Juggler's World: Vol. 39, No. 1
Years come down, curling
Off the nape of his neck,
Onto space soaring.
They return in a hundred years
Where he catches them,
One by one, by name.
Smiling in his juggler's stance
He is all of seventeen.
Cool Nordic eyes pierce a shadow's shadow,
Then the sky.
All the houses fill and empty
All is gone or shall soon be going --
Seasons and lovers like trains,
Procedural, on schedule,
The myth of Jericho,
Everything we put together.
Across the linen creases
On the bed of man and wife
Lays the silent partner balancing.
His task is equilibrium,
So difficult to find in the light
Of an unwilling moon,
A world gone brooding.
He is an aphrodisiac for spirit,
While our small worlds falter and fall.
He tosses spheres like odes
For us all, for endurance,
For everyone who chews the dust.
One by one he is casting us out.
There must be something
you haven't done
with your eyes, lips, ambidextrous
hands, against the wall on
the bed. Look at those shadows
there! In the hall!
There was this guy, I think guy,
in Harvard Square who was
a hit, known all over there,
for four or five years;
all he did was keep
six balls in the air.
Up here on the high wire it's a sheer
sure-footed dance, a one-night mission
under the Big Top, without a safety net
to cushion. It's the taunting misstep,
the sharp intake of breath, exhalations
of the squeamish egging me on, and the world
marble-smooth, veined to the core, perched
on the tip of my tongue. I juggle spangled
orbs from one palm to another, a marriage
of holding on and letting go. You'd think
by now I'd let it fall, the world cracked
open like a skull, bits of hair, feathers,
the loose associations. But once I knew
the buttons on a fly, the upturned collar,
the child licking her fingers imagining
an Africa, I knew all matter while compressed
is no longer solitary. Ask me how I keep it
twirling, defying gravity with every turn --
I'll never tell. You won't read fear
in eyes that glitter, dazzle, take you
by storm. Come one, come all, observe
communion with infinity. See the fabulous
steps, the foolhardy toes. Be amazed
by the pupil of possibility.
The Boy Who's Learning to Juggle
The boy who's learning to juggle
lives in a haze. Sky blue balls
follow him, like disciples
roll in a smooth arc through the wheel
of his young life.
He studies the crest of the pitch,
the neat slap of the catch
and says he knows a girl so tall
that when she stands, he nearly drowns.
His hands flutter like new birds,
risk everything in order to fly.
The air folds an endless ellipse.
He throws fast and shallow
then hard and deep into the sky,
simple and perfects as breathing.
He says he's ready for sabers
and torches. He says he has odd dreams
that he can breathe underwater,
that he can swim for miles and miles.
San Diego, California.
Index, Vol. 39, No. 1 /
© 1996 Juggling Information Service. All Rights Reserved.