Zach Gomes May 2011

On a hot hot day
nothing better than
sweet sticky rice coconut
milk a big ripe mango

That, I felt, was what the fly thought
he touched down onto my mango,
it was so sweet, pouring
saccharine sweat
ripe slabs of yellow smorgasborg
endless pleasure of sugar mango flesh
it seemed good to the fly

Across the water,
pressing over the mountains,
opaque threads of rain, like
slim tornadoes twisting ash into the clouds
moved this way
things never looked good for the fly

He ate nonstop, boozed up on mango
an unlimited supply of yellow stuff
he gained weight by the second
there was no point in stopping

the more juice the mango sweat
the stickier its meat
the more mango the drunk fly ate,
the further he sank into its flesh
he was stuck, flailed his stupid legs
in the air as if more flies coming
would rather help him than eat
juicy golden mango feast

he died there, I think
the monsoon would make sure of it
I tossed the mango, sticky rice
the styrofoam plate
thinking it spoiled, fearing the rain

Zach Gomes Apr 2011

Oh, Progress!  We found you at the back of
The movie theater, spidered around a boy
And we watched.  Progress, couldn’t you
Wait til the previews were over?
At least we could tell he was gentle.

Which reminds me of the story of the father
Who beat his son until the son
Could beat back, and after the son
Killed his father he went cross country
Beating everyone on the way
Beating the mailman, the bar back, the students
He kept on traveling until he knew he was
Unbeatable
And he traveled more and went on beating
When he met his dad in down in Santa Fe
They sat down to drinks and talked
About beatings and beatings
Then they kept traveling West.

Yes, Progress you were a dirty girl
Ignoring whatever went up on the screen.
18 seconds of mutilated armies and a Noble Charmer’s
Ascent to the throne.
17 seconds of painstaking laughter and a fat man.
19 seconds of a young man’s rise to success
His defeats, resilience, his ceaseless winking
And his moral fiscal triumph in the end.
16 seconds of naughty men in suits drinking highballs.

For a movie theater, the chandelier was immense.
Dangling, finely cut glass
Suspended over the audience, crystals tapering
Down to rows of translucent points.

Zach Gomes Apr 2011

Before I knew you
I thought you’d changed, too
Thank you, you proved me wrong

We made plans, they ended
It was good we wanted
You said you should be moving on

Without any warning
I woke that morning
When you were gone

Left alone, my plans remain the same:
I’m here to do good, it’s not my choice
The cards were dealt, I’ll play my hand—
I’m fine this is no sacrifice

But since I’ve been here
My problem seems clear—
A sickness metronomed

The volunteer’s life
Is filled with small fights
But my disease has blown

Into war with vomit
An acid stomach
And no connection home

I see it, believe it, that decency persists
This place is not what it is, but what we’ve made it
We’ve learned to give and take the bad and good
But to see ourselves outside ourselves is how we’ll change it

A place with palm trees
Dead farms and disease
In my students

I saw a pain that
They didn’t know yet
Would break them as they grew

And these ignored ones
These poorly born ones
They had no need for hope

Yet before I knew them
They gave me more than
They took to feed their own

I thought I knew what they could show
That good escapes all circumstance
But though I help them, I cannot love them
My strength’s abandoned romance

And still I’m wretching
My sickness spreading
It’s in my gut

I see your face in
The ripened rice which
They have begun to cut

In the evenings
I walk what once were green fields
Now dirt-blonde husks

That stab the air
The color of your hair
My stomach churns

Hope is useless
And I’ve abused it
I think I’ll leave it on its own

But I keep working
The sickness lurking
Well, that’s how hardship’s earned

Zach Gomes Jan 2011

I.   You know what it’s like
It’s the carpet pulled away
It’s the hole beneath


II. Smile, smile, you’ve got to
If the truth is smirking at you
It’s the truth you’ve known


III. Draped over your skin
An abysmal sour void drips
Insecurities


IV. As the fog rolls in
Your breath comes out steam, pushing
Cloud into more cloud


V. Your breath and the fog
Watch you.  Ships pull in to dock
Their ghoulish noses


VI. A loose mooring rope
Stray ship’s vein, searching the fog
For all the lost blood


VII. Good, you’re on board.  Some-
  Where beneath you, hot pistons
  Swing furiously.

Zach Gomes Dec 2010

It should be there, the sea
It was clear by how the sky bloomed up ahead
It was standing up for us
Down the road, shoulder blades spread
It’s face turned and looking out over the water
Not ignoring us, but we could understand
There were things to be seen

We drove up the road
Dune trees thinned ahead under
Blots of royal blue
Staining the horizon
A painting to distract us from each other
I looked and you said nothing
And you looked, saw nothing

We were driving to the water
The sky’s blue skin stretched and paled
Overhead and threats teased our breath
Lingering on brine air
Waiting for us past the coastal brush
Past the pale browns and green
We would be there soon

Zach Gomes Dec 2010

It was a weird hour when the sun towered
To be slick with moonshine
Cozied shirtless in a rope hammock

Belly-down like my six drunk buddies
Living loose and talking sweet
To bottles now empty of booze

So what is there to do?
Nothing, and that’s a cold fact for high noon
In summer, season of mumbly toasting

But when the humble glug-glug-glugging
Is done with, I’ll tell you, you
Have not licked liquor, not done your part

It’s us who got the moonshine start
Today, you turned your back on white whiskey, yes
We did the work and if it should hurt

I apologize we didn’t want to offend
If it’s the alcohol or if it’s the heat I can’t tell
But who knows why blood boils?

I can see that good-natured drinking
Is the drunk man’s toil
But we’re workers at heart, aren’t we?

And not many are better than us
Except for maybe the rice
Slumped over its stalks, fat on moonshine

Cure-all for the sick mind
Friend to all comers on a humid day
The clear sticky juice that burns all the way down

Zach Gomes Dec 2010

The Gopher was born
Underground.  He spent so much
Of his life there.  His eyes never adjusted
To the lack of light, he simply
Tunneled in the dark, half-blind.
He never knew the color
Of his fur (it was brown, the same color
As the dirt he lived in (whose color
He never knew either)), but he assumed
It was black. While ambling through
The black (brown) soil, it so happened
That the plump and innocent Gopher
Unwittingly clawed his way to
The surface.  His dwarfish eyes scanned the fairway
Laid out beneath him.  It was in that brief moment
That he witnessed the difference
Between rough and fairway, saw white sand traps
Scoop out the sides of hills, and first watched
Red and yellow oak leaves
Drift to the ground.
And for this short while the Gopher was awestruck,
Riveted to the spot.  As the lawnmower’s blades
Swept closer, the Gopher could not move at all; and in
An instant, he returned to
The endless black he had come from.

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