Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Starting from Tu Fu was just published by Encircle Publications. Another full-length collection, Mirror Games is due out in September from Cherry Grove press.He is very fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster where he makes his meager living pointing out pretty things.He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and two full length collections so far. Titles on request.A meager online presence can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter/
LANDLUBBER WITH AN EYE PATCH
A constant stream of strangers flows off my starboard bow. Faces—white, dark, fade like foam on wind. Pirate eyes miss details. Light combs the sidewalk. It waves off the larboard side. I walk on, hoping not to trip or fall through noon. I hope to remember each sailor’s name— currents of foot traffic blend them—again— into whitecaps, rapids. I’m a small stone that parts them without meeting as I try to tell what part of my damp past they’re from. Those lost faces draw me with tidal claims on my time. But broken light’s what remains for a land-locked mariner. Time’s low boom swings me about—in that wake, my lost eyes.
THE VENUS OF WILLENDORF
Her shape is found everywhere. She is round, formed of basalt, amber, or hard-fired clay. Some broken by time, unbelief. Some stay— seeds sleeping, soon to rise out of damp ground. Always naked, almost faceless mother of time, she’s earth herself coming out of life and offering it. She’s as strong as strife. She can’t be escaped. One breaks, another falls, grows. The fear she carries in her hips, her belly, is forever. She rips time open. She is worshiped and unknown. You see her in museums, not a god’s wife— all gods are born from her. She’s her own throne. You can’t help but see her. Now change your life.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE ANGEL OF DEATH
The angel of death is easily fooled. You can pretend you’ve forgotten your name. This angel’s bound to obey his own rules. A creature of spirit, he’s never cruel, just thoughtless—to him it’s a sort of game angels must play. Death is something he fools around with—like a world or a top. You’ll never catch him serious. Fierce but tame, this angel’s bound. He likes to obey rules, to roll true dice. He enjoyed angel school more than he should. Be aware all the same: Angels don’t die, so when they’re badly fooled they plot perfect vengeance, play dirty pool with sad, lost souls, and they are sure of names. Angels are bound, true, but they won’t be ruled by stars or planets. Mortals ridicule can’t touch them. And one thing I should explain: Each angel owns one death. Though you’re the fool this angel obeys, you don’t make the rules.