Tarren M – Mark Tarren

 THE THIEF
 
When he stole from her
it was in a fever of gentleness
as if this act of movement towards her
was grand thievery from the past centuries.
 
He saw his theft as a gift
his new language created just for her
the beginning of a secret script between them
the characters of milk white hands
that clasps the ancient teapot,
their own sacred ceremony.
 
When something missing was always present.
 
A flower from her hair when she awakened 
a letter from him 
a small rice bowl
several white petals plucked from
 
The Moon Garden.
 
These are the stems of shadow he leaves for her
 
Hanakotoba
 
The Language of Flowers
 
In the height of tall plants and the presence of thorns
these were the words between them
 
without words.
 
Amaririsu 
When there were only their faces.
 
Tsubaki
When the room was red 
and she was perishing with grace.
 
Saboten
When only their bodies remained. 
 
Shion
The time of remembrance.
 
Every night after he died
she left the screen door slightly open.
In the hope he would once again return
to steal something from her.
 
It is the hope of many a jasmine flower.

 
 
THE NIGHT DANCER
 
Like a fever
hers was a mystery that we all wanted.
When she danced there was a long deep moan against the stars.
A wild creature, she stalked our sleeping movements with quiet precision. 
Her voice 
swollen against our bodies.
Her face 
clung to the night like a Picasso.
Her razor blade jaw cut shapes around us
in the darkness —
a watered lip
the silhouette of an arm
a widowed eye watching 
a bead of sweat on a lovers wrist.
The mist and heat of the night garden
conspired against us.
Born under the star of Aphrodite 
this was her Parthenon, 
her scripture.
When she danced
the moonlight entered the waters of herself, 
she was the medium for the spirit of her body’s movement,
bare foot to
white ankle to raised calf
to thigh 
to fingertip 
the arch of her neck
undulating with the darkness
the swirl of
our delirium in the glitter of the night. 
 
Her Sacred Art
Like a swan she glided back
into the great wound
and danced away the sea of our longing.
This was our hymn,
as we fell away from the world.
 
 
 
ONE PERFECT LINE
 
If I could write one true perfect line
I would build a new Jerusalem of words 
upon it.
 
With no borders or margins along this parchment
beneath the letters of 
the many stained glass windows 
and ancient doors,
there would hide the burden 
of the terrible weight of love.
 
I would weave a tapestry from Budapest 
around it.
 
In between the shutters and thread
along the wisps of smoke 
in the darkened room of black bells
where the dogs howl,
outside the morning chant would begin.
 
I would write it in pencil,
the gráphō —
 
It would be the horizontal branch
in the interior of a star
the bridge for Homers’ dreams
the stardust in 
 
The Winds of Herodotus 
 
Lovers would lie down in that fine valley 
between pencil and ink
in the white sheets of abandon;
on their secret page; without shame,
their filament of desire.
 
It would be the narrow trail 
of the Bedouin before the sand 
covers the sentence,
the long thin mark on the surface of
the shared stone of discontent 
the wire that conducts the traveling 
history of anger,
the track in our skin of communal grief.
 
If I could write one true perfect line
it would be a scar upon the heavens 
 
and I would not bleed.



 

Mark Tarren is a poet and writer who lives on remote Norfolk Island in the South Pacific.
His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary journals including The New Verse News, The Blue Nib, Poets Reading The News, Street Light Press, Spillwords Press and Tuck Magazine. He is currently working on a collection of poetry and a novel.

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