5 Poems by Rose Mary Boehm

A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of ‘Tangents’, a poetry collection published in the UK in 2010/2011, her work has been widely published in US poetry journals (online and print). She was three times winner of the Goodreads monthly competition, a new poetry collection (‘From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949 : A Child’s Journey’) has been published by Aldrich Press in May 2016, and a new collection (‘Peru Blues or Lady Gaga Won’t Be Back’) has been published (January 2018) by Kelsay Books.

 

A Deluge by any Other Name

Tell me the story of the deluge,
sleep-mate of the anaconda,
shaman of the Urarina,
the downstream people.

Tell me about the first,
the one who climbed the cudí tree
and saved himself when
the daughter of the ayahuasca god
pissed a flood after the festival.
His wily wife also clung to the tree,
became a termite nest.

You can’t give your true name, but
all of nature knows it after you’ve
looked deep into the bottomless
Angel Trumpets.

Slash and burn.
Slash and burn.
The white faces got weeds for corn.
The Amazon was on your side.
So you let down your guard.

You never knew
your enemy’s true name.
Roundup. Glyphosate.
Noisy gods with wings fly overhead,
misting death into your green immensity.
*****
A White Sheet of Paper

I contemplate
the white rectangle
of paper on which
nothing is written.
It is in abeyance.

There shall be no
budding of words,
no binding of
seeds to what seems
their future.

Free

to shift essence,
gather resonances.

Wraiths born
remain
untold.

A white sheet of paper.
A gateway.
*****

Aristos in North London

He remembers Darius, Alexander
and Demosthenes. Reads classical
Greek and will tell you the story of
Epaminondas, oligarch of Thebes,
who invented a battle formation
that helped him beat the shit out of the
Spartans. Yes, he used to be
an educated man. Kalispera.
Good afternoon, ladies.

Kalimera, ti kanis
Good morning, how are you today?
Called his restaurant Lacedaemon.
During the week, he opens
late morning for lunch. Unkempt,
unshaven. Fridays is bath time.
In the evening the chattering ladies
trundle in with some elegance
learned in the big city, tightly
cinched, high heeled to give
height, glittering blue queen-
of-the-night special framed
by long-lashes, soft layers of
glistening blood cover the
teeth that are not missing.
Slowly begins the sirtaki.
Slowly they pick their men.
*****
Balance

It’s the time of life’s imbalance,
perception itself is up for review,
choices are based on illusions.
Once man walked humbly,
secure in the knowledge
that the earth was aware of him
and he of her.
He shared her soil.
A great stillness
was piercing the veil
and the stars were proof
of a celestial homeland.

Now is the time of narcissism,
denying the delicate threads
that hold our fragile planet on course.

Gaia seeks balance;
the fear, pain, and grief
of thousands soak as offering
into the altar of equilibrium.
*****

Éire, Co. Wicklow, 1974

A rain-sodden day,
straw, browns, black and slate,
wet-enhanced.

Folded into the rocks
a small inn, fire blazing
in the inglenook. At the bar,
backs to us, 12 guys
in black leather:
standard Revolutionary Army issue.
They don’t look at each other
but into the mirrors behind the counter
while conferring quietly.

The fat landlord
offers us hot toddies
and a sour smile.
*****

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