Dah Helmer – Five Poems

DahDah Helmer’s fourth book is ‘The Translator’ from ‘Transcendent Zero Press’. His first three books are from ‘Stillpoint Books’. Dah’s poetry has been published by editors from the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Canada, China, Philippines, and India. His poems recently appeared in Lost Coast Review, Recusant, The Cape Rock,  River&South Review, Acumen Journal, Sandy River Review, Black Market Re-View,  The Linnet’s Wings, Harbinger Asylum and The Canon’s Mouth. Dah lives in Berkeley,  California where he is working on the manuscripts for his fifth and sixth books.

Submarines Geese and Roots

Skyscrapers, vertical submarines
that sink into shadowy concrete
Sun curves away and glues itself
to the highest points. In offices
few will notice the spot of blue sky
that earth loves

In New York’s Metropolis, millions
jostle their way through the streets.
A horror of uneasy eyes ingest oblique light,
bodies breathing acidic air, car horns
sound off, like anxious geese stuck in gutters
the fox lurking

Clumped together, as if holding the buildings
up, the people are roots from indigenous
and foreign plants pot bound
in hard-crusted clay. They exist,
packed into this cement container,
hoping to be notable, hoping
to be remembered, hoping to survive
in this megacity that is so full
and so hollow.

The Opening

In this world the harmless
should breed more
and those who harm
should be reduced

The sound of the word harm
is Hate
a hammering verb
with firm syllabic thuds
or ‘d’ for destruction

Those who harm go mad
trying to tweak the world to their belief

their minds are gunfire
their actions are bullets

their Hate, a self-induced indignity

There is only so much harm
that can be done
before the World’s head explodes

As for the condition of Harmless
press your lips against Love
follow the opening
a passageway to ‘Live and Let Live’

Cicadas Dust Thirst

In a desert wash
I daydream of death
bones of grief, broken rattles
skin of snakes

I follow a dry run
sorrow of thirst
dead plants, dusty
and littered

Spiders devour cicadas
heat gallops over my skin
flies buzz like machines
orange cacti flowers
are sea stars
snagged on barbs
A green lizard
vibrates with hunger

It is high noon
a blanket of light-glare
suffocates my eyes
I hear myself breathing
as if for the last time


What does it matter that I write
this poem
or from the roasted ink of words
it appears here
like a smudge with a frown

What is change without true transformation
or life without change

Death spreads its crossing invisible
beneath light
still it is daunting
every image of it
in dreams or awake
or in clenched minds

Death is in our genes
it passes from us with breath
it passes through the air
it stands next to us
follows us
pushes us forward
pulls us down

What does it matter
that we are born into Death’s womb
waiting to be delivered

Wings Flying Sails

Yuba has wings
stone constellations
ripples that move
toward language

Starlings flying
rock to rock
keep their eyes
on the river

Against dawn
small clouds behind fir

A King Heron
resounds like bagpipes
then fills the air
with feathery sails

a morning bubble
lifted by a breezy hand

I lift a coffee
to my lips
a trout leaps
for a moth

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