GABRIEL DEAN

  

A Flamenco Guitarist

Tonight
lodestone echoes
the upstart flight of pigeons.
In La Plaza Mayor,
people listen
to a single guitar,
while behind
cathedral walls, gypsies shiver
between gravestones.

I listen too,
holding the chords away
from me —
they are violent peacocks —
longing to
lean like the guitarist
bored with love.

His eyes are closed
and he is smiling at me.

I would take more
than his hands,
more than the fat
and frightened Mynah bird
clinging to his ribs.
Take, and if I took,
put his loss in the
broken bar chord
of my breast,
let his sadness reach
in the run of fingers
on my amber neck.

The brightness of bottles
against the shift of people
in yellow light
distracts me.

A resonation of Neruda:
"Eso es todo. A lo lejos alguien canta.
A lo lejos."
Now, he plays as
though blood is drying
on the stone
beneath his feet.


A Plain Pine House

Granddaddy owned a small sawmill —
some remains in the pine thicket
behind our house.
Rusty metal sprockets
under leaves with
cold dirt clinging and
roly polys underneath.
It is told he planed
our tongue and groove boards,
the floor beams,
and the studs in the walls
by himself.

Our house is a double-barrel shotgun,
seven chambers in all.

The summer I painted the outside,
I went into the loft,
looking for a bee's nest.

Going through the 2x2 vent
into old sunshine,
suspended dust,
I heard the hum
of the house breathing.

The place stopped
when I came inside.

Granddaddy's rough-hewn pine
beams were there,
bark flaking off in layers
like sunburnt skin.
I smelled liquor
and saw shriveled manhands
run across the beams.
It felt, to him, like my
grandmother's skin.

The dust settling on top
of my cherry wood piano
could be the shed skin of
my grandmother.

I thought about being sentimental,
this loft somehow knowing me
before I did, and this house
with its jokes and wisdom
standing like a priest among pines.

I remembered that my family
never bought grandmother
a tombstone.

I left the loft
to cool by the Pecan Tree.
I had forgotten the bees.