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Richard Garcia is the author of three volumes of poetry, the last of which is Rancho Notorious, (BOA Editions). His poems have recently appeared in the web publications Perihelion, The Blue Moon Review, The Cortland Review, and in the print journals Sentence and Pool. His next volume of poetry, The Persistence of Objects, is forthcoming from BOA in 2006. He teaches creative writing at Antioch University, Los Angeles, California State University, Long Beach, and the Idyllwild Summer Poetry Program. Please visit his website at: www.richardgarcia.info

GOD CREATES THE UNIVERSE

I'd like to write a poem about God 
but it would have to be a poem written without words,
written without paper, written out of the silent spaces
between letters of the alphabet.
How boring, my poem about God.
Maybe in this poem God could have a job
like sweeping out the cafeteria at midnight.
There is God--he's an old guy on the night shift
who doesn't even know that he is God.
He sees a piece of paper on the floor
and stoops to pick it up.
It's a letter he wrote to himself
a long time ago, before the big bang, before 
there were people who knew that he was God. 
It says, Dear God, where are you? I have waited for you 
so long but I can wait no longer. It is signed, Shekina,
your better half. God doesn't know what to make of this
but he puts the letter in his pocket, thinking
it might be important. He'll read it again
after he gets home. Here is God in my poem,
sitting in front of the TV watching reruns 
of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
It is quiet because he has pressed the mute button,
and bathed in the flickering blue light, 
he is beginning to fall asleep. But even 
if he doesn't know it, he exists simultaneously 
in this poem and in all time and space and beyond. 
This very moment, God is about to create the universe.

 

PAPER

Pretend you're a piece of paper
and I am the pencil, pretend
you're a piece of paper and I'm fire.

I am the present that needs unwrapping.
You are the crimson paper that entices. 

O moon, goddess of paper, you unroll
your mantle and I have walked 
in the brilliance of your path.

Did you not glisten the skin of my first love 
just before her mother came home
from the graveyard shift at Can-Co

and I slipped out the window, seen only
by you and the paperboy? Imagine, 
you can kill someone with a piece of paper.

Not the death sentence signed and sealed
but a piece of paper, rolled into a tight cone,
dipped in a paste of flour and water 
and sharpened against a scrap of emery board.

Flick it from a notch in a pencil, it can fly
between prison bars, across tiers
over ramps and balconies. Pretend you're 

a piece of paper and I am the pencil, pretend
you can't pierce right through a man's heart.

 

OBJECTS ON A TABLE

The chocolates in their narrow box
shall be my desires all lined up
ready to come when called upon.

The checks in a pile are letters
you did not write, or the letters
that you imagine when you think of me.

There is a bit of ribbon trying to be a cactus
dusted with snow, in other words
you--cold, forbidden and forbidding.

If you walked, carefully, across the lake
of glass, would you be afraid of falling?

Or would you think you were flying
following the beacons of your hands
over the parapets of envelopes
and the crushed tinsel of cathedrals? 

What does that old black stone
with the Eskimo face of the moon want?

It wants what the phone wants
when it rings in an empty room.



IN THE ANCIENT CITY

The fifth Beatle is bald on top but the white hair of his temples hangs down to his waist, his black leather 
motorcycle jacket in shreds. He stumbles between snake charmers, penitents, beggars, fakirs and Rolls Royces.
In the patchouli-scented tent he lays his offering--a small aluminum pot full of American pennies, some Mexican 
pesos and a couple of tokens for a parking lot in a suburb of Liverpool.
The Maharishi says, I have been waiting for you so long. 
No one knows what happened, the fifth Beatle alone with the Maharishi for fifteen minutes, but it is said that he lay 
his head in the Holy One's lap and cried tears of joy. It is said the Maharishi pronounced him Best, most favored, whose 
life is epilogue, whose music shall be forever too fine to be heard.
When the fifth Beatle leaves the tent he is smiling and the crowd reaches out to touch him.
He will strip and wash his body in the Ganges. Floating corpses will burn, their ashes raining down like confetti of a 
single color.

 2004 Richard Garcia

 


www.RichardGarcia.info


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