Poems from Threshold

Here are some poems from my first chapbook Threshold.

SHE COULD NEVER HAVE ANY OTHER NAME

Grace:

Simple elegance or refinement of movement,
An act of kindness or good will.
Divinely given talent or blessing.
Attractiveness, charm.
The free and unmerited favor of God.
Mercy, clemency, forgiveness.

Any fool can finger dictionary pages
to pin down definitions of your name
like dead butterflies under plexiglass,
but no needle could ever puncture
whatever it is behind your eyes
that first seems solid
as a child’s music box,
chiming innocence,
or a stone hanging from a necklace
glinting secrets,
something held in cupped hands
with gentle reverence,
only to become swirls of smoke
dancing between my fingers.

My hands claw
through air catching only echoes of my own
footsteps, panting breathes,
my desperate clamor to define
what is it about you that brings my momentum
to a tire screeching traffic jam halt
where I turn my head
right along with cement angels perched
on window ledges,
right along with suit-and-tie demons standing
on cracked sidewalks,
right along with them
I turn my head for a chance
to behold you,
to behold
you, and break myself in half
over what it would mean to be
holding you.  Your fragrance,
the first fresh air for nicotine, smog charred lungs.
Your warm breath
an Indian summer
sunray on the ice
where a man’s neck meets his shoulder.

Circumstance forces fingers through my chest,
gouging holes, flesh fashioned into valves,
molding my trachea
into a saxophone.

So I inhale

your face,

I inhale

your laughter.

I inhale

the elegant mechanics

in your confident stride,

till I exhale

minor chord jazz howls

in the key

of a Love Supreme unrequited,

till I exhale

raw riffs

that wail through walls

rattling the highball glasses

of every bar and nightclub,

till I exhale

desert wind

crossroad

blues cries

that reverberate

between eyelids and tears

with the words:

if only…if only…

BLUE RIBBON BLUE STREAK (A LESSON IN THE FINE ART OF FOUL LANGUAGE)

for Moriz Franz Weinrich

When the furnace broke down,
my Great-Grandfather opened the door to the basement
and began to curse in German.

He continued cursing down the steps
and all throughout the banging and clanging
for the fixing and firing of the furnace.

Mission accomplished,
he cursed his way back up the steps,
slamming the door behind him.

He never repeated himself, not once.

Copyright Kristofor Weinrich 2007 Octopus Ink

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