These were the high mountains.
Bear and lions walked these very ridges.
Stand here and look into the valley.
I am told you can feel my blood as I speak.
I have chosen not to use language any longer.
None of this will go away. I am not afraid to breathe.
Here is the gift that was promised so long ago.
I am told you can recognize the night skies quite well.
They are veils that hold the small child.
Riddley Walker: “You doan has tu say wut it is.
Jus say if it is. Eusa stil cudn say enne thing.”
We have birds. We can place them in the clouds.
I am told you can tell by watching the birds.
My own fingers were once flame and are now birds.
Bracelets won’t leave us alone, Do they speak to you?
I have been upset that they have such a small language.
We keep getting closer to the center. We are not regular.
Henry Denander: “It feels like I’m a vacuum, everything
Around me has stopped and is erased and gone.”
I would suggest you talk to dogs or cats more often.
You cannot wake up out of this. Standing on the ridges,
Look back over your shoulder right now to see
Where it is you have been. Iwl be thayr.
So I became the tree. It was easier to see the moon.
The dogs howled and the wind came up. I was happy.
My leaves looked like birds flying and I made noise.
I could hear so many different things in my ‘way-back
Stories. I’ll tell you this in the kind of dreams you understand.
You can walk right into the poem and find something.
It will come to you when you call it. Hey, I’m looking
For you. Don’t make your body move so slow.
Even deep in here, things can begin to glimmer.
I have a fire you can come into anytime you want.
You will have problems going to sleep if you count dark.
I won’t help you count dark. I will only remember night.
There is a yellow boy and a dull red boy to sing to you.
If you know what I mean. I will show you your mark.
You make it on my body when you do these words.
I was wondering if you were using your woman to come
To me like this, in the back, by the tree I have become?
I will take my chances and forget that you even spoke.
Try this part. Telling you love someone as you are able.
I talk this way too. I reach out my hand, my big hand.
I touch you, make my shade upon you. Think about charcoal.
A CHASE OF BIRDS
They arrive as leaves
Surprising the branches.
Water below water.
A different idea of what
It is. Often too tired to flood,
Unraveling into a river,
Soon to be a meditation.
A careless chase of birds
Untie themselves as carefully
As an inchworm deciding
A stanza of verbs held
Against the sun, twisting.
I had hoped to stand away
From words like this,
Not bending toward a meaning
But meaning seen invading them.
It is a star I have never
Be not afraid, for I bring
You tidings of great joy.
A king is born to you.
The threads of the tapestry
Have been cut away
From the loom.
WE HAVE A KEY
The morning light arriving so much
Earlier in the Springtime.
I waited for you all night long.
I was glad the moon was nearly full.
I could see light in the eyes
Of many small animals.
They passed my sleeping porch
Not knowing I was writing.
The moon finally hiding behind
The big oak trees.
When I stood up to get a drink
Of water, an owl asked its question.
The ends of the branches still surprised
To see the leaves arriving.
SOME SHORT POEMS
I tried to be a flurry
But became a snow storm.
Even the greatest of poems
Stopped by a simple period.
The dream repeating and repeating
Without a single word to help it.
A sound recording, broken,
Repeats, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
A chair scrapes across the floor.
My daughter asks if it is
Trying to dance?
Tree branch brushes the window.
Is anyone home?
Window glass does not answer.
My daughter asks why
The water is so excited?
I have forgotten why
I am crying.
Still, I continue to cry.
He said: “I will tell you the dream
But you will not believe me.”
She said: “I do not believe you will
Tell me the dream. I may believe you.”
He said: “Sometimes I want
To dream all night long.”
She said: “I have never seen
He said: “Let me gather some words
Together to make a fire.”
She said: “The night is warm enough
Already. See if you can find a breeze.”
He said: “I am in love with this quiet.”
She said: “So am I.”
I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.
—William Allen White
Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.
If you’re going to do something tonight that you’ll be sorry for tomorrow morning, sleep late.
—Medusa, with many thanks to D.R. Wagner for today’s fine poetry and visuals!
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