James Robert Rudolph is a retired psychologist and teacher having returned to old haunts in northern New Mexico after a busy career in Minneapolis. He believes in old-style magical realism, that inspired by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the high desert, and the deep, broad sky of the American mountain west. Recent poems have appeared in The Artistic Muse, Mad Swirl, and Bewildering Stories, among others.
Old ice age spring, thaws
cold crystals in blue waters
flow slow, at first a seeping then
a pulsing, baby geyser pumping
through antique rocks the vital taste
of nothing, pure on the tongue,
and Lazarus stirs.
Suddenly a freshet, now a cataract
a force foaming and green to pound
the shoulders of rocks and carry
the goo of new life dropped silently
in shallow eddies, alluvial shoals of
muck and ooze as the torrent
headlong, irresistible, thrusts on.
So I am redeemed
I am risen I am juiced with
a desire hard and unbitter and raw
that flushes my cavities red and full.
The Galaxy’s Morality Play
Stars are angels’ eyes
green oceans slosh their rims
with salty tears, angels,
wings pinned back, crowd
the blue vault to see
man the martyr creature
exhibit his pox and palsies
as pools of pity cool feet
unshod, long traveled.
Our circling ball a stage
this celestial cynosure circling
the peopled heavens so to see
the lesser among them so to see
their afflictions draining discharge
into absorbing space so to see
the wages of sin, wages of sin.
To move the divine only
exquisite torment here
no sundered rough beast but
the marred faces of
God’s children made of
clay brown and red.
A dropping winter sun
lights the sky a cheating blue--
it plays off the white of snow--
a blue just beyond the painter’s fingers,
the color of sky when a hero returns home.
The wind blowing off mounting snow,
on lumpy hills, poorly hidden,
and lakes long iced over,
a wind that smells of the absence of other things.
Stick trees, and piney, Christmas trees
comb the wind, such fine, old sounds,
the snow loosed off branches green-black in this light,
snow disappearing, like tiny summer moths
released skyward by the handful,
into a crowd of gathering stars.