Candomblé Souls

Trancing on drum beats and chanting
Welcome to the Orishas,
Passion seizes candomblé souls
White-clad in a circle of power.

The spirit possesses —

Ogum bares his iron sword
threatening conflict and war.

Oxum flows around him
water contained in land.

Omolú shakes his straw-covered head
eyes hiding death and disease.

Iansã blows and storms,
unstoppable force of nature.

Oxossi hunts his inevitable prey
providing food and prosperity.

Xangô twirls breathing fire,
flames thundering from his limbs.

Iemanjá, siren of the sea,
hears fisherman ask for protection and plenty.

The spirit possesses —

Eyes rolled up white
Bodies trembling in ecstacy
Welcome to the Orishas!


[Thanks to the Balé Folclórico de Bahia for an excellent performance in Salvador, Brazil.]

The Toil of Words

Who knows – the toil of words
stuck so deep – in human flesh?
Even the most strenuous striving
but a strain for the secretive soul.

Light pierces the alabaster hoard
that emits no shriek or sigh,
no way no how – are you of a
hapless tick-tick-ticking time?

My eye brings its own brand,
searing with no resort to heat
to hide what no rationale can

Shore Mirage

We always ride
the present wave
into the future
whether as perfectly
poised surfer or
dragged by our
big toes through
the roiling waters.

Though riding long
erect implies grace
and fleeting fame,
no life lacks
the thundering surf
pounding out gasping
breaths, choking briny
water. We do
our best to
avoid sharks in
the salty sea,
or pulling weeds
from the deep.

No expanse voids
our silky song,
the castaways’ motley
dream parched in
watery plenty.  Most
bob listlessly in
peace deep sinking
souls surround surrender
tubular striving to
the distant mirage
on the shore.

Haunted Heart

Specters of one-time friends
rattle my nightmares —
nightsweats from that spicy meal?

Age-old anxieties push tears to
my brow, well up from some
diffuse and wandering center of pain.

Is it high blood pressure hammering my heart,
indigestions’ pit against my stomach’s pit?
Headache sinus sore throat raw omen of death?