TALKING TO LI PO by Neeli Cherkovski

 

Dear Father
of drunkenness
and poesy
some of us
idolize you words
as they step into English
on a high wire
over raging rapids
of an anonymous river
that has cut a deep gorge
through the ceramic earth

we bow in reverence
to the gods of mercy
who lay us low in due time,

I want to ask you
if there is any reprieve
because the beams of death
do not fit
they seem so ill
with faint deception
and wild eyed delusion

mercy is
is a flower
you tickle on the trail

as you ascend
to the snow field
past the last
hearty pine tree

your jacket is
fine, you stop for water
from the canteen, your
leather-faced father
smiles, an elderly priest
hikes on past us
grinning
at the cosmic tear
in his complex
system of belief

he must be well over
one hundred and thirty
five years of age
by now in 2015, my father died
at ninety-five, an old
hobo, son of Russian Jews

we had no money
but we had plenty of
honey which he has passed on
for me

at thirteen thousand feet
above sea level he handed over
the tough sky and the hard slate
of the mountaintop

for the children I will
never have

2 Responses to “TALKING TO LI PO by Neeli Cherkovski”

  1. Carter Monroe Says:

    I never tire of reading Neeli.

  2. Jesus, only one comment? Your poem is worthy of much more. Why the hell are most poets so shy about leaving a kind word or two about another poet’s work? A job well done big time (your poem)🙂

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