Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Robert Louis Stevenson

Eighteen eighty-nine finds you
with the king and princess of Hawaii
at a luau in Waikiki

there are more than eight
at the table
king Kalakua, princess Liliuokalani
and you
gaze at the camera
royal eyes veiled
yours measuring
your face tuberculosis thin
reaching for another paragraph
or verse within
as others reach for roast pig

words place you there
title and crest you

words that fall in you like rain
collect in the deep
pools of your eyes
steep sentient solitary tea
sound seas
probe jungle deeps
walk beaches beneath
tangle-rooted kamani trees
explore the darkened soul
shadowed curse
brown girls in grass skirts
Oxford primitives in starched shirts
grizzled sailors
domiciled in grass shacks

you sit sallow
in your canvas chair
thread words like shells
weave air

rule written centuries
with a pencil

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