…for everything flowers from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness…
In the endless mall of Florida—a French patisserie run by French people.
Birds flit for crumbs.
Sherbet umbrellas beckon Town Cars of the aged to dock nearby.
Scents of hibiscus, sunset-hued blossoms of tropical vines blend with that of yeast, humid asphalt, and Estée Lauder.
There is no one left to love.
Sometimes the evidence is overwhelming.
Sometimes I wish a gull will miss landing on its piling.
The real truth is that nothing mitigates.
Lonely birds call through a pink dusk.
If I could name the flora and fauna, I could cope with uncertainty.
I could walk outside to a gator in the pool.
Surprising things happen.
A double murderer was just arrested in Chicago where he’d lived as a poet for twenty years.
I have to write so many words just to survive.
How many will it take to endure? To be happy?
The many places I’ve been make me like every place less.
I love the romantic excess of Spanish explorers: cities of gold, fountain of youth.
Here the old grow younger or think they do.
Who am I to shadow conquerors?
Sometimes a clean, well-lighted place is fine.
Sometimes nothing is enough.
Always that restlessness in the stalls.
The need to be touched.
The need to be reminded of my loveliness.
As if I am one of the few who are chosen.
Carlos Fuentes described Frida Kahlo with her jangling jewelry and intensity as her own opera.
At times I am so tame I wonder if even the trained can prepare me for a return to the wild.
At times the Leo in me sees the world as collateral.
A woman in a poem hopes in the growth of two dozen seeds.
The man thinks she expects too much: “To grow her a whole new life.”
What can I expect here beside the ocean?
I do not ponder the damage done—a cul de sac of regret.
Not everything happens for a reason.
I hear orchids grow in wet seclusion.
Stones are silent by choice.
Water builds only to lose itself.
Blue calms my tendency to wander, to see other sides.
Life, like anything, is a habit, can be found almost anywhere, can happen to anyone.
This is a reprint of work originally published in RHINO Poetry.
Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including Spoon River Poetry Review, Another Chicago Magazine, The Good Men Project, F(r)iction, The Gay & Lesbian Review, Tampa Review, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. He has had memoirs published in Gravel, The Good Men Project, decomP magazinE, Autre, and Cobalt Magazine, among others. Willingly, his third poetry book, was published in 2019. His website is http://www.marcfrazier.org.