Bio Note: I’m a retired professor of Spanish, but I’ve had a checkered career. I’ve experienced life on the high seas and in various ports of call, and I’ve worked as sales/production liaison for the export department of a liquor manufacturer. I’v been writing poetry only in the last ten years and have been published in Baily’s Beads, Crossways Literary Magazine (Ireland), The Fictional Café and others in the U.S. and abroad. Writing poetry can be a lonesome occupation. I’m interested in Verse-Virtual as a connection to other poets.
The Inexorable Lion
We’d descend the steep incline At the end of Westerly Drive, Abandoning civilization, For the savage realm below. We’d labor through trees and brush, My three sons, eyes wide with anticipation, And I, tribal patriarch, chief of hunters, Filled with manly vigor. We’d ford the nameless brook, A raging torrent to children’s eyes, Infiltrate McPherson’s orderly labyrinth Of tangled vines of grape, (A jungle in deepest Africa) To reach the vacant lot beyond (The plains of Serengeti) And hunt the mighty lion. For spears we’d pluck up Stalks of tall thick grass, Stealthily track the dreaded prey, Tread silently, cautiously. We were dauntless, heroic, bold. One would spot the hunted hunter, The predator turned prey, Fit finger to lip to signal silence, Point his lance toward our quarry. We’d steal yet closer, Holding our breaths, And then I’d hurl my spear and cry “Simba, eh!” My sons would heave their javelins, Savagely whooping, heels churning dust. We alone could see the beast. We alone could hear his roar. We alone could smell his stinking breath. Now my sons have journeyed far, By land and sea and air. Now they chase their own wild beasts, Founding tribes their own. And I, Diminished in strength, a wizened elder, No longer dare invade Those fertile fields below, No longer stalk the lion. Yet he still lurks there, In his lair, Heart of darkness, Land of snares, Tawny mane and yellow fang, Evil breath of carnivore. And he remembers, yes, He remembers how we stalked him. He grows stronger every year, His hunger grows apace. Through tall grass he often slinks, Drawing near, and much too near, Sniffs the air to catch my spoor, Notes the absence of my warriors, Knows my throwing arm grows weak… Then he turns to yawn and doze. But he will rouse himself one day, I know, And he will come for me.
Originally published in Sick Lit Magazine, March 21, 2017.
Song of Sirens
We burst through Green swinging doors, Stride past bar, bartender, bar patrons, Past bottles cheery, warm with secret glow, Through yet another door. Enter large, open room: Glossy black tile Halfway up the walls, Then plaster painted red. Old-fashioned juke box, Heavy, solid, brightly lighted, Multi-colored, Gaudy. The center, the focus, the heart, The hearth Of this room. Currents of cigarette fumes Waft Through what passes for air. Young women in bright-hued gowns Glide Through streams of grey smoke Like tropical fish in aquariums. Their keen-alert eyes detect us Instantly: Our snow-white uniforms, Our faces of leather Fresh from the sterile salt sea are we, Conveyed to this verdant isle of fertility. They perceive this at a glance, As we swagger-stagger through the door. They cast their eyelash nets, And gather us in the mesh. They sail toward us, In formation, Beautiful, lovely, graceful, swift. Hungry.
Originally published in Baily’s Beads, January 25, 2017.
©2021 Clark Zlotchew
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