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Five Poems

Israel A. Bonilla

Quiet as an Agate Lamp

The ocean rises,
summer evening of spilled honey,
trail for the three-mast,
glee between glimmer.

The ocean rises,
oblique slit of the skyline,
stationary glass,
woe amid watchmen.

The ocean rises,
blunder of red diagonals,
impetuous macula,
tumult towering hours.

The ocean rises,
garter, robe, curls,
wide-eyed consort,
essay above aim.

The ocean rises,
funereal stepping stone,
maternal murmur,
gentle obolus.


Within the deep symmetries of the woods,
conversing on the glade that has been reached,
we lose all visions of furtherance
and silence the stir of our longings.
We are awake, casting off our word
into the ever-working breath.

And a jubilee soon dispels the peace.
Torrent of limbs, multiloquent roar.
Your distinct shade merges into
the spectrum of excess,
and is lost, as a remote glare
expands, consumes the indulgence.

The glade?
I stare at my hands,
which remain stolid.
A diffuse tremble
is the lone answer.

A Native Light

8395 times I’ve yearned
for the significant release that will allay the moments
I absorb the pain of the world,
burdenous task that buds
through untold voices whispering their prayers of agony
into my pastel ears,
attuned to the heavens
as my eyes are attuned to the apparitions of our Lord.

But I tremble,
for it would mean night as telluric tapestry,
not as winged kingdom,
where the heavy silks
susurrate and graze my expectant forehead
before the word mounts,
suggestive of ailment
in its hobbled, profane connotations.

the soaring scale obfuscates my vision,
compels restraint,
lest I seek fulfilment
ignorant of the ordained balance
that disperses
mortal clouds and speaks the genuine toll.

The exile is long,
yet all creation knows me.

The Center

I scanned the sky with avidness and saw
the answers, black and white, that all ignored.
Redemptive, lifelike pictures following
one another in cryptic patterns I
alone could grasp—am I untouched by sin?

For I cannot explain the tree inside,
which feeds off water running through my veins.
Nor the nights my throat, rigid, leaves me mute.
Have I to think about my life till now?
Your son, the bearer of Your pain-wrought word?

A faithful wife in ignorant abandon—
the consequence of overbearing lust.
There is no guilt or shame; I cannot judge
a poisoned gift what is in me. I am.
Glory to him ablaze with desire!

Those who pay tuition for enlightenment
have locked me in this madhouse out of spite.
I’m sinless—wives surround me dressed as nuns.
You guide my fate. You guide my skillful hand.
In silent labor, all will be preserved.

An Urbane Preacher

Song, wine, and women had defined my taste—

Away from them, the skulls and masks occult
in blank walls grinned.

They murmured and conspired to kill me,
but I escaped.

A spear cut through my side, revealing blood
and water.

I found my eyes renewed—defiant.

Untrained, my hands impulsively reached for
brush and color.

A haven for interpretation is
the smallest stone;

the source of inspiration’s roaming free
a childish play.

I am not humbled by the outer glow—
I sustain it.


Israel A. Bonilla