Poetry

Bolbometopon muricatum

Limbs tired,
we’ve been out
for an hour.

We push up
our masks,
pop out
our snorkels.

Go back?

Okay.
But first,
one more look.

Gear back in place,
we duck under.

A herd
of trunkless
elephants
blunders by,
trumpeting silently.

Is my mask fogged?
No.

A parade of parrot
fish stretches across
the reef’s drop-off, crunching coral.

They weave in and out
of one another, grazing,
creating clouds of sand that drift

up to shore creating
paradisiacal beaches
with swaying palms and birdsong.

We gaze at the school, mesmerized
by their elephantine mass, while
their colorful cousins
the size of our
hand dart
past.

The stampede swims out to the depths
as we turn to swim inland.

39813312

Musings from an Amateur Ornithologist II

Hidden between trees
in the shadowy dawn
rustles a millipede,
gliding over dry leaves,
serpentine, but for his baleen legs
swinging in tandem.

In the canopy,
a regal song rings out,
piercing the morning air
with its vibrato.
The bird,
holding court in paradise,
flutters from branch to branch
dancing for us onlookers,
aware, yet determined to remain aloof.
A flash of red,
a glint of blue,
swooping to the ground,
then flying off to the latticework above,
leaving us awestruck,
reflecting on the privilege
of being granted an audience.

Meanwhile,
the thousand-legged jester
continues his crawl
across the forest floor.

19803786

Wayang

What we cannot faithfully communicate,
art can.
Art alludes to what words elude.
Poetry,
painting,
pantomime.
All inclusive.

Yet,
in art, as in speech,
it still may not convey
total truth.
You must search for the meaning,
the message,
the misunderstanding.

Take the wayang.
Every inch is a symbol.

Fingers—
Mind
Feeling
Instinct

Flowers—
Water
Air
Fire
Earth

Features—
Spirit
Wisdom
Loyalty

Each burst of color
is a burst of meaning,
a truth
about the nature of humans.

Yet, it hides
behind a screen.
Displaying its truth
in shadow.

16083752 2

Musings From an Amateur Ornithologist

An abundance of feathered creatures
stand against stone.
Tethered and flightless
they display curved beaks
with sharp points
grown smooth by age.

Why birds?

They don’t understand
the significance of this once holy place
buried by jungle, claimed and reclaimed.
Or perhaps it is we who don’t understand,
placing too much significance on our mark
and perceive our time to be much grander
than the score in sandstone that it is.

7901489

A Kelimutu Fairytale

Long ago in ages past
The sky liquified
and poured itself into craters.
Now it lies,
whispering breaths of steam
that float and morph
among ribbons of breeze.

A piece of rock breaks away
from the wall and tumbles
into the depths.

Sulphuric toxins wrap
around the rough edges,
acidic fingers dissolving
it as it submerges.

The surface is still
once more.
Waiting.

Pulled from the pages
of Brothers Grimm,
The lake is an ethereal queen
with a witch inside.

4901834

Rinca Holiday

Growing lethargic
in the tropical heat
I scout out a sunny patch
to bathe in the rays,
creeping slowly to a shady bit
under the trees
when the sun begins
to roast.

On this island
friends surround me.
I mingle,
poking fun
and enjoying
the company.

Whiiiiiizzz,
thud.

I snap to attention
in unison with the throng.
Is it my next meal?
A snack?

No,
just a brick.
Thrown for the amusement
of the crowd of humans
that stands around
day after day watching
me and my bank
live life.
I get up and amble toward one
She jumps back in fear,
I smirk.
Just like the brick,
it works every time.

1981970