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Chess and Cheese in Crete

by Frank Thomas Smith


To sit outdoors in Crete

with you and coffee, hardtoast,

creamy butter and yoghurt

after a morning swim

in the rosy-fingered dawn...


And for lunch at the bubbling port

unidentifiable sea-things,

lukewarm vegetables, cheese,

the deceptive yellow wine

churning my burning blood,


In our room on the creaky bed

with the shutters open wide,

a window on the sea,

your hard nipple swelling,

contemplating it I...


One day a thoughtful Arab,

on folding up his tent

under the desert stars,

touched by the God of chess

invented and played the game.


I ask (silently, my love)

how far we are from that country,

and do we care, now,

as I penetrate your darkness

and mate your castled queen.



The Daughter of the Sun


The Daughter of the Sun

Taught us all we know,

First she forged the flicking fire,

The greatest gift of all,

And showed us how to forge it

Evermore.

The stone ax to chop and cut and kill,

Baskets woven of high dry grass,

Pots scooped from earth and kilned in fire

She gave us:

The Daughter of the Sun

Taught us all we know.


One day she cooked a soup of river fish.

The flames roared and the pot flowed over,

And soup and fish doused the fire.

The Daughter of the Sun,

Angered by the fire's frivolousness,

Squatted over the embers and pissed a lake.

The fire's dying embers singed her pubic hair,

The burnt vaginal odor engulfed the world,

Kindling desire for woman in us all.


Returning, spent, to the over-world

She taught us how to die, but not the why.

O Daughter of the Sun,

O Mother of the Moon.


The Expatriate


The problem with most foreign lands

is that they're far, too far away,

like the bleachers in Ebbett's used to be

before the debacle of technology.

Also, either they're terribly bland,

foggy, windy and damp, or,

if southerly, downright dangerous,

where bullets fly and sunscreen 21

can't ward off the assassin sun.


Why, then, does he dwell,

ducking and frying, far from the patria

he tearfully invokes over juice of the grape

at a sidewalk table of the corner taberna?

Call it if you will, with a shrug, "escape".

He'll smile and wave away a bug

or give his drooping mustache a tug,

or frown his glabrous suntanned brow.

"Could be," he mutters, "but who cares now?"


He'll bid goodbye to you and,

sandal-clad as once Ulysses,

his uncashed pension check

snug against his bony chest,

walk along the winding lane

home to his dark-tress'd mistress

who waits with kisses and a wanton caress.


Foreign lands are far away,

it's true, but so is the expatriate.



The Promise


Hey Dad, I'll be there soon,

Sometime before the next full moon;

Until then don't you weep,

I'll be home before you sleep.

***


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