Six Poems — Larry Corey
A SUFI DANCING
The dreidel spins…
The dervish spins.
And I am spinning
like a dust-devil spinning
in the blind eye of a deaf storm.
Or a compass needle gone mad.
Or the center of a circle.
Or a severed hand,
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS
Numbers break like chicken bones…
in a pot of splitpea soup.
yet, the spoon tastes nothing.
The gravestone is a mirror
reflecting the dancers dancing.
Yet the saxophone says nothing.
What is there to say?
What is there to do
when the gravestones
cast their shadows on the living?
Shall I say
that I have bruised my elbow
on the corner of a billiard table?
or stubbed my toe on yours?
Shall I put on sackcloth and ashes
and walk among the living
as an envoy to the dead?
But I know nothing of such matters.
I know nothing of chicken bones,
except how to shake and read them;
nothing of the soup
in which I’m sitting like a spoon;
and even less about the shadows
dancing among the gravestones
marking my way
as I move among the living,
searching for the dead.
THE CATHERINE WHEEL
Someone. Anyone. No one.
Turns and turns,
returns and turns
with the sound of a tree
falling in the forest,
and one hand clapping,
and a headless chicken,
and the echo of nitchevo:
from the cut throat of
someone. anyone. no one
turning turning turning
like a Dervish whirling,
like a Catherine Wheel whirling,
like the last dance,
IS THIS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS?
“There are no eyes here.” (The Hollow Men)
I have fallen into a spot of sun on the sidewalk,
down the rabbit hole, and into Gehennom
where the blind mice dance to the piper in threes.
I have gathered birds’ nests from under the trees
to make a soup of stones and droppings
and the saliva of angels aroused by lipstick.
There are no pizzerias where I am. No cracked ceilings, either.
No sounds of television from an open window
or the smell of sweaty sofa pillows underfoot.
Nothing but a big bang and a little whimper
crossing the street hand in hand,
to the silence of a marching band.
“MISTUH KURTZ, HE DEAD”
A cinder in my eye…
and I remember God.
The hand across my mouth,
the skewer through my feet.
A wood chip on my shoulder,
and a scapegoat in the bushes.
I remember last December,
or was it April? I forget.
No matter. I remember.
Or will, when this forgetting stops.
Wheels within wheels
and dancing bones
rising from the kitchen floor
These bones shall rise again,
shall dance again,
shall leave a trail of marrow on the floor.,
shall stumble out the door
and down the double helix,
down the elevator shaft,
down, down, down
the elevator shaft, the double helix,
down the throat of Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
a feast of marrow bones.
Yes. Now I remember.
There were cinders in my eyes
and God between my legs,
and spittle on my chin
and you shouting,
“Little pig, little pig, let me come in!”
A TRIP THROUGH DRURY LANE
This willow stick supports my spine…
just as Aaron’s rod supported Zion
as they, like me, fell and stumbled
through this wilderness called Eden.
This ground I fall and stumble on,
where Moses lifted up the serpent
as I am lifted up by willow wands
blessed with shamrocks by St. Patrick
for the heathens to his left and right.
This ground is neither wet nor dry,
but a twice-told tale of Baba Yaga,
and a grave from which she brings forth bread
to feed the starving children.
Or Kalima, with a bowl of milk in one hand
and machete in the other, inviting
thirsty pilgrims, like you and me,
to drink and have their heads hacked off
and strung like bleeding beads
around her bloody neck for Shiva to admire.
Let us go, then, you and I, to the half-forgotten places
of our misbegotten childhoods where our mothers died,
begging us to love them, handcuffed to the bed
and wrapped in dirty sheets and dirty lies
and dirty roses on the bedside table
from the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man
who lives on Drury Lane.
L.G. (Larry) Corey has appeared (or is scheduled to appear) in Poetry Pacific, Chaffey Review, Screech Owl, Jewcy, Evergreen Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Midstream, Choice, The Critic, and now EmptySinkPublishing. He lives with his pit bulls and cats in a small mountain community seven thousand feet above sea level in the San Bernardo Mountains of SoCal. Larry turned 80 years old this last November.