Robert Rorabeck

Bronze Star - 2,025 Points (04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

Valencia - Poem by Robert Rorabeck

These words are tourists who almost find god
Lost in Valencia, Spain;
They ask their directions from the crinkled lady selling
Tulips, but keeping the orchids for herself,
And the blind man, she still loves him as a young boy:
He is the old man eating grapes on the crumbled stoop
In the bare sun.
Bright cotton shirt and democratic paunch,
She points at you into a certain way,
And tells these words either right or straight,
But from her mouth they both sound the same,
Like two moths daring each other before the blue flame:
Down the cobbled grottos we creak,
The few meaningless lines looking for salvation,
Smelling the salt slathered from the sea’s undulating
Coitus, the cats from the sills hiss and spray,
And the ladies doing their laundries on rooftops enjoy us;
But soon we are in the pollinated hills,
The old guitar hills, the crippled ballerinas of olive trees,
The slender premodonnas of citrus trees in a
Chorus line of green with orange bobbles where lovers hide and inebriate
In twined bodies; This way we go, looking for love,
Looking for god, and the unmarked graves of better poets
Beneath the rubles of the Roman forts where
Unearthed ghosts creep to the pull of the moon’s penumbra:
Their legions are swaying way down in the waves-
Some of these words are still lost in high school,
Looking at her expanding corneas yet fully grown across the room;
Some of these words are calling in empty fields for
Comets to come down and light upon them like solar butterflies;
Other words are examining the opal wrist of a puppet queen,
Hoping to steal gems by her good favor;
Though they will let her keep her birth stone, hidden in her wrist;
And the rest are crawling through her suburban front yard,
Each stem of grass hung over from dew,
But the corpse of the entire troop is still in Spain
Watching an abandoned kite flirt with the cliffs,
As the fists of the new sun lance like pugilists;
We go walking up the stone steps,
And on each one there are elderly men in succession,
And a new dropp of sun-
Escaping their youth and selling ice-cream;
Asking them if they have found god in any sentence,
They smile, unknowing but unafraid, and motion us
Patiently past them....


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Poem Submitted: Friday, March 28, 2008



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