Other Poems by:

David Ray


"The person perceives the relationship, but there is no known physical 
cause for it. Magic is inferred when meaning is found."
                                --Claude Levi-Strauss

I open the book at random and ask,
"What am I meant to see here?"

And the same question can be asked
of the streets and the faces,

the malls and the mountains.
There are those who think such

a quest is absurd, and yet if
they should look back, would they

not see it was all meant to be --
right up to the lip of hell, and also

when poised at the brink of heaven.
"Randomness" appears in Re-Markings (India), 2004

Four Acres

The new owners call them
virgin--their four acres

of desert--soon deflowered
by bulldozers, jackhammers

and posts driven in.  A rattle
snake wanders in, not aware

he has been evicted
after a few million years.

Though he has no brows
I would swear he reared up

and raised them--a snake
afflicted with perplexity.

What has become here
of home? A call is put in

for the exterminator,
who has already dealt

with the cougar, coyote,
mountain lion, javelina

and quail.  The wife dreams
of herself as Eve

in a garden, a snake
crawling near, wrapping

around her.  His face
bears a resembance to Satan.

She wakes her husband
                           to tell him.
"Four Acres" appears in The Anthology of New England Writers 
2004 as an Editor's Choice.


The poets offer advice, and Oh,
    how I need to take it.

Sor Juana: eagles must not
     allow themselves

to be distracted. Eluard: It is time
     to stop talking to rubble.

Gandhi--I'll dub him a poet: Keep
    your eye on the activity,

not the goal, which I guess is what
    Thoreau had in mind

when he wrote that the laborer must be
    recompensed by his labor,

not by his employer. Best to forget goals--
    are they not for basketball

players? When did this madness first
    infect us, craving results?

Could it have been when the teacher
    began dispensing grades

and her frowns and smiles with them?
    Poor Keats, with his lust

for his books in a row, spines stamped
    in gold. Poor little Emilie,

abused by Higginson. Poor little Sylvia,
    vowing she'd be happy if

she could just get one poem in The Atlantic.
    Poor little me, vowing to get on

with the work, when naysayers command
    the mails and sonic booms

shake the yard, reminding us who owns the sky,
    sadly not my fossilized trilobite. 
"Distraction" appears in Prairie Schooner, 
Spring 2003

C)opyright 2009 David Ray All Rights Reserved
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