No matter what

Surrounded by troubled seas - 6659283805_a76fe0ae4b_o
The tall man stood on the island
Blunt-faced, facing the wind
With his eyes as wide as a child’s eyes
And his clothes flapping about him

And the seabirds cried like ever
Just as if he were nought but a stone
And the wind rushed heedlessly by him
Till the sea rose and mothered him home

His blunt face is long since forgotten
By his people long scattered and dead
But all the same he stood there once
No matter what nobody says

 

Continue reading

Song that Came to Creeping in His Dream

Dragonfly - British libellulinae, or, Dragon flies (detail).JPG

Dragonfly, dragonfly,
Dragonfly, dragonfly,
Unstitch his eyes, unstitch his eyes.
The snow flies, the river is frozen,
Unstitch his eyes.

From tent to tent I go,
I go where I am wanted,
I go wherever they can pay my fee,
I go with the dragonfly,
Together we unstitch his eyes, we unstitch them.

This song is my breath,
Dragonfly, dragonfly,
This song is my breath.
Dragonfly, dragonfly,
My breath is this song.

They come by their twos and threes,
But we will come by our fours.
Stitch up their eyes,
Dragonfly, dragonfly,
Stitch up their eyes, stitch up their eyes.

 

Continue reading

You will never be able to

11747792794_a89e287d8c_z_d

“The dancers themselves are careful not to disturb the trance subjects while their souls are in the spirit world.”

James Mooney, The Ghost Dance Religion and Wounded Knee (Characteristics of the Dance)

You will never be able to strip away the spirits of the dead from the living.

As well try to use a net to carry smoke
As well try to remove the destination from the road
As well try to pull a single strand from a spider’s web

You will never be able to strip away the spirits of the dead from the living.

See where bright motes are dancing in the spring air
And you have parked your car on the sand near the ocean
The ocean rises and eats the land
The land rises up out of the ocean again

You will never be able to strip away the spirits of the dead from the living.

Somewhere a single flower has sprung up suddenly in a meadow already full of flowers
Somewhere a star is burning the universe
Somewhere the body of a red-winged blackbird is being disassembled by ants
Somewhere a girl plucks a single flower and discards it

You will never be able to strip away the spirits of the dead from the living.

You have tried to make your song without any singing
You have tried to make your dance without any dancers
But now Spider Woman is making her web again

You will never be able to strip away the spirits of the dead from the living.
You will never be able to strip away the spirits of the dead from the living.
You will never be able to strip away the spirits of the dead from the living.

 

Continue reading

The Dead

132746924_72f8868f30_z_d

In this dance with the spirits of the dead, no formal dress is worn.
All ornaments are cast off in the dance, no drum
Or rattle is used, nor is any other instrument required.
She has been at it since yesterday morning,

Look, now it is full midnight, look, now another morning has come!
Surely she is dancing with the spirits of the dead
Surely she is dancing with the dead who never grow tired
Surely she is dancing this morning with the spirits of the dead!

 

Continue reading

Puella Mea

IDL TIFF file

she was a marble
she was a plate
a bowl of stars covered her
a moon danced for her and her alone
she was a womb
she was a grocery store
her children loved her
her children wrote graffiti on the walls of her house
she was whimsical
she took her time
the wind blew across her
the unrelieved desert sun drove her to despair
she took her lumps
she was excessive at times
she wasn’t going anywhere
she doesn’t care what you think about it

 

Continue reading

I dreamed the streets of Katmandu were full of flowers

6337310960_bce14b6082_z_d

I dreamed the streets of Katmandu
Were full of flowers
As the earth-mother mountains
Were shrugging off their glaciers
While a sea rose up somewhere
And vultures dreamed of feasts
But a young woman smiled and said
Nothing’s too much to bear
And sure enough she had sung
Her child to sleep
And the streets of Katmandu
Were full of flowers.

209274116_643cd903f5_z_d

Continue reading

That story

10252473583_dcbf453d74_n_d

My father told that story again
the one that ends
You can’t get there from here,
and he laughed again like always.

I didn’t laugh though.
It’s only a good joke
if it couldn’t be true
that’s what I thought.

I haven’t slept well
ever since then
because I keep wondering
is that really how things are now?

 

Continue reading

The Toy

15195686643_64036dc3b9_b_d

It was a witch’s toy,
that’s what they said.
She made it, they said,
and so everything that happened must have been her doing.

Some people said it was made of darkness and old clothes.
Some said the wind whistled through it.
Some said it had old dry bones in it,
some said they were human bones.

She not being a witch, so she said,
it was no witch’s toy, whatever it was.
She had seen her son playing with just such a toy,
that’s the reason she made it, she said.

He was playing with it as he ran and laughed
between the green grass
and the blue, blue, blue sky
—oh, it was so blue!

That was how it was, she said,
after he died
and she danced and danced.
That was what she saw, she said, just before the vision

ended like a snapped-off twig

 

Continue reading

Always Being Hungry

188743415_a43768d5b7_oCoyote ate up all the animals
Crow ate up all the birds
Pike ate up all the fish
Grasshopper ate up all the crops

So when Yaitse
That pasty-faced monster
Ate up the rainclouds
And the sun went crazy everywhere?

Nothing to eat but bones, we had
Nothing to drink but tears.

pike

Continue reading

The tree grew up overnight

crow pastiche

The tree grew up overnight, the first anyone knew
Was sunrise and passengers tumbling from cars gawking
At that tree, its lower branches wreathed in fog,
Its upper branches gathering the fog into
Towering clouds. Crow winged out of the sun, squawking,
And drove the dogs away from the tree,
And we danced, we danced down the sun and the fog,
We danced the concrete into dust, the dust into the sea.
Continue reading