the stone in my hand smells of
visions of meters and yards —
let’s kill not two but a dozen birds,
pigeons, crows, loose-bellied geese and ducks,
blue jay officers and swarming helicopters,
let’s kill them with one throw
one flight, one freefall of the stone —
then I feel silence creep over the back of my neck,
but before I can squash it
the stone speaks to my hand again:
it’s either that or else I’m going to
bash your head in, knock your teeth out,
and splatter your eyes —
maybe there’s another classroom,
another stadium or cemetery
where stones can win without us
humans losing our brains,
but the ticket booths are closed,
the gods are smelling roses elsewhere,
and the stone is not in their hands
but mine —
THE MEXICAN STANDOFF
In or out? I try to spit out
the sneaky laughter choking my throat
but cannot still its flutter for long.
A spy in my head lets it in.
Pigs are conceived with knives in their necks,
flies on fly paper as wiggly little specks,
deer with lead in their hearts,
and people with their laughter in a noose.
To start all over again, to call it
the first day of creation!
That’s the fetus crying inside the womb,
his unborn tears keep life churning.
Life. The smelly byproduct of dreams,
the sewer of ideas and ideals, the knife
that slits the birth sac and the arteries,
carves the cradle and digs the grave.
I wear my noose under my skin, and
sometimes I pull on it, pull it tight;
its coarse laughter and I hold each other hostage
in a Mexican standoff. No way in or out.
Crawling to JFK
Yes, there’s a tumbler in front of me, and it’s only 4 pm,
but I’m sitting on a bulging bag of work,
more than enough to fill a day; it seem easier to drive
a Formula 1 race than hours of stop and go on Belt Parkway;
objects moving at a very high speed are supposed to shrink,
which means crawling should make body expand
and feel like a bulging bag and the day longer,
ballooning and in danger of rear-ending another day;
but I survived the slow race, the crawl, and now I can park
the day safely, end it with a tumbler in front of me at JFK,
all checked in, my luggage only slightly overweight.
The great race is over, and I won. Fill it up!
Early November brings a night
with a herd of rats
running over the roof
the peter-patter of their feet
and make it sound like rain
but sometimes they overdo it
by making it sound like a dragon
dragging its spiky tail over the tiles
but I refuse go outside to look
with the excuse that I’m
afraid of getting wet
A stroll through the high-ceilinged
— sometimes open – halls of
a Bruckner symphony
takes me back to the sanatorium of the past,
the solarium of sound,
soaking in the blessings of another sun.
I discovered Bruckner way back
in my darkest days of captivity on earth,
when earth was infinitely round,
and days were flooded by dull,
dreamless nights, but once in a while
Bruckner raised a baton
and parted the dark sea.
Paul Sohar ended his higher education with a BA in philosophy and took a day job in a research lab while writing in every genre, publishing seventeen volumes of translations. His own poetry: “Homing Poems” (Iniquity, 2006) and “The Wayward Orchard”, a Wordrunner Prize winner (2011). Other awards: first prize in the 2012 Lincoln Poets Society contest; second prize from RI Writers’ Circle (2014) in prose and three translation prizes. Prose work: “True Tales of a Fictitious Spy” (Synergebooks, 2006) and a collection of one-act plays from One Act Depot (Saskatoon, Canada, 2014). Magazine credits (prose and poetry): Agni, Gargoyle, Osiris, Rattle, Seneca Review, etc.