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Poems by James LaFond- Lewis


She went around the world backwards,
"So that's where I was."
she said as the wind whipped 'round her hair,
carrying the future rearward,
the afterwards were sucked out like credits,
like dusk,
like the signature on the painting,
nothing like the painting.
"Did you see that day? I was in that sunset."


Because you are a warrior woman,
kin of the African queen,
I want to gentle you,
all that honey,
perfect combs.

I'm on your landing board
your narrow entrance
turned toward the sun,
our secret flowers
and the buzz
that follows you,
all those useless drones.

I Went Looking for the Muse

I don't know why.
When she's ready
she pounds on my door.
I'm rolled out of bed at odd hours,
stray thoughts in the street
commanded at pen-point
worry about keeping my head, never mind my clothes
which might easily be kicked under the bed,
thrown in the tub, abandoned in the cellarway
near the potatoes and onions,
might not feel like a head at all,
but more like a cabbage or a Brussels sprout
and even peeled, skinned,
I love when she rolls me.

She'll find me in the face of a woman not my wife
or in a dream not my own
and she'll rattle me, throttle me until I spill
drooling like an old fool
and no one there to wipe my face
sometimes a bad smell
and though I might repel myself
I don't regret her
until she leaves,
she always leaves,
the rich lady with the long legs.

A Woman in Love

is a hand unclenched
fingers spread, palm flung open
from the wrist.

Out of love
a fist clenched
down to the toes.

Inarticulate Boy

There was a time,
most of my life,
when I fell in love easily,
when a zephyr blew
or a tidal pool warmed itself in the sun
beside a cold ocean
when a girl looked into me and held my gaze
until she was inside and I was inside out
on the verge of understanding...
I live in this world where weather is made
and waves crash and sometimes
I am a reluctant sailor.
Some women, deep in the eyes,
look like harbors.

On the Rocks

I held my breath
dove into her deep eyes
and swam to the shallow end,
out through the cracked red
of her enameled toes.

Dear Poet

I want the air between us
to come unkempt and disorderly
so you'll sing your songs for me.
I want you
to feel yourself stroked
by the backs of my fingers
as if by horsehair strung
on Pernambuco wood
frets raised to my fingertips.
I want to leave you
and get surreptitious notice
that a love lyric
has jumped up on the web,
I want to see red
and be soothed.
I want you to love me secretly, in public,
the sounds drifting across campus
and up the highway.
I want to be the pond
where your hymns go naked to swim.