Russell Ragsdale
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essence

do you think of wet hills
as a silhouette
all that water
thick as night
falling everywhere
making the outer layers wet
the bark of a tree
the moss of a stone
the shoes and clothes of a person
inside is the essence
the real mountain
silhouetted to nakedness
against a background
of wet

do you count time like a trip
tediously barren between towns
some miles just take longer
to pass no matter what kph
you travel at
or seasons which creep
patient as caterpillars
over endless sieges
of green leaves
roof of the temple
of days sleeping like a cat
of husbands
on the bed stand side of a nightgown
or watching a back yard altar
of an eagerly awaited
avocado god

do i dare calculate
the distance from your navel to the ocean
can we not smell the salt
feel dangerous closeness
of desperate sea creatures
swimming past leg hairs
with brilliant teeth
i am perpetually in danger of drowning
because i forget i must swim
until my sweat merges with the sea
and it buoys me up
and spits me out
on some forlorn shore
naked wet and plodding

russell ragsdale

Russell Ragsdale lived in the Republic of Kazakhstan from 1992-2015.  Because he lived in the former lands of Russia so long, you will find his books on Amazon listed among the top 100 books of Russian poetry. He speaks Russian and English and stumbles about in French and Spanish. He is a contemporary poet and has been writing since the 1960’s when he attended Whittier High and then the University of Arizona. He taught English at KIMEP University for seven years and can’t seem to figure out he has retired. Before that he was an executive chef and a retail meat cutter. Now he often wanders the streets up in Montmartre where he is looking for an apartment (he considers himself a part-time Parisian). In his strange life he has acted, sung, written for a newspaper, been part of a TV show and taught.  Still he is pretty much just an ordinary working guy that has been afflicted with wanderlust and a love for words!  He currently has two books published: Book of Aliases and Fireflies and Dragon Scales. He may be contacted through his website, RussellHRagsdale.com.