St. Augustine Poems

St. Augustine: A Sonnet for a Mayan Prophecies

St Augustine has a primitive Spanish
essence, like when Mayans made from stone share
knowledge: the world is going to end. The
oldest settlement is feeling it first:
Tepeu the Maker begins to rip
coquina buildings from American swamps,
revealing waterless holes in gaping ground.
Gucumatz, Tepeu’s feathered
serpent, coils invisibly through attractions
on the island, ready to fulfill new age
 cycle prophecies. The gods don’t seem pleased,
but maize-formed men don’t seem care about the
warning signs. Maize-formed men forget they come
from dehydrated nests resting under
the sky, boast for walking on land, “We
understand everything in it!” then are smote.








An outline is all I see before little bubbles of thick red begin to inflate rapidly over the inky trails left by the tattoo artist. Black scrapes form my eyebrows, my curling hair, my throat, into white skin, protecting his heart underneath. The bubbles keep inflating, shiny hot air balloons catching flight, smearing together. Soon, I can’t see my face anymore, and your skeleton hand doesn’t feel as dry because your perspiration makes our hands cold. They feel frozen together when you finally sit up, my portrait complete. You look so proud, wearing a grin that lights up your big blue doe eyes. I look at the image being cleaned, and I’m watching myself spout red spots, and I’m swollen, and there’s melting roses around my face.
And maybe that’s where I’m supposed to hover, just slightly out of reach.



Commonalities: 1586 & Now

I wonder if Ponce de Leon
prayed to St. Augustine
when Drake the Englishman
burned the wooden city
to kindling over coquina.

He must have cried as Augustine had,
raised his hands against
righteous glowing flames,

give me chastity!
give me strength by salt water
give me protection by bay breeze
give me salvation–

rising glowing flames
seruptitiously grab Spaniards,
it’s reply to his prayer

“but not yet.”




Come, it calls, and flock
 to the ocean.
So we go.

Thousands of stripped
bodies on the edge of the country

crowding to plunge from the land
under a burning sun shining into all of us,

The sun promises millions of broken diamonds,
they bob brilliantly on the water.

Just go get them, just dive in
We are called,

lulled by the sea’s constant whispering–
promising pounds of bobbing light,
promising refreshing rebirth.

We hurry, we dive deep
without seeing everyone’s glasses
ripped away, stolen forever
 by dark waves.



St. Augustine of Aesthetics II

How charming to see a person
with a cup of coffee.

How charming, vaporizing browns
that dive into ethereal aromas,

citrus? shaded exotic jungles?
flowering arms reach for flavors

How soothing, mouths swallowing the taste of
warmed suns over Ethiopean bean fields, mouths
gulping all sources of light, of heat.

How soothingly it fills my throat
and lungs and breath, how soothing,
yet how quickly it loses warmth.
Why can’t it last longer, taste as bold
as they always promise.



Crumbles, Recrumbles

Ground shifts, sulks
water, sand,
shakes off buildings

sidewalks slide along
backs of worms
it’s all sinking

sticking and tangling
with roots of America’s oldest city.

Constant movement
is all you have going for you
cracking, splintering,
old city crumbles.

Constant movement
without purpose, advancement.



I am Saint Augustine

I’ve picked every day up with my thumb
and index finger, swallow it with a little water.

We take it every day as if it were a vitamin that makes us stronger,
don’t we, Saint Augustine?

My body consumes the days and nights, consumes temptation
consumes passing time as Saint Augustine has done.

I can say the words, too, Saint Augustine,
Give me chastity, but not yet! but not yet, but not yet.

My tongue is as holy as yours, it can speak the same prayer.
I am Saint Augustine, but not yet.


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