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Five poems by chris modzelewski

These poems are taken from the life experiences of the poet, Chris Modzelewski. About them, Chris says, "...ultimately, each of these poems are what the reader feels. If they are good, they will trigger certain emotions, emotions possibly totally unlike what I had felt while writing them."

The comments Chris has added to each poem are especially illuminating. Thanks, Chris.



And it was like the sea...

…when he became and tasted the space and closed his eyes to feel
slowly enveloped by the beauty and air and the reassuring emptiness and purity,
he floated up to the tip of her tongue effortlessly falling back into a comfortable abyss
like the night, like the blindness, starless and black and letting his voice escape outside of him like god's soft breath…

From her mouth to his lips she offered him a cup overflowing with golden liquid like honey,
bitter like virgin coffee and midnight of his soul; while lost in her arms, fearless and alone
feeling the warmth in his mouth he spoke slowly and free as if for the first time and it was like the sea and rain.

I'd recalled a late summer's tender dawn slowly and smoothly shifting up from the horizon,
uninterrupted and kissing a mountain's side with fire…her unconditional surrender?

He has ever dreamed of peace? or of her in the light or as a deceiver whenever
her lips have touched his ears with a whisper approaching the silence?

I'd watched a coffee cup as it was lifted up slowly into the air leaving a ring stain like a freshly opened wound on my faith and the enveloping sky both painted with vibrations of grief and rapture.
And I put it back down gently covering the stain with a tissue like a mother, like a father
and took the bread and drank the wine and I melted away… and all of it was like the sea and rain

I'd remembered a winter sunset from my childhood, a late evening with orange-colored snowflakes densely and randomly dancing in front of my eyes when I lay down and placed my cheek on earth's frozen face and let the snow enter and melt in my mouth and the cold cover me like a night.

There was no breath, no sound, no fire, no time…but memories…of childhood, perfection of winter and music, snow and purity and God of the moment in time…

…and I became when I touched the thunder and tasted the winter on my lips carelessly lost in the night and listening to earth's heartbeat with my ear to the ground I felt the benevolent wind caress and kiss my cheek so perfectly, so softly and so calmly forever…

© 2003 Chris Modzelewski

Chris explains: "And it was like the sea… written a few months after my brother's suicide. It is about loss, our pain, sorrow, guilt, burden, anger(?),childhood, innocence, confusion, remonstration, confusion… all jumbled into one thing…Mourning him and his youth, feeling his affliction of lost opportunities and love, the moments which cannot be relieved or corrected, the mortal moments of the past slowly disappearing, memories of our childhood and the specific times he and I walked late evenings through snow to get milk from a nearby farm..."


I had walked the streets of Detroit stained with the wetness, despair and hope
of rains that fell on the black asphalt whose skin was now shining
like pure silver in the lethargic early morning city light
and I still heard the words you left on my tongue and I felt the warmth
of you in my mouth as I walked the streets passing the little shops
bookstores and small outside cafes still locked , still inactive
and hiding what they contain within....

© 1991
Chris Modzelewski

Chris explains: "I am not sure what this one is about," Chris adds. "It came to me all of a sudden as written while walking one late rainy night (or early morning) from my wife's apartment to my car."


Threatening the rise of the sun


a grain of sand
beneath the sandals
of great gods who walk upon the earth
in a hunt of a white butterfly


he raised he head and looked up with his
rain stained eyes upon the rock on which
numerous gods stood with bare feet and
angry dogs all around him


...and when the rains came down
i saw the gods with bare feet
making fun of a bug
that was drowning in a puddle of dirt

the rise of the sun

...and he raised his blood stained arm high above his head
and with the wide opened hand tried to reach out as if to
catch the white butterfly

red and blue

yet she still danced
repeatedly committing suicide just for the idea of immortality and
the death of a spring's swallow who sailed north led by a dream
of a new and colorful world...

© 1987 Chris Modzelewski

Chris explains: "Threatening the rise of the sun" is composed of very short, haiku-like poems. It's about irrelevance and search for purity, oppression and destruction, about nothingProbably inspired by the bible or revelationsbut I am not sure," he adds. "Each section was written at different times, but each section is exactly as it was born. I still remember walking at night from my last class to my job at the computer lab at WSU when the words, "...and when the rains came down i [sic!] saw the gods with bare feet..." sounded in my head. It was very strange."

bhuto dance

I lived in the house of long generations destroyed by madness of a man who did not walk,
but stared hysterically at the sun's disk until his eyes died leaving hollow spaces in
the brain polluted by the black smoke of the naked cities lost
among the supernatural darkness of the starless night and
the moonless sky above his head

now he sits in the middle of his deserted skull writing obscene odes to
the sexual heroism of his younger days spent above the black rooftops
with a with a wine cup in his empty hand and walking with gods of
the raped history and together creating violent vibrations
like a bhuto dance with the sun and the moon

then he remembered he could soar through the winter blue air
receiving endless impressions of the sunrise and looking for
the light in his palm where ants and snakes lived through thousands of
long generations wasted on looking for another home and singing a
hopeless song about a man and the emptiness of the homeless mind

© 1987Chris Modzelewski

Chris explains: "bhuto dance is inspired by Allen Ginsberg's poems (of course, especially by How!).  It is about confusion and losing yourself, the bitterness one feels for the irrevocable years of waste, lost possibilities, and misery, the evil of hate, indifference, deception, forgetfulness, egoism (as it applies to individual, cultures, and nations).

"...bhuto is a dance created in early '50s post-Hiroshima Japan. Bhuto dance (and the dancer(s) are very ghost-like, expressionistic with incredibly slow movements, each step is performed in deliberate and almost lethargic way, the face is painted white and distorted, masked by the silent scream. The film Baraka by Ron Fricke, music by Michael Steams, has several images of the dancers. (See http://www.spirito/baraka.aspx)"

Red and blue

she danced touching the red flowers growing on a blue field
behind the walls of a great city where birds don't dare and the wind isn’t free...
yet she still danced wearing a red dress
surrounded by the high blue grass looking at the blue moon hanging
on a string among the redness of the sun enlightening a nameless horizon...
yet she still danced
repeatedly committing suicide just for the idea of immortality and
the death of a spring's swallow who sailed north lead by a dream
of a new and colorful world...
a dead bird had fallen before the feet of a dancing shadow and
began his litany in the hands of a beautiful woman who listened to
the unmercifully crushing heart words:
"Lithuania, my motherland..."

© 1986 Chris Modzelewski

Chris explains: "Red and blue was written when I had (I still do) some emotions of Polish patriotism. The last line is from Adam Mickiewicz's (one if not the greatest Polish poet) national epic poem called "Pan Tadeusz." It is again an abstract/impressionistic representation of my feelings. Written during the political turmoil in Poland."



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