Two Poems

by Phillip Shabazz

The Pen                                               
Sea radiance swims in the reservoir.
Even steel, slim chance, its glow lounges
on a table by the window. Blackened windchill
slices a vermilion cliff. A hidden moon reaches
down to lift the town tender shore. I, a follower,
run childlike along the slush-piled sidewalk.
Dissolve in hallowed luminescence.
Darkness stops at the door of my eye.
I vanish in its brightening body. Marvel.
Chase the brilliance, half-drunk in the street.
Lodge its dismissals, pictures, cold curtains.
How nice to find this glow warms my face.
Its comet tail pierces the cosmos: a fire-pointed finger.
It is December, the last day. Night flies home to a sky
wet with joy, shaking its hair in the wind.
Snow glitters allow me to stay long enough 
to pull away the flower frost and ice light.
Everything tells me I embody this boundless glow.
A star song swirls the net of a dream catcher.
Christmas tree lovers sing the New Year to life.
I am a million eyes watching the glow
hug the Times Square walls. The crystal ball drops
off into another exhausted year, each final second.
On foot, I follow the glow. Confetti fireworks
flash between lip and cloud. Smoke comes up from kisses.
The Milky Way consoles its kaleidoscopic scales.
Everything immortal is safe now to rub my head.
I store an entire galaxy in my own constellation.
The glow seeps from my eyes at the corners,
the way it causes Langston’s eyes to weep.

Of Time                                                      

Beneath my bones an ocean burns.
I look back. I’m stuck in a gulch below sea level.
Look forward. I climb above the gut rock.
Kiss a bleached sky. Refuse the old man’s greasy slopes.
His invisible hand grabs my foot.
Beneath my bones his fingers begin to pull.  
His twist grips my leg; the grip hurts,
like a swimmer’s cramp between the ribs.
The moment holds harm’s avalanche.
I push away his embrace to ease my edge.
My foot slips as if felled by ice.
And to see ice in the old man’s eyes
slit in Atlantic wrinkles
causes the clouds to pout,
the shore go pale. Finally,
I catch myself.
Balance the scales to not let
him snatch me through the floor, under water.
A disaster of skeletons,
unarmed shipwrecks cleave
to junk and jungles in fungi spore.
I value the salt pillars nestled in seaweed silence.
I’m just not ready to let his hand drag me
down into the deep frost.

Photo by Kirill Pershin