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Sample Poems by Timothy Leach


Narcissus Reflects on Anima

"The anima might then easily have seduced me into
believing that I was a misunderstood artist..."-C.G. Jung

She is sugar in my tea, salt in my soup,
oxygen in my blood, yet I've never seen her
except on reflection. When mirrors as windows
reverse symmetry to mockery, nothing serious
is serious, wit being wiser than truth and
more amusing. This half of me lives between
the lines, between the lines no one reads.
She is never to be seen as persuasive.
Every man has his her whispering
from within his inner ear. All males feel her
like a fetal kick, as urge, surprise or impulse,
quickly dismissed. She won't be clothed,
confined, described, defined or imprisoned,
spoken of, acted on, caught dead or alive
wearing other than one-of-a-kind.
She must always take part as a part less
than half, the secret partner who takes the part
of veiled allusion, inference, innuendo,
connotation, or insinuation, the conjuror
of imagination, a player of dangerous games.
To get under my skin, she crawls into me
like a fire-side cat curling into purr.
I pull the white sheet of my disingenuous
intentions up over us; cocoon our heat,
imagine moon-soaked postcard lagoons.
With a bed-light click, I turn my eyes off;
snuff the twinkle like a white-robed acolyte.
If mother, sister, daughter all in one,
she could not be closer. Enemy and
closest ally, she infiltrates bone, brain,
blood, and breath. By synchronous propinquity
she breathes out, then I breathe in-the bi-lateral
symmetry of swimming. If she within my lover was,
I'd need no other. But perfection has no need,
so must suffer starvation, dehydration and death.

Calendar

A nail impales a book of hours.
A year's events suspend on open wings.
Here in time as space, our days are numbered.
Mass-mailed at first frost, this gift of life
insurance agents, arrives with a note:
when your number's up,

insurance insures survivors survive
in style, consoled by postcard paradise,
a pay-out beloved deceased are guaranteed:
-purple mountains cropped to majesty
-fruited plains ripened by rose-tinted lenses
-sunsets color balanced;-cuddly predators

telescopically lured close enough to pet
- virgin shining shores, computer-restored;
all flaws de-clawed; all gore, refuse, decay,
air-brushed away; twelve come-hither scenes,
dreamscape fantasies digitally enhanced
to enchant as if playmates of the month.

These getaways, bound by spiral wire
thread myth to fact like history's gyre.
Below, an artless chart moves us room
to numbered room, at daily rates
with baggage, carry-on by rite of passage;
until no vacancy shows time hangs

too heavy for a nail. When crawling scrawl
has eaten all, we say our plate is full.
Shrine of dateline and deadline,
keep us straight. Sound alarms. Catch us
in hair-lined safety nets for failing memory.
Remind us of our come and go,

too heavy for a nail. When crawling scrawl
has eaten all, we say our plate is full.
Shrine of dateline and deadline,
keep us straight. Sound alarms. Catch us
in hair-lined safety nets for failing memory.
Remind us of our come and go,

now and then, where and when
we pencil in until our script is done
and empty squares thereafter prove us gone,
risen by photo-genesis, insurance
guaranteed to move us to time-share
condos in this diptych's upper wing.



Yo-yo Clan Teaches "Spank the Baby"

Whisked in on a South Sea breeze, a tropic flock
of cockatiel or lorikeet would have been a less
exotic shock to the hot and humid peace
of our small town summer doldrums.

War was winding down when a clan of yo-yo makers
from the Pacific, nowhere anyone knew of,
blew into town-dropped like hurricane
flotsam, lacking license or grand-opening hoopla.

Men and boys, dark as long-steeped tea, perched
as stiff as visitors on orange crates from Kroger's lot.
They set up shop on Woolworth's sidewalk, taking
gold letters on red overhead as a holy omen.

Wound in batik waist-to-knee, they wore
Philippine shirts as sheer as lingerie, and sandals,
except the young, who went barefoot,
bare-chested too.

Curious patrols of summer-bored boys on bikes,
walking circles in air, combing too-familiar streets
flared like matches with excitement at the sight of them.
Stepping up speed,

leaning over handlebars eager as aimed arrows,
they spread the word. Soon posses of boy from nearby
suburbs bee-lined their tubular mounts, to stop
in their tracks and gawk.


The elder squatted, balanced on haunches, his pen knife
carving palm trees, sea and beach on disks of
sweet-scented wood, repeating scenes, as quick as we could
print our names; as easily as prayer in church by rote.

His skills had been honed on sacramental clubs and oars,
and, as the young pantomimed with mischievous glee,
he used to carve on living skin, creating sacred scars.
Meanwhile the master's sons fitted paired disks with pegs

that sons of the master's sons tied strings around.
Then wearing the far end of strings as index finger rings,
youngest sons did yo-yo tricks, hooking boys on bikes
until around town boys' flicked wrists bobbing yo-yos.

Over days the trade in smiles and dimes evolved to foods,
pidgin English and crudely signed jokes: a few bites
of fish stew for a Baby Ruth, "fair dinkum" for "O.K."-
bubble gum blown head-sized, betel nuts turning teeth red.

From towns around, more boys on bikes arrived, blocking
Gold Star mothers and war widows who pushed prams
and tugged toddlers. From behind glass walls, grim merchants
came and stood, arms folded or akimbo, shaking their heads.

Soon came squad cars and cops reminding us,
"Loose lips sink ships," as they convoyed the war-weary
and crippled through our motley militia of bike-riding boys
reeking of poi-poi, fish sauce and foreign lingo.

The town council drafted laws to ban pandering
and unlawful assembly. Official strings were pulled.
Back home went the yo-yo clan on Uncle Sam's dime,
returned to their palms, safe in the hands of their gods,

repeating like mantras linguistic souvenirs such as,
"cat's pajamas" and "Don't take any wooden nickels."
Small-town boys learned in return the rhythm
of come and go, the give and take of trade, and how

to control by wrist the spin of the double-quick dance
of life on a string-rounded spools revolving from hands
of neighborhood kids doing sassy tricks like:
"spank the baby," "walk the dog," "around the world."


Little Lead Omens

Our joyful fingers ripped the Christmas wrap
as crisp as full-dress uniforms from boxed squads
of little lead soldiers.

Sprung from dye-cut cardboard foxholes,
molded to heroic poses, our troops
always won toy wars boys waged.

Years later, little lead bullets ripped open
gifted boys grown to fight in real war-
action figures out of it.

Each lay at attention,
tagged, bagged, boxed, and sent
by air freight home,

with an officer's thank-you note.
Remains were flagged, churched,
and hearsed in parade-dress send-off.

Then payback: a purple heart
for his that failed; a silver star for his
unlucky one, and ribbons for tying up

loose ends-grief, anger, guilt, love
and loss. A firing squad took aim at forever
spacious sky. A bugle blew, gone the son.

Patriotic laundry, the flag was folded
by squared moves to a tri-corn pillow, for
blood, bone, and star-stitched bruise.

To the giver of toy soldiers, was given back
the wrap by a wind-up troop in dress-blues,
from white gloves that left no fingerprints.