by Mark Taksa

Comfort in a Theory

The watering can I hold over a daisy
is dry. Waiting for my neighbor to appear
in her window, I pose. The pocket of my shirt
hides the ripped edge of an opera ticket.

My neighbor parts her curtains,
watches the sky, quits pretending
she is evaluating clouds, and asks
if the climate is fair for a stroll to an aria.

Questions of fairness, I say, evoke enticement
and all enticement, evil or innocent,
provokes deception. In short, I have no opinion
about climate. I offer my theory that friends
walk closest when among abandoned
buildings too hollow to hold music.

To take comfort in a theory, my neighbor
answers, is to dance and hope for a cloud
to drop into empty hands.… My smile counters
her doubt, as if I am a waiter, and she,
having chosen the most pricey burgundy,
is unfolding a magnanimous wallet.

Mystery Is mostly

A cook’s cap lampoons the cop’s badge.
His stiff chin wavering, he scrutinizes the theater,
its seats torn out, and tells us to catch his whimsy
or be no more than a ticket in a suit.

He says we make mystery with our personal
ruin, as if undressing from familiar duds,
as if clothing in unknown notions.

Into his cupped and naked hands,
he gazes, as if into magic soup, and dares us
to see minestrone. He tells us to notice
the dry in the rainy sky, to stand among
drenched umbrellas and not get wet.

Mystery is mostly comical, so, declining
to be a fool who wastes a ticket, I rush through
the empty door, take off my wet coat,
and touch the dry in my drenched hair.
My whimsy keeps my life undressing.

Bouncing High    

The clicking coming close is an iron knight
rushing to halt my march. Hurrying past
my fear of turning, I enter a clump of branches
which brushes my thought from castle days.
I slow into the hummingbird’s aria.

The chain clicks louder. Though the pavement crack
might jam my sneakers, I turn and look into
a fleshless grin. The bone man lifts my hand
from dog fur. His dogs flutter their ears,
lift snouts, and sing for us to go.

Sun will not, the bone man whispers,
always decorate my stride. My sneakers, I protest,
are too scrubbed, and I am too new to dancing
to sleep in his dark house. I shout for him
to take someone eager to sleep.

Tags click. Waiting to go, the dogs fidget.
The bone man tugs me to fallow. I think of my legs
bouncing high under the sun beyond the woods.
My shout swerves me from the pavement and into
the grass deep over my already stepped path.

Borrowed Blank

I walk out of my unstitching shoes
and throw off my socks. My tuxedo floating
into the ocean, I imagine the waves
pulling my wrinkles flat.

Sitting in a blanket she folds
up to her chin, a woman with cave eyes
shifts into my shadow. Her face is free
of furrows. Pouring sand on my toes, she says

no path is unrough and no nakedness
can bring back a baby’s skin;
I will be wrinkled and unstitching—
unless I occupy blankness.

My sight clutches the blank of her caves.
I turn, dress in the ocean and retrieve
my sodden and sinking clothes. Out of the waves,
I am a wet tuxedo. Covered by my borrowed
blank, I have no fear of unraveling.

About the Author:

mark taksa

Mark Taksa’s poems are appearing in Main Street Rag, Slant, and Trajectory, He is the author of ten chapbooks. The Invention of Love (March Street Press),  Love Among The Antiquarians (Pudding House),  The Torah At The End Of The Train (first place in the 2009 Poetica Magazine chapbook contest),  are the most recent.