Day’s end

Who needs gods or heaven or moral philosophies?
Your body at rest on the hammock is worth
more than all the imaginary heavens
of all the religions
ever invented

more than all the first principles
of all philosophies. All you
need to do is look at it
and see. If you listen

closely

you can hear the birds singing

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A brief narrative interlude

Who was I to be working on a trail?
I know nothing of trails. But
I do know one thing. Trees
have no hearts. But
there it was.

A deformity, a fleshy blotch, something
primeval, excessive, root and stem, something
ludicrous, abhorrent, something that shouldn’t be there.

Raging, I tore at the thing,
the thing that could not be a tree, a heart,
that could only be a ghost of a thing, a word,
a high-sounding phrase said and stupidly repeated

(to correct it, I had
no other intent).

My fury opened a thin purple line, a drip,
then a flow, pumping out a silk road
of opulent red, cambering down
the broken skin of bark.

It seemed a thousand years
swept by, countless passings of moon
and stars, blood and bone, in their great cycle.

And the thousand years filled with weird
dreams of life being lived, food trucks
and book shops and dancing under
the steady moon on a small plaza
up high, with lights of a village
below, then of doors opening
downward into something
bottomless deep, then
closing.

I grew thin, I aged as I watched
the slight silky line of red now
trickling across the earth,
now into the earth.

Then the parched earth cracked,
a pain long forgotten pushed
its wobbly head through,
unsure of whether
to lean this way
or that.

I went back to my work
changed and satisfied.

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Poem for Mexico

What says Quetzalcoatl,
scales of monstrous feather,
turquoise, green, and gaudy gold,
whip of a body, tongue of purple flame?

He saw Huitzilopochtli when the winters came,
the closing night, the sun-dimmed altar,
tearing the heart of Copil,
all to no avail.

He sees the rabbit with the jaguar’s wound,
the serpent tooth that carries the salve,
a strange pyramid of human waste,
and yet a pyramid.

“Scatter the ashes,” says
Quetzalcoatl, scales of monstrous
feather, turquoise, green, and gaudy
gold, whip of a body, tongue of purple flame.

“The fire burns fierce in the heart of man.
And woman too. Lick the flame
and wish for the best,”
says the dios.

“Expect nothing,” says Quetzalcoatl,
scales of monstrous feather
to the wind.

(Gary Gautier)

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Adam and Eve on Delacroix Island

Biting fleas, picking pecans, their voices
touched and words hung like crystals
glistening through the horizon line
dreaming the smell of wet earth

From Year of the Butterfly
by Gary Gautier

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Two on hummingbirds

Humming-bird (D. H. Lawrence)

I can imagine, in some otherworld
Primeval-dumb, far back
In that most awful stillness, that gasped and hummed,
Humming-birds raced down the avenues.

Before anything had a soul,
While life was a heave of matter, half inanimate,
This little bit chipped off in brilliance
And went whizzing through the slow, vast, succulent stems.

I believe there were no flowers then,
In the world where humming-birds flashed ahead of creation
I believe he pierced the slow vegetable veins with his long beak.

Probably he was big
As mosses, and little lizards, they say, were once big.
Probably he was a jabbing, terrifying monster.

We look at him through the wrong end of the telescope of time,
Luckily for us.

 

A Route of Evanescence (Emily Dickinson)

A Route of Evanescence,
With a revolving Wheel –
A Resonance of Emerald
A Rush of Cochineal –
And every Blossom on the Bush
Adjusts its tumbled Head –
The Mail from Tunis – probably,
An easy Morning’s Ride –

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