Monthly Archives: August 2015

selections from Turtle Island by Gary Snyder

Goal: Clean air, clean clear-running rivers, the presence of Pelican and Osprey and Gray Whale in our lives; salmon and trout in our streams; unmuddied language and good dreams. (94) Continue reading

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the Valley of Ladies

hot
dry, gusty air.
brush, skeletal, withering to dust—
devils spinning psychotically
in circles
in the distance
a circus
performed for the pleasure of the beaming king
in the sky, radiant and divine
splintering crowns of clouds
charring the earth
boiling brains.

and then
there is coolness, serene spaciousness
in slow-motion assembling constellations,
awakening, loving, being…
but being where?
here, nowhere, everywhere—constellations
awakening again
and again
and again
and again
as in a dance
until suddenly there is spinning,
a rhythmic repeating,
eternal becoming.

though wandering the desert sometimes stings like Hades,
other days you’re waltzing in the Valley of Ladies. Continue reading

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the devil

the devil—
they day i said i loved her—
took all my things and threw em in a dumpster.

she set fire to my feet
coercing me to trod
on and and on on
the same old song
for an eternity or more,

froze me in my sleep,
set biting horseflies upon me,
starved me, squeezed me,
burned my flesh several inches deep,

sliced the ends of my toes
and fingernails
and ankles
and elbows
and chopped everything up into little pieces,
double decapitation,

before whispering into my ear
a command
to climb the nearest mountain.

this i did
and there i saw
the devil disentangling herself from it all. Continue reading

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siesta

they fell in love in the early morning
the sea rippling golden red
the horizon green as their affection
radiant violet skies overhead.

robust and mighty, they stretched their wings
and took off for the west.
“wherever we’re together,” they sung,
“that wherever will be best.”

they left the sea and traced the rivers,
worshiping the water’s ways—
its springs produced a thousand greens,
dark mossy rocks and verdant glades.

vast forests gave way to vaster plains
and these, in turn, grew rocky.
until the land swelled up to heaven,
which the lovers flew over, cocky.

gliding down, at last, they gazed upon
the desert—endless, empty, eternal—
imagining it wide enough for their love
but ignorant of the sun, infernal.

“siesta!” she cried, as she landed
and down in the dirt she lay.
and there her lover hopes and weeps forever
of her rousing, even as stars fade away. Continue reading

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breath of the universe

with a breeze at your back—
and the sun setting—
this hot, desolate dryness
seems bearable.
you can almost see yourself
descending
water-laden
into the Great Basin
full of fascination, bewilderment,
life. through
the viscous transparent waves
emanating from everything
at a distance
you can almost see yourself
escaping, recovering
what once was lost.
yourself
is always seen
by infinite eyes peering
out of rocks and soil and sky and rain
because
everyone enjoys a good look in the mirror.
and at this wild desert masquerade
you climb
and climb
heaving, huffing
the desert dunes
until you reach the top, where you sigh
a breeze. Continue reading

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now

when rivers carve canyons deep and pour out from the valleys.
when mountaintops touch the sky, the clouds their rightful crown.
when those same clouds crash and boom, and cover all in darkness.
when through the air rain tumbles down, down, down, down.

when teeth tear bone and flesh, and taste a little life.
when trees stretch wide their woody arms in spite of sharpened axes.
when the wind slaps fast, sharp, invisible and mighty.
when the moon throws the ocean round as it waxes, wanes, waxes.

when the sun arises, sails, and sets its blinding, blazing glow.
when the the stars pierce your midnight dreams, well…
that’s when you’ll know. Continue reading

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here

they said there would be no food,
but there was—grains, nuts, fruit.

they said there would be no water,
but there was—crystal running clear.

they said there would be no warmth,
but there was—two hearts zipped up in one.

they said there would be no air,
but there was—that’s how i’m here. Continue reading

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