November 2, 2014

The Sensuous Poetry of Michael Larrain

Michael Larrain, poet, novelist, seller of beautiful flowers

Michael Larrain: poet, novelist, seller of beautiful flowers


One of the beautiful things about artists is the unexpected ways in which we encounter them. I went to college in Sonoma County, California, and make an annual pilgrimage back there. I usually stay with my long-time friends, Larry and Laurie. Last year I came upon a man selling blissed-out flowers from the back of his Jeep about two blocks east of downtown Cotati. Well, this year he was there, in the same spot again, and we got to talking about life, the universe, and how everything and everybody is sometimes discernibly connected and as it went we suddenly discovered we’re both writers. Michael told me about his novel, Movies on the Sails, and I told him about mine, featuring a character named Flowers. I asked him to submit some of his poetry for Fictional Cafe, and here it is. I’m reading his novel and plan to write a review in our Blog Department when I finish. A new friend, new art, and who knows what else, all from a simple flower.  — Jack 




Why Loves Keeps Calling

All these years later

your lips are still pressed against the glass

and there’s a taste on your tongue

you can never quite identify


Imagine a relaxation

deeper than sleep

yet shy of death

where you can say

all that you know

without fear

or reprimand


You’ve needed this

as water longs

for a hillside’s pure permission

So your body may be happy

So your mind may take flight


Now half of a sun

rises in each of your hands

a quarter moon in your heart

All at once

from the other side

a second mouth

is moving in obedience

to the same

soft commandment

Find me and I will tell you what is true


A Few More Minutes

The rootlets of sleep are but partially severed

The down on your thighs barely stirs

True wakefulness can wait

This is the birthplace of thisness

All we are doing

is waiting for the birds to start up

The sunrise is making more noise than us

Let me hold you a while longer

All I know of contentment

can be found within this tiny country

all I ever learned of peace

Poised above you like a parachutist

drifting down to all worlds new and other

I have kisses in plenty

as many as you have places

Give me your mouth

which has coaxed my own

into a tender humor

Hushabye, baby,

Keep your heart close to mine

Curl into me

Every curve of you is safe from harm

Be warm and happy

for a few more minutes

while the stars still sweeten the air outside

Your body has memorized

the table of the tides

so I can breathe

in time to distant waters

Just let me hold you

until the day begins

and then just let me look

Here is work fit for a man

Let my hands read you awake

Let’s find out very slowly

that we are alive

Your hair will tell us when the sky is filled with light

This singing is so perfectly meaningless

This is the birthplace of thisness



(dream after hiking in Crane Canyon Park)

There was blue sky

between your belly and your breasts

There were whitecaps where we had forgotten ourselves

Someday came to town today

An orange took the whole afternoon

to roll off a tablecloth

The grass leaned one way and then the other

very dramatically

and the air trembled violently

as though at the vanishing

of a powerful and mysterious being

or like sunlight passing through a cold martini

We lay sleeping in the arms of dreamers

held by a forgetful world

A little girl pursued white butterflies

mistaking them for her fingertips

An apple took the entire earth

into its confidence

firing up eleven burners under the river

one for every hour in a stolen moment

and all of them turned down real low


a mango circulated like a goldfish

its flesh entering our kisses

and our kisses circulating through the blue

of the sky, the grass, the air,

the sunlight and the earth

until it was time to go


Next To Nothing

Now I dream like the earth when she’s been drinking blood

and sending forth blossoms to French the sky

When you walk on my grave

wear your best lingerie

your body a directory of detours

your breasts listening to wine breathing

Haunting you I can duplicate any camisole

swim into the form of a chemise

assume the pure intelligence of a rhinestone strap

I’ll be your next-to-nothing it’s better this way

After all

an understanding this rare

can only be reached

between a girl and her harem pajamas


slip into me through sleeves so deep

your limbs will lead directly to Orion

After all

a ghost can be unfastened and still stay up

Should you want to summon me

merely think about buying a hat with a veil

and my silence will curve to bends into cupboards

and other chambers of a woman’s heart

A diversion created among the herbs

ends with little pockets of equinox

inhabiting you at night

and first thing in the morning

you’ll find a fresh wet flower lei

waiting in your armoire

That’s my afterlifepreserver

Promise me you’ll wear it just to dance around the house in

with nothing else on but your stockings

*       *       *

Michael Larrain was born in Los Angeles in 1947. He is the author of four collections of poems: The Promises Kept in Sleep, Just One Drink for the Diamond Cutter and For One Moment There Was No Queen, and How It All Came True: Poems for My Daughter.

Rainy Day Women Press of Willits, CA, has released a CD of Michael reading his selected love poems called Lipstick: A Catalogue for Continuous Undressing.

His novels are South of The North Star, Movies on the Sails, and As the Case May Be. His children’s storybooks are The Girl With the Loom In Her Room, Heaven & Earth, Homer the Hobo & Ulysses the Goat and Wilder & Wilder Still.

Michael lives in Sonoma County, California, with his wife and eight-year-old daughter, Wilder Kathleen the Rage of Paris Larrain. For forty years, he has been the owner-operator of the roadside flower stand, Flowers Not To Reason Why, in Cotati, and has long been a senior partner in the Way-Up, Firm And High-Tail It Bright Out of Town Detective Agency, a loosely aligned confederacy of shady characters devoted to the complete discrediting of reality in our time.

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