paragon

12/03/2012
bard at work©papa osmubal

bard at work©papa osmubal

paragon
reid mitchell

Do governments exile men
because when homesick
weak men write stronger poetry?


lux

12/03/2012
read it right©papa osmubal

read it right©papa osmubal

lux
reid mitchell

too taught at those universities
whose motto is “Eat People.”
Read the Latin right.
It says “eat people” too.


old lines collected

11/03/2012
butterfly©papa osmubal

butterfly©papa osmubal

old lines collected
reid mitchell

Small bells in the evening rain
Only wind coming at night
Watchtower fires have been burning for three months
Broken-hearted, how can I write broken-hearted poems?

To comfort the road weary, a woman with painted eyebrows–
When she’s done kicking her hair is a mess
On a white winter day one hundred flowers blossom

This butterfly is most bewildered.


pearls drop by drop

26/06/2011
birds ©papa osmubal

birds ©papa osmubal


pearls drop by drop

reid mitchell

Oriole, I heard your grief.
how lucky.
I was seeking a subject,
Object.


once upon a time

26/06/2011
when the world was young ©papa osmubal

when the world was young ©papa osmubal


once upon a time

reid mitchell

Do I have only time for one last story?
last meaning not till next time but last?
the last gift I can give you?
the last harm I can inflict?
the last words to make my silence ring?

I could tell the Story of Yellow Jack and Brown Bess
the Butcher’s Wife and the Buddhist
how Snow Came to the Sahara
or the Floods that Uncovered a Tomb.

I could tell instead how the Tiger Learned to Walk
how the Two Daughters Came to be  Lost
the Ghost on the Midnight Express
or the Weak Man and the Black Girl
even Clouds and Rain on Sorceress Mountain.

But I know only half the story of you and me
and you hold that half that matters
you, whose mouth is filled
with tongue and words and spit and savor
and no stories at all.

Once upon a time, not so far away
a boy with horse and bird
a white horse and a black bird
no, a dappled horse and a dappled bird
rode west upon his mare’s haunches, his hawk hurled upon the western wind.
a castle, a maiden, a monster with human face.

He called the maiden sister and the monster self
and burned the castle down.
He hunted on hands and knees through the ashes of wealth
found fool’s gold worth folly
and turned toward the moon with the gift.


scholars’ wisdom

26/06/2011
everybody wants to buy one ©papa osmubal

everybody wants to buy one ©papa osmubal


scholars’ wisdom

reid mitchell

When in doubt, kill the concubine
the concubine, the courtesan, the consort,
the fox ghost.
Throw her under the horses’ hooves.
Submit her neck to the eunuch’s hands.
Pitch her out the window or down a well:
the fox ghost, the consort, the courtesan,
the concubine.

Make the soldiers and the black-hairs happy.


chinaberry tree

26/06/2011
okay, which bamboo? ©papa osmubal

okay, which bamboo? ©papa osmubal


chinaberry tree

reid mitchell

dropping berries, blackblue,
into the chlorine and water
the ginger hides bamboo
bamboo hides the pale wood fence
Like the fool moon,
jasmine blooms tonight

Ceiling fans slow above two soft faces
whose mouths settled silent seven minutes ago

Breeze smells like the sultry river
where fresh fights salt.
and the barks of locomotives shuttling
and switching ten blocks away:

The night of a late spring day.