2 poems by Stephen Nelson


Baby Snakes


A

grass

snake

slid across

the path

in our back

garden

one summer

when I

was a kid.

My cousin

was with me

and saw it too

but none

of the adults

believed us.

My cousin was

older than me

and used to

sun bathe

on the step

in a blue

bikini.

Years later

she married

her Romany cousin.

I had a kundalini

awakening

when I was 25

which I suppose

is the

esoteric

equivalent

of a grass

snake

winding across

your path.

Sometimes

I lie on

the grass

in the sun

to soothe

my spine

when

it's sore.

Coffee also

soothes me.

I drank

milky coffee

as kid

and my cousin

made fun

of me

cos milk

was for babies.

That's ok

I liked her

anyway.

She had

dark

hair and

thick lips.

Maybe it's the

memory of

milky coffee

that soothes me

because

let's face it

coffee gets

you wired af

and batshit

crazy.

Today I'm

going to shop

for a new

jacket

and notebooks

to write in

then go to

Starbucks

although

it's raining

heavily

and the rain

is falling

like baby snakes

which is

a song

by Frank Zappa.

Kundalini

makes you

crazy too -

either that or

enlightened

or something.

Some days

I can't

tell which.


Jokes


My friend

and I

hitched

up north

and climbed

Ben Nevis

and sailed

to Skye

where we

met a beautiful

Spanish girl

in a youth

hostel

on a rainy

island night.

I was

too shy

to talk

to her

but I listened

to her

crack jokes

in Spanish

about

William Wordsworth

and the

Lake District

that made

her mum and sisters

laugh.

How cool

is that,

I thought,

to be so

funny and

good looking!

When I

got

home I

listened to

Bob Dylan

sing about

Italian girls

and lounged

about dreaming

about the

beautiful girl

I'd met

on the

Isle of Skye,

imagining

I was a singer

and a solitary

island traveller.

My sister

heard the song

and developed

a crush

on Bob Dylan.

Romance

is contagious

but generally

impractical

at that age.

A few years

later I was

in a gallery

in Jerusalem

looking at ceramics

and the girl

serving was Armenian

and quite possibly

the most beautiful

woman I'd ever seen.

She was olive skinned

and the ceramics

were pink and grey

and there were

Israeli soldiers

outside

with guns loaded

pointed at

the Arab Quarter.

I was still too shy

to talk to foreign girls

or perhaps

I didn't

feel worthy

of such

overwhelming

beauty.

At any rate

I didn't have

the words

back then

and was

quite incapable

of cracking

jokes about

Israeli poets

or wandering

Jewish

holy men.

I went back

to the

youth hostel

next to

the King David

hotel

and read

the Bible

after failing

to procure

some Lebanese

hashish

from a quick talking

Palestinian

market stall owner

whose jokes

about my height

made me

feel like shit.

No wonder

Armenian girls

are so fucking

beautiful

in the olive groves

beneath the

hot Israeli sun.


_________


Stephen Nelson is the author of several books of poetry, including Arcturian Punctuation (Xexoxial Editions) and Lunar Poems for New Religions (KFS Press). He has exhibited vispo and asemic writing internationally, and published in numerous journals, including 3am, Posit, Big Bridge, BlazeVox Journal and The Adirondack Review. He is currently working on a YA sci-fi/fantasy novel. Find him online at www.afterlights-vispo.tumblr.com and www.afterlights.blogspot.com