Ten Poems by Neeli Cherkovski

take Lorca's
ring and Rimbaud's
Dionysian ghost, take
Li Po's Chinese moon
take Dickinson's silent epic
of the god who smashed up
on the rocks

take wood because
you can burn it
late at night and
turn in early anyway
because the day
will be breathing
between your legs

take wood and rock
take your finger and your eye
take sun, take luck and heat
try to remember
you are not blind, you
can hear, you can
walk, you can take a talk
and tip your hand
and sleep all night and
stalk your provable demise

take her when she falls
take her sorrow and fear
hold it near to you and
do not let the lions loose
take her instincts and
run, she tries not to go
but all her strength is gone

take John Coltrane's
cyclonic horn, take Hemingway's
first light and
go down to the gorge, take
Bach's muse and tread
through the flood plain, take
the first dream of Juana Inez
along a path of fire

take wood and rock
take a righteous
road, take your dog
along, your cat, take
your money and your hope,
you don't need no speed, no
government, no angry sap
to draw you away

she left everything
behind, you take fortune
mind your manners
when shadows fall

remember not to beg
as you dance into the jaws
of late noon, bony sky
wielding an alchemy
untrapped by words

take wood and rock, take
dirt and dust, take
water and music
take ice and be kind
to the man behind
the throne