“Wine Dark” and Other Poems by M. J. Mitchell

Mark J. Mitchell has been a working poet for forty years. His latest full length collection is Roshi:San Francisco published by Norfolk Press. Another, Something to Be (on the subject of work) is due soon from Pski Porch, and a historical novel is on the way. He lives with his wife, the activist, Joan Juster. A small online presence exists https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter/ A primitive web site now exists: https://www.mark-j-mitchell.square.site/

Mark’s work has been previously featured on In Parentheses.


All those naked lights clicked off years ago,
    before your loose, broken pieces were known.
    You don’t see anything in this long dark.
    Feel where you step. Stay inside. Loose stars
    are looking for you. Some are harsh, some kind.
    Don’t scatter your secrets for them to find.
    Remember—this is before times. There’s a now
    just arrived. Go ahead, touch it. You’ve known
    its name for years. Another light found you
    and shaped these pieces into almost runes
    that spell your name. Some are harsh. Some the kind
    you miss so rarely you almost forgot
    their scattered secrets. Now you can find
    your way through an old dark. You can let light
    warm sorry, healthy flesh. Wandering time
    picks you out in crowds you no longer know.
    Follow your feet. They’ll show you how to go.


            The angel of Friday
            perches on the bridge
            of your glasses.
            He may lean over
            but he looks like a rainbow
            kissing the lens.
            He knows how to make
            Your eyesight perfect.
            It involves a fish.
            He’s given to laughter
            the way a heretic
            is given to the Inquisition.


The Hollywood Bowl, September 7, 1972
                    For DW, who was one of the girls

    We came for Zappa. Serious music
    eluded us. Stravinsky. Five hours.
    Hills green as young lust. We were four
    teenagers among grown-ups. We picnicked
    through the Ebony Concerto—a black stick
    painting the afternoon (which of us drove?)
    Things slip from memory. We tried to prove
    our depths to our girls. Expertly tricked
    by Rock stardom, it worked. Four of us loved
    Stravinsky through that fall. The microphone
    paused strings. Boulez told the Hollywood Bowl
    the orchestra would leave early. The news
    from Munich. Silence. The great man renewed
    strings—The Rite of Spring—Music stands were moved.
    Zappa played the devil. Fred (!) drove us home.

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