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J.D. Schraffenberger


Wild, Wild the Mind

Wild, wild the mind, and the ocean’s cold night crashings upon the concrete wall,
Still the dark soupy sky, thick the hum of surf surging into the rocks, sucking strips of sand back
            again and again back into the gullet of the earth where it finally belongs,
And us inside our many-windowed beach house playing rounds of poker, ours the laughter of the
            drunk and well-fed, ours the voice of the universe musing on itself aloud,
Wild, yes, the mind, wild in its knack for forgetting and remembering at will, a bluffed and beateb
           wildness but wild no less
—Ocean, Mind, Sky, this the earliest trinitarian pact—
Out among the sand-buried lapping stones, out along the moon-burned horizon, our minds
           drowned and risen into the mashed-up sky, gluey in its almost darkness,
Up inside the damp of clouds, up into the freeze of atmospheric fragility, the ocean seeking its
           complement, us, the unexpected rise, the inevitable fall, us,
Where through the murk of a mind at play, the map of full-steam thinking, careering as the dumpiest
            of lobster boats,
Through wild and through crashing, through the swirl and spray outside, through the gaiety in,
We look, the lighthouse dot popping miraculous through the dark.
Is this the form our redemption is supposed to take?
Is this the only hope we have to stake our living on?
Someone pushes all-in, no limits here, and yes, there are those among us unafraid to call, to push
            back, to watch and wait.



Before the Photo

We tried to touch, take hold of the moon,
the weariness of our misunderstanding soothed by wounds
too dangerous for precise illustration.
We did in fact touch the moon, clouds, oceanic bird things.
The magic was in our knowing the smell and taste
of saltwater on the skin of palms—
this our faraway moon brought near, made true,
the suffered, the real.
We endured it for the sake of remaining out of the way
of what touching, what taking firm hold of the horizon means.



After the Photo

I wanted little but to please and be pleased
by the crashing of light in the understory of trees.
Broken blasé, I wanted little but blear reply
from leaf bee dirt bird trapped forever in flight,
little but the little meanings behind the littlest of likenesses.
I wanted so little and now littler still when the bird
resumes its crossing home, leaves their flickery changes.
Falling, turning south, I replace the cap, undo my steps in this world.



J.D. Schraffenberger's first book of poetry, Saint Joe's Passion, will be published in 2008 by Etruscan Press. His other work appears in The Best Creative Nonfiction, Poet Lore, Paterson Literary Review, Seattle Review, and other journals.  He is the founding editor of Elsewhere: A Journal for the Literature of Place.
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