CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
The Exotic Moods of Les Baxter
Paul McCormick



1. Quiet Village

Memory of silt and blush.
A no-touch Ikebana arranges the river’s first thought.
This is how the Jade Fable ends.

2. Jungalero

The wrasse and gurnard are common as flags.
Candelabra is the brunette’s afinité intonare.
The bungalows were once filled with dancers counterclockwise.

3. Temple of Gold

The King has stretched out to dream.
Cicadas bronze a rising haze.
The King dreams …

4. Hong Kong Street Car

Hell is a muddy track.
Once, the strata fragmented and people looked to each other to decide.
Many clouds were considered.

5. Oasis of Dakhla

Dakhla has not emerged from the bottom of the moon.
Dakhla feels the pressure-points beneath her skin.
The moist air of flutes keeps the sleepers happy.

6. Taboo

The undertow is in translation: black tar.
Not so soon, says the black scar.
A black car brings you to a lake filled with concrete.

7. Amazon Falls

One cannot decide which induces sleep more—chandelier or cherry blossom.
The Falls do not abide the lounging rhythm of an airport afternoon.
When there is a break in the sky, the plane is viewed as an aerobic exercise.

8. Jungle Flower

Dagger gets the day bleeding.
The seaside, epic.
Blindfolded at dusk, your fire then lit.

9. The Ancient Galleon

There’s no record of departure.
The onionskin papyrus that lines her ribs indicates something glowing in the ballast.
It is not the first time a constellation is shuttled across the sea.

10. Zambezi

You will be judged by the color of your hair.
Some will move on to the Channel, others will march up the mountain.
The Zambezian defines himself as one who is confused for the rarest butterfly.

11. Tahiti—A Summer Night At Sea

Gauguin replaced the island’s best colors with plastic.
Without knowing, Heraclitus dreamed of its ceaseless facade.
The sea air was modeled after the finest linen.

12. Congo Train

The matchstick poor bend back like weeds to let the mirage through.
There is gin and olives and a vibration that barely disturbs.
An ivory pin is slid perfectly in to complement the most fragrant aerosol.

13. Acapulco

Their enlightened do not discriminate between bone and feather.
Their healthy know the virtues of dancing on logs.
Their chefs use the horizon to puff up their hats.

14. Stone God

The people were given a choice.
Some were no longer able to open their mouths, others became spiders.
Each had his heart removed and stood like an empty building.

15. Voodoo Dreams

To motivate the declination of wind, engines have their cylinders replaced with cauldrons of soup.
An army of dolls circles the town.
Those who laugh lose their eyes.

16. Mozambique

The first Zambezians arrive barely touching the ground.
They have confused themselves for doves.
The long arm of the Indian Ocean draws taut for the moon.

17. The City of Veils

Even Polo cannot find the City of Veils.
It is concluded that the occluded are included.
Dust gathers and changes men’s minds.

18. Bacoa[#]

Women comb the brightly charged air.
The meridians of the body speak bone to bone.
This was a higher language.

19. Mombassa After Midnight

The crook of one’s arm is the crook of all arms.
You are bitten in your dream but smile for the dance.
The circle continues til dawn.

20. Bom Bom/Mood Tattoed

Today is the day we imagine the enemy.
We imagine the enemy beyond the edge of what we can imagine.
We bow down beneath a tone of sky.

21. Simba

The stretched ligament releases a new syllable.
Outsiders confuse this for the language of plants.
Once euthanized, the women are ready to paint.

22. High Priest of the Aztec

Birthing tongs trained the infant’s gaze to the chiaroscuro of winter’s dark light.
His foothold grew stronger than a forest’s.
To track him was to drink salt water.

23. Harem Silks of Bombay

Tossed ashore, the Kolis gather beneath the large toe of Mumbadevi.
Our women drag their bellies on the rocks, our children gasp above the surge.
She devotes a wide palm to level the sea.

24. Papagayo

Women twist their throats to kiss the moon’s white fire.
Siesta, hummingbirds vibrato above the spurred lips of orchises.
What extends beyond escapement, the Papagayan calls time.

25. Jungle River Boat

The captain’s long blade brings down a pear.
Its sweet red meat gives color to the glade.
A wind ripples mint.

26. Temptation

Beneath black silk, warm tips of nipples tickle the hollows of your palms.
Trace elements bind you.
Your kiss bodies sunlight.

27. Pantan

Early morning modulates between whole tones.
Beyond the fretboard, a city sparkles.
Arrows deliver sadness from the tribe.

28. Lost City

Whatever stone has sky is quarried for the wall.
Laborers reach for the vanishing point; their arms begin to brown.
Off hours, the men assume a zero slope.

29. The Pool of Love

Madame runs a furrow across her garden with the inclination of a deep sea wave.
She has taken life to mean the blending of all color.
Bugs network the soil.

30. Busy Port

A chanting sand flows through flood-sprung locks.
The harbor is parceled out to the city rooftops.
Children skating notice for the first time the smoking stacks of a distant plant.

31. Spice Islands Sea Birds

These boomerangs have no desire for return.
The Islands are an aberration glimpsed in the parallax of longing.
Scientists have the wrong birds.

32. Go Chango

This is before color.
Pinkerton clicks his wingtips to the river.
Where the Spanish moss has been disturbed, he points to lower the net.

33. Nightingale

Only the vertiginous can orient themselves to her woody reverberations.
She is lonely in her hide-and-seek.
Entropic, her smile spreads above the canopy.

34. Love Dance

Where red clay stains the dragged man’s arms the storm is said to breathe.
Round the breakwater, villagers offer matching stones.
A gull dips its wing and the pool hall is closed.

35. Safari

An accordionist is shrinking in a tunnel by the sea.
Medicine burns in the hills.
The day is large and mostly unwritten.

36. Sunken City

Clouds scale their concertina pens to begin a new, free-range memory.
Morning is the holy season of dark and forgotten jars.
A diffuse arboreal light gentian violets the heart.

37. Tehran

Lonely reed, you dream of tapioca while your river runs away.
The remote sense benediction as a plaything, a latent gravity of young apples.
The inland myths have yet to speak of shells.

38. Blue Jungle

Arachnid is film noir’s primary carbon.
Squad car to squad car, Elysians purvey the night.
A festival of chrome brings the halogenous flower.

39. The Left Arm of the Buddha

Rain, says the right arm, is a coincidence of platina and shame.
A petaled yellow is more than contrivance,
says the left, it is aperture and pane.
Wolfsbane purples the bearded field.

40. Procession of the Prince

His dream is a caravan of lye-eaters and gneiss.
It is only the blind who protest this abundance of light.
Gas blossom, ruby two-step, the soul remembers its hydrogen well.