the storytellers tail

when you spin the tale, the x-axis meeting the why of forlorn metastasized asymptotes of utmost hubris, the storyline mutates into song mutates into symbols that retch out meaning from the shell that numbed as it echoed –

when you tiptoed on the storytellers tail ouching the eastern spirits sense of unwantoncy, the tarred streets cried for old ground compelling the poem to tend to the low – the burn of roots & the crafting of impossible syllable –

the borrowing of the forest

Noting the absence of ceremony fire in her stories, Dharamsherni took to a desert where no sants, bhakts or shaikhs - sacred or recreational - were remembered. Sand took form as poetry sprang to quench the mirages’ imagined thirst. There was Number and then the science of Number where taking earth apart from its founding poems - though a tad violent - was deemed benevolent . Dharamsherni saw no forest so she borrowed one from stories from a passing mirage. It was borrowed on market terms with high interest, the science of Number being the middleman. Joy longed to breathe fire back into the forest, but the Numbers intervened citing the infeasibility of it all: the imagined debt was unsustainable, but something could be worked out, the professor of Numbers claimed. Of course there would be war and senseless killing, but nothing that could not be wrapped up in benevolence and parceled off as bits of future. This is one telling of how dreams stopped being fountains.

Exigency of water

Take the withered  mountain and try to find its lake whose atoms 
are forever running late    they cannot choose between the exigency 
of water and the posterity of stone    reach of loss equals the reach 
of small equals the hundred wishes that stand with petals & fronds
I catch the passage of these petals & fronds as if it was my name 
carved out in song    as if the algebra of difficulty is measure of frailty
if only finality confirmed origin    would that the child chide sky -

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 –

The crushed seed

The many eyes of a room in tears
    has dust for vision
    had dust for vision
    the past will rest & it will die
(I gave three words to fire; one would’ve been fine)

The many eyes of the world in arms
    can it not bear?
    will it not bear?
    the house is one & it will die
(The crushed seed is very much a nut)

The many eyes of a single eye
    the river in sight
    the river is sight
    the rain is wood & it will die
(Visit sky often, perhaps even more often)

The green is full of this hour

The green is full of this hour  of
    need   trust in the thrust of
    giving – at most two mistakes are allowed

The age of the sun is now   of
    need   brown in this burn of
    hurt – after two mistakes the count is lost

The loam of the river sinks   of
    need   claim this calm of
    void – when you lose count you are free