Tag Archives: Steve Klepetar

When the World Turns Dark

by Steve Klepetar

No one speaks the language
of sparrows, no one cries.

Here on frozen paths your face
lights the way or seems to spill

a lantern’s glowing blood down
hooded valleys where dead stars fall.

And your voice calls me
back from the well and your eyes

burn a message on my wrists
and arms. Your hair is a curtain

of flame. Fire in my chamber,
coals in the hall – all these wonders

in December when the world
turns dark

and glowworms wriggle
underground where thoughts

struggle in nets of steel and even
jugglers can’t help but muff the moon.


No Wonder

by Steve Klepetar

No wonder gulls
have folded their white

wings and eaten the silence
of night. Everywhere

this dance concludes, crabs
and their followers huddled

in flowering weeds, sky
turns purple and cold

and all wailing fades
to smoke and rain and silver

chains binding naked arms.
Little wonder that all remain

when crickets turn away
from dawn and everything

studied turns brown
and rotten and disappears.

Professors of water
no longer see how barn

owls preach their sermons
in the rain. Perched on gray

rocks, they stare out
to sea where waves skip

and plow, some shivery
painting on a museum

wall, a ship tossed
in the foreground, maybe

a mast torn down, white
splash of sail stabbing the eye

near bruised water
broken by troubled wind.

My Father Told Me

by Steve Klepetar

“No more voices, no more dreams.”
He carved this motto
on his subterranean bed, volcanos
opening out to this blood-maddened
world. I left him sweet cakes
with honey and seeds. I left him
a pair of eyes, gray, but spotted
with blue, I left him teeth
and a lamb shank, a brown egg
boiled with water
drawn from a wishing well.
I left him a sprig of parsley
and a stick of horseradish to burn
his ancient tongue, to sting
and stir his anger, to prod
his withered body back into a swirl
of streets and swinging arms.
Once again he left my mother
staring in shop windows, half
a block behind, hands held behind
his back as if he knew the firing
squad was only waiting for him
to finish his cigar before they spoiled
the air and sent the lake fish rushing home.


by Steve Klepetar

It’s folly to writhe in the dark, as though sleep,
that flitting doe, could be coaxed from shadow
and flame. It’s folly to blame your innocent hands.
All night you’ve kept watch on the shores of light
where vanishing moon swims in her last, slim
sliver of pearl while stars flicker through veils
of cloud. It’s folly to hide behind tiny curtains
of skin. You have wandered far past the stage
of curtains and maps. You have entered a country
so filled with angry men that nothing but folly
could make you drink the wine of remorse or fill
your starving lips with crumbs and spice and oil.
Your wallet is stuffed with meaningless bills,
your business cards swell with the smear of snails.
Who can you speak with here? The listeners
have ears that bristle with hair, their mouths
are washed and frozen in place. It’s folly to hope
for oblivion and dreams, folly to rehearse again
those plaintive songs weaving through your weary brain.

At the World’s End

by Steve Klepetar

It’s a matter of time, really, watching ships
sail in, riggings tangled in webs of fog
here at the world’s end.
Wind tickles our flowing hair, bellies
beat in rhythm, song of emptiness
and lust. Waves crash over hidden rocks.
All night we have smelled their blood,
a thousand tiny oceans surging through many
worlds. Our eyes bore holes in those sturdy hulls.
We are mouths and teeth and tongues, we sing
the sea awake. We are the song of desire, flesh
of sailors moaning in the beauty of our feast.

Above the Vanished Earth

by Steve Klepetar

All night rain, or ghosts of rain.
Water rising from the river,

foamy and brown, washing logs
and broken branches under bridges,

over dams, surging up high banks
in this sandbag dream flood, misery

of mud and cars sweeping down
the streets of town, people clinging

to chimneys, sound of boats put-putting
wearily above the vanished earth.

Night in the Houses of Beige

by Steve Klepetar

Late summer heat, humid
air and all the windows
shut, some darkened, some
illuminating rooms
or readers, oblivious
in their comfortable chairs.
TVs flicker blue-tinted light. Barn
owls haunt the trees, bats
circle pale street lamps,
air-conditioners hum endlessly
through falling darkness.

How many wishes rise, invisible
from these foundations?
Drunken moths batter
the glass walls
their senses cannot
perceive, strange heads
and wings wild in desperate
motion. Such passion
throbbing here in the houses
of beige, such longing
beneath the placid face of moon.