Friday Poetry by James Goertel: Just Off San Sebastian and Corazón Español

Friday Poetry by James Goertel: Just Off San Sebastian and Corazón Español

Just Off San Sebastian and Corazón Español from James Goertel’s new poetry collection, Under The Same Moon, reach across the Atlantic Ocean and place the poet and his musings in Spain’s dominion both present and past.

Belén Maya, flamenco dancer. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Belén Maya, flamenco dancer. Photo Credit: Wikipedia


Sleeping somewhere in between
the dream and the decay

of death,
hovering above
the kissing waves of the Atlantic
just off San Sebastian;

taste of salt, taste of stars,
speaking in tongues, talking myself

down, down, down
back into the arms

of smiling lovers, unsure saints,
and the demons of the day

lying in wait
with their pawing hands

to shake nocturnal premonitions
awake to find my bones

still bound beneath
this flesh effigy;

its skin, lips, kiss
blistered by a sun

only sleep can reach
beyond the melody of the moon

where Thelonious Monk plays
“My Blue Heaven”

with only his left hand,
the right waving night goodbye;

percussive notes
falling back to Earth

to form whitecaps in the water
just off San Sebastian.


My Spanish heart
beating a bull’s blood
through sketches
I have construed
from Hemingway, Lorca, Thelen;
constructed via an island of second sight
shattered by the bombs of civil war,
full of mourners draped in Picasso blue
and looking back through the past
but beyond the arches of Moorish architecture
that could not have foretold the Americas
immersed in a romance language
which has given its tongue to the names
on the land, a halo of saints
Cervantes’ sad and lost Quixote
could never have imagined, hallucinated
from atop a horse,
though his romantic wandering still lives
en un corazón
which speaks a fluent Spanish
la lengua
has somehow forgotten.


James Goertel. Under The Same Moon

James Goertel. Under The Same Moon


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Born in North Dakota, James Goertel spent twenty years working in television for ABC, NBC, and ESPN, among many others in the U.S. He currently teaches writing at Penn State. Carry Each His Burden (2011) was his fiction debut. Each Year an Anthem (2012) was his poetry debut. With No Need for a Name (2012) and Self Portrait (2013) are his follow-up collections. His debut novel Let the Power Fall will be published in 2014.

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