Friday, March 5, 2010

Peter Marti - One Poem

My Stigmata

In the few weeks after my successful antiviral therapy
with headaches, dizziness & lethargy all but gone
I continued to have a bright red chest rash
like a bad case of acne and one
bright pink itchy spot
in the middle of my right palm
I scratched, sometimes drawing blood…
my wife said it’s eczema
the acupuncturist suggested fish oil in diet
that my overheated liver
after years of stress and bad “lifestyle choices”
would take time to heal…
But today, alone beside a swift stream
in the Sierras, I recall Maria Von Franz,
Jung’s pupil, who wrote of the puer eternus complex
(eternal youth) and how often the skin of puers
speaks to the world in just such strange spots
and rashes, psychic wishes or fears
not expressed but longed after.
Unconscious my teens and 20s, I stayed
on the surface with drink
with drugs many jobs and partners
whose echoes haunted not just these last months
but veneered my life so far.
Now, at 50,
this sagging boundary of skin
exists only to be gone beyond...
A slim tan colored ground squirrel stands up
in the tall drying grasses & strips seeds
into its mouth
at the campsite across the meadow
as a grandfather catches his trout
and prepares to clean it
I want to call out: “Wait, stop
don’t kill this living thing”
but the wind and river catch hold
move my thoughts past this moment
and all my failures to the thumping
churning blood that visits my skin
returns me to my heart
where all longing beats its diminished drum
—past mewling birth and recent ills
this crimson wound, like dawn
breaking slow over these mountains,
unsought after, inevitable—
sunlight bounces off water
the flash of rainbow scales
before the knife

Peter Marti, born in the East Chicago, Indiana height of US population boom and raised in San Jose, California, graduated SF State University, and studied at Naropa’s Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics with Ginsberg, Burroughs, et al. Peter was a member of the San Francisco based poetry/art magazine collective Birthstone in the ’70s, a rock n roll singer in ’80s and part of the Wordland performance poetry group in the early ’90s. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, 2002. His work has appeared in Napalm Health Spa and Big Scream.

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