Poetry from Duane Vorhees

Macedon’s Alexander

born in myrrh, died in velvet
lived as verb, lived as helmet
Babylon’s fatal pander


Proudly, dawn brings out
those debutante clouds of swan --
black vultures
are secluded
from this slack culture,
tragedy is outlawed
from all our strategies.

Gradually, stratosphere turns lapis lazzuli.


Dinosaurs didn’t stay
dinosaurs, did they?
They became chickens
and museum exhibitions.

What about us?
Hitchhikers once,
between exits,
and not yet fixed
to this landscape
of no escape.


At one time some people believed
that the elephants
had sex but once:
No wonder such a memory!

Once, I thought love was measured
in some mean distance of imaginary numbers
from whole digits to infinity squared.
One perfect combination. (The tumblers
turn and twist.) My sandpapered fingers
bared to the wrist. But secrets hide
            in the between.
Once, love was obvious as the ebb and
flow of ocean is to charts and sailors.
(But sea, O sea – you scene of unseen
sights – you graveyard of mariners –
a gale, a new leak, or a sleeping watch,
and your white wave just swallowed me like bread

Does a lemming really embrace the sea                                                                                       
with a lover’s greed?
To know the sea, roughly
one taste’s enough.
                                    But what about love?


So we pooled together our quarters
to buy a beige wedding dress
and hire a birdsong processional
and a greenwood wedding hall.
Deciding to forego a sermon,
we said those words that we meant,
and we solidified everything
with wine kisses and smoke rings.
But then this mud ball rolled below us
and moved us separate ways.

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