Saturday, January 25, 2014

wand animist

Wand Animist

If you go to the trouble, you'll find that
my spore print is blue.

I used to be capable of a vast and tender
love each time, some blooming daughter, then
not blue but 

perhaps still, maybe no longer.

I saw wide black space and chrome
on a screen and thought,

I prefer us as simple animals,
us worshipping our distant
star, blue

crouched beneath Perseid's,

us once were us two, so brief,
and it all seems so brief always.

I wish it weren't so that no one
will hear your poetic scream
unless it states all the right things,
be an animist grammarian
make your pain look
pretty on the clay crock

for the day when someone digs it up

it'll never happen,
we're just going to blow it up

at the fringe

at the fringe

Is love

the human condition
the human exception

and what of the existence
of an exception,

does it, does it really?

Humans seem to love
to believe
in an exception.

Is this our condition,

(we hope that we are smart.
I hope less of that when I am beneath
the alder canopy, I care less to hope for things.

Less I need love like a solid meal. I am
hardly hungry.)

Dear yesterday and again, yesterday,
Can you tell me if love is our exception,
love the clasp between our threaded data
and mycelium, love and so we will all
be very happy when we die,
and not at all afraid?

Dear racking dream,
in my dream I could not find my Dad.
I was so terrified. My Dad beneath sunset
cliffs of orangey pumice or creamy chalk,
my dad in the surf and scraping low tide,
long fall then gone. Later speaking to him
on the telephone, wild relief was a heron or

Dear shattering dream,
in last night's dream my mother
felt it was time that we no longer spoke.
I had hurt her or grown older, and older
daughters must be fed to the distant panoramas
which conjure home

Again I pull at the fringe

Far Fair Taiga

Far Fair Taiga

It is the full moon again, again in the
sky which has grown crisp like water

butting against the stolid autumn

I am a mole in its hole or
an unincorporated territory,

a far, fair taiga, not yours.
Not yours though.

Today in deeply steeped
ground crowned by older growth,
three panther amanitas:

amanita pantherina,

with proper collars beckoned
not so much be with me as
bear witness.

My love has been submerged
in the forest tea, everything grows

hazy loses its succinct and honest bite

I forget what I love besides amanita
pantherina, am hardly tender

for another animal.

There is no other lantern neath
my quilt. I must don my own garment

and devour my own meal:

I do not have a single complaint
that cannot be stalked back to my own dirty paws,
no burden on my back that cannot be tracked
back to my hands

an older book says,
find the red foxes with lanterns tied to their tails.

I say,

rub the yarrow on your face, oh all you have known. 

Lunar Migraine

Lunar Migraine

A heavy pressure on the head, a
bearing down,

a bearing down onto the head by
something quite heavy, a pressure,
something like:

sleep needed, not had
woman wanted, not got
a looming menstrual blush,

ensuing algae bloom.

You are a Pompeiian shadow of
good times, long-enough-ago-
begotten, and THUS:

I do not love you, I do not love you,
I do not love you,

agonizing, boring valkyrie.

I was warned that this moon,
this full and tiresome moon,
would be antagonistic.

Never-you-mind, I figured it,
beneath a simple white sheet,
with Pound, and clothed
in mens underwear.

Yet I am well met by cranial
bad dream, and I dreamt of you
last night, dreamt of touching

as if tidepooling

and woke quite crippled,

tracked my location to a gloomy
seaside stretch of loam,
somewhere between
sorrow and bullshit

Post Dusk

Dear the one I love, I went to find
the whale.

I took my merciful sisters
in tow, all tangled 
and harried, 

to the post-dusk of a point
in August,

to the undertow and its silent white froth.

The shore cradled dead gulls in
its sand, gulls
that were
merely sleeping,

and I breathed the clean hardship
and hard life, the cold mist, my
own racking grief, those simple
knots of youth as I wander
further from youth.

All was well.

Loving and not loving you are both
cruel and lowly shames.


                   The right ocean is impossible to destroy
       with subtext.

The left ocean is


As It Rains

As It Rains

I have located the rotting fin whale, Jack. It is lying now

in the warm blood rain,
on the hangman's crooked coast

I almost wish I had never loved her.

The whale's flesh is caving like a soggy
paper cup

I almost wish I never let her into my body.

I would love to be a clean
cotton sheet for you to sleep upon

I almost wish I never held her foot in my hand.

Have you forgotten me?
I encased myself in beeswax for you.
I shoved my fingers into a Ball jar for you.
I pulled my somber green
shirt to the side for you

went wildly askew for you

I fell in love with you

but the whale is collapsing like a
moment becoming worthless memory

the whale is melting to useless fat and
rancid bone

the sand is stained iodine
exposed my breast for you

I want to do everything with Jack. I want
Jack to be the tender focus of one-half of my dreams. I want
to drink Jack in one-half of my mugs. One-half of me
wants to marry Jack. One-half of me wants to take Jack to the whale.

 One-half of me almost wishes (and the rain and the rain and the rain)

Oh Swan Song

Oh Swan Song

Oh swan song the air smelled sweetly
of black night
crack in the sky

many compounded heartbreaks,
many pressure fractures

people think that the bodies of young women are
made of something soft, like

when she said no because the green wool blanket
was on my naked skin and

it was scratchy and she could not bear it
to see it, to know it

when, in the end, she left,
she cared little for my body
left it quite exposed and quite
alone the air smelled sweetly

I have dispersed my love like minnows
been something pink and woolen, been her

racked lesbian

one of that battered brethren
I never met my henchmen
I never knew my fellows

Oh swan song, oh
my swan song

I have made such love
to that void

oh swan song would you say that I have done well with it all?

I will be twenty-five in some minutes,
and I am still the wick of a flame that wavers

I have lost my penchant for the absolute

Other times than august

Other Times Than August

I dreamt last night of Jack but I am going to try and not think about it. In my dream, he was sweet the way that children are, or good people when they are in love. This my unlettered guess.

I know that it doesn't matter much
in the scheme of the long unwind
a brief stone
in the scenery of a
land vast and varied

There were two wasps' nests in my window. I dislodged the double pane and scraped their paper comb free. I think perhaps they did not sting me because I am a woman. Perhaps they did not sting me because we never really wanted to live together. Our cohabitation was an accident. An incident. We were stunned by our erroneous lodgings.

I always thought that love was made of coral but it is

after all
just so much

In the photograph I am a child and I am peering over a lap harp. I wear my plaid cap backward.

In the night I would fall asleep not alone to the still pause
long shot

of the balalaika

even years on I remember sharply

that balalaika

Yuri Zhivago's poems were written in fact by Pasternak, and so was Yuri Zhivago. I have seen them in Russian at the cabin. They look the way that an akashic page might look, the way a page looks in a dream. They look the way that my legs feel when I try to run, in a dream. To run from a silver bullet.

It stands to my shrug of reason that Yuri was a poet, because his life was sad, and he loved a great deal. Unluckily.

She kept her toothbrush in a little bag and the little bag beneath the sink as if she thought she might not stay another night. Maybe she thought she might not stay another night. She stayed several nights, all in a row like mindless ducklings. She was warm, a sugar sack resting on my sheets. She put nearly every article of clothing on before her underwear. Sometimes, she did not wear underwear. We squatted in construction yards to pee. We sank into my bathtub and I learned about being in love with a woman that lives in the body of a woman. Her body was just like a woman's, and it was. She was a woman. Her eyes made me cry. She left me naked, the day she left for the first time,

but not in a mean way. Maybe,
it was so mean

Jack says that Roanoke is a town in Virginia and I say that it is an island in North Carolina but neither of us are wrong. He asked me what happened to the colonists and I said nothing good. They were slaves in the copper mines. Had babies but probably did not fall in love. I did not say that they were most likely raped because I did not want to see his face fall from its perch

high on the branched, golden light
of the afternoon.

There are other times than August for sad facts and possibilities.

I don't want to hate everyone that I love. I wonder if it is an inevitability, the accompanying ache of survival, the nest made mostly of wood pulp

that houses our future hopes and identical yearnings.

I very frequently have a feeling when I see the open ocean
particularly on days when it is gray, and green
I very frequently have a feeling
that I am being pulled toward the ocean
by my heart

There is a part of me, useless but distinct, that is heartbroken. I have found no painting which does such a feeling justice. There is no Vermeer for a young woman's real sorrow. There is only the


of the balalaika.

Even years on I remember sharply that balalaika.

I will tell Jack about it, maybe, say,

a balalaika is the prize that we are given for our heartbreaks. It is a long day in August and a sad fact. A paper nest for some bumbling innocent. It is thunder caressing and breaking open a night rain



I watched the pine cone catch
like a torch

and thought of nothing but
the smell of it, or
the smell of the dead grass or
the smell of the night new moon or
the deep orange light of
summer evening cracks and

leaks sleep

I do not miss a thing
I kick white sheets, eye
a wasps' nest in my window

don't know quite what
to do about it,

and I do not miss a thing

I tried to send a letter to the one I love

I tried to send a letter to the one I love

I tried to send a letter to the one I love,
but she offered no address.

I do not mind, because I don't believe
in the sort of time that crouches and strikes,
or leaks all over your sheets as you are

the stain of good days that were and aren't anymore.

I believe in the sort of time that unfurls itself for

huge slabs of incisive cuneiform.
Coasts which collude with their waters
until descent is reflexive, borne of
sheer exhaustion,

exhausted to the very marrow of the cliff.

I tried to send her a letter because
what the soul needs is not
a wall of mirrors for the profile,

or a night echo for the voice,

it is a chambered nautilus; I need
a nautilus the way sleep needs a dream.

I need her planetary autonomy,
her singular rotation

the way sleep needs
a dream, the way wilds
need a fire.

Remind me that there are
species of love yet undiscovered,

that even as we are now basking
in the afternoon of cataclysm,

someone will probably surf
those big waves
at the end of the world.

When a Star

When a Star Begins To Burn

When a star begins to burn:
my dreamscape is a slough of
low tides,

night's unsettling middle,
fat with mist and catkins,

stamens and green eyes the
hues of silt and muck.

My dreams are thick and
gloamy; I struggle to wade.

The old women were disappointed that their tissue flowers turned out floppy and quirked. I told them that there is no perfect symmetry in nature, that I had recently seen an animal that looked just like a boulder resting on the deep-sea floor, until it was cut open to reveal its vibrantly blood-red guts.

The seal pup's carcass on the shore
was stiff as a sugar sculpture now,
but it smelled of death and
its bones still held water,
I could tell from their staining, of rust
though I suspect that not all
of the marrow was wasted.

My grandmother told me that when her father brought electricity to the vestal plains of Canada, she ate only in restaurants, and in those restaurants, she ate only oysters. She loved oysters.

She said she bought herself a gray wool sweater at a shop in Olympia, Washington. She bought it with money she had earned babysitting.

I decided to mourn the pup the way that
I thought its mother might have mourned it:
an honest and insistent deluge of grief,
come in time to its tidy end,
because life rolls on.

One night, on the couch, my grandmother said that she regrets not having sent her father to prison for what he did. It was the closest she has ever come to apologizing to my mother, to Deborah, to Joanna.

My own mother mourned
her girlhood in much the way that the seal
squared off with a world abruptly minus
her pup.

Life rolls on,
my mother said.

My mother brought me a bangle of teak back from Costa Rica. She handed it to me and I slipped it on; it clacks against everything now, and I bathe with it. I feel it keeps me looped to my earth.

I am not very different
from wood, am warm
as wood is warm.

Once, there was a carpenter at the kitchen table of my house in Olympia, Washington, and he was trying to dig a cedar splinter from his palm.

It only matters because it is cedar, he said, and cedar has oils to keep it from decaying. If it were any other kind of wood, I could just leave it. Splinters will dissolve.

Splinters will dissolve,
I thought,

and dreamt good dreams
of comfort,

remembering nothing of them.

3 Kingfishers

3 Kingfishers

Because it is okay to relate tales
of fugitive connection,

(they are not discounted by their nature,
and neither are most things;

we are defined more by our heft,
by our breath, whether it briefly was
or stoutly still is, than by

our moment's pedigree,)

because it is okay to reveal
that I have seen three kingfishers
in three days,

I will tell you that I lay
on Friday in the ice-plant,

by the water and the dead
white crabs,

with a tide-pool woman named
Mary Elizabeth covering my body

as a summer quilt.

And now I am in California,
I write letters from home and
drudge up dirge:

did that cypress hunch over the cliff's
sudden break? Did it stoop?
No, it

slouched. It slouched beneath the
weight of time unspoken.

The old homestead gazed at my
nakedness as the sea-grass protected
my tender soles, my

wobbling pink paws gashed by barnacles.

The kingfisher said, don't worry,
you won't drown!

And the seals slept.

I am ruddy and born of
the Gaviota coast.

Borne on the gray current
of central California, crusted
in the scum of brine and kelp's
slick plasma.

I am queer as a loon,

tracing the skies
with an optic wand

attuned to movements quick as
a fine sting,

sharp as a switch  

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