Poem by Chris Crittenden

Chris Crittenden has been published in over a hundred journals in several countries. Some of the journals he's been in are: Chelsea, Poems Niederngasse and the
Atlanta Review. He lives in the easternmost town in the United States, a small village. He is disgusted with President Bush's many failures.


Meditation In a Garden

i spiral
into the helix of my essence,
the whorl of what i feel,
until i'm dew drinking tears,
breeze birthing sighs,
lust fanning itself,
drunken pollen
whose foamy waves
collide with bees.


i curl while ascending,
trellis through bliss battling decay.
i become beauty judging its price,
my hopes sticky, like beetles in sap,
my curse to heal then crave wounds,
to prune ideals so new ones can grow.

eagerness falls behind
as i run like a hummingbird
into sexual colors
that might as well be flames;
but they’re silky to touch,
honeyed to sniff—

they prompted this wild journey,
when i peeped under their florid veils
long ago.


each day builds a fence
between the trivial and the vivid,
something filmy, frosted with haze;
and it must be cut
with touch or tongue;
otherwise it becomes
glue on the songbirds,
rheumatoid in pleasures
cast from the sun.

so sharpen your words
against a whetstone of ears.
make your fingers stencils,
for somewhere nearby
a lover is inscribable and lonely.

do you see how quickly
thoughts age within squares?
every morning
shadows creep out of bed,
like half-formed mandarins,
stretching their dingy cellophane
across the lawn.

Wind Mandala

listen to the wind
calming and stroking itself,
wrapping around itself,
a festival of self-hugs
defying loneliness.

listen to it shatter and unshatter
like ethereal glass,
die and regenerate,
hold the sky and spill it,
pray yet mock the sacred moan
with the other side.

what's happening
is what happens inside an embryo
as it rushes toward the faintest hint
of understanding.

what is art? what is soul?
the clues are in the wind,
moaning and somersaulting
in ungraspable currents.


the river doesn't know
it's juggling all these
shifting liquid animals;
doesn't understand its role
as zookeeper, as protean belt
across a valley's waist.

it doesn't fathom
its own stampeding music,
the fated hope
in every momentary roar.
thus the river's glorious curse:
to create without substance;
to be virginal yet more pregnant
than the stingy plod of evolution.

place your hand in the river.
hooves and tentacles
slither across your flesh.
hold them up to the curious sunlight-
already they're gone.

Star Meditation

steppingstones sequin
inconsolable dark.
i hop from one to another
on comets of fantasy.
they're taking me
behind the onyx sieve,
into the orgasm that started it all,

the thrust that birthed
carousels of nebulae,
eddies squinching
into raging suns
and planets on fire.

stars are just clues, after all,
eager to be followed back
to when they touched
for the first and final time-

to a moment of raw light
and expansive
indivisible union.

Combers Across the Shore

combers stretch, patternless lace
over shore’s endless thigh,
loping like sine waves
that lost their algebra
and travel in lazy peace.
they are toes of a footstep
that disappears as it falls,
a surge of golden fish
whose scales curdle green
then dissipate.

you can see them
laying out smirks of foam,
or swirling seaweed
into brief menageries.
you can watch them
exalt the mosaic of sunset
before hiding again
under retreating cowls.

or swirling seaweed
into brief menageries.
you can watch them
exalt the mosaic of sunset
before hiding again
under retreating cowls.

they lick my feet like brief puppies,
ignoring gulls and their glaucous
they speak with tongues of wet sand,
mumbling against my palm,
eager to tell stories when i press down,
praising their endless rinse.

Beach Sunset

frayed cloth of daylight-
marmalade fleeing purple-
it wraps the sea in lava colors
and brine responds with cherry crests.

boats tiptoe like cautious seesaws
across psychedelic waves.
gulls scatter like fortune cookies
combusted into foam.

in pinkish combers
dogs chase picasso reflections
while bikinis tinge a canvas
dragged by the envious sun.

wind knows it's the paintbrush,
needs no hand to steer,
stroking and restroking
even the smallest bit of nature
like krishna dancing.



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