Mike Cole


Think of Vallejo eating almost nothing,
smoking hand-rolled cigarettes,
spitting the shreds of tobacco
between his dried lips,
crazed by the black horses
thrashing through his waking dream,
and of Lorca smelling the slaughterhouse
and the Hudson River with its patina of offal
and setting it all to the rhythm of metal flanged heels
on the moon-fringed tiles in Barcelona.
Think of the unnamed and never to be known one
aflame from so far within that what she becomes
or how she is regarded cannot shred the fist
that grapples her to the thrumming engine
carrying her back into galaxies of meaning
that look more like great fires than stars.

Mike Cole was born in Fresno, California (1948) and graduated from Fresno State College in 1971 when a Fresno poetry awakening led by Philip Levine was underway. His first book, The New Alchemy, is making the rounds of publishers. Over a sporadic 45 year publication history, Mike’s poems have appeared in Antioch Review, Laurel Review, Midland Review, Blast Furnace, Red Savina Review, and other magazines, and in the anthology Highway 99, by Heyday Press. He lives in the Sierra Nevada Foothills near Yosemite National Park.

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