Saturday, March 21, 1987

RACIAL MEMORY


RACIAL MEMORY  
        —for Duane BigEagle

A lover seeking racial memory 
struggling with my blouse
prefers the old way of skins
Fox, rabbit, coyote, buffalo.
We hide too much from the elements
remembering other paths.
The feet never forget the scars 
they leave on the earth.  
He reaches for the breast in greeting,
concealing a weapon in his hand. 
The first kiss, even between old lovers
is cautious, not passionate. 
A hearthstone, the fire.
On this hillside, this grass, 
where are 
the men coming to terms with the earth  
spilling nothing more than seed?

Spring 1987
Petaluma

1990 Poetry USA
1988 Women's Voices

Wednesday, March 4, 1987

ANTARCtIC CLEANERS

ANTARCtIC CLEANERS

He nearly died of frostbite
when someone stole
 the shirt right off his back
as he was gambling
on the rocks.
It was the last time
the penguin took his tuxedo
to the cleaners.

3/4
minor changes, added 9/17
endangered animal poem


Pure metaphor poems

My hair, a great mass of seaweed...

My seaweed hair,
a hidden weight
beneath the keel
pulls me down into clay
My pillow becomes a deep sea
where the bow of my forehead
crests feathered waves
These eyes, beacons
along the shore of sanity
close in sleep, to dream
My hands on the flannel sheets
are small naked albatrosses
ready to take flight.

3/4
I don't know the date, exactly
use body parts as metaphor
added 9/17, minor revisions


Dictionary of the Imagination poems 2

Oak trees— sleeping druids in winter
Poppy—satin tongues on fire
Swan—white feathers dancing in a blue sky
Moon—a Viking ship in a midnight sea
Forest—earth carpet of wooden soldiers
Blanket—a sheep spread very thin over us at night
Pencil—a shadow line to the universe
Eagle—caged feathers  bearing sheaves of wheat and laurel branches

Across the sky, a Viking ship
sailed on a midnight sea

We wrote shadowed lines
across the universe
with caged feathers
bearing wheat and laurel
white dancers fell from the sky
and the fields bloomed
with satin tongues of fire.

Amidst the sleeping druids of winter
a carpet of wooden soldiers
rotted from old age.



Poems of colors: Blue is a billygoat


Blue is a billygoat
who ate the lineman's red shirt
used to flag down the train
Blue is the eyes of drowned sailors
Blue is the borrowed feathers
of peacocks when the quetzal
is no longer needed in the Mayan ruins
Green is the color of quetzal birds
Quetzalcoatl is a green-feathered
snake lost in the jungle of the past
The Navajos have only one word
for green and blue, for it is the color of life
not this cold blood rusted on narrow gauge
tracks leading deeper into the jungle.

3/4
aded 9/17
some editing


Dictionary of the Imagination poems


from a Luis Kong workshop,
using Jorge Lujan's Dictionary of the imagination

River—a mirror that runs and sings
Stars—holes in a dark tarp
Rainbow—a wet, iridescent trail of a comet used by prospectors searching for gold
River—a fish highway from the mountains to the stars
Does every river run to the sea?
indigo ink spilled
a blue trail for fish
to find the ocean
Moon—silver money sobbing in the pockets (Lorca)
a period  where the sky ends
Sea— blue river tongues licking at the feet of tropical islands
Cemetery—a plot where dead people live
Mountains—teeth piercing the clouds
hungry mouths feeding the sky
eating the weather
mouths voraciously feeding upon the clouds
Solar wind—huge bellows sucking and blowing on cosmic fires
Sun—the ouroboros eye of the dragon
a giant yellow ball lost in space
a feathered chariot pulling the eye of the dragon
ouroboros across the blue mantle of space
Rain—a cloud bursting into tears
blood from wounded clouds
Fish—small silver coins flashing in open sea banks
Snow—frozen white thoughts leaking from wounded clouds
Bluejay‚blue water flying in the wind
thief of catfood
Earth—a big blue ball in space
a bulging suitcase of extinct species

Use six definitions in a poem. It doesn't have to make sense. Don't use the original noun.


Huge bellows push the chariot
carrying the eye of the dragon
across the mantle of space.
frozen white thoughts
leak from wounded clouds
to fall into agape beaks 
feeding on the sky
a wet iridescent trail of a comet
used by prospectors in search of gold
and the small silver coins shining
open the sea banks to vaults in tropical islands.


take 2:
The feathered chariot 
that carries the eye of the dragon 
across the sky is blown off course 
by huge bellows held by giants 
hidden under the mantle of space 
but there are holes in the tarp
the frozen white thoughts of clouds 
leak into agape beaks feeding in the sky
it leaves a wet, iridescent trail 
used by comets and prospectors 
in search of gold and small silver coins 
hidden in sea banks where blue tongues 
lick at the feet of tropical islands.

Take 3:

Who is instructing the giants 
holding huge bellows 
that blow the feathered chariot 
carrying the eye of the dragon 
across the mantle of space?
but there are holes in the tarp
the frozen white thoughts of clouds
leap into agape mountain beaks
feeding on the sky
When we forget the names of the sun
it leaves a wet, iridescent trail
of flies and oranges under a full moon.