Passing by the Spanish Restaurant

September 26, 2015 at 9:23 am (Dani Clark, Poetry)

Each eve from office to bus stop
I walk by a Spanish restaurant
all blood red and velvet inside
where I can see
rows of bottles making pretty
over a brass bar.
It can be summer
people eat outside on
sidewalk tables
the fragrance of fried fish curls
like a woman’s finger
looping and looping in the air
and making me want
I’m not sure what.
Or, it can be cold out
a couple is ensconced
at a small table inside
she looks down traces a finger
on the bleach-white cloth
something illicit and warm
is happening
is made fuller
by the breaking of bread
and the garnet liquid.
We are always
and everywhere
passing each other by.
A suited man will look
beyond the glass one day
to a woman with brown hair
walking slowly on the sidewalk
now is the time he thinks.

But how in a million years
could I ever open the door
put my palms on her face
siphon her aliveness
have her walk away with me
into the night.

-Dani Clark


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Time Not Telling

July 7, 2015 at 7:59 am (Dani Clark, Poetry)

Her watches started stopping
when he came back
to where she always was
lost in stacks shelving books
him grinning and just washed
full of the loneliness that you smell

First when the chain link affair
began bugging out
she delivered it to a fat jeweler
who took it hostage
demanding sixty-two dollars
it’s not the battery he said
you need a whole new movement

but not two days after paying up
did the slinky unpredictable thing
boycott her again

Now the studious leather one
she has no explanation for why
it keeps freezing at odd moments then starting up again
no warning to say when it will happen

Or geez she also doesn’t know why
she doesn’t just give up
on these so called watches
resign herself

to time not telling anything
and not wanting to be told

since his coming home
all those years later
made of it
a falsehood of physics
a magician a very bendy thing.

– Dani Clark

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Antietam, Mothers’ Day

May 11, 2015 at 8:23 am (Dani Clark, Poetry)

The earth will suck

the dark blood of boys

will seep into everything

soil, drink, song

terror will become marble

a generation, maybe two

before the scene becomes

just sloping fields, green hues

dandelions in phase yellow

my son striding a frozen canon

and me pleading heaven to keep us

as far away from war

as we are right now

but a mother, her wretched prayer

barrels through me

standing on the battlefield

where her boy my boy so alone

writhing, breathed his last.

– Dani Clark

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April 1, 2015 at 7:55 am (Dani Clark, Poetry)

Oh wounded of the world

would you

hook your finger into the gore

pull out the bullet

hear the clink

on a metal tray

if I said

doing this would mean

never befriending a leathery old woman

never seeing her eyes afire

never listening to her raspy voice say

I don’t take no tea for the fever

never knowing then

exactly what she means?


– Dani Clark

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December 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm (Dani Clark, Poetry)

Words fail to fashion

the tapestry inside

spun unbidden

when I see this tree

branches naked

witches uncurling bony fingers

against the easterly rise

my life reflected therein

the stories I’ve told

the colors and forms

that elude words

that make and remake me

until they resurrect again

one dark morning

in the moon and Venus

sisters at my window

who’ve waited a billion years

for me to arrive

to sit and talk

and have some tea.


– Dani Clark

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November 23, 2014 at 4:34 pm (Dani Clark, Poetry)

You said once my hair

made you realize how you’d never noticed anyone else’s

proximity breeds this appreciation

brush my long brown hair

it won’t be so for long


so much is made of the big picture

perspective how you need it so

indispensable to seeing

the forest for the trees

or the universe

and our relative insignificance


I place all my faith in myopia though


in this one tree

in which the earth turns

next to my balcony


you too I see up close

what others never so far in


make me a promise

that when you a see a cloud

its shape a poem

you will think of my hair or hip curve


this kind of death do us part

a seeing magnified a remembering.

– Dani Clark

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November 11, 2014 at 7:44 am (Dani Clark, Poetry)

He totters toward me, always,

on his way to the commissary

and me, there I am, always,

rushing out of the building with my son,

on the way to school and I, always,

stop because we both like it, a kiss

on the cheek for him and a compliment for me,

that although still far from his 94 years,

I’m always closer to barrenness

than I was yesterday,

and his words cheer me, always.


A routine, this always,

he comes to get some watery coffee

drive back the solitude

by making easy banter,

with the fry cook and the neighbors

who come in and out, always

to get things like milk and eggs

or just candy bars and beer.


But each always,

always has a day

it turns into a once.

And for Clint and me, it was when,

instead of one kiss, I gave him two,

one for each cheek

and he held me closer

like a lover would,

a tear falling from one eye

and said and so sweetly too,

Oh! I could hold you all day.

– Dani Clark

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October 28, 2014 at 9:45 am (Dani Clark, Poetry)

So many verses come into my head and fly out before they have endings,

the beginnings of which may sound something like this:

Permit me to manipulate a metaphor like Chrysalis,

even if I am not the first,

and everyone, no exception, changes with time.

Or the one that started with me cataloguing

the sundry bits my son collected and had me

put in my pocket, how they mixed with the lint

and somehow signified the present moment.

Crabapples, bright little darts, I passed a tree heavy with them

and knew they deserved to make a starring appearance in a line.

I don’t remember why, or what they were supposed to mean,

but the color reminded me of nail polish.

One day I swear I will get to describing a female ancestor

in rural Campania a hundred years ago,

sighing or crying under a bright sun or a crescent moon, I can’t decide,

the same effect that Robert Penn Warren used in Circus in the Attic

to make a point about Relative Truth and Ephemerality.

Attic, now that’s got serious psychoanalytic potential

even though, our house had none, no basement either come to think of it.

Wait, is that a symbol of the flatness that pervaded us?

Doe-a-deer and to thine own self be true.

We’re all skipping softly down the Road to Xanadu.

Of late I’ve been reading the ambiguous Mr. Pasolini too.

See what I mean, facile rhymes and ten cent words

I get them all for free, but never move ink to paper smear.

Hold up wait a minute, now what just happened here?

– Dani Clark


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October 1, 2014 at 8:25 am (Dani Clark, Poetry)


I brushed my finger inside a black burial hole

on the tufa and wanted someone in the earth


with me, to speak about the end of early

Christianity, the advent of temporal power,


the Good Shepherd, the spirit doves and why

dulcis seemed such an easy lapidary word.


The rock was soft when they dug the graves.

It hardened later when the marauders came


with purpose of archeology, cataloguing and

exposing bones and brittle death, not theirs.


The long shafts of light are few, but they are,

enough to illumine ways, those gaping holes


with no martyred bodies to scream at, wonder

where, like she did, the first, the Magdalene.


– Dani Clark

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Sand Dollar

September 7, 2014 at 5:48 am (Dani Clark, Poetry)

A perfect sand dollar
I saw at my toes

so round and white
washed up by waves
that like
a spread of fingers
on the skin
of someone’s back
caressed the shore
back and forth
up and down.

I bent and took it
and realized

it was only the bottom
of a Styrofoam cup.

I can’t stop, won’t stop
my heart’s eagle eyes
from making these holograms
amid the grains of sand
so ravishing and real
for as long as they last.

Until I look closer.

– Dani Clark

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