TRIPS NOT TAKEN
--Remembering Donald Hall
The thought of being somewhere else—
How render coffee-sipping at Sidi Bou Said?
Or the Champs Elysée, a naked swim in private,
an evening as Sir Lance-a-lot.
Or witness the worst – Africa’s waste,
maize wet in Zambia’s steaming heat,
drought’s baby corn untouched.
And the treacherous times: crossing
between fiction and extravagance: Victoria
Falls, a walk on broken-planks, a threadbare
rope-bridge over crashing waters.
We ogle and chat,
toast trips not taken, taken, at Le Select,
Boulevard du Montparnasse, places
we never left.
To Seymour Gresser, sculptor (1926 - 1 November 2014)
In Mexico you fell in love. Sculpture
took you by the lapels and French-kissed you
until the next images you cut so deep they almost
fainted in your arms.
You could have been a rabbi, endured Old
Testament trials. You turned instead to stone
until dust smothered you at 88.
To the end you consumed bacon and eggs, sausage,
buttered toast, belief in your god's power.
Wooden panels, rock, life’s fixity you touched
silent as cut flowers, finished as creation’s kiss,
alive and lost as all art is.
“Les jours s’en vont je demeure.” Apollinaire (1880-1920)
It takes longer now to climb into each day,
go up the stairs, not two-by two
as when the wishbone voices siren-sang.
I watch the passers-by pass by,
observe their outer self-defining,
their violent hopes ongoing -- in and out of sight.
I fabricate their purposes, troubled by my own.
Sparks me too, to wonder off
--youth, night, Paris and the Moon.
My neck tilts with the steady rush.
I like to think I also serve
who sits and clocks this busy drift.
W.M. Rivera grew up in the Irish Channel of New Orleans, has traveled widely, lived six years in Mexico, seven in Paris. He has a recent collection of poems titled Café Select (2016, Poet’s Choice Publisher) and is the author of three previous collections of poems: Noise (Broadkill River Press, December 2015), The Living Clock (Finishing Line Press, 2013), and Buried in the Mind's Backyard (Brickhouse Books, Inc. 2011). Rivera’s poems have been published in various poetry magazines: Innisfree, Broadkill River Review, The Broome Review, California Quarterly, Gargoyle, Recursive Angel, The Curator Magazine, Third Wednesday, Ghazal. Lit Undressed, Blazevox, 2River Review, Loch Raven, River Poets Journal.
For further information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org