page last updated 20.02.2002



Cuban Dance

Black orchids in my hair,
hibiscus and honeysuckle,
a muted trumpet struts a hot Cuban street,
still cool to my feet from the morning.

It calls brash! alive!

Open your windows!
Lovers should laugh!

And up fly the green and yellow parrots,
and the Latin sun beats down
to the asymmetrical rhythms
between the washboard fronds
of a swaying palm.

No time for a breath
before the ritmo de musica
knocks on your ears.

Baila conmigo!

My feet




as I move with him to the water.

I want to slap the foam bubbles
on the wet shore sand,
wade to my waist in the turquoise sea,
dance the rhythm deep
from my hips
to the starfish and dolphins,
to Neptune himself,
awaken him.

The reflection of brass in the sun calls:
Close your eyes!

and wakes los jugos,
and I raise my neck to be licked.

I must be salsa'd with
before I die

The trumpet sounds,
the wetness of oceans in my pores,
between my legs,
break the silence,
that supreme loneliness,
of being touched for so long
by nothing but the hands of air,
and thoughts from those in the distance.

And I am baptized
by the water,
by the vibrations that ring me through,
by a lone musician on a hot Cuban street,
by this brilliant world on a flowery morning,

and I am whole in my heart again.

© 2002 Rita BREGMAN


Distant Lover


Marvin Gaye,
precious jewel,
I am grinding, swaying,
glowing white hot,
"Ooooohhh, "don't go, girl," he's moaning,
"Please, please....
Somethin I wanna say:
when you left, you took all of me with you.
Please, please oh, please,
baby, where are you,
distant lover, lover...."

His smoke inside every pore,
licking down my throat,
and the space between my breasts.

In domini pacem,
in pacem domini,

the space between my legs,
distant lover,
his animal cries,
riding on the moon,
teetering on top of the mountain,
lighting the sea with his teeth,
his groans,
biting my mouth to keep from screaming,
I give the sides of my neck,
my face,
my tongue to his salty pearl,
drink him in,
drain him of all his cream,

his cries to the gods drive me into glacial ice,
into the hottest fires of hell
screaming for rain.

Oh, distant lover,

in pacem domini,
in domini pacem,


© 2002 Rita BREGMAN



I am in a space.

Where it is is not important.

It has four walls,
a dull light coming from somewhere.

There seem to be no weapons of war,
no handshakes of peace,
no music.

On the the floor there is a shadow.
There are four more shadows on the walls.

I watch them.

If I turn, they turn.
If I raise my arm, the shadows raise theirs.

If I walk, the shadows walk.
If I am still, the shadows are still.

If I sing, they do not sing.
If I cry, they do not cry.

They have no eyes,
no mouths,
no arms,
no feet,
no ears,
no faces,
no voices.

Still they move.

Still they are me.

© 2002 Rita BREGMAN

Untitled #3

I want to find that place where the words
run smooth
warm from a cow's udder
into my cupped hands
pour them into my mouth

That place where the fog of the night
becomes the morning's frost
on shingles
twinkling from a sun that rises
on the wrong side of the sky

I wanted to write this poem
to the line down the middle of your back
to the bumps of bone and sinew
knotted from caring for all the world's children
but I don't yet know how

The energy from the stars
catapults into my wrists

The planets thrum
against a black blanket of resistance

I want to pull their bolero over my head
use it to light cities
and drive your sweat and power

It does not forgive the languid
does not forget the surrendered

I must climb past this time of fallow
over the hill
fight through the grass
tall as corn
swaying in every light breeze
to the crest

and filter through the dry hay
and purple thistles
that stick my arms
scratch my legs
and tangle themselves in my toes
tripping me

I want to come to you whole
knowing everything wise
and unlined from the living of it

But my knees are just so damned tired

© 2002 Rita BREGMAN


The Metro - 12/28/98


Dinner of pate, brie, camembert, bleu,
we stand on the platform
waiting for a train
back from the Left Bank
near a youngish man,
an actor?
black leather jacket, jeans,
hauty, long-haired barbarian,
out of place,
striking notice-me poses,
holding American plays, a novel,
pretending to ignore the plethora
of skinny women all around him
who glance at his ass.

On the train, four teenaged girls,
one older than the next,
stand near,
lick lips,
stare openly,
think sweaty, barefoot sex,
at his crotch

Back bumping against the door
he stands,
focused on faraway,
a book,
a woman at the end of the car,
as though thinking theatrical,
high-minded thoughts
of Shakespeare or Thomas,

acutely aware he is inches away
from becoming ham sandwich
on teenaged bread

and acutely unaware
of the bemused, middle-aged woman
in black coat,
and black hat with fuschia flower
who watched him leave

© 2002 Rita BREGMAN


After Rachmaninoff's Symphony #2

It is fall again.
The time for apricot leaves to turn scarlet,
old bird eggs,
brown leaves to dance a hora.

I had a dream last night
about the death of my father-in-law
who knew he was dying,
accepted it.

And I thought of my father
who refused to allow that he was.

It reminded me of the temporariness,
the permanence of it,
something I think about every day now,
fearing and feeling in my own fall.

In this Rachmaninoff, I see
the leaves falling on tombstones in Pere Lachaise,
squirrels scurrying along the deserted pathways,
rushing from Colette to Signoret to Chevalier,
to the almost naked tree limbs above,
tails twitching,
cheeks overflowing with the harvest
of a guaranteed winter's nourishment,
dancing over carved tombs,
and elaborate angels,
and praying Marys,
and mounted Jesuses,
forever mysterious to this nice, Jewish girl
raised in New York,

while the light of time and late day afternoon
makes angular streaks through the stained glass cross
in the plain, crumbling monument
of a French family long forgotten,
an upright, pitch dark chapel,
more like an empty, open grave,
on this nondescript lane,

and I an interloper in their sleep
casting shadows,
with my twentieth century shoes,
and five thousand year old blood.

I do not linger.

The door and my bones
sing the same Rachmaninoff theme
through the dust of the blowing leaves.

If it is true that we are but an instant,
I cannot afford to waste a micro-millisecond of life
in a suit of regrets,
in the home of lives long ago lived
even if it is only in my mind,

even if I only wear it once
after Rachmaninoff.

© 2002 Rita BREGMAN

These poems may not be reproduced or copied in any way without expressed written permission of the author. All poems are the copyright of Rita Bregman. All rights reserved.

Ces poèmes ne doivents pas être reproduits ou copiers en aucune façon sans la permission éxpresse écrite de leur auteur. Ces poèmes sont la propiété d'Rita Bregman. Tous droits réservés.

to: "On Amethyst Glass: Two Voices One Song. "

to: Rita Bregman's Homepage



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