Flying IV: Journey Poem, Advanced Poetry Writing, 1994

lambert international

a thousand phrases out of context
sit in these padded chairs
dreaming of verbs
to be and do

a thousand islands float
detached from mainlands
forming these strange archipelagos
these strange bays and headlands

and soon i too will float
trailing a muddy wake
streaming back
diffusing with the distance
into clear blue

soon i too
ripped from my context
will struggle just to be
bleeding my dependencies

nocturne in limbo

this strange stillness soothes
the unending muted roar of engines
envelopes and subdues me
like the roaring of a monsoon on a tin roof
remembered in warm sleep

this stillness seeps
through this inch thick oval of glass
from the moon filled space beyond
that holds separate two seas of black

and i hang in between
and ache for each

the stars for which no earthly metaphor will do
burn their coldness into me
and something
some longing for eternity
quivers and answers
deep unto deep

a cozier vastness beckons me
the desert blackness exhales middle-eastern heat
and in the galaxies of light
that island its entirety
lovers softly sleep
ensconced each in each


i stand and breathe
my last few gulps of air duty-free
shuffling up the aisle of this airlock
between atmospheres

soon i will be complete
torn into a duality
that appears unseamed in separate hemispheres
that tears each time they meet
at the touching of my sleeping eastern flesh with east

i walk from the door
and then I’m me
in ways that i have not been for years
as thick warm eastern air enfolds me
and fills my lungs
displacing stale indifference
and leaves me coughing
amidst these warm embraces
invading my protesting western space
amidst these cluttered streets
breaking life into me
more honest and complete

it may take some time to breathe