The Peregrine Muse
 

                                                  Recalling The Sirens



(First Siren )

 

Preaching in Guatemala,

I was seized while preparing Mass.

My sweating turned to heavy rain,

And the villagers were pelted.

No scars will block my open pores.

I am international.

 (Second Siren )

I cut silk on a Peking road.

I networked with garment workers

Over bowls of rice and green tea.

Friendly humming turned to groaning

When the agents tasted the extracts

Of potent coalition brewing.

My front door suffered brutal cuts.

An anonymous note told me,

“You are deeply delusional.”

 (Third Siren )

 

Barred from the land of the shamrock:

Accusations flowed in the pub.

Her Royal Majesty’s command:

That I be sentenced to wear sheets

And squat away the lonely hours

In the fetid royal dungeon.

Each day I push away my plate

And let the jailers eat my grudge.

I’m a caged tiger who gets whipped,

Yet how I flash defiant!

 

(Fourth Siren )

 

For gift-wrapping a rebel’s present

The irked police in Calcutta

Tied me to a pole and lit the tip.

Interrogation led to lashes:

I became a barbed wire candle.

 

 




A Charm Before A Massage


I will dim a quiet room

To deepen the mood of an astral stillness,

To deepen the comfort around your cool flesh,

To deepen your unfoldment through a massage

With rubs, no thoughts, no deadlines, no phobias

As my rolling thumbs begin penetration

Of muscles knotted from years of tension.

My circular motions spread rays of sunlight.

Cradled in this universe,

Soothed under percussive hands,

Your soul, long sealed awakens

To this new incarnation.

 



An Ideal Swordsman


His goal is balance. His pledge:

Never recoil when threatened.


His point:  to be vigilant.
He moves like a proud danseur.


An infuriated charge.
He slashes, and then retreats.


He thinks fast, he strikes again,
But blade can split at the hilt.


A downward stroke is ideal:
Rendered opponent must live.

 



After the Riptide Upsets the Day


I strolled the shore of a wavelet

Beach, where retirement resides.

Splashes were muffled. The swimmers --

Few that there were -- used the ocean

Like a birdbath.

Boulders long ago aligned to

Stand sentry tame the violent surf,

Create a salty wading pool.

No squeals of energized children

Thrashing gaily in the ocean;

All the thrills were bubbling over

From the next beach.


I ran towards
The liveliness,
Where tanned, bikini-clad women
And burst of sea spray from riding
Rough waves sparkled before my eyes
Like sunbeams leaping off a swell
At the instant of its collapse.


I was told not to run upon
Entering the next beach
Where people stood stock-still
Watching the lifeguards hopelessly
Rowing a rescue boat
Chasing a body dragged by the sea.


Some said, “That guy was drinking
Rum before he swam.”
Did he panic at the fury
As the riptide sucked him under?
Nearby a woman was weeping.


Each summer this beach steals a life
And tears are shed like storm surges.
Who will not dream of drowning?

After the riptide upsets the day
There’s an hour or two of mourning.
But grieving vanishes with time.
The seashore’s pagan rites resume:
A beach ball will be tossed, and bathers
Venture through the knobby water
Of Poseidon’s skittish embrace.
Blue skies will tickle gulls to laughter,
And of course the need to celebrate
Amid brush-drum rolls, cascading.

 



Cavern of the Occult


The tones of some Gregorian chant

Hissing from the opening of a cavern

Entice me to enter

Even though I know it’s occupied

By the occult.

Once in; will I encounter Goddess worship?

If so, that’s no threat to me

For I’ve no grudge against my sisters.

Will I be fed a meal

That required no animal sacrifice?

If so, I may return.

I am no barefoot seeker,

But am no skeptic either

So I’d be willing to try

To understand fire-breathing shamans.

The minute I sense the hailing of evil

Over good, I’ll slip out of the cavern

And try to seal the opening.

 



Deep Gorge of Iceland


A canyon in a hinterland carved impressively

                    Jagged,

A  canyon observed from a huge moth’s view, a white plane’s

                    Window.

Below, icy waterways gurgle eternally:

                    God’s  spill.

A gorge galloping onward, soaking wet cavalcades,

                    Chilled core.

Tomorrow’s threshold, a canyon without a master.

                    Hurrah!

Rough network of stone murals frown on new dam-builders:

                    Flesh corks

Twisted by thoughtless beavers designing more badlands

                    For gold.

Rocks and coils of water upset when photographed by

                    Sextons.

A path that my become a dehydrated,  former

                    River,

A  path, rugged, coursing through the planet’s bulging veins

                    Always.

A  path to Mother Nature:  throbbing,  riveting pulse.





Katmandu


On rickshaws they come to Katmandu,

Herds from elsewhere who gloat at shrines,

Filling the streets, choking from the smoke,

Waiting, talking about mysticism.

They are appalled by all the trash.

At dawn, storefronts host red candles.


In the valley women look like candles
Carrying straw on their backs in Katmandu.
The riverbanks are buried in trash.
Some straw huts double as shrines.
In fields, farmers weave like smoke.
Time has stopped there:  It’s mysticism.


River Ghats sadhus are mysticism,
Playing flutes with eyes like flamed candles.
By the riverbank there’s much smoke,
Ritual fires flame in Katmandu
Monkeys abound like loud white trash.
Wax drips on floors of ancient shrines.


Snowy mountains are rural shrines.
The sight alone is mysticism.
It’s pure there: wild goats eat the trash.
At sunrise, there are a thousand candles.
Cloud formations, ghostly in Katmandu.
Hot air balloons drift up like smoke.

The city, narrow lanes, and car smoke,


Traffic jams block views of jeweled shrines.
Children beg politely in Katmandu.
Cows roam the streets like huge trash.
Hand-bells ring of mysticism.

Vendors sell rainbow powder: mysticism.


Wooden masks and puppets flow like smoke.
Fruit and cloth on the ground like trash.
Statues of demons protect shrines.
Spirits in the square, bright as candles.
Poverty and real saints in Katmandu.

At shrines folks rid themselves of trash,
Inhale mysticism, not the smoke
Near lit candles in Katmandu.

 



Keep Running


( 1 )


They’re off! Galloping around dirt course,
Groomed to win and lightly whipped to speed.
Tiny men astride lean race horses,
As gamblers cheer on their sickness
From grandstands and gaming parlors
Swirling puffs of dirt storm the track,
A modern day chariot race to behold.
Totalizator board blinks on the results.
Sweat streams from the snorting losers,
Thoroughbreds for man’s bank account.
Oats, carrots, an indoor shower,
Each horse’s payment for mad dashing.


( 2 )


Remember those paintings of the Old West
When the Spanish abandoned some horses?
Later on, combos of wild equines
Stampeded across the Rio Grande:
Noble steeds, voluptuous mares
Through wind-blown sagebrush scaring predators
Squealing as if to call “Beware tramps!”
Pronouncing to all their regal presence
Still sensing spirit-breaking cowboys miles off
From deep within their hooves’ vibrations.
Many become feral running with them.
Who cares if ranchers cry abduction?
Run away,  domestic horse, run away
For Xanthus whom Achilles did beat.
Like Equus, disappear into the wind
And boldly reunite with the wild horses.
But remember the Tarpans were ambushed,
Comanche survived Custer’s Last Stand,
But the barbed wire and round up followed,
As did the anguish of the plow
Then drudgery upon drudgery.


( 3 )


Sniping of mustangs has been approved
To limit those loud neighing prancers
Who trample farmland and fertilize.
From the harshness of bullwhip’s crack
And grotesqueness of the cleaver
They might dissolve into the landscape.
Run, wild horses, to your sanctuaries,
Places like South Dakota’s badlands
Dance magnificent on rugged terrain,
Majesty of a species color-blind.





My Signature Is An Autumn Leaf


My signature is an autumn leaf.

My blood is the Amazon River.

Fanfare awakens my spine :  I soar.

I am neither my life,

Nor what I envision.

My lap --- a kettle drum,

Its beat my road homeward.

I am python shedding its skin.

I am cool early frost.

I am flirtatious woman.

I am cavalry man

Severe as a mustache

In appearance, more chiseled than grown.

I am,  as well, paint, brush and canvas

On which disillusioned

Artists reinvigorate their hunger.

I am the child’s shriek of joy: At dusk

I am the fugitive

My bedroom wishes to imprison.

 



Healing Twigs


I am sleepwalking through a dense

Evergreen forest in search

Of an imaginary teepee

Wherein a transient medicine

Man serenely awaits payment:

Seeds and prayer to the earth.

The laws of the city forbid

The offering of healing twigs

Because there is no profit

In nurturing.

O, Spirit of the shaman

Ruffle the branches that bear

The nectar for which my gut aches.





Joshua Meander of Queens, New York, is best known as host of the monthly open mic series, Nomad's Choir. He nurtured his awareness of poetry as a child listening to the mixed elements outside his home: sounds of trains and tracks, cars hissing by on the highway and the croaking of frogs in a nearby creek. For inspiration Joshua now travels to such places as Greece, Africa, France and Israel; and to less-visited States such as Wyoming, to visit a wild horse sanctuary, and to Georgia, to become acquainted with a super-pod of dolphins off the coast of Savannah. Life is never humdrum for Joshua. Video Interview with Robert Dunn.


Poetry of Joshua Meander

(Fifth Siren )

 

National guards throw my pamphlets

In the river,  information

Smudged away.  And as the speech drowns,

Breath-giving trees are yanked by roots

To accommodate oil riggers.

Stepfathers of Nigeria

Dance around land rights for barons

To stuff their undersized G-strings.

I am a dissident and proud.

 

(Sixth Siren )

 

I am somewhere in the basement:

Immobile, swollen, and bleeding.

Boots at eye level departing.

Was that static I heard, or squeals?

Omnipresent sadists appear.

I am not the person speaking:

I am you!  And we are the pulse

Of a disembodied hero.

Hear the shout: prevent the chopping.

Let us form a cloud on one street

And shower a chosen doorstep

With handwritten letters, all signed,

Release Now, Release Now, Release!

Computer hackers be so bold,

Click on as one grand poltergeist

For a saint’s deserved amnesty.