About Mikels Skele

Poet. Explainer. Foreigner-at-large.

Obligato

you ask why I don’t write a poem
about what’s coming down all around
us as we speak

what’s to say about a life in the wilderness?

but it’s not like I haven’t tried god knows I’ve given it
all I had, spent my quota of midnights
so many poems fluttering in the blowback
utterly panicked
rhymes scattered like shell casings
meter cleft in the borning
aground on the shoals of the dead

wanderers always think they have a home
beyond the vapor trail but you and I,
my weeping friend, know we’re already there
the time has come, my dear, for reckoning

‘tis the past and not the future beckoning
and so in this hour of false redemption
we offer thanks for a return
to mere abomination

Some days you look out

Some days you look out
and it might be raining,
though the sun is pouring
liquid gold over the
trees and sidewalks,

or you see a dandelion
seed parachute by and it’s
dead January and
ten below zero and you
can’t feel your fingers,

or you hear a single last
cicada still singing
desperately somewhere
in the autumn underbrush,

and you shrug because
you know tomorrow
it will all make sense,
though it won’t.

It will not be the sun
or the rain or January
or a cicada’s shrill song
that has changed,
but you.

Breaking

We don’t know yet
who did this heinous thing
but this is for sure
it wasn’t one of us
one of the nice, the reasonable
the kind, the faithfuil,
the minders of our own business
while the world flounders
around us

no, an other must have done it
a darker lighter fainter
or more well defined
not like everyone here
a not leaver of things be
or letter of bygones be
bygones like all our
marvelous selves

or even if – God, our God who
made us as we are so as to distinguish us
from them, forbid – it turns out
one of us or someone
who resembles us did
this thing

it was someone who was
alone, or mad, or had
a grievance, or used our tools
for purging the unequal
against us, his kin

and so, was clearly
not one of us
but a cruel simulacrum
of ourselves, whom
we dearly love

Elegy for two lives

In my mind’s lens, my father’s
Face is smooth and petrified
Like an ancient lake
Steeped in mountains

It’s true, isn’t it,
There can be only one infinity
This is impossible:
Life without limits

Moons exist for no one
Though everyone thinks
They’re just
For dreaming

Question, they say, all of it,
Take nothing as given,
Give nothing up, erase all
Boundaries, be eternal.

He tried, and I tried after him.
Only we didn’t know
His freedom was my razor wire,
My freedom was his failure.

Uneasy lies the head

We ring the years in and out
like good paying customers
flashing credit cards

old year gone, be sure to
activate the new,
the last one spent ragged
as a frayed umbilical cord,

bells and carols gone
wasted and unused,
discarded with a shrug.

Remember when we had
never heard of Wuhan?