Bay of Invisible Merits & Other Poems

by Stephanie V. Sears

Bay of Invisible Merits

The city heaved, scrambled up
the other flank of the headland.
On its drug-fumed and soiled instep
ruins of black cotton endured,
shoe-string men in shorts spat trotting
under bamboo cages and tin trays,
the near agony of their racing tempo
regulated by despotic rackets.

She turned her face the other way.
Cliff-hanging trees bristled with jade dragons.
Fruit milk dripped into a soft-spoken sea,
the bay forgotten by the brash sunsets
wrought from melted arm-bands and crowns
once worn by jungle dancers.
Blue-black fresh like a love bruise
Where she and he bathed undaunted,
in the obscure heaven of myth
where now swam a slow-wagging shark.

She perspired in diagonals of silk
beneath lanterns hanging from the dark.
Just beyond them she could see
the airy volumes of leafed peristylums,
nymphaeums, tabliniums:
wing-swept cognizant rooms,
instant arcades of consummate grace.

A car tracked vertigo along the corniche.
Maybe two idlers in evening dress
sucking kisses at hairpin turns.
It roused a sense of luxury
and seclusion akin to slumber.
A tremor of breeze spread over the bay
plying the wand of a moon beam,
working the arcane craft of elation.


The Way of the Monsoon

Nearly barefoot we tread
a celestial continuum
spread above and beneath us
with the dizzying promise
of a universal sequel.

The bronze-faced monsoon
has done away with earth,
runs a fluid course
filling countless channels of belief,
smiles the cherubim smile
in all directions,
the hard sun replaced
by the denser rutilation
of clouded streets
effusive with traffic lights
the sleek hurry of power,
bars dressed in neon
and jungle timber re-shaped
in displays of art
where nakedness glistens
supple and swift
in frail collarbones,
agile skeletons
that rinse off the torrid
cruelties of the past.

Suddenly the quarrel between day
and night is dissolved
in a blast of rain.
The massive downpours
repeat their drenching outcries
of a transfiguration
that one day may take over.

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