Greg Geis 

 

At The Huguenot Cemetery

For Aidan Mathews

 

The gate is locked,
the squatters settled now in good dirt,
tended there by shadows
and a flock of Irish trees.

Outside the gate,
a bus stop where commuters 
queue for rides to God knows where,
shivering in the wealth of wind

like carriage horses
lined up outside The Shelbourne,
blanketed, with collars
and harnesses to help

them pull their weight.
Calm in their helplessness,
they stand unblinking
and indifferent in the face of work.

Strange fruit, Geneva’s children--
encircled now by bobbing cranes
raised up on one leg to peck away
at blinkered Dublin.

And the hive of day-glo workers
in their drone bumble bee vests,
here to milk fresh honey from cement.
As if to say, the business of life goes on.

Tired émigrés, quarantined
in some eternal freehold,
wedged between an optician’s
and a language school, sale agreed,

they nap among the hopscotched stones.
And in their final sliver of certainty,
rest blessedly assured, liveried souls
frozen in that place, surrounded there

by gospel commerce, oblivious to nature,
its manual acts and greening priest-talk,
like dioramas in a natural history museum
trace our blind ascent.

 

 

 


On reading Yehuda Amichai at Mr. Carwash

 

Yehuda was a Buick man,
I’m sure.

How heads turned
in Jerusalem to catch him

tooling down King George Street
in his sky-blue convertible Riviera.

When words escaped him,
what else could he do?

A ride would clear his head.
And when the blank page of Spring

spilled its whiteness, right to left,
over the jaded stone,

he tasted a parolee’s freedom—
and a personal greeting

from the Warden, the benign shalom
of two neighbors meeting

at the downstairs mailbox.
But I am not in Jerusalem.

I’m at Mr. Carwash in Houston
and they do not wash convertibles.

There is a mosque next door
at which the shoeshine boy

gazes indifferently
from behind a rampart

of wingtips
and saddle oxfords.

In the drying lanes,
emboldened Mexicans wave towels.

But they are not surrendering;
it is only the signal

that a green Mercedes is ready.
While in the waiting room,

a four-year old
wedges gum wrappers

between sofa cushions
while his Father looks away:

like a Jew at the wailing wall
carefully sheltering prayers

which will never see the light of day.

 

 “On Reading Yehuda Amichai at Mr. Carwash” first appeared in Permafrost (University of Alaska). It was also a finalist for the University of Alaska’s 2016 New Alchemy Prize.

 

 

D.G. Geis is the author of 'Fire Sale' (Tupelo Press/Leapfolio) and 'Mockumentary' (Main Street Rag). Most recently, his poetry has appeared in The Irish Times, Fjords, Skylight 47 (Ireland), A New Ulster Review (N. Ireland), and Crannog Magazine (Ireland).