Future Earth Magazine                         Volume Four:                    Celebrations & Holidays                     ...
The editors would like to dedicate this issue to many people worthcelebrating and a few who deserve outright holidays in t...
ContentsClive Nolan                                          On the PierLyn Lifshin                               North of...
Denise Emanuel Clemen                       Cutting Down TreesFEM Celebrates Marilyn Nelson!    Curtis Crisler            ...
Em Jollie                         Winter Solstice, 2008Em Jollie                         Spring Equinox, 2010Em Jollie    ...
Clive NolanOn the Pier
Lyn LifshinNORTH OF COTTON WOOD	           rose lichen	         	        gamble oak                     globe mallow      ...
Lyn LifshinARIZONA RUINSPast Mogollon River	       the limestone ruinsscrape it with your finger	       	       and the floo...
they walked200 miles to trade in Phoenix	      before it was time to leave40 yearsbefore Columbus3Noon in thecaves	       ...
To look for lizards	      and nuts he	     takes the girl hewants	     for the first time	      	         Her blood cakes	 ...
Lyn LifshinCHAMPLAIN, BRANBURY, THE LAKES AT NIGHTalways women in thedark on porches talkingas if in blackness theirsecret...
Lyn LifshinNEW HAMPSHIREwild cat in thewood pile, deeryou can’t see.I drift withthe poem yousent into anundergroundriver w...
Lyn LifshinMIDDLEBURY POEMMilky summer nights,the men stay waiting, First National Cornerwhere the traffic light used to be...
Lyn LifshinTHIRTY MILES WEST OF CHICAGOpaint chips slowly.It’s so still youcan almost hear itpull from a porch.Cold grass ...
Lyn LifshinTHINGS THAT SHINE IN QUEBEC CITY AS THE SUN FALLSlight on the ballof glass, onthe puddlesunder the Hilton.The S...
Lyn LifshinMIDWESTall that skya flat blackwith only a cat’seyes blazingpeople wait alone.Wind changes inthe cornleaves.Peop...
Lyn LifshinMONET’S LES NYMPHEASthe long curvedroom, the wallsstarting toshimmer, breatheA Chinese girlsitting on the stone...
Lyn LifshinVIOLET JELLYpicking the leavesMonday early ina cool rain huddledin wet sweatshirts.Hours in the grey,knees and ...
Lyn LifshinBLUE SLEIGHSDecember, thewater movesdark between thesnow dunes in tenthousand hillspulling lightaround theblack...
Lyn LifshinSEPTEMBER 26, 1996this morning the pondlooks like marble. Roseand charcoal dissolvingto dove, to guava, rouge.O...
Lyn LifshinMID NOVEMBERwhen the black ducks come,winter opens, a kick pleat in darknessEyelash fringe of ferns on shore.La...
Lyn LifshinLATE NOVEMBERone minute, the sun was out, it was fall.Geraniums under a quilt last night, a	      blotch of red...
Lyn LifshinGEESE AT MIDNIGHTas if a featherquilt exploded,a white you can’tsee in the darkbut breathe, awind of whiterose ...
Lyn LifshinLIKE A DARK LANTERNI move thru the firstfloor at 3 AM, pastthe cat who is curledin a chair half madeof her fur, t...
Lyn LifshinIN THE RIPPLED EBONY COVETemperatures falling.Moon slivers on therolling skin of water.Geese in half light,arma...
Lyn LifshinLATE NOVEMBERToday in Virginia, unseasonably cold,       high only in the mid 30’s.I think of a night drive fro...
Lyn LifshinHERON ON ICEPale salmon light,9 degrees. Floortiles icy. Pastbranches thebeaver’s gnawed,at the small holethe h...
Lyn LifshinFEEDING DUCKS, GREY NOVEMBERno swath of light,no smell of warmwood shavings. Arain-coming scent.Last leaf in wi...
Lyn LifshinGEESE ON ICEfrozen, perched asif listening for somedistant code,news of a warmfront coming intime. Meanwhile,al...
Lyn LifshinON THE SHORTEST DAY OF THE YEARA woman went into darkness,past the black ruby rosesand was never heard from aga...
Lyn LifshinDOWNSTAIRS THE DARK STUDDEDwith glow ofwhite branches,clots of snow,stars in clumps,you have to buryyour face i...
Lyn LifshinCHERRY BLOSSOMS IN DARKNESSglow likestars of lace,heavy snowclotting on boughs.I couldn’t sleep,the sweet white...
Lyn LifshinREPRIEVEfor the moment, mycat, who turned her headat chunks of justcut beef, now is nuzzlingnearly empty cat fo...
Lyn LifshinIT GOES ONlike dreaming ofsome place afteryou leave it. Youwake up in a dazerain all dayin the pines.It goes on...
Tatjana Debeljackimomiji gari_________viewing the scarlet maple leavesamatano toki wo_____collecting the numerous memories...
Mahdi Tavajohi
Denise Emanuel ClemenCutting Down Trees	      Getting pregnant was the worst thing that could happen to a high-school girl...
died of blood poisoning way back when from an evergreen needle in her foot or maybeher thumb.        We went together to g...
Marilyn Nelson, through Soul Mountain, through her words, through her life,has inspired so many, I could only think to emb...
Curtis Crisleridentityi never saw         the rich                minerals in me‘til i saw the millionaire          of you...
Mama MetronomeYour handblessed the sessionstarting workshop,by hitting metallic bowlwith a small wand,all was quiet—we sat...
That Smile—for MarilynI ownedthat nounbefore, beforecommunicationglitch in civiliza-tion, the divorceof our earth’stectoni...
Tara BettsMarilyn Nelson. Two words to describe a woman who is doing things with poetrythat I dreamed of doing years ago, ...
works by Virginia Hamilton or even Robert Hayden’s “Frederick Douglass” and“The Middle Passage”, but the unique element of...
Without Marilyna rondeau for Marilyn NelsonWithout Marilyn, I can’t beginto describe how would be thin,a wane waif starved...
Marilyn NelsonMohembo Road  Meditations on a Road-trip with Abba Jacob  in Botswana and Namibia , 2008People walking. Peop...
A one truth by which Africa make sense?The continent is the Rosetta Stonewhich explains humanity’s origin.(Though all life...
We celebrate Man’s triumph over the night,although no triumph comes without its cost.In the light from each watt, how many...
Travelers encased in artificial airlook down on the planet, a jewel against the vast.We reflect light already in the past....
We are most fulfilled when we know we are one.Though we are eight billion, and each a tree of life.We forget too easily ho...
Swept downstream to be food for crocodiles,tethered by stupid human cruelty,those donkeys died because they were not free....
Our fate, on this iota whirling in space,is to race across this bridge burning at our heels.To cross it, or to feed the cr...
Jee Leong KohHungry GhostsMy father took me picnicking in Hellin Tiger Balm Gardens when I turned five.Horseface and Oxhea...
as insects, fish, birds, animals or mendepending on each individual’s worth.The worst are born as hungry ghosts, Father sa...
He has not asked me about him ever.The air nips us. Venus cuts short her walkand retreats indoors to make a late breakfast...
Allison Hedge CokeYinxing                         for Marilyn NelsonYinxing, ginkyō,you call, we respondturning pages,clim...
Consumption7/87/5
Inaugural Consumption
Ann HostetlerOf Mothering, Monasticism, and Creative Space: A Retreat at SoulMountainMarilyn Nelson is the demi-goddess wh...
Mother died two years ago during May Term while I was teaching NativeAmerican Lit. I never finished my filing for that cou...
Coming Back as a Mother -- April 27When Katagiri Roshi asked Natalie Goldberg what shed like to come back as inher next li...
What is left of the giver, the one who finds in anothers suffering her ownusefulness (to paraphrase the words of Julia Spi...
female white-tailed deer staring at me from the edge of the woods, so still. Its agood thing deer are shy; an aggressive o...
IThere was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,The earth, and every common sight,To me did seemApparelled in celestial l...
times, should be content with this function, in which they have become all tooadept. He exhorted the church to:1) Support ...
and didnt even know it!Thats my hope for these few weeks--to find the riches Ive brought with me anddidnt even know it. So...
My first writing of this season--as cheap and gaudy as skunk cabbage, perhaps--but hey, somethings poking up through the c...
Her greyhounds are friendly and wantto follow me, but they are too polite. Perhapsthey sense your reluctance in me. "Theyr...
been rushed to the hospital with congestive heart failure, but at the ceremony hispartner read several of his poems. It wa...
A Community of Women                                                        May 5Our Eyes Are on Our Dreams(for Marilyn, T...
clearing and continued towards what looked like a large open meadow. As Ineared the meadow, I saw rows and rows of large b...
putting the WOM-PO anthology into physical form. Ive proposed a panel for nextyears AWP on the creation of this collaborat...
Return to Solitude                                               May 12A relief to be back in the writing groove at Soul M...
thought, and working it through will remove the "carbuncle" from the passage ofmy creativity, the deep underground reservo...
responded to mine this evening. It is affirming to be read and understood byanother. Both of us are writing about women ch...
see the cottonwood seeds, or the dark green shadows in the fully leafed trees. Andthis upstairs bedroom has a view of sky ...
Ching-In ChenPartly BlazeI dont know whothe teacher in me  [a flame green snail perched on the head of a psychedelic Buddh...
BowieStorytellers I’ve beenembedded in yourunwritten, my workadaycardinal sin ---I’m a turncoat.My materials forgedfrom a ...
Fugue: Love Pathology                      You ask me to skinyour letters.       I capture the bleach from its guard-tower...
We, of Future Earth, as that you find someone, at this moment, to celebrate, someone towhom you would like to pay tribute,...
NashiraPriesterT   H   E                     B       I       G                    S    H    O    W   Republicans and insur...
o say   Am   I    hurtin  o  heck yes i’m iswith this buliding sitting on top of my pulverized boneshere in the basement o...
when global warming comeswhen global warming comes it won’t be conflagrationthe sea will scalp the shorelinecarefullyhaving...
medallions                              meatalready consumed in some storehouse reawakens next‘   seeking life   to lead m...
W     A     Y     N     E          S     H     O     R     T     E     RWayne Shorter’smusic does something to menobody  e...
   aftermath   of  kissesdo pois do amor o vaziobreathing  on  the  outside    locking  inWayne  Shorter.  who  knew  horn...
   fullness   chant  .   .   .   and  we  are   won  over   a   lamb   goat   mystic   riddles   nobles   further     to  ...
      wires      .  .  .  exasperating  control      hymns    -   I’m  deforested      loving  them  lungsWayne  Shorter  ...
Isabella Day
Isabella Day & Magnus Stokoe
Norm BreyfogleFreak AdviceWith butt plug and leather husks,kevlar, spandex, tights,my muscles, mask, and mammal muskswere ...
System shockspole-shift sorcerers mix alchemical transmutations in the skycosmic flipflopthe consternation of forces transmo...
Omega Leapmy loveseparated from you by a chasm of illusionI’m not yet fully conscious of your existencebutnonhuman friendh...
Contrary TreesNothing stops them.Weep for man;the time has arrived to reclaim the land.Freed is flotsam!Contrary molds unit...
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  1. 1. Future Earth Magazine Volume Four: Celebrations & Holidays Editors Laura Ortega, Laura Jensen, and Travis Hedge Cokewww.futureearthstudios.comFuture Earth Magazine, vol. 4: Celebrations & Holidays, compilationcopyright © Future Earth Magazine, 2010. The individual contributorsretain copyright of their own respective works. Future Earth Magazine ispublished approximately twice a year and is free for download and upload,so long as no part of the compilation file is altered in any way. No part, northe whole, of this collection may be replicated or excerpted, includingimages and text.
  2. 2. The editors would like to dedicate this issue to many people worthcelebrating and a few who deserve outright holidays in their name, including: Malcolm X Josephine S. Casillas Larry Hama Marilyn Nelson Carlos Ortega Prince Trina Robbins Allison Hedge Coke Anne Waldman
  3. 3. ContentsClive Nolan On the PierLyn Lifshin North of Cotton WoodLyn Lifshin Arizona RuinsLyn Lifshin Champlain, Branbury, The Lakes at NightLyn Lifshin New HampshireLyn Lifshin Middlebury PoemLyn Lifshin Thirty Miles West of ChicagoLyn Lifshin Things That Shine in Quebec City as the Sun FallsLyn Lifshin MidwestLyn Lifshin Monet’s Les NympheasLyn Lifshin Violet JellyLyn Lifshin Blue SleighsLyn Lifshin September 26, 1996Lyn Lifshin Mid NovemberLyn Lifshin Late NovemberLyn Lifshin Geese at MidnightLyn Lifshin Like a Dark LanternLyn Lifshin In the Rippled Ebony CoveLyn Lifshin Arizona RuinsLyn Lifshin Late NovemberLyn Lifshin Heron on IceLyn Lifshin Feeding the Ducks, Grey NovemberLyn Lifshin Geese on IceLyn Lifshin On the Shortest Day of the YearLyn Lifshin Downstairs the Dark StuddedLyn Lifshin Cherry Blossoms in DarknessLyn Lifshin ReprieveLyn Lifshin It Goes OnTatjana Debeljacki “momiji gar…”Mahdi Tavajohi
  4. 4. Denise Emanuel Clemen Cutting Down TreesFEM Celebrates Marilyn Nelson! Curtis Crisler identity Curtis Crisler Mama Metronome Curtis Crisler That Smile Tara Betts “Marilyn Nelson. Two words” Tara Betts Without Marilyn Marilyn Nelson Mohembo Road Jee Leong Koh Hungry Ghosts Allison Hedge Coke Yinxing Allison Hedge Coke Consumption Allison Hedge Coke Allison Hedge Coke Allison Hedge Coke Allison Hedge Coke Inaugural Consumption Ann Hostetler Of Mothering, Monasticism, and Creative… Ching-In Chen Partly Blaze Ching-In Chen Bowie Ching-In Chen Fugue: Love PathologyNashira Priester T H E B I G S H OWNashira Priester when global warming comesNashira Priester Wayne ShorterIsabella Day Butterfly Christening Box/PendantNorm Breyfogle Freak AdviceNorm Breyfogle System shocksNorm Breyfogle Omega LeapNorm Breyfogle Contrary TreesNorm Breyfogle The Primal ChristJames Cihlar Oprah: The PoemJames Cihlar The BearJames Cihlar Engines of Our IngenuityEm Jollie Autumn Equinox
  5. 5. Em Jollie Winter Solstice, 2008Em Jollie Spring Equinox, 2010Em Jollie A’tugwaganEm Jollie Celebrating the Day of MourningAlexandra Parsons ApolutrosisBrett StoutEchezona Udeze And He LaughedDaniel de Culla And I WonderDaniel Parks Another LanguageEugenia Rainey Burying the MoonRandy Gonzalez Knight Checks QueenDaniel Rappaport ShadowsDaniel Rappaport Happy ChairsVivekanand Jha My poem falters and fallsVivekanand Jha Interview with Jayanta MahapatraJayanta Mahapatra HungerJayanta Mahapatra FreedomJayanta Mahapatra AshJayanta Mahapatra Her HandE.B. Sanders The Perfect SuicideRick Marlatt Seasonal PrayerRick Marlatt Last Sunday Night in the WorldRick Marlatt MirrorsRick Marlatt DeerRick Marlatt Driving NorthSergio Ortiz taxonomy of a desireIsaac James Baker R2D2Willie J. Nunnery II A Broken VerseDavid Meltzer Widow HerAngela Sestito under a full moon
  6. 6. Clive NolanOn the Pier
  7. 7. Lyn LifshinNORTH OF COTTON WOOD rose lichen gamble oak globe mallow bent in rain blue lupine juniper mistletoe it rains and keeps rainingthese rocks pulled from each other two million years ago wrenched like a womanwhose child is grabbed on a cattle car smashed into stoneher eyes, streaked like tonight’s sky a Monday, all sipapu, a spirit entrance into the underworld
  8. 8. Lyn LifshinARIZONA RUINSPast Mogollon River the limestone ruinsscrape it with your finger and the floor breaks The talc must have dusted their darkbodies as they squatted on these floors grindingmesquite and creosoteNo one knows where they went from the cliffs with their earth jars and sandalsOr if theycursed the desert moon as they wrappedtheir dead babies in bright cloth and jewels2Now cliff swallows nest in the mud where the Sinaqua lived until water ran outHigh in these white cliffs weaving yucca and cotton How many nights did they listen for cougar as they pressed the wet rust clay into bowls
  9. 9. they walked200 miles to trade in Phoenix before it was time to leave40 yearsbefore Columbus3Noon in thecaves it is summer the children are sleepingThe women listen to a story one of them has heard of an ocean Deerflesh dries in the sun they braidwillow stems and don’t look upWhen sheis done they are allstoned on what could come from such waterIt is cool and dark inside here This was the place4The othershave gone to findsalt and red stones for earrings The childrenclimb down
  10. 10. To look for lizards and nuts he takes the girl hewants for the first time Her blood cakes on the white chalkfloor Her thighs will make a bracelet in his head5Desert bees fall thru the wind over the pueblos velvet ash and barberryThey still find bodies buried in the wall a child’s bones wrapped in yucca leaves and cottonbats fly thru the ruins now scrape the charred walls white The people left the debris of their lives here arrows, dung And were buried with the bright turquoise they loved sometimes carved into animals and birds
  11. 11. Lyn LifshinCHAMPLAIN, BRANBURY, THE LAKES AT NIGHTalways women in thedark on porches talkingas if in blackness theirsecrets would be safe.Cigarettes glowed likeIndian paintbrush.Water slapped thedeck. Night flowersfull of things with wings,something you almostfeel like the fingersof a boy moving, as ifby accident, undersheer nylon and feltin the dark movie houseas the chase gets louder,there and not there,something miscarriedthat maybe never was.The mothers whisperedabout a knife, blood.Then, they were laughingthe way you sail out ofa dark movie theaterinto wild light as if nothing that happenedhappened
  12. 12. Lyn LifshinNEW HAMPSHIREwild cat in thewood pile, deeryou can’t see.I drift withthe poem yousent into anundergroundriver whereIndians eatfish so oldthey have noeyes. If Ishut my eyesI hear thewater thatflows underthe columbine.When I touchthe chair I hearbluebirds thatwere wild in itsleaves when therewere red flowersin its branches
  13. 13. Lyn LifshinMIDDLEBURY POEMMilky summer nights,the men stay waiting, First National Cornerwhere the traffic light used to be, waitas they have all June evenings of their lives.Lilac moss and lily of the valleysprout in the cooling air asMiss Damon, never later for thirty years,hurries to unlock the library, stillhoping for a sudden man to spring tall from thelocked dark of mysterious card catalogues tocome brightening her long dusty shelves.And halfway to darkboys with vacation bicycleswhistle flat stones over the bridge,longing for secret places whererocks are blossoming girls with damp thighs.Then nine o’clock falls thick on lonely booksand all the unclaimed fingers andas men move home through bluemetal light,the Congregational Church bellsringing as always four minutes late,the first hayload of summer rumbles throughtown and all the people shut their eyesdreaming a wish
  14. 14. Lyn LifshinTHIRTY MILES WEST OF CHICAGOpaint chips slowly.It’s so still youcan almost hear itpull from a porch.Cold grass clawslike fingers in awolf moon. A manstands in corn bristleslistening, watchingas if somethingcould grow fromputting a dead childin the ground
  15. 15. Lyn LifshinTHINGS THAT SHINE IN QUEBEC CITY AS THE SUN FALLSlight on the ballof glass, onthe puddlesunder the Hilton.The St Lawrence glows,the flag poles,edges of buildings.A yellow car in thesalmon light.Lights are starting to go on.Green copper roofs glow,shadows of cloudsover sailboatson the water.The smell of leaves,cool wind blowing.The watera ripple of lightlike a flag of glass.Diamond ripples.I think of Diamond Head,light that seemedmagical in a strangetown. The onlyfamiliar sign isone that saysKresge’s. Lightthat will glowwhen whatseems tomight not.Green diamonds,red diamonds,blue diamondsstarting to coverthe hill
  16. 16. Lyn LifshinMIDWESTall that skya flat blackwith only a cat’seyes blazingpeople wait alone.Wind changes inthe cornleaves.People hear it likea chord augmented.Houses chip slowlystranded in snow.Only the sky is fast
  17. 17. Lyn LifshinMONET’S LES NYMPHEASthe long curvedroom, the wallsstarting toshimmer, breatheA Chinese girlsitting on the stonebench next to me,dazed, smilingThe lilies movinginto both of us
  18. 18. Lyn LifshinVIOLET JELLYpicking the leavesMonday early ina cool rain huddledin wet sweatshirts.Hours in the grey,knees and fingersnumb. Our skinsmells of violetswhile they soakin the red panovernight till weboil the green.Then the pectinturns them lilac.We pour them intoglass, amethystthe sun comes thruon the windowafter snow
  19. 19. Lyn LifshinBLUE SLEIGHSDecember, thewater movesdark between thesnow dunes in tenthousand hillspulling lightaround theblack stones, asound to sleepand love bylike bellsrunning thru thechildren’s sleepwhen they dreamof blue sleighs
  20. 20. Lyn LifshinSEPTEMBER 26, 1996this morning the pondlooks like marble. Roseand charcoal dissolvingto dove, to guava, rouge.Only mallards pushingholes in the glass, sounlike the pond, deep intrees, almost camouflaged,startling as coming uponyour reflection in a mirror,just there under trees andthe wooden bar and thedriftwood benches blacklyjade with pines drippinginto it, shadows close tomy hair. What I didn’t haveblinded me so I hardly sawthe small birds, blue,pulling out of moss andneedles as if reaching intothe dark for their color
  21. 21. Lyn LifshinMID NOVEMBERwhen the black ducks come,winter opens, a kick pleat in darknessEyelash fringe of ferns on shore.Late fall thunder after a longIndian summer.Branches creak. Muskrat slither intothe pond like a stone the tide coversin the glow of a stranger’s flashlight
  22. 22. Lyn LifshinLATE NOVEMBERone minute, the sun was out, it was fall.Geraniums under a quilt last night, a blotch of red opening.On the front step what looked like linthas small pink claws and feet.Next the sky was the color of lead.Geraniums under a quilt last nightlike a child you’ve tucked inor a body wrapped in the earth under leaves.In the swirl of sudden snow, whatwas left of the headless fur blows westLike a child you’ve tucked inwhatever was living, a just bornsquirrel I suppose, hardly a living thing except for feet.In fifteen minutes, the light cameback, cars stopped slidingWhatever was living. Or just bornmust have felt the wild snow was a warning.I thought of the lover wrapped in darkcloth and left in the leaves while, not knowing,I took a ballet class. The geraniumsare still under a blue quilt this Tuesday.One minute the sun was out, it was fall
  23. 23. Lyn LifshinGEESE AT MIDNIGHTas if a featherquilt exploded,a white you can’tsee in the darkbut breathe, awind of whiterose petals,wave of fogin the shape offlying things.Like radiovoices onthe pillow,lulling, keepingwhat’s raggedand tears atbay, the geesepull sky and starsin through glass,are like armscoming backas sound
  24. 24. Lyn LifshinLIKE A DARK LANTERNI move thru the firstfloor at 3 AM, pastthe cat who is curledin a chair half madeof her fur, turningher back on airconditioning, startledto find me prowlingin the dark as if I wasintruding on stars andmoon and the ripplein water that spitsback the plum trees.Grass smells grassier.The clock inches slowlytoward the light. Acreak of wood and thesoft scratch on the bluePersian rug the cat clawsgently merge with somenight bird I’ve neverseen like a poem thatgoes along and suddenly,at the end, like a bankedfire, explodes into thewildest flame that finishesoff everything that hascome before it perfectly
  25. 25. Lyn LifshinIN THE RIPPLED EBONY COVETemperatures falling.Moon slivers on therolling skin of water.Geese in half light,armada of feathers.Wind blows them closer.One silver band glows.Their onyx, black flamein a night fire
  26. 26. Lyn LifshinLATE NOVEMBERToday in Virginia, unseasonably cold, high only in the mid 30’s.I think of a night drive from Austerlitzan hour north to bring in my plants, early September.The sky tangerine, guava and teal.My own house strangely quiet, mycat at my mother’s.When I think of a night I drove from Austerlitzto bring in the plants, my mother young enoughto swoop up suitcases, my cat,I was looking for someone. “Aren’t you glad youstill have me?” my mother purred. The cat Igot after that one, now going on 21,the ice yesterday a warning.I was looking for someone. Each time Ileft my mother’s rooms, drove thruVermont leaves there was an ache becoming myself.When the wind tore thru yesterday, on the stairs, ashape that looked like lint with claws.Later I tucked the geraniums in quiltslike putting a child under flannel or leavesThat ache, a wind under my hairMy mother tucked in the earth.The headless fur shape with its pink clawsor feet, on its back, a mystery.Today in Virginia, unseasonably cold
  27. 27. Lyn LifshinHERON ON ICEPale salmon light,9 degrees. Floortiles icy. Pastbranches thebeaver’s gnawed,at the small holethe heron waits,deep in the water.Sky goes apricot,tangerine, rose.Suddenly a dive,then the heronwith sun squirmingin his mouth, acarp that looks athird as big as heis gulped, thenswallowed, orangeglittering wildlylike a flag or thewave of someonedrowning
  28. 28. Lyn LifshinFEEDING DUCKS, GREY NOVEMBERno swath of light,no smell of warmwood shavings. Arain-coming scent.Last leaf in wind.Walnuts on the deckbleeding ebony. Ithink of houses ofice where there isno light, of mencarving snow birds,seals, caribou,dream llamas as geesefly up, a cloud offeathers skidding tothe corn that floatson the skin of waterthe color of night
  29. 29. Lyn LifshinGEESE ON ICEfrozen, perched asif listening for somedistant code,news of a warmfront coming intime. Meanwhile,alerts go out onlocal stations,schools closeearly. The “partlysunny” never came.30 percent chanceof snow. Trees tilteast, the groundhardens. Geesetake root as scarvesfloat in wind likestrange new flags
  30. 30. Lyn LifshinON THE SHORTEST DAY OF THE YEARA woman went into darkness,past the black ruby rosesand was never heard from again.She moved quietly pastbleached grass a December dayit moved into sixties near Troy.It was foggy and warm, verymuch like today. It could havebeen today. You probably thinkthis woman was me, it seemsthere are reasons. But listenI’ve never seen, only imaginethose tissue thin roses andthat last minute before lightcollapses. A garnet leafon the pond is less red thanmy hair blazing, the lonesignal to guide you in
  31. 31. Lyn LifshinDOWNSTAIRS THE DARK STUDDEDwith glow ofwhite branches,clots of snow,stars in clumps,you have to buryyour face inwhite. InSyracuse, offComstock, thelilacs juststarting, thefirst man whotouched meinside myclothes pulledme under suchwhite boughsthru rain dripping.Lacy boughs, lightfilling thedark orchard.In this samejeweled lighteverythingopening likethese clenched buds
  32. 32. Lyn LifshinCHERRY BLOSSOMS IN DARKNESSglow likestars of lace,heavy snowclotting on boughs.I couldn’t sleep,the sweet whitefloating upstairs pulled meback to thecove of anold lover’sarms deep insuch whitedripping branches,white petalson slopes ofskin, lipsstudding Tuesdaywith jewelsin the sweetgrass, lockedlike antlers
  33. 33. Lyn LifshinREPRIEVEfor the moment, mycat, who turned her headat chunks of justcut beef, now is nuzzlingnearly empty cat foodtins, purrs thru thenight. Limp as rags,for a week under thebed, she claws therug in the sun. I saynothing, just listenas I do to her crunchingfood, lapping waterat 2 AM. In stillnessthe sound comfortslike bells or words inSpanish or FrenchI don’t understand. Herchewing, like pearlsor amber warming toskin soothes though itis as untranslatableto me as the nuancesunder chatter inthe streets in Montrealor Paris. Still, forthe moment, like musicor velvet, her paws on myeyelids are a reprieve,like June, or rosesor lilacs in early lightbefore anything scorches,goes limp or losesits rouge, while morningglories are a necklaceof amethyst, exotic asgracias, si, bon, merci
  34. 34. Lyn LifshinIT GOES ONlike dreaming ofsome place afteryou leave it. Youwake up in a dazerain all dayin the pines.It goes onlike that green,like stained glassbetween a bedroomand the hall withthe light alwaysburning behind it,cantaloupe andpeach light onthe bed all night
  35. 35. Tatjana Debeljackimomiji gari_________viewing the scarlet maple leavesamatano toki wo_____collecting the numerous memories (times)atsumeru ho_________step by step
  36. 36. Mahdi Tavajohi
  37. 37. Denise Emanuel ClemenCutting Down Trees Getting pregnant was the worst thing that could happen to a high-school girl inmy town. Getting raped, hearing voices or receiving the stigmata could lead to sainthood,but getting pregnant was a Harley ride straight to hell. Still, my family could handle it. We belonged to the church of secret keeping.There were secret marriages, shotgun weddings, teen-age pregnancies, children ofuncertain parentage. Sweeping things under the rug was a holy sacrament with us. So I’m sure I hear wrong when my mother calls me up just as I’m about to besprung from the hospital. “Your father is thinking maybe you should bring that babyhome,” she says. We’ve always said my father loves babies, but now imagining him as a surrogatefather for my baby, that doesn’t seem right. I don’t remember him cooing over us orplaying peek-a-boo. I remember he wanted us safe, that we worried him. Before I wasborn, my sister fell off the porch and got a concussion. They say he drove her to thehospital down the middle of the street, with his hand on the horn, sobbing so loud henearly drowned out the honking. He wanted my mother to take us to the doctor immediately whenever we fell sick.Our fevers and childhood diseases frightened him. He was afraid we’d die in a tornado.Afraid of car wrecks on country roads. Afraid of freak accidents that nobody else’sparents had ever thought of. He told us every Christmas about some aunt or cousin who
  38. 38. died of blood poisoning way back when from an evergreen needle in her foot or maybeher thumb. We went together to get our tree, cut fresh from a farmer’s timber, but when it washauled into the house, we kids had to stand back until my mother got out the Hoover.After the carpet was clean, and my father had safely stood the tree in the corner andwired it to the window frame through a series of screw-eyes only then could we approachwith the tinsel and fragile glass balls. The Sunday after the Epiphany when the tree came down, he tipped its dried outlethal-needle-dropping carcass into an old white sheet, then dragged it out the door as ifit were a body in a shroud. My mother followed behind vacuuming ferociously, saving allof us from destruction. So I can’t picture my father raising a baby. He is seventy-one years old, andthough he looks two decades younger, his car business is not exactly on the road toprosperity. My brothers are still in grade school. Maybe they’ll want to go to college, likeme. Maybe our house will need a new roof. Maybe the grocery bills will keep gettinghigher. And what about our secret? I managed to keep my pregnancy from everybodybut my parents for a full nine months and entered the hospital in a town sixty miles awaylike it was the Witness Protection Program, and now my mother is telling me my fatherthinks I should bring the baby home? It makes me think of the old Hoover whirring over the surface of the carpet,sucking up Christmas tree needles. All the while, underneath waiting to poke through, isthe lone sharp spine that will kill you. I can’t imagine a new baby in such a house ofworries, but I stay awake all that night considering the possibilities.
  39. 39. Marilyn Nelson, through Soul Mountain, through her words, through her life,has inspired so many, I could only think to embed her tribute in a magazine that wouldprobably not exist without her influence, and to embed her own work in the tributes, asgreat work always radiates along the influence and encouragement of other greatwork. ~ Travis Hedge Coke
  40. 40. Curtis Crisleridentityi never saw the rich minerals in me‘til i saw the millionaire of you— our eyes speakingrivers.
  41. 41. Mama MetronomeYour handblessed the sessionstarting workshop,by hitting metallic bowlwith a small wand,all was quiet—we sat heavy in a syrupof soundwaves,twelve students bruisedby silence, wantingyou to balm us…then you spoke,and we transformedto butterflies.
  42. 42. That Smile—for MarilynI ownedthat nounbefore, beforecommunicationglitch in civiliza-tion, the divorceof our earth’stectonic plates;how I knockedand played withthose sparsenouns at familybarbecues, butwhen I trippedon your nouns—in thick bloom—it exposed Icollected all mysorry termsall wrong.
  43. 43. Tara BettsMarilyn Nelson. Two words to describe a woman who is doing things with poetrythat I dreamed of doing years ago, and even now, encourages me to explorepoetic form and its import to carry historical content.Fortunately enough, I was a fellow for my first year at Cave Canem in 2002. Itwas there that I first heard her crown of sonnets that became A Wreath forEmmett Till. In 2003, the fellows bestowed a wreath of flowers on Nelson inhonor of her and that crown. I had already begun working on poems for a seriesabout Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and her book Carver: A Life in Poems had given mepause.I thought I could do these poems about Ida B. Wells because I felt her resonanceas a historical figure so deeply, but Nelson’s poems about George WashingtonCarver and Emmett Till were a stunning display of form and imagination. Sheemployed various forms to imagine what these figures from the past mightdiscuss, experience or ruminate upon. She used the precise music of lines inmeter and diction.This precision led me to exploring some of her earlier work in collections such asFor the Body, The Homeplace, and The Fields of Praise, her 1994 new andselected volume of poetry that garnered a National Book Award nomination. In2005, I had the honor of introducing her to read at Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory.To this day, I still refer mothers who are writers and students to Nelson’s poem“Levitation With Baby”.In Nelson’s work, she reaffirmed for me that I could write about any subject I’dlike, and still be me. On the other end of the spectrum, her most recent workspeaks to an urgency to share her writing with young readers and addressoverlooked, under-recognized moments in history. Carver was only thebeginning.Nelson has given voice to a slave’s skeleton used to teach medicine by his formerowner (Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem), a school teacher whosought fit to teach young white girls and young girls of color in the same school(Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies & Little Misses of Color with ElizabethAlexander), a former slave who worked to free other slaves (The FreedomBusiness), and an integrated swing band of women that played until after WorldWar II (Sweethearts of Rhythm), and young adult novel about Pemba who leavesBrooklyn for Connecticut to discover the story of a young girl from centuriesbefore in the house where she resides (Pemba’s Ghost with Tonya Hegamin).Some might ask why these stories are important, but these were not books thatexisted in great numbers when I was a child growing up in the 1970s and 80s.Her work in this vein is reminiscent of Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush and other
  44. 44. works by Virginia Hamilton or even Robert Hayden’s “Frederick Douglass” and“The Middle Passage”, but the unique element of Nelson’s work is that she isrepresenting the Black experience for young readers when they are stillencouraged to read, when it is most crucial for students to see images ofthemselves, and Nelson conveys these stories with the craft of a veteran poet whohas mastered prosody and a broad scope of history. She does not simply comefrom a rich history of her own, where her father was a Tuskegee Airman and hersiblings being accomplished artists in their own rights. Nelson is mining historyto create accessible stories that are more meaningful than statistics and today’snews headlines.We are fortunate to sample the growing oeuvre of this prolific poet, and to knowthat she has used her skills in the service of other writers. For the past few years,Marilyn Nelson has supported a bevy of writers of color from the Africandiasporic, Latino/a, APIA, native and indigenous, and LGBT communitiesthrough residencies in her home dubbed Soul Mountain. In 2008, I was an artistin residence at Soul Mountain where I brainstormed ideas, wrote and read, butmore importantly I got the final push to get my first book, Arc & Hue out into theworld. In so many ways, Marilyn Nelson is an example of what poets can andshould do with the power of their pens. Hopefully, there will be many more of usfollowing her lead.
  45. 45. Without Marilyna rondeau for Marilyn NelsonWithout Marilyn, I can’t beginto describe how would be thin,a wane waif starved of ripe history.We stand exclaiming where would bein a world filled of empty, stark dinwhere we might need some aspirinto clear our heads and smile at kin.When she testifies, how do we seewithout Marilyn?Words strike straight as a shot of gin,then reminisce on many a past sinWords unbury half-covered memoriesin a turn of well-plotted prosody.Do not even try to imagine poetrywithout Marilyn.
  46. 46. Marilyn NelsonMohembo Road Meditations on a Road-trip with Abba Jacob in Botswana and Namibia , 2008People walking. People walking. A fringealong the road of people on the move.Adults flagged down rides, tattered children waved.J. and I on the road left a wake of change.Free-range cattle and goats – wealth on the hoof –foraged sparse green, wary of predatorsand prowling four-wheel drive self-guided tours,catching them in digital photographs.And donkeys, apparently eager for the chanceto enter green pastures by being killed,thousands of donkeys. They seemed to be stonedor grief-stunned: heads down, staring, donkeys stoodin the sun-scorched road, as if trying to recallthe one truth which makes Africa make sense.
  47. 47. A one truth by which Africa make sense?The continent is the Rosetta Stonewhich explains humanity’s origin.(Though all life is star-dust drifted from long dead suns.)Africans know this present moment is allwe have or need, past and future but a mythinvented to disguise the simpler truthpairing oblivion and miracle.Long, long ago, only Ostrich possessed fire.He hid it in a pouch under his wing,keeping the dark secret of cooking meat.Man tricked him with a lie, and stole fire’s power.Drummers in the villages every eveningcelebrate Man’s triumph, deep into night.
  48. 48. We celebrate Man’s triumph over the night,although no triumph comes without its cost.In the light from each watt, how many stars are lost?We devour the future, producing speed and light.The epidemic of global progressinfects us with insatiable desire,while decreasing our ability to share.We spread the virus to villages we pass.When we pick up hitch-hikers, worlds collidebetween back seat and front, have-nots and haves.Dropped at their destinations, they disappearinto our fading memory of a road.And we drive on in our islanded lives,travelers encased in artificial air.
  49. 49. Travelers encased in artificial airlook down on the planet, a jewel against the vast.We reflect light already in the past.Are we Gaia, one breathing atmosphere?Are we one undulating school of fish,or fish with individuality?The planet clamors with our me, me, me:my name, my pain, my dream, my love, my wish.Can we bow to compassion? What great goodwe might make if we willed a larger will,submerging self to find ourselves alonein full communion: each hair of each headaccounted for. I cannot be fulfilledif you are not fulfilled. For we are one.
  50. 50. We are most fulfilled when we know we are one.Though we are eight billion, and each a tree of life.We forget too easily how we exist:like a moving lake face dappled by the sun.The Mohembo ferry had received five vehiclesfull of white tourists, and one police van.Last came the piled-high cart of a poor man,pulled by two donkeys, one large and one small,yoked together by a rope around their necks.Seeing the river under the gang-plank,they balked, afraid or stubborn. He went wildwith embarrassed rage, and beat them with a stick.Braying and rearing, they fell overboard and sank.They were swept downstream, food for the crocodiles.
  51. 51. Swept downstream to be food for crocodiles,tethered by stupid human cruelty,those donkeys died because they were not free.Theirs was a mutuality that kills.There is another mutuality,which binds us together with freely chosen love,which doesn’t kill us, but makes us more alive,enriched by our shared responsibility.The young Herero in traditionalcow-horn shaped headwrap and ankle-length gown,whose swaddled infant cooed up at her face.The Tswana with her plastic buckets fullof fruits. Boys hitching to a match in town.Back seat and front seat: an iota whirling in space.
  52. 52. Our fate, on this iota whirling in space,is to race across this bridge burning at our heels.To cross it, or to feed the crocodiles.Some peoples run; some take a slower pace.Some hadn’t made the first steps, until now.The rule is: evolve, make money, or die out.Take the !Kung/San hunter-gatherers: withoutland, they are antelope yoked to a plow.Who will buy their runners wind, their trackers eye?Their necklaces of ostrich egg shell and seeds?For a reverent kill, is cornmeal a fair exchange?If one sells a born-free heart, what can one buy?For sale: the myth of a desert which supplies all needs,where no one walks along the highway’s fringe.
  53. 53. Jee Leong KohHungry GhostsMy father took me picnicking in Hellin Tiger Balm Gardens when I turned five.Horseface and Oxhead flanked the door to quelltourists, returning ghosts, recaptured live.Small spectator of retribution’s drama,I shuffled through the dark; I’d rather divein and out but the crowd before King Yamapassed as if shackled by the chains of crime.Father explained to me the law of karmawhile a mirror screened a whole lifetimein a flash. Jostled into Court One, I balkedat heads and arms and legs, in bloody mime,stuck out from under giant slabs of rock,impossible to tell which limb belongedto which gory head on the granite block(Father said, Unfilial boys, they wrongedtheir parents who gave them everything);into Court Two where sinners had their tonguespierced by long knives for lifelong gossiping;in Three, the greedy were handcuffed and whipped;the tax evaders, in Court Four, drowning;one body blurred into another, strippedof eyes or bowel, heart torn out with a hook,and on a hill of swords a traitor was flipped.It wasn’t me. It wouldn’t be. I shookas if my bones, and not that man’s, were scrapedby sharpeners, for writing a dirty book,my butt, and not his, by a spear tip raped.Expecting the worst horror in Court Ten,I imagined punishments nightmareshaped.A blue wheel, painted on the back of the den,displayed the paths for the purged souls’ rebirth
  54. 54. as insects, fish, birds, animals or mendepending on each individual’s worth.The worst are born as hungry ghosts, Father saidand strode ahead of me out from the earth.Under a raintree’s shade, he laid out bread,ham, apple juice. I still didn’t feel well.Eat. Don’t waste food, Father said. We fed.*I’m turning thirtyfive today at SoulMountain, Connecticut, USA,a Writing Resident on foreign dole.Winston is coming up for my birthday.I’m walking with a black dyke poet calledVenus, along the river’s snowpacked way.I tell her, smiling, I must have been installedas an emperor’s favorite boy in a past lifeafter I schemed to pleasure those blueballed.I was a Taoist priest who left his wifefor Mount Tai to achieve immortal fire.Such hunger turns fruit to flame, nuts to knives.I tell her my book rises on dammed desire,a book my father would have called dirty.Last summer, tired of being damned a liar,I stopped Father from switching on the TVand announced to my parents I am gay.I talked too much. He didn’t look at me.When I wound down, he mumbled, It’s okay,and flicked the TV switch. In bed, that night,he consoled Mother that every family praysa secret sutra that is hard to recite—a crippled son, retard or laughingstock.Mother repeated to me his insight.He treated Winston to a satay dinnerat Lau Pa Sat and tried to make small talk.
  55. 55. He has not asked me about him ever.The air nips us. Venus cuts short her walkand retreats indoors to make a late breakfast.I’m left standing beside the golden shockof cattails tall as I am, gazing acrossthe river to trees branching spears and barbs.A deer noses the brown scrub. Then a burstof knocking, from the thicket, the smart stabsof a woodpecker tapping in a bowlof bark. I should go. Winston’s coming up.--First published in Boxcar Poetry Review
  56. 56. Allison Hedge CokeYinxing            for Marilyn NelsonYinxing, ginkyō,you call, we respondturning pages,climbing cases,on the mountainmade content. Ohmaidenhair, youbring beautyover light-wingedhard-backed creeperscome culling mist &might. Canoe lightstanding to paddle,counting ripples never lost.We come & go, come & go,like night beetles poppingsurface, breaking coverin wing-tipped lift, stillburdened with bodily weight,still earthly bound, tillsome big fish bitesbrainstem, tugs muse,pulls us up out of waterinto your blooming yellow fans.Gingko, you might standcrown colony lyme, overa house of hope, oversome gone hopeless until now.Yet, Quonehtacut rests you whereconifer long to belong, and you,you send light into long hoursso sleeping might awake.
  57. 57. Consumption7/87/5
  58. 58. Inaugural Consumption
  59. 59. Ann HostetlerOf Mothering, Monasticism, and Creative Space: A Retreat at SoulMountainMarilyn Nelson is the demi-goddess who has made an artist’s retreat a reality forso many of us thirsty for a spacious solitude in which to create. To her I offer thismeditation of days from my stay as a fellow at Soul Mountain in the spring of2007. The creative space she has offered to me and others has incubatedcountless poems, stories, essays and performances, as healing, artisticcommunity, and even, upon occasion, bliss.Preparation for the Journey -- April 26Today Im entering the adventure of planned solitude in community at MarilynNelsons Soul Mountain Retreat. I will mark each day of this retreat with ajournal entry. For two-and-a-half weeks Ill be away from family and work inGoshen, Indiana and the constant chores of the house and the old cars and theweedy garden. This is the first time Ive been away from the family for more thana week--ever. And Ive been a mother and writer for 24 years.At Soul Mountain--a spacious house on 6 acres of woods in Southern Connecticutthat borders a nature preserve--I help with chores and cook for myself and havemy own cozy bedroom with two beautiful views. The two other women here rightnow each go their own way, offering friendly advice and occasional briefconversation, but otherwise we are all engrossed in our writing and solitude.Harmonious parallel play. Writing, and the solitude and self-care andcontemplation that go with it, are honored in this space. Writing is not a guiltypleasure here. It is what we do. That and eat and sleep and walk in the woods. Mywriting desk and laptop face the window that looks out over a long kidney-shapedpond with a spillway--Peanut Pond--and a wooded slope of the nature preservebeyond. It faces southwest, so I can watch the sun set every night beyond thecomputer screen to my left. During the day I can watch the clouds change thecolor of the water and tree shadows root themselves deeply into the pondssurface.Last night, in preparation for my departure for Soul Mountain, I never went tobed. I stayed up all night in my office at Goshen College, commenting on studentpapers, organizing files, cleaning off my two desks heaped with months of papers,sorting through stacks and stacks of papers in boxes, on the floor, under the desk.My impetus was to clean up my office for visiting poet Rhoda Janzen who will useit during my absence. Rhodas a dear friend, and I will miss hosting her, but shewas a great sport and urged me onto Soul Mountain. As a writer she knows howprecious two plus weeks of solitude can be. So I am here.In cleaning the office, I found several boxes of files I had abandoned when
  60. 60. Mother died two years ago during May Term while I was teaching NativeAmerican Lit. I never finished my filing for that course, nor for the courses I hadtaught the previous semester while she way dying, and I was at her place everyday and in and out of doctors offices and the emergency room with her. Twoyears of stuff had accumulated over these unsorted piles. I read in Buddha, Zen,Tao, Tantra by Osho that "mind is the accumulation of incomplete thoughts."Well, one could certainly have said that about my office. Yes, there are still piles,but small manageable ones I can finally deal with when I get home. Yes, still thereis the accumulation of incomplete thoughts. But the pressure is much less. Imbeginning to break through the iceberg of grief and move forward in a moregraceful way embodying my life.Somehow the sorting and cleaning and working through energized me enough tokeep my going till 3:45 a.m. when I drove home to take a shower, throw somethings in a suitcase and go with my oldest daughterLizzie to the airport to catch a 6am flight.Lizzie, bless her soul, had gotten up at three to come over to the house and driveme in a drenching downpour to South Bend Airport, 50 minutes away. When Ipulled up in the driveway from my night marathon in the office she was makingme scrambled eggs. I hustled to take a shower and throw together a few things forthe trip. We loaded up her slow old Honda Accord, Jeanie, who is filled withalmost as much debris as my office was. Her mothering and baby paraphernaliais stashed over the dried flowers and empty juice bottles and audiotapes of herstudent days. In the midst of leaving I was panicked that I couldnt find my cellphone, so I rushed back into the house and took Julias phone and charger so Icould call home. Such wonderful daughters I have. Lizzies steady, calm companyon the way was like a quiet music. She looked so sweet and determined in hernew glasses, the street lamps casting a dim glow on her face. When she droppedme off I was so tired I could barely manage getting the luggage out of the car. Onemore minute dawdling and I would have missed the plane.On the ride from Chicago to Harford I sat by a young mother from Italy and herfour-month-old daughter Alethea. The two of them made beautiful harmony andnursed openly and happily in the plane. (Curses on that stewardess who had awoman thrown off a plane last year for nursing a baby.) She reminded me ofLizzie driving home from the airport to her 9-month-old daughter Willow.Someday these babies will be driving their mothers somewhere, their motherswho were once so young and in tune with their daughters bodies and rhythms.Of course, when I got to Hartford, there was my cell phone in the backpack. Ithad flown with me the entire time in the overhead baggage compartment, and Ihad never even turned it off in flight.
  61. 61. Coming Back as a Mother -- April 27When Katagiri Roshi asked Natalie Goldberg what shed like to come back as inher next life, she playfully answered "a clump of white flowers.""No, thats too simple," he replied."What would you come back as?" she asked him."A monk. I would always come back as a monk."At least thats how I remember the conversation, as I was "re-listening" to LongQuiet Highway on audiotape driving on one of my many mind-numbing errandsas a mother. On those long, lonely hauls to pick up someone or other fromwherever they may be, Ive taken to listening to Buddhist tapes or CDs;something soothing that stimulates calming interior monologue.But when I asked myself this question, "What would you come back as?" Isurprised myself by immediately answering, "I would come back as a mother."Being a monk is a spiritual path, and I never craved solitude until I actuallybecame a mother. The monk’s path has some appeal to me these days. Yet itspossible to find those jewel-like moments of solitude in the midst of a motherslife cycle. In fact, this week I am home alone in the house I share with my family--the first time ever in 27 years of marriage and 23 plus years of parenting. I haveleft home for a week, I have traveled alone, but to just stay home alone is anotherstory. This week I’ll get to find out just what kind of an inhabitant I am—of myown space and my own body—when there aren’t a lot of others around stirringthe pot.I wonder whether its possible to find jewel-like moments of mothering as acelibate monk. One could certainly find moments of surrogate mothering. But thetedious, wondrous, encompassing long haul, the eternal mothering, can only belived. Perhaps a monastic vocation is similar in that it, too, can only be lived. Mystolen monastic moments are pure metaphor. But the holiness I have found inwalking the mothers path--including long stretches of self-suppressing, of lettingothers go first, of feeling anonymous and invisible in the eyes of the professionalworld—even though I also have a professional double-life as a college professor,of despair and joy creating the texture of the daily lived commitment--has itsmonastic elements, even as it has its polygamous ones--everyone piling into thebed for a snuggle, people clamoring for intimacy, people who want or need bodilyattention only from you.
  62. 62. What is left of the giver, the one who finds in anothers suffering her ownusefulness (to paraphrase the words of Julia Spicher Kasdorfs wonderful poem,"What I learned from my mother,” when she is left alone for a spell? Sometimesshe finds out through tragedy, through enormous suffering of her own--forcedseparations, divorce, death, war, exile, accident--to find out otherwise is a gift.Especially on a sun-filled April morning, after a night of heavy rain, the worlddew-fresh and last years’ chives sending up new shoots that I have time to gatherand chop and sprinkle over the omelet I’ve made for myself, without having tomake several others first. A life of such self-focus would become mundane, buttwo weeks of this will be as savory as the sprinkle of fresh chives on the omelet—chives that have decided to come back as chives--because they are especially tastywhen they are the first fresh garden greens one has eaten in a good six months ormore.Gathering In April 28At the end of a chilly, rainy day--gathering in the harvest of things done, felt, seentasted, touched, even smelled . . .Scent of drenched soil rising through a mat of wintered-over leavesPale green lichens spotting rocks and treesA white-tailed deer facing me sideways across the wet driveway, fringed withdripping newly budded leavesThe mechanical click of the battery-operated clock in the too-bright kitchenwhere I writePerfume of deeply steeped rooibos tea on my tongueI finally figured out what rooibos reminds me of -- sweet tobacco!At dusk, when the rain had dissipated into a fine mist, I took a walk out thedriveway and turned left on the one-lane road that passes the house. I walkeduntil I reached a vista of meadows and several grander but still tasteful wood-sided houses nestled back in the breast of hills. On either side the road is linedwith low stone walls, probably of the kind Frost wrote about: stacks of large, odd-shaped fieldstone. The woods are full of rocks and boulders competing with eachother to see who can wear more of the pale-green lichens that grow profuselyhere. It must be a damp spot. Skunk cabbage is sprouting wherever runningwater gathers into shallow pools. When I returned to the house I saw a full-sized
  63. 63. female white-tailed deer staring at me from the edge of the woods, so still. Its agood thing deer are shy; an aggressive or even friendly deer would be a ratherterrifying creature with its size and speed. I started back into the woods again,but when I saw another deer--or this same one again--I thought better ofdisturbing her habitat at dusk. So I came back into the house and wrote thisdown.Going to Church April 29This morning I was sitting on the porch reading Walden when Marilyn knockedon the glass door and invited me to go with her to church. The sun had come outthrough the clouds and the blossoms were tentatively opening to the warmth.Yes, Id love to go to church.We drove to the First Congregational Church in Old Lyme, where a womanstopped us on the stairs. "It was so good at nine I had to come and hear it again,"she said of the sermon we were about to hear.But first a word about the ambiance. The town was in full blossom--magnificentmagnolias in full magenta-lavender bloom, sunny forsythia abundant and golden,the lawns fresh and green--all amidst quaint New England houses. The weatherwasnt anything like the winter photo of the church I found on the website andpasted here. (Next time Ill take my camera.) Imagine the church with a whiteblossoming cherry tree in front of it and birdsong in the balmy air.Inside the church was painted white with gold trim and had old-fashioned pews:a typical nineteenth century New England Congregational Church with a lavishfresh bouquet of white flowers on the altar. The mostly female, mostly gray-haired choir sang beautifully. And the organ accompanied familiar hymns--"Godof Grace and God of Glory" and "I Love to Tell the Story." The prayers weresoulful and intelligent, expressing gratitude for the spring weather and sorrow atviolence here and around the world. Usually I prefer Emily Dickinsons gardenservices, with a "bobolink for a chorister," but this morning the service was worthbeing indoors for. Senior pastor David C. Good gave a rousing and passionatesermon on the Virginia Tech shootings, using a text from Wordsworths "Ode:Intimations of Immortality From Recollections of Early Childhood." His readingof the excerpt made me want to hear him read Wordsworth aloud forever. Hereare the first two stanzas of Wordsworths Ode:
  64. 64. IThere was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,The earth, and every common sight,To me did seemApparelled in celestial light,The glory and the freshness of a dream.It is not now as it hath been of yore; –Turn wheresoeer I may,By night or day,The things which I have seen I now can see no more.IIThe Rainbow comes and goes,And lovely is the Rose,The Moon doth with delightLook round her when the heavens are bare,Waters on a starry nightAre beautiful and fair;The sunshine is a glorious birth;But yet I know, whereer I go,That there hath past away a glory from the earth.Of course, the glory that "hath past away" became, in Goods sermon, adescription of the beautiful and talented young people, the professors, and eventhe killer himself, who were shot in this twisted display of violence and mentalillness--for if each one of us is a manifestation of the creators love, even theyoung man and his fearfully shaken family are included. He also mentioned thaton the day of the shooting nine American soldiers were killed in Iraq. That they,too, were a glory that hath passed away from the earth. And the Iraqis, too, Ithought--all those innocent civilians that didnt wish for this war--Im sure manyothers did, too.When I teach Wordsworths Ode, I explain that the poet feels that a "glory hathpast away . . . from the earth" because he senses he has lost the direct connectionwith the power of nature he felt in childhood. As we age and are shaped by thehuman world, we grow cataracts, as it were, over our senses and our souls. So it isnot just in tragedy, but also in the living of life itself, that this glory passes away.Such tragedies at the shooting at Virginia Tech shock us into feeling briefly, butafterwards we become even more numbed, more removed. Reverend Goodmentioned that his memories of Appalachia as a young man doing service therewould now be forever wedded to these images of tragedy. But he did not simplyoffer a lament. Rather he asked whether churches, who have nobly collaboratedto create memorials and funerals for this and many other violent events in recent
  65. 65. times, should be content with this function, in which they have become all tooadept. He exhorted the church to:1) Support universal health and mental health care, so that the mentally ill amongus might have treatment.2) Support the banning of handguns, assault weapons, semi-automatic andautomatic guns.3) Actively influence the shaping of culture by providing an imaginative vision ofwhat society can be, rather than allowing our children and ourselves to bescripted by violent fantasies in everything from movies to video games, by thepolarization of the issues on which the media describes. Yes, fantasy does matter,he asserted. The killer in Blacksburg had rehearsed his demented fantasy manytimes, using a "me against them" form of thinking. This kind of thinkingunderlies the "us against them" thinking all too prevalent in our sports, in ournews, in our media, in the rhetoric about the war. He mentioned that words arepowerful, and that the words of Jesus are--can be, if Christians are worthycustodians of them--more powerful than guns. The churchs mission is to live thelegacy of those words, embody the imaginative power into the world to transformit.At the end of the sermon the congregation gave him a hearty round of applause,which is not something, Marilyn told me, they usually do. His words are so right,yet the situation seems so hopeless. But to have someone continually articulatethe "right things" that must be done is at least an encouragement. If David C.Good were running for President, I’d vote for him. I noticed the church has awebsite and posts the sermons, so I’ll look forward to reading it again.When we came back to Soul Mountain, I read through the Sunday Times andpored over an article on Boy Soldiers in Africa--over 300,000 now--and anotheron the weakening of the influence of the US Saudi connection with PrinceBandar. Wrapped up together with the sermon, these thoughts found their formin a poem Ive been working on: "Why We Fear the Self" that uses a rap rhythm toquestion the ways in which our complicity with violence is fueled by our fears offacing and being our true selves.Economy (with a nod to Thoreau) – April 30In my rush to leave home I forgot the cash Id meant to bring with me to SoulMountain. Besides a credit card and a slender checkbook with just a few checksleft in it, I had only a few dollars stuffed into the side of my purse. Or so Ithought. But after two days of settling in and unpacking at my leisure, cleaningout my pockets and my purse, Ive found 39 dollars and a large fist full of change.What might have seemed meager before is riches now. The wealth I carried here
  66. 66. and didnt even know it!Thats my hope for these few weeks--to find the riches Ive brought with me anddidnt even know it. So far Ive not been disappointed. This afternoon is the firsttime Ive been able to sit down for an extended period of time to push beyondjournaling in my writing, and already a sort of poem has broken through thematted leaves in my brain, years of bloom pressed down and composted forlater . . .Skunk CabbageAt first a pair of leaves unfurlsone shaped like a tablespoon,one a butter knifeof brightest green,and as they take in lightthey spread their girth and curl to face each other:the tablespoon becomes a trowel in size,the butter knife a tablespoon.When theyve grown tall as leaves of young romaine,they spread again and this time curl apartto make a space for new twins birthedbetween them from the mother root:another tablespoon of green,another slender butter knife,which in their turnwill curl again then spread,admitting space for other shoots,and so the familys large embrace enlargesto make room for newest membersyet still preserves an outer layer that givesit bulk and shape.Beside this plant a dozen hundred othersspring up and birththeir inner leavesbefore the trees have greened.This emerald extravagancebeneath bare trunks and spindly branchesa marching band of greenin scattered rank and fileproclaims that springhas taken roodespite the frequent rain and chill.
  67. 67. My first writing of this season--as cheap and gaudy as skunk cabbage, perhaps--but hey, somethings poking up through the compost.Offering May 1Today is Sunday and I spent the morning at Soul Mountain, meditating andwriting on the screened in porch. Bees were beginning to hum about the cornersof the porch as words began to hum in my mind. In the afternoon I walked downthe road past a farm where a woman named Jane keeps a menagerie of sorts in awell-groomed meadow. It has been two years since Mother’s death, and Ithought of her today as I walked. A Jahrezeit is a Jewish ceremony that takesplace on the anniversary of someone’s death—a blessing and a celebration of theirlife and a releasing of their spirit from earthly cares.JahrezeitMorning mist rises.Behind the trees clouds dark as mountainsedge their way elsewhere. Two yeas agotoday you left us, your heart winding downas I sat at your feet. Where isyour spirit now?I fall back into a deep sleep.When I wake I have no ideawhat time it is. The sky is still overcastbut leaves have come out on one— no two —trees at the edge of the yard. I openthe window to birdsong.Morning coffee on the glassed-in porchwhere bees have wakened to Jasmine.The porch is warm as a green house, but outsideApril wind rattles the panes and stirsthe treetops, tosses the prayer flagson their string tether.In late afternoon I finally go outto discover air warmed by golden sun,much warmer than the shaded house.Up the lane there is a woman who keepsa menagerie--the Peaceable Kingdom she calls it:horses, goats, llamas, an emu, guinea hens.
  68. 68. Her greyhounds are friendly and wantto follow me, but they are too polite. Perhapsthey sense your reluctance in me. "Theyre such kind dogs,"Jane, their owner tells me. "You couldntrace them if they werent so kind. Otherwisethey wouldnt do what you ask."On the way home I seethe first orange butterfly of the seasonchasing a honeybee around a blossomingshrub. Somewhere in flight, on the wind,you are blessing me as I carry on, looking for signsand wonders in the world you have left behind.Setting Aside the Book May 2I have abandoned Thoreau this morning for the pond. The woodpecker trills fromacross the water and songbirds join in a symphony, celebrating the blush of greenin the underbrush. Overhead three geese fly abreast, announcing their presence,and further away the drone of a plane and the revving of motors remind me of theinescapable human presence. What is it I want to know, capture in words, as I sithere in the Adirondack chair, notebook in my lap? "Surely some revelation is athand." Is it the human names for the birds and their rhythmic cheeping andtwittering that could be charted in musical notation or poetic meter? Is it a termfrom physics that could name the ripple patterns on the ponds wind-stirredwater, or describe the contrasting pattern set off by a ducks entrance into thepond? Perhaps its the constant variation within a predictable range, or the sunssteady warmth--steady at least for now--that holds me here, each day, eachmoment, a variation in beauty, a shimmering, whose larger pattern I anticipate,whose minute particulars I cant predict. Or perhaps I am a voyeur of nature,longing for binoculars, to pry into privacies I have not been invited to witness.Yes, and theres that expectation from reading the Bible or centuries old poetrythat a blade of grass will hold a prophecy, that a stubborn dandelion sprouting inthe crotch of an old tree will provide the text of a sermon, that the lazy surrenderof thought will clear the mind of spot or blemish--that I will feel myself a memberof the family of nature.Field Trip May 3Marilyn invited Ching-In Chen, the other resident with whom I share this wing,and me to accompany her to the Governors Awards for Culture and Tourism. Shewas going to introduce William Meredith, a wonderful poet and winner of boththe Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. So we all took a field trip intoNew Haven and attended a lush reception at Branford College, then the AwardsCeremony at the Schubert Theater across the street. Sadly, Meredith had just
  69. 69. been rushed to the hospital with congestive heart failure, but at the ceremony hispartner read several of his poems. It was so moving--Richard could barely makeit through. Clearly he loves Meredith, around whom his life centers. VincentScully introduced Robert Stern, both legends of architecture. My favorite was Dr.Robert Ballard, who is an oceanographer with a lab at the Mystic Aquarium. Hisspecialty is underwater archaeology, and he estimates that 50% of America isactually under water. Hes the one who found the Titanic and discoveredhydrothermal vents. And hes from Kansas (once an ocean bottom, Ive beentold). All three of us poets thought his profession was amazing. But then again,we realized, we do underwater excavation all the time in the metaphorical realm.A river runs through the Nature Preserve behind the house. Eight Mile River itscalled, designated "Pristine" by the Wild and Scenic River System of Connecticut.Shaded by large old hemlocks, it reminds me almost exactly of a stream inCentral Ohio that I discovered on a walk with a friend, Buck Sanford. Thirty-threeyears ago that was, but the rushing water in the river and the scent of theHemlocks bring it back so vividly it could have been last year. The flood ofmemories triggered has prompted me to write an essay about nature anddiscovery and longing. Back then Buck taught me to pay attention to plants andto look and listen for birds. Hes a wildlife biology professor now at the Universityof Denver. And Im still paying attention; I was an artist then, Im a writer now.But the memories give me a hankering to pick up my pencil and draw. So far myvisual impulse has been expressed through photographs--the river, the trees, thenewly budded leaves, the blossoming pear.Symbols May 4Draped in a daffodil yellow shawl Tonya Hegamin comes walking down the pathfrom the woods towards the house, carefully carrying a goblet with both hands."Youre carrying a cup of sun!" I greet her. Tonya’s a writer who is helpingMarilyn with the administration of Soul Mountain."No, its river water," she tells me, as though carrying a goblet of river water backto the house is the most normal thing in the world.Its a perfectly clear and sunny morning, the sky blue and high above us. A day tobottle for posterity. I ask if I can take her picture carrying the river water. We talkabout the birds, the pond, and gardening, her passion. It is she who has plantedthe bleeding hearts in front."I wanted to put one plant by the Buddha," she tells me, "because it is a symbolfor Christ. I like the mixing of the two dogmas," she says. "They seem to resonatewith each other." And indeed the bleeding heart she planted by the Buddha isfour times as large as the other bleeding hearts she planted in the same garden.
  70. 70. A Community of Women May 5Our Eyes Are on Our Dreams(for Marilyn, Tonya, and Ching-In, with thanks to Zora Neale Hurston)In this garden theres a blossomingpear tree for each of us – Janies all –but these trees are taller, olderthan Janies pear--theres no needto lie down in the grass to see the wonderof blossoms creaming to the hum of bees,no need to risk the ticks of Lyme diseasein exchange for ecstasy. These trees are generous,they lower their branch tips trained by yearsof bearing heavy fruit to the height of our eyesand hands, so we can stand beneath them,grasp their branches, hold the flowersto our faces. Though their fragrance is faintthe cascade of blooms is abundantas a waterfall, bees ecstatic as ever.To any Johnny Taylor who walks towards usfrom the verigible woodswell languorously waveand keep on writing,keep on dreaming.Turkey Medicine May 6Today marks my halfway point at Soul Mountain. The time has gone so fast. Onceone enters a deeply meditative space with comfortable people and total controlover ones time, its like being in another zone all together. Ive gone deeply in,loving the pond and the river as daily touchstones for writing. I want to stay asdeeply available as I have been for writing during this next week. I was feeling abit lonely for the family yesterday. Knowing I will go back to them makes the nextweek seem more poignant and the work more necessary.Yesterday, while I was writing my woman in the woods essay, I was castigatingmyself for not being adventuresome enough when it came to exploring myenvironment. Ive done a lot of walking here, but in "designated" zones, especiallysince this is the crucible of lyme disease. But yesterday I decided to venturebeyond Baker Lane to perhaps find a public access entrance to the NaturePreserve behind the house. I walked along 156, the highway at one end of BakerLane, towards a bridge over the Eight Mile River. Just before the bridge, I sawsome dirt tracks off to the left. I followed them past a wooden bridge in a wooded
  71. 71. clearing and continued towards what looked like a large open meadow. As Ineared the meadow, I saw rows and rows of large black birds. At first I thought itmust be someones shooting range, with decoys. But then one of the large birdsslowly turned its head towards me and lifted its large wing. I turned and fled. Ifelt outnumbered, as though the whole army of birds might advance on me."Turkey Medicine" Tonya called it. She says she has turkey medicine and that Imust, too, if so many turkeys appeared to me. When animals appear to you, theyhave "medicine" or teachings for you. I am still pondering what I should learnfrom these turkeys. Tonya said that they could be aggressive, but mostly if theyfeel threatened, or if they are nesting. She told me that it was probably a goodidea that I turned around and high-tailed it out of there, even if they did have amessage for me.In the afternoon Marilyn took Ching-In and me to the Florence GriswoldMuseum, where we viewed the house and the exhibit, including a display ofpoems written by Marilyn about Venture Smith, and accompanied by landscapepaintings from the collection that inspired her. Afterwards she took us to VentureSmiths grave in Old Lyme.Vision May 9I used to see 20/20.Now, without my glassesI cant discern the exactlines of the fiddleheads curvebut the stalks glow againstthe mottled earth.Spring leaves appearas tiny green lanternshung on the branches, asred confetti strewnamong the treetops,dappled shade in motionshaping the light.Visitors May 10Yesterday, Rosemary Starace drove down from Pittsfield, Massachusetts to havelunch with me. I showed her around Soul Mountain, and then we drove to OldSaybrook for lunch at an outdoor cafe where we both picked up a bit of a tansitting in the brilliant sun. I met Rosemary on the WOM-PO (Womens Poetry)Listserv. Shes a visual artist turned poet, and she has been instrumental in
  72. 72. putting the WOM-PO anthology into physical form. Ive proposed a panel for nextyears AWP on the creation of this collaborative anthology in cyberspace and haveactually been trying to meet as many members of the editorial group in person aspossible. It turned out that we have many things in common, not the least ofwhich is the art backgrounds we bring to writing. Rosemary developed her workas an artist when she attended the New York Feminist Art Institute. She told metheir motto was "Where art making arises from self-understanding and contentinspires form." Shes taken several writers’ workshops with Jane Hirshfield, oneat Tassajara. We both have the Tassajara bread book, and shared that memory aswell as many others about our journeys in art, cooking, and poetry. It was good tomeet a soul mate, and I bought a box of paints on our walk around Old Saybrook.After Rosemarys visit, I took a quick field trip to New York on the Shore EastLine from Old Saybrook to New Haven, then on the Metro North from NewHaven to Grand Central Station. Trains are a smorgasbord for people-watcherslike me--eavesdropping on families, businessmen, and high school kids dressedfor the prom. I also love reading on trains, and today read all of Linda Greggs"Chosen by the Lion" and Mary Karrs "Viper Rum," along with her essay"Against Decoration" on the long journey into the city. My destination was apoetry reading at the Brooklyn Historical Society in honor of the publication of"Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn," an anthology edited by my friend JuliaSpicher Kasdorf and fellow poet Michael Tyrell. Unfortunately, my memoryslipped, and I ended up all the way down at the Brooklyn Museum on EasternParkway, instead of the Historical Society. So by the time Id taken the subway upto Brooklyn Heights, Id missed the reading. However, I didnt miss Julia, and Ihad a pleasant evening out with her and Michael and a few friends, listening tofunny stories about the readings and celebrating the great labor of love--sometimes unrequited--that anthology-making is.A Recollection of Time Past May 11River SpiritWhile I sit on this rock in the riverand write, a fisherman casts his reelfrom the opposite bank. I look upand we exchange smiles. Has he guessedhow Id almost entered the bodyof my younger self, long dark hair flowingover slender shoulders, shifting back and forthon my perch to claim the full scopeof river views: Upstream so I can seewhats coming, then downstream to measurethe liquid speed of time. A turn of the headand thirty years have passed.
  73. 73. Return to Solitude May 12A relief to be back in the writing groove at Soul Mountain. Every day I walk out tothe river and then return to my room, take out my computer kayak and paddle bymyself through the rapids of thought. The writing is beginning to accumulate, theshape of the imagination emerging in language.The week of fragrances is in full bloom. Apple blossoms and lilacs have openedand the air is full of their scent. Its a heady time; when the body wants to stepout, break into blossom.Every day as I look into the trees around the pond I see and recognize more birds.It feels as though my eyes are growing sharper, that soon Id be able to gaze upinto the green and see into the life of birds without binoculars. The pond is abirds playground in spring, as full of courting, pairing, and mating as any collegecampus in the same season. Geese, ducks, a pair of red-tailed hawks, catbirds,warblers, robins, sparrows, finches, swallows. The hawks and snapping turtlesadd an edge of drama to the scene of nesting, bringing out the protectivebehaviors of the parent birds. A few days ago I sat at my computer before thepond window and looked up every so often to see two Canada Geese strolling withtheir fluffy little gosling as it learned to peck in the soft earth around the pond forfood. One would stand tall and keep a lookout, while the other pecked at thegrass, and the baby toddled after it, imitating every move.Today we saw a whole flock of turkey vultures roosting in the trees on the road toSoul Mountain. They are the clean-up crew. After something nasty and predatoryhappens, they come around to clean up the leftovers. Tanya stopped the car in themiddle of the road and called up to them, but they stayed in the trees, shy of usand our big shiny white bird of a vehicle.Decrescendo May 13Sunday Morning. Woke from a long deep sleep to bright sun, a clear blue sky, theponds eye open, everything in clear focus. Last night I finished a typed first draftof my story, now called "A River Tale." It took a long time to type it, basicallybecause I was still writing as I typed, adding whole new passages. My motivationnow at the end of the residency was a deadline that Ching-In, the other resident,and I had given each other to finish drafts of our work so that we could read eachother’s writing and give feedback. Im really looking forward to both reading andbeing read. A fitting finale.If mind is the residue of incomplete thoughts, perhaps this story Ive come backto numerous times in my writing life is a very large, incomplete, undigested
  74. 74. thought, and working it through will remove the "carbuncle" from the passage ofmy creativity, the deep underground reservoir from which the voices emerge.(Metaphor borrowed freely from a legend about the Moodus, a place ofunderground voice, near where I am staying.) Listening to the spirits.Legends of Place May 14One of Connecticuts most mysterious phenomena is the "Moodus Noises,"seismic tremors that occur near the place in East Haddam where the Salmon andMoodus Rivers flow together. The Pequot, Mohegan and Narragansettinhabitants of this region considered these noises to originated from the godHobomoko, who sat below Mount Tom. The Indian word for the noises was"Matchemadoset" or "Matchitmoodus," which means "Place of Bad Noises," andthe local tribe had special interpreters for the noises.Of course, when the Puritans came to the area in the mid-1600s, they attributedthe Moodus noises to Satan. Connecticut at the time was also very active in WitchHunting. There must have been a lot of cultural chaos, and natural phenomenaseemed to be interpreted in terms of the settlers and the Indians fears. Today, itseems to me that these noises are far more benign--especially for those listenerswho wish to hear the rumblings of mother earth.This afternoon Tonya drove us to Moodus, and we searched for the place wherewe might hear the spirit voices. We stopped in the town of Moodus at a gasstation, and I asked people about the noises until I found a woman who seemedto know something. She said that they were all around the area, but that therewas no one place where we could go to hear them. She directed me down the hill,to a boat landing, and we set out in the car to follow her directions. We wounddown a long, curvy road towards the water. Finally we found the entry pointlabeled "Salmon River," and drove into a huge clearing ringed by cottonwoodsnext to the wide mouth of the Connecticut River where we found a few fishermen.We all agreed that there was something special about the place, and felt a tinglein our bellies. My imagination heard whistling noises, but then again, itsimpossible to tell, with the background hum of airplanes and vehicle motors fromthe highway exactly what is a Moodus noise and what is noise pollution. The riverview was broad and full and lovely, and the cottonwoods whispered tales fromtimes past, when they were deemed sacred, lodge poles for an invisible tent aboveus.As of tonight, Ching-In and I have completed our reading of each other’s work.Her reading of my essay was so helpful last night, that I finished another one thismorning, and then went back and wrote a new, stronger ending for "A RiverTale." I finished critiquing her poetry manuscript this afternoon, and she
  75. 75. responded to mine this evening. It is affirming to be read and understood byanother. Both of us are writing about women characters/speakers who strive tobreak through the myths and stories and losses theyve allow to define them inorder to become creators of themselves, at peace and poised for deeperadventures as an integrated person. It will be a thrill to see each other’s books inprint.Farewell May 15Woke early to watch the sky through an eastern window, a drama of dark cloudssweeping across a pale gray background. I opened my eyes again to streaks ofrose, then to patches of celestial blue. Time to rise and pack, carry homememories of this time and place.At mid-morning rain spatters the pond outside my writing window. Im nearlypacked and am just putting a few finishing touches on this journal before I leave,knowing that another world will engulf me when I return. But I hope toremember the co-ordinates of this soul place in soul space.Coda: A Return to Mothering May 28Cottonwood seeds drift through the air on their parachutes of fluff. Gravity tugsthem down, but they are light enough that the air currents bat them about ontheir way down, sometimes sending them up again for a spin. Large, dry, warm-weather snowflakes.Its been 2 weeks since Ive returned home from Soul Mountain, still holding ontothe determination to make writing space here amidst the family, which alsomeans space for contemplation, and permission to enter contemplative realitieswithout feeling like I should always be doing a hundred thousand other thingsfirst. Ive found a good perch in an upstairs bedroom, used by Jonathan, my olderson, when hes home from college, and across the hall from David’s room, theyoungest of our four children. Gradually Im taking over this room, shifting Jon’sbedroom/guest room to my smaller, darker study downstairs, which is good forsleeping, but not very good for writing. I want to keep a space for him, too,because I want him to feel that he can always come home. Yet, I need space towrite in. He’s always been generous; I hope I have his blessing as he embarks onthe next phase of his life, and I on mine.At Soul Mountain I realized how important a morning view of the day and theworld outside was to my writing and meditation. Otherwise, Id never pause to
  76. 76. see the cottonwood seeds, or the dark green shadows in the fully leafed trees. Andthis upstairs bedroom has a view of sky and trees and lawn, and the neighborshouse, which does not suggest more work to be done, as a view of our yard would.I fear disorientation, drift, as yesterday I misplaced my journal--my faithfulcompanion at Soul Mountain. The cottonwoods seeds, aimless and graceful asthey appear, sooner or later reach or dont reach their target soil--only one in athousand will actually take root and produce a new tree. So I am driven back tothis journal and a search, again, for a lost space, some fertile ground in which toroot daily words, some of which may eventually grow into something more.
  77. 77. Ching-In ChenPartly BlazeI dont know whothe teacher in me [a flame green snail perched on the head of a psychedelic Buddha]lit to start the forestbut we all burned down without yelling fire
  78. 78. BowieStorytellers I’ve beenembedded in yourunwritten, my workadaycardinal sin ---I’m a turncoat.My materials forgedfrom a volcanoin my brother’s furnace.You think an uprightcalibration, live forever.I’m just a pigeon gonelucky, entering a worldof pain. Cicada huskwith some mileage.Told them I was arisky Locomotive,an aluminum fire.
  79. 79. Fugue: Love Pathology You ask me to skinyour letters. I capture the bleach from its guard-tower terrace. Unfastenedto fence and unraveled the route of the thread. Mother, father, loved to bare stone. Mother, father, place oranges onthe burning stove. Mother, father, empty money to light the path.I sub-divide. Do not explain any rituals. All muddy candles of dead sparrows. I will get over my skin.My nutrients to the ground. Tether to you though you do not want to be the lonely teeth.You do not want when I spill, but approve.
  80. 80. We, of Future Earth, as that you find someone, at this moment, to celebrate, someone towhom you would like to pay tribute, and then, of course, you can get back to reading themagazine, which continues below. ~ Your Friendly FEM Editors
  81. 81. NashiraPriesterT   H   E                     B       I       G                    S    H    O    W   Republicans and insurance companies conservative Democratsexcise taxes no one knows the origin of, disrespecting our black Presidentlowlifes cretinsthe Karma tax falling on the Haitians & God is near God is near and on the side of the righteous. Robertson and Limbaugh have the pimpslove for their  puppet mammon for no one else for no one elsethe bill however corrupted must go throughthe testy vigor of our President rumblingthe walls of the lost bureaucrats padded roomRepublicans mutter  insurance companies dissemble conservativedemocrats pay Caesar’s back another visitRepublicans mutter their poison venom dripping from prevaricating mawinsurance companies in the counting roomfaxes fix us   obstructionist palaver nobody knows the origin ofskanks  liarsthe Karma tax falling on a tiny babylike a clutch of tumbling white bouldersdust settling in board rooms in the cloak roomsblindfolded chief executioners come back to see in mirrorsshadows of culpable face don’t take it tooooo farSichuan, Mexico City the Philippines people live thereHaiti Mogadishu Darfur, DRC, hideous slave colony x’s people live thereBrooklyn, Detroit Michigan El Salvador people live thereRwanda, Uganda Bosnia Hercegovina Sudan people live therenot just a certain sort people     live thereSenegal fishermen deprived of a living hustler hotshots buy fishing rights to our seasborderline friend of mine born to do schemespalin drone beck shreck bobble head sons limp bough shall it breakin conscience-less  disintegration poverty of spirit of spirit become skeletonin hatred shall we sleep part of  US   as    you     is
  82. 82. o say   Am   I    hurtin  o  heck yes i’m iswith this buliding sitting on top of my pulverized boneshere in the basement of the subway stop graveyard  here in the collarbonegrim reaper’s wine cellar  Sichuan Pinatubo  Lijiang Peru late great  Italian villagesabandon the land mass  jump in any ship heading  to crossroads of a philosophybaseless as it’s uncivil premise the cold shouldergive you my back show you the door here’s my fergit-you all this time at this timeyou’re poor you’re black you’re nothing chinese "over populated" worthmy opium trade not quite up to snuff this led us here the gates of hell open and waitingRepublicans, shapeshifters insurance companies conservative hypocritesexcise taxes no one knows the origin of, disrespecting our black Presidentlowlifes cretinsthe Karma tax falling on the Haitians & God is near God is near and on the side of the righteous. heretics and nazi-eugenics pastors have the pimp’slove for their  puppet mammon for no one else for no one elsethe bill however corrupted must go throughthe testy vigor of our President rumblingthe walls of the lost bureaucrats padded roomButterfat moguls   repooplicants mutter  insurance companies dissemble  born to live above the law  king spaniel rapacious overlords shallow heretics back another visit to the mooncowards of the tent border kingship mutter their poison venom dripping fromprevaricating mawinsurance companies in the counting roomfaxes fix us   obstructionist palaver nobody knows the origin ofskanks  liarsthe Karma tax falling on a tiny babylike a clutch of tumbling white bouldersdust settling in board rooms in the cloak roomsblindfolded chief executioners come back to see in mirrorsshadows of culpable face don’t take it tooooo fa - a- a- a -a - a - a r  f- a-a - a -a -a r f-a  -a  -a  a -  a --a  -a  -a  -a    a    a-    a-   a-  ar.
  83. 83. when global warming comeswhen global warming comes it won’t be conflagrationthe sea will scalp the shorelinecarefullyhaving brought the earthto her knees   fairly peeling back to the brain of manrevealed under its cap ofof snowswhen global warming comesmuch more like a melting   slowcatastrophic oozing will surgethen slide and    shift  gliss and thunderswash without compromise can opener hiss - minusthe can  we thought we couldget away with it butwe couldn’twhen global warming comesforests and castles will shut down shops closed down on the Sabbathshut down -- a heart whose valve is cloggedas a globe with a hitch in the giddy-upof it’s tilted syncopated dance ambitions squelchedin ever moving mud-streams when global warming comesyour loved ones could go screamingif a plan has not been formulatedsomehow to highest groundterritory  yields to forces ancientas the blood more so than oldestknown invertebrates oldest knownoldest known  bones  thrownglobal warming comes when our impulseto feel others subsides to tricklingonly ‘the things’ to matter   the windsleave just  ambitions  objects curiosities
  84. 84. medallions                              meatalready consumed in some storehouse reawakens next‘   seeking life   to lead medallions   meat that’s been huntedto extinction in  past lives of the peacemakerswhen global warming comes when I want i coveti want . . .  i want  i need you baby  want you .  . mean . . . itwant it, you  . . . you . . . the land your land   terror Torywant love . . . want it . . . want you  . . .  want powercontrol  more  stocks i’m stocking  more crops  shoes overcoatshoarding bluefin tunawant everything  want this  love . . .that   . . .  it . . . you  . . . this mine   want every thing  MY MY MY  my family.  more time . . . luxury goods  luxuryevilseverything crumbles in the seed of cosmic dustwho sets the rules ?. . . the science standard  the rules about the rules ?the academy false  falsetto academy   professional disqualificationscooked up by magistrates of malice  monolithic mind bogbogus  science  court jesters academic freedom you pay with your soul for.when global warming comes you’ll  be already lulled into thinking it will comewhen it is already  been and gone  silly earthlings pirates of our own tongueour bellies  swollen      warm bodies drenched with variable rains captivated as we are with nonsense.
  85. 85. W     A     Y     N     E          S     H     O     R     T     E     RWayne Shorter’smusic does something to menobody  else’s doescerebral cortex  meets  poitrinemystery. cloche.  clot  of  memoryclaustro-awareness  of   universesclam  beating  of hearts-in-love    someplacefemale voice,  the soprano,  swings intops the parapet   a  girl   plungesto her .   .    .  lifelofting up currents of air  rescues  her  -self  dive-bombing   cups   kilotons of uncertainty a miniscule  refusal    of  some  librettist  namedVishnu     check in by  midnight  check out by eight  thirty      ecstatic  ghouls  laugh&   drool  with  gladness      standing  .  .  .  I’m awestruck  by  your  glandsWayne  Shorter   makes  Men  cryI  will  dance   .  .   .   in
  86. 86.    aftermath   of  kissesdo pois do amor o vaziobreathing  on  the  outside    locking  inWayne  Shorter.  who  knew  horns could do  plucking ?tugging  at  vegetationcoiled  inside   yetspeak  no   evil  .  .  .Wayne  Shorter   demons  beneficent   joy  in  trinity   reverent  me.   fried  you.   Wayne’s  saxophone   casual      strokes   stacks    of    Mara   scatter  on  linoleum   surrounding  me  with  perfumesWayne  Shorter   beams  of  light  showing   beatitudes   gospels  in  torrents   waterfalls   in  Brasilia   clamoring  for  uncommon  
  87. 87.    fullness   chant  .   .   .   and  we  are   won  over   a   lamb   goat   mystic   riddles   nobles   further     to   the  north    motions   divinityWayne   Shorter   death-life  war   repeated  mistakes  of  homo  sapiens   longings  inside  Supernovae   bomb  blasts   pyroclastic  clouds   so  feminine   my  heart  wails      the  hearingWayne   Shorter     out-soul   strings   flung  out  like  freshwater  pearls   breathing on     outside.    moving  to  see
  88. 88.       wires      .  .  .  exasperating  control      hymns    -   I’m  deforested      loving  them  lungsWayne  Shorter   your  song  crop   yields   me   mystic   refusals   melting    melting   nobles    pessimists          arrestedin   the   coffee   cup   belly           of  holiness
  89. 89. Isabella Day
  90. 90. Isabella Day & Magnus Stokoe
  91. 91. Norm BreyfogleFreak AdviceWith butt plug and leather husks,kevlar, spandex, tights,my muscles, mask, and mammal muskswere swinging through the night.Then, suddenly, in bleak alleyI chanced upon a bumwho’d had a bit too much to drinkand felt his life was done.“The time has come,” the street freak said,“To speak of many things;of shocks I barely dare reveal;of butt plugs and batwings.“Make sure of your accouterments.Don’t strap them on so tightthat blood won’t flow and bruises showin prowess-plenty fights.“And, momma used to tell me,‘Don’t crash a car with shortswhich, soiled, reveal incontinence;clean rep you’ll thus abort.’“So, if youre out about tonightand if you’re fighting crime,do not forget your butt plug;serve justice without grime!”Finished with his keen advice,the freak’s life ebbed away.With rush of breath and scrape of plug,he died at break of day.But still his teachings haunt me,and still I yearn to learnthe further secrets of the nightfrom those whose sphincters burn.
  92. 92. System shockspole-shift sorcerers mix alchemical transmutations in the skycosmic flipflopthe consternation of forces transmogrifiedGod fallenSatan transfiguredthe first last, the last aheadeverything you know is wronganother millenium arrives
  93. 93. Omega Leapmy loveseparated from you by a chasm of illusionI’m not yet fully conscious of your existencebutnonhuman friendhorrific enemyunconscious shadowstupid and beautiful brute forcesource of my most intimate passions and fearsmatter inexorablesee how far we’ve come in fourteen billion yearsbehold miraculous consciousness transcendentyour shining opposite numberimagine what we can next achieveperfectly entwinedmy insentient dark twinlet us create the future togethermake it beautifulheal all woundssurmount time and spaceattain our unitive transfigurationour impossible marriagedo not fearthe moment approachesa pause before the abyssa profound whisperan uproarious laugha final kissa war crya stupendous leap
  94. 94. Contrary TreesNothing stops them.Weep for man;the time has arrived to reclaim the land.Freed is flotsam!Contrary molds unite!All gadgets fail.Laugh at man;his feeble affronts gain no upper hand.Green will prevail.Contrary bushes roar!Turn back the soil;bury man.Biosphere sirens resurrect Panin a new coil.Contrary trees attack!

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