Poetry: Andrej Bilovsky

A LIFE IN PARADISE

You wake up to the day in satin sheets,
in an air-conditioned room whose temperature
and humidity are as perfect as a soft caress.

You breakfast on your balcony,
coffee, fresh tropical fruits and eggs cooked over-easy,
with a view of the jaunty white-capped sea 
unblemished by other buildings,

Then you dress for a dip in paradise, 
a body-hugging one-piece,
your hair bundled up and tied 
to the back of your head,
just the thing for letting down later.

The sun is warm, the water refreshing,
and the eyes of others track you from sand to foam
and back again, an audience for the bliss you feel.

But then, when you’re back in your condo,
the telephone rings. The news is bad.
Someone close to you has died.

So are the sheets now cheap cotton?
Is the air stuffy?
Did your breakfast taste worse than bland?
Did your bathing suit not fit you?
Was your hair dirty?
And what of the sea?
Was it polluted?
And the sun?
Did it shelter behind clouds?
And what of all the others on the beach?
Did they totally ignore you?

No, everything is as before.
Your heart takes a blow.
But your lifestyle can barely sympathize.
***



THE ALLIGATOR

I spy an alligator
on the opposite bank.
It’s my first time
seeing one in the wild
and it looks just like
the example in the zoo,
the picture in my 
coffee-table book
of reptiles.

Same gray scales.
Same wide mouth.
And it’s basking its cold blood,
digesting something 
from its immediate past,
just like it says
on the enclosure sign,
like the screed 
beneath that glossy photo.

With eyes closed,
unmoving,
and with so much description
to live up to.
the alligator still gets it right.
***


WIND Page One

A bird flew in on it,
then a monkey.
Intriguing I thought. 
But then I heard chattering voices
in that gust of air,
someone’s secrets, 
another’s bad-mouthing.
The sounds stung my ears.

It’s all God’s fault.
I don’t mean to blaspheme 
but who else controls the weather?
Not the weathermen.
Not I.

Maybe He has his meteorological pimps.
Promises them heaven
if they’ll just make things blustery
from time to time.
Doesn’t have to be hurricane-strength. 
Sometimes, celestial glory can be petty.
 
That may not have been a monkey, actually.
I’m thinking more cow.
Or somebody’s sons.
A transvestite.
A statue of a general. 

Yes, sometimes it sounds sweet as pipes.
But that’s not typical. 
Really, the wind is no musician.
I’d put it more in the warrior class.
Who else would strip my house of shingles?
Uproot my hair? Blow my trash barrel into the street?
Blow kisses? Write poetry?

Could that have been Orpheus who just flew by?
Isn’t he wanted elsewhere?
***



WIND Page Two

There’s some that worship it,
are convinced it brings the rain.
No, it’s transportation for Ancient Greeks,
Saracens, the Kings and Queens of England.
And it’s a system of messaging
as old and as new as it needs to be,
to reorder the order and vice-versa, 
to remind, to initiate,
to turn the conventional into the wild and woolly,
to have its revenge on tradition.

And it’s quick as Mercury.
It’s here. It’s gone. It’s back again.
It shook the tree and dropped some apples.
Fifty years or more ago, it dropped me.
***


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