Honey: four poems

by Robert Bové (July 2007)


(Versions of these four poems appear in The Shell Line cycle in The UFOs of October.)




Lotus lies asleep on the beach

                one hand at rest on backgammon board

                                filled with sand


down wind manhorse kneels up in sand

sniffs sea air, & whiff of Lotus.



Day long dusk of waterspouts, sheet lightning—

dull thunder echoes between black seas

                & mare’s tales.


In the last possible minute  

crimson Lotus stands on some pair of legs

& manhorse makes his move.






The Hanged Man, the Tower, & Death—

in whatever order, coming

from her hand, her mouth

pronouncing them good, each day’s new future

good in her hands, the care with which she lays

                                                                                                each card down

on glass coffee-table afternoons


& every morning he wakes to having things done for

his prospecting, his desire—



she said I see you in Rain City.  On me, cheri.                                                           






And then, Rain City, as predicted, between

stumped-down Coast Range & iced-up Cascades—

manhorse gone, buried in largesse, good dope

& the automatic goodness of this good woman

in each cut of the deck, in each card placed

methodically upon card, sage airing

fate each afternoon, constant drizzle

dampening luck, pine breeze

snuffing will

                                    sincere woman, provender


But this, cheri is the way you like it


& at this moment he can’t make it stop





When She Was a Girl


The neighbors got to know Lotus

always sitting in her window on Embassy Row

not far from the sidewalk where they blew up Letelier

scattered myth of democracia under taxi wheels, into rose bushes.


She never heard the bomb—What were you thinking?

was hoping, she says now, for a beautiful face

a body as tall as the shortest of her friends

Don’t worry, you’ll grow

as she often thought of her father, always away

when he was alive.


Mother—who’d dashed up in the world

Child, your mother is a very beautiful woman

marrying her way from pickupburg trailer

to limotown consular rowhouse—

had something to teach her about the help

If you’re going to make them cook, get a big kitchen

about how much help was needed.


Lotus learned that—

and more, on her own

in the third-floor window

making folks crane their necks

Is that a voice, up there in the window?

to attend to her, the little girl—

how easy to get the busy folk

to stop and pay her mind

to keep her mind

off mother in her face

about her face and stature.





Sniff, Sniff


Lotus’s parents flew out to Rain City

the morning after they heard

I’d left her to go back East.

Bought her a house on a cliff

overlooking lazy river valley

the day after they arrived.


I was living on a cliff myself

the day after the day after

when Lotus called with her good news.

Washington Heights, upper Manhattan

provisional capital of city drug trade

ass-end of things Caribbean

Mi casa merde es tu casa merde.


The Hudson’s wide there

about a mile

but it would have to be awfully wide

not to see New Jersey


or wester beyond, where she still

starts her days with a doobie

& calls everyone until

General Hospital comes on.





Poem at Diaphanous Hotel


Signed, etched into the bedroom

wall, above headboard:

you had to be right


there to see it.  It said:

Forget loneliness, remember me.




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