Eileen Tabios (California, USA): Three Poems

(after Christian Hawkey’s “Thistles for Finches”)

In the passage of a blink
a howl descended
as grace bubbled up—

A trash can
kicked down the stairs:
music and laughter

because el cubo de la basura was painted
as red as your lipstick
as red as flamenco

I recognize the helplessness
of those who must dance
and those who can only witness—

Flounces transcended
the polyester reality of her skirt
As well, oh pale limbs

revealing a ziggurat
tattooed on an inner thigh
on an area where inscription must have been desperate
with hurt

(after Christian Hawkey’s “He Spoke and, Speaking, Realized He Could Speak”)

A room emptied
of all but curtains

despite expensive velvet
despite no rips

A room empty
amidst its curtains—

Well, except for
that useless light

and the body drowning
in it as a hand writes

As a hand writes,
In Iranian mythology,
the cypress formed
the vegetal metaphor
for fire, for flame

“and reminded men
of the paradise he had lost”*

(Paraphrasing and quoting in No. 2 from a randomly-opened page, P. 86, from The Olive Harvest, a memoir by Carol Drinkwater (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2004)

(after Christian Hawkey’s “Spring Fever”)

… wind permanently delayed
ignores my open mouth.
Instead, blue triangles kick up
zero ash, dancing with red squares

Sequins wait for
without knowing the outcome of
“Matte vs Glass”

© Eileen Tabios 2008