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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Zach Kluckman
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 02:28 PM
American Open Mike:  New American Voices .

** Zach Kluckman **

The Ribbon

Tousled tumbleweed hair sits
Redly, atop shoulders too heavy
For burdens to bear
Eyes whose age tell lies, simply
Too young to know such hardness, such rage,
But clenched fists cannot loose the truth
And the fire-scar of wisdom burns
In the sage flame stare, hidden behind
The pain, behind the shattered reflections
That break from his eyes
He stares with distrust at the silver shine
Gift beneath the tree
Wrapped in white ribbon

Child, you have run your fingers
In the flashing streams of time, whose
Soft whisper screamed urgency in your ears
But this simple package of honest intent
Flashing, refracting red red red
In the dark fear of the corner
On your face, on your pajamas
This small package wrapped in ribbon
Curling white, your hand will not dare

How brilliant the bruises are, that stain your eyes
Black summer cavernous and deep
The wounds that run quickly,
silver and mercury
Silence, refusing to speak
But how brightly shines the pearl ribbon
That your hard fingers fear
Curiosity, innocence, begging
To be free of hiding behind
The stern stone of your face

I see, I know the hatred
The sheer red coal-fire rage
I know the walls you have made
Cannot weather long the storm
No matter how strong
I too. I too child, fought
Where you fight, and like you
I refused the right to cry
But listen child. Please listen.
Put down their ghosts child
Such companions were never meant to be yours
Let them wash like blood from your hands
The past is a prism
A shattered color prison
That no man woman animal can destroy
You must face them
and smile courage
Merely bury the dead
And you will see them rise again
In the glow of the tree string lights
In the bathroom mirror
But it is almost a new year
And it is only a ribbon

Yes, yes! Come forward child
Walk from the shadows you carry
The light here under the tree is soft
The carols like cocoa warm
Give me your hand
No need to tremble my child
Will you open your present?
Look, the ribbon curls hide a card

“To every child who has wanted
To do more than look out the window
Who has felt abandoned, betrayed
Or unloved
To you child, too long ignored
I give this simple gift
You are free”

Feng Shui with Sais


Marble green veined columns stand
Tower over the garden
Jade doorstop dragons bow
To the flat palm peace of ivory Buddha
Fast flashing fascination
Koi in the pond drunk with oxygen
Breathe in the flower petal pollen
Perfume scented and dancing
Like teasing lovers before the amorous chase
Of jacketed bees

Emerald green skin lily on pond
Stroking softly jasmine winds
Bansai grow yen over yang
Beneath the red sun tai roof
And the wooden carved phoenix rises
Greeting the sun with her wings
Just beyond the wooden bridge lattice
That stretches from garden to dojo
Where the Bo staff and Sais
Sit cross-legged and waiting


The hand and the elbow
Mantis fist, iron palm flow
Cheng style Tai Chi Quan
The two become one

Attack and defense
Slow kata, hammer kick, palm
The soft and the hard
Movement a song

Releasing your thoughts to gather your Qi
Americans say chi
Spin kick, drop, metal
now in your hands

Listen, how slow the leaves fall

The body is a poem, movement
You must know the rhythm
The beat of your breath
Butterfly twirl, sword breaker Sais

The cherry blossom sings

Silver sparks when struck harshly
But the fluid sword whispers
For the hand that holds it to hear
Your hair, and your hand, and the wind

Feng shui whispers the secrets
Long held in bushido
There is honor in movement
That the mind does not delay


The polished wooden floor
Like finger to lips is silent
Smiling at the scuffing whisper
Of leather tread footstep
Red lantern glow through the smoke
Of sandalwood incense
And sweat
The sharpened steel ringing
From each side as it plunges
Into spare wooden scabbards
Kneeling with the master
Beneath each palm on the floor
Where a forehead lies resting
Tired, closed eyes still seeking


Disparate Unity
What comes together
Sometimes cannot hold
Without weather

and I am not a little green eyed monster
Like rabbit fur slippers grinning and funny
The raging razor ribbon of blood
Lining white teeth under a broken nose smile
The fist of anger raised to the sky
The broken bone under your left eye
And you do not
Want to know me

I seek solace
Like a soft lip in the lazy blue winding of thread
Spilling fate blind from a basket in unsheared play
Rolling through wet fingers across an oaken red floor
A certain insecurity in the rise of light
Like a dappled horse through the willow’s thin hair
Sheltering these ideals in the shallow breath of joy
Laughing at the bruises and scars I no longer carry
Spilling them in blue, in black on torn pages
I seek solace
And I have known it

You have created me
The knuckle tendon jumping in your hands
Is the black stallion beast of burden carrying me forward
You who have pushed, pulled, taunted me
The bestial you who have abused, lied and tried me
In your court of selfish misery
I have sworn vengeance on your outlaw will
Promised to fight for my family, my life, basic survival
I have been like the burnt sea thrown in the forging winds
You have created me
I have promised to stand against your kind
And I will

Words run like kisses
Following the length of my spine, seeking safety
In the sublime supplication of night before dawn
Cranberry wax flows under my fingers, slowing my words
Smoking yet, setting the fires of my dualistic mind
Against the minute, scalpel thin wood of the page
I have spoken out against my battles with hammer fists
My foe is this journal, my passion my friend
Words run like kisses
And sometimes you do not
Want to know them

Disparate unity
Sometimes I come together
Warrior dueling poet
My fist and my pen
Raging like summer weather

Zach Kluckman says: " I have been a writer for 18 years, and currently reside in the stark beauty of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I have co-founded a poetry workshop for local artists. I am also honing my Slamming skills against the current national champs while I earn my Bachelor’s degree in Education, so I can share my love of words with others."

Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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