Poems by Duane Locke



White strings with white onions hang
From a rusty nail hammered into a dark brown wall.
The courtyard spotted by a stained Venus with one arm
It is too dark to see Venus' blue eyes and blonde hair,
It is too dark to see the lemon trees' Moorish architecture,
It is too dark to see scattered among stucco flakes
Curled on the red tile floor, fragments of Apollo's fallen chariot.
What is present in this dark place is only glimpsed
When a gold light flashes from fireflies.
So what is seen is enameled with gold:
A gold dropped rose, a golden bent hairpin, a gold castanet,
The golden indentations in dust made by high heels.



Last night, the quarter moon was a sickle,
Cut Jacaranda twigs,
Caused Jacaranda blossoms to fall.
This morning, the ground of my yard is lavender

This morning I will stay inside
With my only love, wine.
Not walk to crush and disturb the lavender
That covers the ground on the way to my gate.

I might stay inside for several days.



Chili peppers piled
On a
Flimsy, fire-colored paper.

I saw this scene
The time I wore
Brown sandals.

I looked at the brown straps
Imprisoning my pink feet,
And then barefoot, I looked again

At Chili peppers
On a
Flimsy, fire-colored paper.

Other Duane Locke poems have appeared in Issue #5 of Offcourse, the Fall 1999  issue.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Duane Locke, Doctor of Philosophy in English Renaissance literature, Professor Emeritus of the Humanities, was Poet in Residence at the University of Tampa for over 20 years. Has had over 2,000 poems published in over 500 print magazines such as American Poetry Review, Nation, Literary Quarterly, Black Moon, and Bitter Oleander. He is the author of 14 print books of poems, the latest is WATCHING WISTERIA (to order write Vida Publishing, P.O. Box 12665, Lake Park, FL. 33405-0665, or Amazon or Barnes and Noble). Since September 1999, he became a cyber poet and started submitting on-line. He is also a painter and photographer. Now has exhibitions at Thomas Center Galleries (Gainesville, FL) and Tyson Trading Company (Micanopy, FL). Recently had a one-man show at Pyramid Galleries (Tampa, FL). He now lives alone in a two-story decaying house in the sunny Tampa slums. He lives isolated and estranged as an alien, not understanding the customs, the costumes, the language (some form of postmodern English) of his neighbors. The egregious ugliness of his neighborhood has recently been mitigated by the esthetic efforts of the police force who put bright orange and yellow posters on the posts to advertise that the location is a shopping mall for drugs. His alley is the dumping ground for stolen cars. One advantage of living in this neighborhood: if your car is stolen, you can step out in the back and pick it up. Also, the burglars are afraid to come in on account of the muggers. His recreational activities are drinking wine, listening to old operas, and reading postmodern philosophy.

Please write to him in care of Offcourse.

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