Jacqueline Marcus: Two Poems
October | Korinthiakòs Kòlpos
is the month of lit fields and apricot-colored pumpkins,
the color of last night's moon, full
as a field of poppies,
swaying their jazz to the flashing stars.
It is a night when you'd rather surrender yourself
to the unexpected
than fool the trumpet of judgment
with slick lies and ridiculous jokes.
(It reminds you of that Italian morning
when leaves bristled and shadowed the streets,
when the rain gave in to pentimento,
which eventually ruined Madonna and Child
on the café's street.)
October is the month of deep blues and sweet pines,
whirling in a dervish dance.
The month when Augustine fell to his knees,
and begged God to remember.
The month when birds follow the patience of leaves,
and roses fold like dark sonatas.
when everything slowly falls to its knees
quietly, and with exaggeration.
Days of luminosity. Faithless sea of milky blues and white roofs.
Time to push back the shutters, burn the candles, open the bottle of wine.
What do I love about this island? The music of erosion, old ritual
of a fisherman's boat, nets knotted by hand.
What do I love about these tattered houses that step out from the 19th century
that peer at us like strange invaders,
as if we were wrong to improve upon their ways?
I want to row in to your quiet whitewash, your black and white shuffle
of outdoor cinemas and cards slapped down with a laugh.
I want to row out a little farther from the pierjust there
where imperfections, flaws and filth,
become a flame of something timeless, the way an old woman
crosses herself, tossing a handful of salt
for the Lady of Sorrow.
I want to soak down my grief with your shores, your loss
inside my loss.
Perhaps it's only that bare tree that makes me dream of such music?
Grapes, cicadas, sea, wine . . .
The moon makes a bold appearance
as if there were nothing to hide.
Jacqueline Marcus' poems have appeared in The Antioch Review, The Ohio Review, The Journal, Poetry International, The Literary Review, Mid-American Review, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Passages North, 5 A.M. and elsewhere. She teaches philosophy at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, California. She is the editor of the on-line poetry journal, ForPoetry.com.