Adam and Eve on Holiday
Dr. Mario Padilla
Lying naked at pond’s edge,
no one trespasses Le Compte’s private preserve,
we sleep unsafe, entwined upon the ground in pasture grass,
spun into the web of rising heat and sweat,
willows, wild bees, honeysuckle, and ants.
Slumbering in hot afternoon sun,
like Debussy’s faun,
I wake to the mischievous pleasure still lurking about,
like those gargoyle demons on Gothic cathedrals,
with their grotesque masks of avarice and lust,
their stone eyes peering down from inside the sun,
shaded now by my hand you kept pressed against your breasts
for safekeeping as we slept.
Some dreams are so resilient,
we question for one vague moment
the authenticity of the awakened world.
The sleeper, waking from a lucid dream,
knows life should be different from the way it seems,
could be, in the way we choose to live it.
And we are there still, on that forbidden pond,
your gargoyles glaring down,
forever lurking about, in perfect rows
like the ones on your cathedral in Dijon,
where you suddenly mouthed “Je t’aime”
their stone sardonic faces smirking,
they knew my knowledge of the French was limited,
that in France, love is not an act of play,
but a gravity, a grounding,
a grave into which lovers submit themselves for burial.
The Plato of your perfect smile
stretched beneath the candle-lit proscenium,
as I returned “I love you too,” kissing your neck,
the fleshy act of humans in a house of spirit.
Rising naked and unsafe at pond’s edge,
we wade into the cold current,
lift ourselves into a moss covered boat
molding of disuse in murky waters,
oarless, useless, unnamed.
But like Rimbaud’s drunken boat, it holds our weight
as we sink into each other,
panting and weaving in random circles,
wandering aimless across the agitated water.
Ah! those bottom planks
will never leave the contours of my back,
they haunt me still, like your gargoyles in procession,
whenever I dream of our drifting lascivious pleasure,
shameless, hidden by luciferous blossoms of vegetation,
like those (I suppose) God planted in Eden.
And everyday now,
rushing through random tedious chores
at safe harbor in the Americas,
I name that boat, rename it again and again
through every tediously monotonous, suffocating summer
sun tanning on the burning sand at the Pacific ocean,
in rising crowds of beach towels and striped umbrellas,
and the incessant smell of sunscreen lotion.
Closing my eyes into the glaring sun,
I dream once again of that forbidden pond
in a dense and isolated French forest,
where a boat, perhaps, still lies rotting,
tucked among water grasses,
moss laden, drifting,
where in each re-imagining
two people enter,
slip into the deep until they sink—
two naked bodies lying in the hull,
submitting hot and slippery,
into a grave in France.
Mario Rene Padilla's poetry and fiction have
appeared in numerous periodicals, such as North American Review,
The Antioch Review, New Letters, Americas Review, Atlanta Review,
Visions International, Negative Capability, INKWELL Magazine, Chiron
Review, and Explorations 2000. Currently, he is working on an ongoing
collection of short stories entitled Journey to Tenochtitlan, which
focuses on the Mexican-American experience, the issues and challenges
of cross-cultural identity. Mr. Padilla recieved a B.S. degree from
the Ohio State University, M.A. in English from Loyola Marymount,
and a Ph. D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Southern
California. He is a full-time instructor of Creative Writing, English
and Latin American Literature at Santa Monica College.