print: Dark Energy,Psalms, Yawps, and Howls, and selah river.  Before that, he hiked through Nebraska, Cal State University LongBeach (Creative Writing), Montana, Pennsylvania, Europe, Palestine/Israel,Arizona...  Now he resides with his wife on the central coast of California.

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