Poetry: Selections from Jim Kraus

Compost This
We talk over the distance
using tin cans connected
by thousands of miles of string.
Now, I remember.
I find a single grain of rice
nested in the cup of my ear.
I take it to the compost pile,
adding it to leftovers
from last night.
Nearby, I see the dismembered arm
of the guava tree by the front door,
one of its several trunks,
dead from fungus,
and decide to burn it

The Great Bass of the Humpback Whale
Submarine, their voices
mask my own,
a mere overtone.
Watertight door,
locked inside
submarine metal
cigar-shaped shell,
pipes everywhere,
clanging sound,
earsplitting pneumatic
and rust.
Submarine school,
sitting in a circle
inside pressurized chamber,
ears ringing still—
tinnitus, the ubiquitous
overtone of immanence,
Underwater, a great stone
cradled in my arms,
walking on the sandy bottom
of the bay.
I hear their lowing now.
The palpable basso continuo.

Measuring Cups
I am walking toward 1908.
The thin line between France and Germany.
Look, Hans, there comes Kaiser Willy,
all buttons and barbed wire.
Holiday weirdos lost in forest,
walking in circles, longing for valley walls.
Night bloomers weaving their negligent,
tiny fingers, into the bark.
Gunnels turned to fast-growing vines,
leaning toward sunrise always.
Now it is 1908, the beginning of the biplane world,
aerobatic gesturing over time’s crevasse,
the wobble and slosh of tide, eroding seawalls,
failing memory. Its shape.
Boatswain’s pipe,
I am the garden’s caretaker, wanderer.
Footprints on paper hillside.
Sisyphos pushing uphill
to boulder house,
cave, depository.

Solar Energy
Power shifts every morning
when the sun comes up,
and light begins to tell us
what mood the ocean is in.
Now, the ocean is smooth, mālie,
shining under a red sky.

Jim Kraus lives on Oʻahu. His poetry has appeared in Hawai’i Review, Kinalamten Gi Pasifiku Anthology (Guam), Poetry Hawai’i, Bamboo Ridge, Kentucky Poetry Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, San Marcos Review, Cape Rock Poetry Review, Neologism, Voices de la Luna, Another Voice and elsewhere. He earned a PhD in American Studies with specialization in environmental poetry from the University of Hawai‛i-Mānoa. Currently, he is Professor of English at Chaminade University, where he teaches creative writing, environmental literature and surf studies. He also edits Chaminade Literary Review. He enjoys swimming, surfing, visiting art galleries and museums, and reading contemporary poetry.