C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

The Tyrant; The Lake; The Water

By: Mike Seid


The Tyrant



The tyrant in the lighthouse of desire

Who once commanded every inch of ship

Struggles now to tie the laces of his shoes


Then at dawn a strap of the tefillin snaps

As you go to tether it around your head

As you have done each day for thirty years


Over breakfast you receive a photograph

Of a man beside his love from twenty years ago

What happened to us he asks what happened


You and your brother plant a peach tree

Shoveling the dirt already in your mid-forties

When suddenly you are just two boys again






The Lake


There is this lake inside you now

The water of it neither silent nor deep

And not the lake you dreamt it was


Billy the Kid polished his revolvers

With gathered petals of wild daisies

Which looked to him like angels on the wing


Your uncle cannot walk out of his home

Overfull of old saddles and Navajo rugs

Wristwatches in the sinks and pantry


Learning how to tune your cowardice

Not as a hernia that bulges into you

But always you striving toward dry land






The Water


Reemerged from beneath Jordan waters

Jesus saw skies above rip out in schism

Then heard a voice that said he was beloved

At seventeen on palisades above a nighttime sea

Christina Michelle placed your arms around her once

Her spine like of a bluebird and also there was music


Summer much later on the banks of the Charles

Maja unfurled like an ancient cello you baked bread

Made pots of lentils and she never married


The custom to toss breadcrumbs on the sea

Throw them out to relinquish what you were

They recede on splintered waves ever gazing up




Mike Seid grew up in and continues to write from Los Angeles. He studied the Classics at Harvard.