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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Mock Orange

By: HR. Harper

We wait in the greenest bowers

made from borrowed water

with no need to return the favors

from a world where everything changes every hour.

The world here where Santana winds

make mud dust, and turn the day inside out.

We wait for nothing.

Nothing is in our blood.

In a den of thieves and strangers with no strings,

the cosmetic replaces the cosmic, with eternity

as Plan B.

Pick up the replacements fallen from the orange sky.

Smoke too falls out of the blue on ragged ranges and shores

and on the valley of placeholders; instead of rain

blossoms drop the ball. A net appears when the game

if done. The numbing vegetation of theme and variation

is borrowed too. A culture of sly flourishing only hungers for more

We were tired at birth, nothing but temples, tabernacles,

tents and gymnasiums in the transplanted eucalyptus.

Nothing but a sketch of progress, a hint of jasmine

in wounded summers and rosemary in the perfect autumns

of the land with no seasons. Tired in the middle

of what was unplanned. The body exhausted

the days the Lord hath made, and runs up a bill.

No debt was recorded. No root needed the doubt

rejoicing for air at the surface,

in beauty immune from scarcity,

immune from drought,

from sleeping on the beach and under the stars.

Tired hands only, only from too much play, a mission

to salute the reality of no history.

They brought the relief

of no history, of bones stripped and ready for lies.

The fabulous respite of no narrative but the waves

crashing just the way they did for the Chumash

and will, when, choked with plastic molecules

they roll on the empty beach when our wait is done.

Of bones dressed to kill. We came to be killed.

We took the drugs to make the kill count.

And now, waiting for the score, we breathe deeply

as the scent of oranges spends itself on our skin.

The night opens the flower to its borrowed conclusions.

To the sweetest imitation of fruit and its ripening.

The line between paradise and rot was never clear.

We took the drugs to hide our uncertainty

and hoped the line crossed

was because the path of least resistance

took us home.

Where we would never tire of beauty again.


HR. Harper, a poet living in the redwoods above Santa Cruz CA, was a creative writing major at UCLA and studied in the English Ph.D. program there. He worked as an educator in central city schools for years. Writing poetry and fiction over decades, he only began to publish in 2021 and has published in several print and online journals since.


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