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Poetry by Luke Buckham 




© 2005 Luke Buckham



Aging unexpectedly one night in Florida


It made sense to place an oval-shaped stone
between your breasts as you lay on your back

and play music to your writhing on a blanket
in the ancient sand.  It made sense to sweep

a world of constant talkers off the doorstep
with the authoritative violence of lightning

and lay down in the sands with you under
a streetlight's long beam and watch the turtles

in their pilgrimage to lay eggs in the distant dunes.
We called them otherworldly though they lived

as securely as any other thing in this world;
like you, bursts of clarity seeming alien

against the backdrop of a culture that lost clarity
long before we were born.  As we watched

animals slow and centuries old, and conceived
a new animal together on the sands of a thousand years,

a thousand armored shells worn down to dust, we aged,
and when we returned to our cars the city was young.






For all of us in jail


If you stop during a factory job to look up
toward slow fans on the ceiling and think

of the day beyond those turning blades,
your soul will cry out; your last paycheck

will come like a knife to cut you loose.
The routine that kept you safe for a few months

has now broken what it left of you to break.  Once
in a false youth when I was working in a restaurant,

washing dishes during the 21st century (according
to a calendar I never made); I'd been fever-reading

Catullus on the bus and Ovid during lunchbreak,
and in the bathroom mirror washing hands that I

had never fully noticed before, I saw myself reflected
far back in history in the movements and words

of other men, knew myself as an ancient, and felt
the weight of a thousand years' rebellion push me

toward the exit door.  My form in sudden clarity
broke out of the numbing mold.  For staring in awe

through a concrete wall above the sink where I was paid
to be a scrub, I was fired that afternoon, and glad to be

unemployed by idiots who put our spirits in their tiny boxes
like toys, rarely reinvented, never used but as minor tools.






All work is copyrighted property of Luke Buckham.



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