Poetry

When Love is a Raw Country: Poems by D.M.D. Goodhead

We Dream

We dream of beauty, we dream of joy,

We dream of life becoming a multitude

Of complexities, joy flowing into beauty,

Flowing into the vast expanse of our lives.

But sometimes, the world is small.

A very narrow street. So narrow, in

Its vast firmament, there sits only

One star. And the whole of being

Is drawn to that lone star.

The whole of being

               Throbs

               Toward

         The lone star.

It is an exquisite feeling.

Agonizing, deeply agonizing—

Being drawn out of the center

Of its becoming toward another.

It hurts.

It rages.

It calms.

Being drawn toward

Its own death.

But in death, it becomes, and

What a feeling of rapture, what

A feeling of pure bliss! Being

Drawn toward another and is

Because the other is also irrevocably

Drawn toward it.

          And two

          Selves

          Cannot

          Find

          Themselves

          Except

          In

          Each

          Other.

Two souls. Two stars. Burning

Brilliantly, where once, there

          Was

          One.

 ==============

A Walk Down the Avenue

My love, let us walk down the Avenue

And feel the gentle sway of the rolling

        River.

My love, let us walk down the Avenue,

And see the laughing lady arrayed

        In her finest apparel.

O love, let us walk down the Avenue,

And feel the heartbeat of the day,

       The heartbeat of being,

       The heartbeat of the world,

       The heartbeat of two souls,

Old world, new world,

       Beating side by side, beating side by side,

Walking hand in hand down the merry Avenue.

 ==============

Bird of Paradise

O bird of paradise, O flower of paradise

Dancing in the sun on the island of Martinique

Sweet, sweet flower, O sweet, sweet flower,

You remind me of one so many times

Sweeter than you. O flower of paradise,

O flower of paradise, if you have eyes and can see,

You will marvel at her singing beauty,

O flower of paradise, O bird of paradise,

 If you have eyes, and can see,

You will marvel at her marvelous generosity.

O bird of paradise, O bird of paradise,

You remind me of my love—

Star of the emerald isle,

Where the purple dog is king.

 ==============

Cheer of Heaven

Summer is here, love. Summer is here.

The gentle rains of spring have departed

Into the near horizon. They will come again,

But not now, for now the gentle rains

Have departed and summer is here, love.

The earth is sashaying up and down the slopes

Of heaven, and the sun is laughing like a young girl

Full of life. She skips up and down the slopes

Of heaven in her long skirt and summer is here,

             Love. Summer is here.

I know your finals have come and gone,

And before you now lies the sunny horizon.

My love, skip like a rose in the sun.

O love, skip like a rose in the sun.

For summer is here, love. Summer

                         Is here.

I know you will don your T-shirt,

Do your head in a ponytail, wear your short pants

And sneakers, and dance in the sun

Like a rose, yes, dance in the sun like a rose.

For summer is here, love. Summer is here.

I know you will laugh like a rose in the sun,

Laugh like a rose in the sun. O love, laugh

Like a rose in the sun, for summer is here.

And if you see a laughing rose in the sun,

Pick it up and smell its fragrance.

It is my gift to you, O love, it is my gift

                To you.

And, so, dance in the sun, love.

Dance in the sun, for summer is here.

And spread the sunny breath of heaven,

O love, spread the sunny breath of heaven.

And when the sun stoops low to do a waltz,

Dance in the sun, love. Dance in the sun.

And spread the infectious laughter of heaven

To all you meet. For summer is here, love.

              Summer is here.

  ==============

To his Love

(For Ifeanyi and Ogugua)

My love, lay your head gently down upon my bosom,

For now all the world is ours. Here now, where your eyes sparkle

Like distant stars from an unknown galaxy.

Misty like dew on a lovely spring morning,

They arrest me, spin me, and let me go.

An oasis in the Kalahari Desert, they draw me

Into refreshing pools of blissfulness … oyster shells snapping open,

And letting their pearls glitter.

Long ago in a Roman coliseum, a gladiator will ensnare

His foe in a vanquishing net. But this is no bloody web.

It is love’s intricate threads. And I willing prisoner, gaze,

Dream, meditate, and imagine worlds into being.

Worlds. Worlds. And more worlds—of you and me,

Traveling, floating, caroling in wonderful clouds of bliss.

And night, tender night stretches into night.

The moon lingers on willingly—eternal sentry

Over our window. Over this first night of nights.

I travel now through paths of yesterday

Of our first telephone conversation, of your words

Dropping like honey dew in grasping ears.

I travel through paths of silent longings,

Wish-prayers, and eloquent imaginations.

I travel through time, through space, as distances

Disappear, and swift from a rented car I disembark.

A raspy knock unfurled itself on your door,

Torch-flare of nerve endings at the razor-edge of bated breath,

I breathed in and out, and out and in, my heart blowing bellows.

And when paradise swung open on the hinges of a door,

All I could do was to go back to my earliest beginnings,

A child in sweet rapture, crying,

O God! O God! O God!

For so sweet was your presence, an eternal sun

Breaking forth on the wings of earliest dawn,

And words painstakingly forged at the forges of the cogito shattered,

Faded into nothingness. A day. Two. Maybe two and a half.

But so brief was time, for no sooner had I entered

Your frangipani presence, was I thrust out of Eden.

The door slid shut. And you daisy of my soul spread cheer

Into a dull Boston morning. The halo of your figure appeared

And appeared again in the rearview, and, then, it was gone

Like some sylph flitting through naked ether.

Asphalt spread before me, endless nothingness,

Hundreds of miles home. Seconds became eons.

And distance became light-years. Eternity limbered along

Like a stupid, punch-drunk snail.

And time and distance became my mortal foes.

But sweet heaven gave reprieve.

My terrible sentence came to an end. And not a moment

Sooner, for my heart had performed countless cartwheels a day,

And poor thing, its Nunc Dimittis was near.

Lay down your head then, gently upon my bosom,

My love. Let me hold your hands tenderly, and more tenderly

Let me kiss your forehead tenderly, and more tenderly

Let me kiss your nose tenderly, and more tenderly

Let me kiss your lips tenderly, and more tenderly

Let me kiss your chin tenderly, and more tenderly

Let me kiss your throat tenderly, and more tenderly

Let me kiss your bosom tenderly, and more tenderly

This festal night, for your aloe vera skin threatens to melt away,

Like some bewitched beauty cursed to slip away at the strike of dawn.

But I know you are no spectral beauty, for your marigold presence

Fills this oasis of enchantment.

O love! O love!

Lay your head gently down upon my bosom.

Let night turn into day and day into night

And let the moon forever stand sentry over our window

And let no one disturb this hour of paradisal bliss.

Ah! my love, heaven itself has given you to me

And mortal man that I am, what can I do but worship you,

To tenderly hold these delicate hands of yours

Now, now, now, and down all of this winding path.

Ah! my love, lay your head gently down upon my bosom.

Let us be for each other through time, through space,

Through pain, through laughter, through joy, through tears,

Through hope, bliss, and blast, through the entire

Run of our earthly experience. Until the dawn of dawns.

O, until the dawn of dawns.

Ah! my love, lay your head gently

Down upon my bosom. Let us love,

For the night has just begun.

 ==============

Troubadour

I have sung

     Like a troubadour

In the Towns square

     Of my own

Being.

It is so

     Dark in here.

It is depressing.

The fog rises,

     And falls

Like a simple

     Wave.

And the sun,

     Where is it?

Light from

     A lighthouse

Penetrating

     The fog?

Love

     Is death.

Love

     Is life.

I have sung

     Like a troubadour

In the Town square

     Of my own

Being.

Pain is.

     Love is.

The heart’s bowstring

     Tightly wrung.

It explodes

     Like a geyser.

Sorrow.

Joy.

Life.

I have sung

     Like a troubadour

In the Town square

     Of my own

Being.

For my love

     Is a distant

Star

     Grappled

With

     Like

A throbbing

     Vein.

In the heart.

 ==============

Emotions

I am torn apart like a lion

tears apart his prey.

I am drowning in a flood

of powerful emotions. O God, save me

from this scourge, save me from the flagellations

of love. Save me from the hard taskmaster.

Save me from the unending cry from the depths.

O God, help me put the bit to my emotions,

lest I drown in this raging flood, and my sun,

now a vagrant on the narrowing river,

sets ere it has danced in the cool Autumn of the Western skies.

==============

Emotions (II)

O love is an unforgiving taskmaster.

O love is a slave driver that does not know

when to stop. O love is the bully that punches

the hapless little kid in the face until he is sore,

bleeding and crying. O love is a ship sinking

at sea without a single lifeboat. O love is a meat grinder

that grinds away at the vital parts. O love is madness,

when madness is walking on a bed of fiery six-inch nails.

O love is winter with no provision for the homeless bum

on the streets. O love is like deep sorrow, when deep sorrow

is the only clothing on one’s back in the eye of a severe winter.

O love is a long, hard day, a long, hard day that grinds mercilessly on.

Curse it, love it, but love is no warm blanket, when the beloved

is fleeing the heartland of the bleeding heart. Curse it, love it,

but love will scourge and scourge until it has run its wasting course.

 ==============

When Love is a Raw Country

I have wandered, wandered on the highways of desolation and loneliness.

I have cried my emotions raw until my heart is bleeding like a fish

  tossing out his life on the banks of a desolate island.

I have wandered into lonely places and forgotten boxes,

  dreary buildings assaulting the skyline of a deserted city.

I have thrashed and tossed in my sleep and wrestled with a thousand

  demons.

I have erupted out of the deep blue sea gasping for air, and seen nothing

  but the face of a dreary sky on the weeping face of the deep blue sea.

I have waited for the cargo to come in until the port is deserted

  & empty of all life. I was at the waterside when the fishermen left

in the belly of the night for the high seas, and was still there, when

they returned with their canoes laden with the loot of the sea.

I am a palm tree shed of all life standing at a spot at the waterside

  where the river never comes in anymore, where the water crabs

never visit anymore, where the land crabs carry their burdens

  like old men fleeing a plague-ridden city. My head is full of water;

it is a coconut that bounces from hilltop to hilltop. And my eyes

  have seen better years, they are sad with the grayness

of a weeping sea. O God, my heart bursts on the banks of this desolate

waterside. Help, help, help, that I may retrace my way from the mourning sea.

Life is too much to spend on the waterside all day long, all night long,

   like a colony of crabs, marching here and marching there,

but marching nowhere all day long. O God, O God! marching nowhere all day long.

 ==============

The Birds have Gone Away

The birds are not chirping in the trees

Anymore. They used to chirp in the trees

Beside my window, all day long, all night long.

They used to sing, sing, and never sleep.

The birds used to sing, sing, all day long, all night long.

They used to sing, sing, and never sleep.

But the birds sing no more in the trees beside

My window. & the trees are now like a deserted land,

No a cemetery. Not even the cheer of spring

Will bring back the birds. Not even the cheer

Of the early morning sun will bring back the birds.

The birds have gone away, all victims of a ferocious sorrow.

 ==============

(c) D.M.D. Goodhead

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