Dear Suki, Pasadena, January 31st, some people know well
enough to lumber around in this city without getting lonely,
while juggling boredom and leisure between odd jobs. I feel
the air is chilled through this evening for that quick bite of
fried calamari tapas and warm Merlot from a nearby Spanish
bar. I hardly remember my short walk downtown, but I think
of you the last time we met, happy, tipsy, dancing on bartop,
pirouetting to the scat refrains of Dizzy Gillespie. Here, I look
around with nostalgia from the bisque-colored walls of the
exterior that bleed into the sky-blue interior, where assorted
black and white frames of Picasso, Dali, Vega, and others,
hang over the focal bar island. You could have a memory here
with me, jostle elbow with the locals, lean back into the past,
divine the meaning of life from tequila, lime, and Latin jazz.
A few dew drops of elixir, like now, when the air is so crisp
and fine, when I could no longer fight to keep myself moving,
I mind the kindness, moans, whispers, laughter of strangers
in these strange places. So, I sit, a figure of repose, slim as a
dry martini, stakes my claim on the world.
Pain Is an Old Man
Pain is an old man this time,
and loneliness has never been
more than shadows among
the blinks of a seasoned storm,
where metamorphic whispers
keep still in suspension.
Lined fingers feed a canteen of
wine into mouth scrubbed by
heat, eyes are a swollen glow,
with the gabardine of malady
nipped clean by desolate cheek-
All these years braid their lithe
bodies through his bones, now
remnants of human fires lay
tossed over the skein of obsidian
sky, who blinks a million motes
of pearls littering his universe.
what you loved were
the impulsive turns and
errors of my defeat,
broken over your exquisite
lies lounging on desert-
beaten back street--
my tongue grew stone
and docile on its grooves;
in this still volume of
magpie, I let you traipse into
until I became blistered
and hot and peeling,
like the sprigs of red maples
stiffened by blossoms,
while the roots lay stunted
from long swigs of all
that dust honed down by
miles of sky's billowing pyres—
Warmth mingled in your breaths.
Inches from mine,
charged with unsealed joy or anticipation.
I turned my face to where
the shutters' noise from the camera clicked.
You became a blurred object in
my peripheral vision,
angled as it bunched at the edge,
yet, that glint of gold reflected in your eyes
was caught in the hurried lenses
of the photograph.
And for that one small instant,
our gaze clutched tight to a memory,
with my head at the foreground,
and yours tilted at the nape of my neck--
unleasing a stillness that turned into a whisper
of a promise yet to be named.
A four-time Pushcart Prize, five-time Best of the Net & Bettering American Poetry nominee, Lana Bella is an author of three chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016), Adagio (Finishing Line Press, 2016), and Dear Suki: Letters (Platypus 2412 Mini Chapbook Series, 2016), has had poetry and fiction featured with over 500 journals, Acentos Review, Barzakh, EVENT, The Fortnightly Review, Ilanot Review, New Reader, Notre Dame Review, Rock and Sling, The Stillwater Review, Sundress Publications & Whiskey Island, among others, and Aeolian Harp Anthology, Volume 3.