Poet as resistance

  
How does a poem resist?
          When you say thrush
          It removes the palpable green from your
          Hooved beginnings 

Why does a poem resist?
          If the chances taken
          Are multiplied by its hoofsteps, you get
          Nothing as quotient

Who does a poem resist?
          Ice, palindromes, hoovicles
          And clarified ribosomes, mainly because
          Structure is a myth

Poet as Indigenous

Poet as indigenous
      as tenacity is indigenous
      does it grow with the river or will the seed of word become song?

The dwelling is indigenous
      there are as many indigenouses
      as there are houses nestling the words that hint of becoming song

The poem is indigenous
      to the steel that is fraught with love
      that burned as seed that was housed in spring to become song –

Poet as insight

– it is transformed as it is birthed: as it becomes it is no more
– master’s tool no more, but the inch that peels off the foot
– it reverses the voyeuring oppressor’s gaze; it has survived by looking back, unrepentant, unfazed
– build your ivory tower upon it, and it spits it out, whole
– it is the silence that gnaws, knows

If greed were a pencil

How far is this sun from your
    winter’s moon? take this

parchment of dust & leech it with
    the shadow’s ink leech

it with another white while the
    eyeness of this red lingers –


If greed were a pencil would its
    nib pontificate? & the bleed of

its hue: would it fill the room
    with chance or would the

ooze serve only as passion to
    delay the evitable forever?


Tremor is amused at nothing
    as the chimes roll

Rumor is coffin it is mist
    as too the daybreak

Ardor is one with the weave
    as this gift unveils –

No mind

What brews below is symptom, nay act
   it follows that the feather is free


Communion with the people ceased to be a mere theory, to become an integral part of ourselves

– Che Guevara

What haunts below is wish, nay will
    it follows that the word will suffice


The wise have no mind of their own, finding it in the minds of ordinary people

– from the Tao Te Ching, transl. by Ursula Le Guin

When the river speaks you listen you
    tend to the bend of the river they say is pain as it tends to
    the shadow     you hark to the sense of
    the shadow
    at the heart of the river –

this much is true

true is the cardboard box   true too
     the hunger &
     the pigeon, now
     dead


But the fellah, the unemployed and the starving do not lay claim to truth. They do not say they represent the truth because they are the truth in their very being.
– Frantz Fanon, from “The Wretched of the Earth”


Sweet Sally took a cardboard box,
And in went pigeon poor.
Whom she had starved to death but not,
For lack of love, be sure.
– Gwendolyn Brooks, from “the ballad of the light-eyed little girl”


The Task
Some dust to be sure, some nails I will bring, we shall nail the dust to wind –

Doubt
Can you will your shadow into being stone
And will it rain when the stone turns color?

Prayer
I’ll think up some fire, you bring your clay, and pray earth to give us song –

wolf-kin

Blue as the tip of a flame that
teaches each morning how to be born –
Red as the warmth of a love that knows only
the murmur as friend and the roar as god –
Violet as the eye of a wolf looking out for kin
not knowing whether the time is right –

Bringing the sun back

To the sun I say my greetings as I did the day before
to the sun’s

memory   can I recall which sun I bore witness to?
whose warmth

is like my own, cradled in the same lava that burns
every sun

which looks like my own   can I bring that sun to you?


I am preparing myself so that I might remember the teachings of my grandfathers. I would like to give these teachings to you. I believe that, together, we can begin the journey back to find what many of our people left by the trail. This will be a journey to rediscover a way of life that is centered on the respect for all living things. It will be a journey to find the center of ourselves so that we can know the peace that comes from living in harmony with powers of the Universe. I do not believe in isolating myself in the memories of the past. I do believe that with the teachings of yesterday we can better prepare ourselves for the uncertainties of tomorrow.

– Edward Benton-Banai: “The Mishomis Book: the voice of the Ojibway”

iii poemses

i,
as the timidity of morning relents, the
    whorl of ashless stars
    climbs up into the gut

of heaven to teach it love – relents
    the crawl of moon as
    it detaches from each

world   the peripheries of relent give
    mark give stone give
    the vapid liquor of gray –

ii,
the thread of beginnings is
    taught the how of
    howl & the hum of

humans – lost in the sunsome
    day, the riverbed
    listens   it trades

secrets – what morning knows
    it secretes while the
    thrum of nettles bakes –

iii,
the fulsomeness of each torn leaf
    voids the argument of
    dark   touch the

thorn of thunder & it will silence
    your need   reach into
    the budless sun where

creatures of light scatter into
    a priestly muttering
    of the whoness of wonder –