Six Poems by Gloria Avner


to walk all the way around Mt. Arunachala
takes from dusk until dawn
plenty of time to meditate
touch darkness
chant story sing in harmony
with crickets

Tibetan refugees
and Buddhists from every nation
leave their shoes beside the entryway
park flip flops and fine leather
tread the wooden walkway
barefoot circling Dalai Lama’s Temple
just off Palace Road
in Dharamsala

spin wooden cylinders
giant tall or small
copper ones handheld
send scrolls of endless blessings
prayers in Pali some in Sanskrit
through the ethers to the rescue
the relief of all who suffer

is it because we mimic movement
of the stars around the earth
the earth around the stars
the blood around our bodies
that the act of circumambulation
becomes sacred in itself
why Sufi dancers speed whirl

each of us a speck from the crab nebula
mesmerized by moonlight
sent here when the all male cast
of Shakespeare’s Tempest
was rehearsing at The Globe

Wednesday Night

twenty eight artists’ eyes
caress your highlit cheekbone
almost hidden by black
hair you periodically blow
out of your eyes

fingers trace your rounded shoulders
shine your long lovely
limbs with pastel highlights charcoal
soft fuzzy darks
make lines rub shadows quick decisions
souls with hands who want to
transform you
and ourselves

New Years Day Ocean Sky

look up
magnificent frigate birds
share air space
with brown pelicans
nine foot wingspans
long elegant forked tails
beaks the stuff of ancient
birds that cannot land
yet fly in stone on Nazca plains
visible from stars
and pointing to them

In Nepal

first night in Nepal
worn out from border ride to village
in rut bumbling oxcart
third class train ride from Patan
enter doors but also
through windows)

terror on the nearly capsized ferry
cargo of two hundred families
and a quarter of the Indian army in pressed khaki
shorts and knee socks
moving lock stock pots and pans
to summer quarters

(see the horizon shift
if the boat turns over
swim away from shore)

we huddle under mosquito nets
humid hut of a mud-walled room
fireworks and drums outside all night

festival of the living goddess
gold and silk encrusted
pre-pubescent girl
treated like a queen
feet never touch a floor
paraded in a palanquin through streets and worshipped
until the day she cramps
and leaks bright blood between thin thighs
weeps human tears of loss
what she has done what will she do
go home go out to pasture return retire
regret as all goddesses must
the day when purity and magic stain sheets red

Young David

he learned to type in 1959
last year in high school
after hard homecoming

back from months away
cross country hitchhike
odyssey in lust
for writer’s mind
one night sleeping in a ditch
one night in jail
grateful for hot meal
and blanket
sometimes in a rented room
a drop off stop and job
anywhere between
New York and California

Bennett High made him take
driver education too
so bored rebellious long tall
skinny brainy boy
could graduate

after school
the Buffalo Public Library
looming old stone castle
narrow stacks
running always running
half gazelle half centaur
up and down around
the iron spiral stairs
whirling sufi dancer
finding bringing books
to impressed librarians

he would run again
to San Francisco
embrace the Haight
enhance it
listen openhearted
to North Beach jazzmen
drive drink laugh
all night with poets
Ginsberg Corso Creeley McClure
language love run rampant
talking like typewriter

Thanks Honey

I have had plenty
coffee but I am looking
forward to a kiss



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