Richard Jarrette







The Laws And The Prophecies


My neighbor’s jasmine spills over the fence

and keeps good company by the kitchen window

opened in mild weather to invite the airy fragrance


all the way in to my pillow. I remember when you first

scented my floral sheets with your perfume, Katya,

a journey mapped by Dante⎯books tossed


aside, shoes, and we erased the commandments

written on our embezzled skins and made the laws

and the prophecies to guide our forever.




Blessed Are The Polytonal


Only you, my sweet catastrophe, could see under my hat⎯

Human forms are puny, desire is vast and absolute,


shot through with the composition logic of Arnold Schönberg

who berated definitions in his democracy of tones.


Am I not your donkey which you have ridden all your life to this day?

You were so proud of my turn as Balaam’s Ass. Aphrodite I am,


you said, blessed are the polytonal, the unafraid of a possible truth,

your little grin at my violent nightmares unnerving but lovely.


Love me, love my umbrella⎯how you relished your Giacomo Joyce

gathered hundreds of exotic paper cocktail favors, left them


in odd places, fractal patterns, slipped between the piano keys

mapping a troubled Webern chord, a courteous warning


when overtaken by perilous desires, or puzzled out a surreal

phrase of Satie gaiety when your skin had a happy day.


I open one of your tiny crêpe umbrellas under the night sky, Venus

kissing crescent moon it seems, and dance the sad clown


lamenting our Fred & Ginger of the studio⎯smooth as polished

ebony, silk underthings, wild for Ornette Coleman’s Song X.




Who against the blind stream have made

your escape from the eternal prison?


Prettiest pauses her recitativo, I love Dante

despite the vulgarity of his dialect—deadpan.


Cats are reliable—St. Petersburg to Mendocino—

they know me and the vulgarity of Dante’s dialect.


All the way down in my battle with the tangled clouds

I made peace with the vulgarity of Dante’s dialect.


Heart-soothing eyes lift⎯Che siete voi che contro

al cieco fiume fuggita avete la pregione eternna?


The wine-dark sea, far lone sail, white pelican⎯

Katya smiles at the vulgarity of Dantes dialect.













Richard Jarrette is author of Beso the Donkey (MSU Press, 2010), Gold Medal Poetry Midwest Independent Publishers Association 2011, and it has been translated into Chinese by Yun Wang; A Hundred Million Years of Nectar Dances (Green Writers Press, 2015); The Pond (Green Writers Press, Fall 2017); The Beatitudes of Ekaterina (Green Writers Press, Fall 2017). He is also editor of Dreaming of Fallen Blossoms, The Tune Poems of Su Dong Po, Yun Wang Translator (White Pine Press, 2018) and Poetry Columnist, VOICES of Santa Barbara Magazine. He lives on the Central Coast of California and is also considered a regional writer of  the Western North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains due to formative years there.

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