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Robert Okaji: Five poems

August Rain
Drowning in air, I stumble in thigh-high grass.
Every day, the clattering whine swells.
Larvae detach from my skin, leaving behind welts.
The diamondback esses through the decorative rocks,
seeking shelter, seeking prey.
Dessicated leaves flutter in yellow light.
I drink beer, cook meat, scratch my wounds.
Hear black words in the sifted flow.

Self-Portrait as Mistake
Afterthought and its offspring,
regret and dismay. The thoughtless
turn, the wrong bolt for the right
nut. How many choices
would we unmake, rewind
to their births? Like a surgeon
removing the wrong limb,
or that one word affixed to the
bayonet and plunged back into
memory's body. I whisper to
myself, acknowledge the deeds,
those lives unknown till now.

Nolo Contendere
Quiet, we walk in the gutter. 
The sun is a tangerine on the flat 
roof, old trees droop ahead. The 
male grackle fans his tail feathers.
I cannot see the difference in shade 
and hole, in the circumference of
right and our polished untruths.
A dog barks from behind a door. 
The moist breeze fails to cool. 
I do not want to hold your hand. 
We've watched yesterdays 
skid by, piling up at the bottom, 
bruising their cheeks, twisting 
ankles. What's wrong, you ask. 
I've breathed your dream too 
long, I say. Now I must wake.
Somehow Dawn
I don't know what to say. Or how.
Feeling that I am on the upslope,
not close. Not wrong. I want
to be that hollowed space
in the hackberry's trunk, 
the calm of darkened light. 
And more. Some honey, dripped
from the spoon. A house finch,
fluttering. I will whittle my losses,
carve out needs. She will tell me
the history of our days. She will
smile, engrave her initials on my
chest. Somehow, the birds still
sing. Somehow, dawn trickles in.
Dry Well
I trace the symbols.
In the dirt, among the grubs and crooked
weeds. Writing of loss. Of missing things.
Wondering if words will fill my mouth
with wool or grit. With pebbles and salt.
If truth is what I want.

Copyright 2019 Robert Okaji

12 comments on “Robert Okaji: Five poems

  1. dellisphelps
    August 8, 2019

    simply not guilty. breathing new dreams.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. John Looker
    August 8, 2019

    Congratulations Robert. You have a fine way with titles by the way: I particularly like Self-Portrait as Mistake (I can relate to that too!).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jazz Jaeschke
    August 7, 2019

    Each of these is powerful on its own – reading them in the collective, sensing commonalities, leaves me feeling graced with a look into your thoughts while at the same time hoping the triggers for these are passing haunts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. rivrvlogr
    August 7, 2019

    All are great, and the depth of “Self-Portrait as Mistake” is outstanding.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. memadtwo
    August 6, 2019

    You always capture moments. I especially like “Somehow Dawn”.(K)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. daninmaya
    August 6, 2019

    I’ve breathed your dreams too long, now I must wake…….I am often moved by your poems, Bob. Here I’m thinking: what’s the distance, what’s the connection. Again, after your work, I’m pondering

    Liked by 3 people

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This entry was posted on August 6, 2019 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry and tagged , , , , , .

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