HumHymnOm to morning
parse words from sounds
through the day.
Was I just riding skies
instead of seas--
Sadness and gladness are cruel
sirens, crossing countries
with me, waiting
near the cave that is my mind.
Do you hear me? Hear me!
Bear me forward.
I hymn you in the old ways
drowsily exhaling light
breaking like the day.
maybe something something being in community
about being connected and continuing
About holding my arms out like a tree even when empty
(stop that!) about sending all my pain to the sea,
where it's already salty
By day I will read something lofty, edifying, clear
At night, I will watch stars that seem cold
and know they're really quite fiery
Alert with my intention, my asylum of inattention
I sling myself to beauty, ignore summer's
pillows smattered with snow
Please hold my head as gently
as a bomb labeled 'headache'
knowing the earth is waiting
feeding time under the loam
who is it who knocked on the door (we didn't hear)
who is it who wants to come in (we can't really see)
howling into the cusp, dreams away from disaster
learning the circuitry of sadness, the lineage of loss
For in a different world
I lost many months ago
my tongue a tombstone
fingers clawing worms
There is history to my grief
geography too--I wear what
was done to me--uncertainty,
a sadness, the calls to flood.
Someone--carry my disbelief,
it is heavy as a civilization.
I read skies to déjà vu myself
here's pain; here's my armor
still songs beat in my heart
return me to myself, kids.
I have become a ghost; I go;
I was gone for a generation
until tears filled my prayers
swam into years of sky.
Return me to myself, kids,
I belong to a god who has
never even once killed me
the press of axe is only ice.
When surrender lies inside me
I... will shatter--into your accents
your stories, curious superstitions.
For you, I will... love unfinished.
1 2 3
But was it Camus who said Wasn't it the butcher who said Perhaps it was I who said
Autumn is a second spring he'd operate on my identity my tongue was wronged--
when every leaf is a flower? until I had slowly been bled as while I prayed and read
Yet I know that I am dead into kindness and serenity? and inherited freedom songs,
and dead-er by the hour Not sure anymore--it maybe my mind, raveling like a knot,
in my sad and furious head. only leaves were actually shed. forgot--sick tyranny lies ahead.
though we die a thousand times
I can feel my heart used as a rattle
right before I start our lullaby
yet totally convinced of its ending
bitterly tracing all my sentences
to revolt, recovery, everything
Every night quakes lightly
--like childhood's laughter.
Quick, give me a new thing
to see--yes, you, so beautiful
to me. America,
Earthquake dreams, deadlines, fears, news, OMG.
From any direction
I try to meet you,
you greet me.
We hold hands,
"la biss" kiss-
There was a time when all
I had to do was simply turn
if I wanted to see you or play.
Do you ever yearn for when
we were fed from just one
plate--no yours, no mine?
To sleep together, curling like
vines? Discuss how parting
our twin beds, sending them
to opposite walls was painful
(almost as if conjoined twins
beginning surgery, separation).
My room now--though bright
feels dim and scribbled over,
continents and years crawl
over--what I fear--were last
visits. Lost keys, lost locks,
oh--the stitches come loose.
If I am not an island,
how can I swim to you?
I am now just a body
of water surging,
my eyes growing
round as our earth.
I am come to an age with
endings coiled inside me.
The pandemic's parting gift,
a gift of parting, is the empty
vision unfolding, trying to return
to decisions I made decades ago.
hours are not the apocalypse
I search their mists and dusts
composting fair warnings
I have searched the horizon
where sun blinks
this day into some montage
I presume a four-leaved clover is the "symbolic/ Leaf" Glück is looking for here? Here's At's hand holding some luck he made himself: A four-leaf clover engineered with spit--he told me he tried sweat first, but it didn't hold. (circa 2008, SD's outdoor wedding in DC; Baby Nu in the stroller.)
I've loved this poem for years and am so happy for Louise Glück's Nobel--poets so rarely get big prizes; but are there non Eurocentric writers who are being overlooked? Absolutely.
So I'm coming back, I'm coming, I
run rabbit tongue 'neath rabbit teeth.
Sift half a laugh through salty hands.
Lift away grand new memories, but
only say: So-sorrySo-sorrySo-sorry.
Remember when I traveled--was it last
winter--and you said I'm with you, but
you aren't me, never will be. I still bring
prayers to this plague. Will sing through
whispering airways: O-stayO-stayO-stay.
So Too many meetings, an eternal leap--just so
But some things are useful; anyone could do this.
They say I mean a thousand things--warning:
I may have cried about it and made it important
but it's just the spin of the world, a spell shortened.
Doubts nest together like spoons--they question
smarts or scope or if I'm dope. I'll fiddle with my
mic, memorize hopes cresting the tip of prayer,
behind my curtain of tongue, my blanket of sleep
and an inevitably unreadable ticking to tomorrow.
(Here I am bundled up for sitting outside for hours in barely 60 degree weather, looking like a fool, and I kinda secretly love it.)
Like siblings of yore on the landscape,
ribboned close always: rivers, railroads.
Playing--in plain sight, side-by-side, not hiding;
where you seek one--oh, look--there's the other.
Long, rowdy sibling things: one loud, one low--
now masked, now sparring--whatever--they are
like pandemic warnings, insistent--more forlorn by the day:
I think I'm meant to mourn, and--following them--get away.
Note 1: We live between the river and the railroad, so I have lived experience of course; but this insight is from Krueger's This Tender Land.
Note 2: Toddler Nu used to pronounce the open e almost as a schwa eg. "Natflix" (for Netflix), "grat" (for great, which we still emulate for cuteness on family chat).
Note 3: Things seem much quieter along the railroad these days--fewer goods traversing the continent or whatever--I don't know.
Note 4: I took this picture of the Red Cedar River last week; L claimed to be able to see hints of Fall.