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Two Poems

poetry by Steve Van Cleave

Twilight Man

He finger painted stripes
of red, yellow ocher, and black
on his face and upper body.
For a moment,
pure potency lay confident
in the circle of faces
watching his redundant moves.
His feral dance started
and quickly accelerated.
He twitched and jerked
as he began to unleash wails
and eruptive laughter.
His leathered hands shook
as he moved them back and forth
in front of his face and chest.
As the dance wore on,
sweat droplets glistened
on pale, painted skin,
and fell from his head and hair.
Others trickled down flesh,
picking up disolved color
before they hit the floor.
An hour into the dance,
He peeled off his soaked Levi's.
Ambivalent in full nudity
he resumed the entranced move-ments.
He cooled off some,
but not equal to his dance's heat.
The colored rivulets reformed.
They ran down to drip
from his penis and scrotum.
That's when fear of deception spread,
when his sex organ bobbed and swelled.
He sensed our dark emotion and stopped,
slumped against the kitchen door jamb
laboring to catch his breath.
For a moment he brooded
over our apparent failure
to support his opaque project.
Then, suddenly reinspired,
he went to the ground level patio,
cried out and called telepathically.
He glanced back at us,
a victorious grin on his face
as the rats came first,
over the river rock wall.
Possums blundered down
through wild, overgrown grape vines.
Finally, waiting for full twilight,
the raccoons and skunks came last,
in from the night and the weedy hills.

Repeat Prodigal

how 'bout that other side?
h'bout the ways m'dad lied?
they'll never let me live
that down
back on the farm;
won't let me even fib,
or get wealth-
(ah, fucked rich)
I admitted
it was all I wanted;
no save-ish bone left
or apparent will-o-soul
in mine overcome flesh.
"lost" is what is said
in denominations;
dead as the pew
or standing altar,
hands wringing
and reaching up,
white hair unkempt,
quivering lips
silent blue scarlet.


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