About Mikels Skele

Poet. Explainer. Foreigner-at-large.

But Memphis ain’t no ‘count

“But Memphis ain’t no ‘count,”
they’ll say. Maybe
what they don’t like
is this: Memphis
don’t go shufflin’ ’round
to the back door
hat in hand.
She just walks right up
to the front,
through the door,
and throws her hat
on the hallway tree,
where it spins a couple of times
before settling in.

Relics

Already obsolete
before we know it
like white-haired gramps
parading hot rods

toys lovingly restored
by the unrestored.

Oleg shines his car
lives in a world of
Naugahyde and
cherry red paint.

Today a barista
poured an exact replica
of a certain mountain
in Japan.

I drank it.
Goodbye to my
dreams of Basho.

A man is in a sphere

A man is in a sphere
all he knows is
what hits the outer membrane
–a series of taps,
bright lights,
red, green, sepia
seeping through

a great shaking
and rumbling pervades,
some rhythmic,
some not

from these scraps
an omniverse
known only
to himself

emerges, like some
great and vast
butterfly, floating
above a sleeping figure.

The fire walkers

The unsuccessful fire walker
steps carefully, judging each footfall
in advance, hitching a shoulder just so
in case elevating a piece of
the body will make the foot weigh less,
stepping forward as fast as possible
so the white-hot coals will have
less time to sear flesh from bone
before starting on the other foot,
tense with reflex, toes gripping
not earth but fire, the screams rending the air
well before the pit’s end.

The successful fire walker
does not.

So long ago

A poem written six years ago.

So long ago,
I got to know him well,
Always reaching, always looking
For a reason to keep living,

Even knowing
How alone we all are,
How he lived inside his head
Where no one could see the struggles,
No one could know how wrong they got it,
How, even he, in the end,
Gave up hoping for it
To change somehow,
Went from telling us how
To simply asking why.

Well, it’s a fair question, that.
Only, there can never be
An answer, no matter
How hard we stare
At the universe, demanding.

The universe only stares back,
Blankly.

Why had God forsaken him?

Why had he been so deluded
To think it would be different

From fear,
From loneliness,
From deception,
From illusion,
From cheap deliverance,
From intoxication,
From imagination?

Sitting and listening
To the sirens at night,
I imagine a million of them,
An endless stream of Jesuses
Asking the same question.

Why