Wednesday, August 31, 1983

SLOW DANCE ON THE KILLING GROUND

SLOW DANCE ON THE KILLING GROUND

in the kingdom of the blind,
the one eyed man is a freak.

8/83?
Napa

Saturday, August 27, 1983

RETURN FLIGHT

RETURN FLIGHT

My grandmother, they planted lilies
at the foot of your bed
before I understood the meaning of loss.
A chill in the air puts summer to rest.
White against the moon, an owl takes flight
across the valley & the echo of his cry
scatters light from the stars.

To the dancers, we leave our feathers of return flight.
The small candles of barn owl feathers drift down
from the moon's edge to light the way for your feet.
The slow breathing of soil before the frost
leaves a faint trail like the undeciphered tracks of mice in snow.
This is why we dance on the graves of our grandmothers.

The earth spreads sonorous wings over you,
shakes rubies from her blood
& your long dark hair tumbles swift like a waterfall
until it turns white in the garden of your grandchildren.
& the night horses who pasture in your hair
all turned east, toward that softer danger, the sun.

At dawn the white rooster crows over sand dunes,
leaving an echo almost tasted on the tongue.
He crows, Gallo, gallo, gallo blanco.
The web that connects us moves slowly.
Wind in the cottonwoods marks a passage of time.
When my best friend was killed by a horse,
you said, “Think of all the death in the trees
and in the fields in fall.”
The rooster cried, “My insides return to earth
so that my life may continue,”
before the axe swung.

My grandmother, now I know the earth receives us.
She watches the flowers of her children catch fire in the wind.
She kindles our slow bones so they too
will send roots down deep & drink from the stream.
She stands at the lintel with arms open wide,
waiting for us to return home
so she can close the door.

The return to earth is a quiet song
when water trickles down after the storm.

8/27/83
rev. 86
this was from reading three grandfather poems in a New Mexico magazine, by Rudolfo Anayar, Estévan Arellano, and EA Mares. I later changed it to reflect my grandmother.

1990 Red Bluff Daily News, July 23
1988 Green Fuse
1986-88 Falling to Sea Level
1986 Under the Bridge of Silence
1983 Across the Generations


VUELO DE VUELTA/RETURN FLIGHT

Mi abuelo, plantaron los lirios  
al pie de tu cama  
antes de que yo entendiera  
el sentido de la pérdida.  
El aíre frio entierra al verano.

Blanco contra la luna, un buho alza el vuelo  
a través de la valle y el eco de su grito  
esparce la luz de las estrellas.

A los bailiadores dejamos nuestras plumas del vuelo de vuelta.  
Las velitas de plumas de buho flotan a la deriva  
desde el filo de la luna para aluzar el camino de tus pies.

El aliento despacio del suelo ante la escarcha  
deja huellas ligeras como rastros indecifrados  
de los ratones en la nieve.  
Por eso bailamos en las tumbas de nuestros abuelos.

La tierra extiende alas sonor as sobre tí,  
sacude los rubís de su sangre  
y tus cabellos largos v negros se caen rápida como cascada  
hasta volverse blancos en los jardines de tus nietos.

Y los caballos de noche, que pastorean en tus cabellos  
todos miraban hacia el oriente—
hacia ese peligro mas suave, el sol.

En el alba, el gallo blanco cacarea sobre la arena  
dejando un eco que casi se saborea en la lengua.  
Cacarea, "gallo, gallo, gallo blanco."

La tela que nos relaciona se mueve despacio.  
El viento en los álamos marca un pasaje del tiempo.

Cuando mi mejor amiga la mató un caballo,  
dijiste, piensa en toda la muerte en los árboles  
y en los campos del otono.

El gallo gritaba, "Mis adentros regresan a la tierra  
para que la viad continúe," antes de la hacha se cayera.

Mi abuelo, yo sé ahora que la tierra nos recibe.  
Mira las flores de sus hijos encenderse en el viento.  
Lentamente incendia nuestros huesos para que ellos también  
envíen las raices hasta lo profundo y beban del corriente.  

Se para en el dinltel con los brazos abiertos  
esperando hasta que volvamos  
para que cierre la puerta.

La vuelta a la tierra es una canción quieta  
cuando el agua discurre después de ia tormenta.
  —traduccion John Oliver Simon

1986-88 Falling to Sea Level









Saturday, August 13, 1983

Fragment MARGUERITES

Marguerites growing
amid the marble soils of Crete.
Amid the large columns of bones.
Marguerites strewn across the soil of Crete
blooming between marble columns
and the bones of the temples.
Marguerites holding the clouds up
and keeping the sky at bay.

8/13/1983
added 10/16
revised

Thursday, August 4, 1983

FIRST TIME

FIRST TIME
              —for Jim Byrd

Our canoe rounded a sheltered river bend—
collecting calm emerald water
'til it glistened in a slow, curved smile.
The towering trees punctuated its mirrored speech.

From our raised paddles words escaped—
unannounced as water droplets
spawning concentric ripples
in an undulating desire towards shore.

Who is naming these silent tremblings,
sneaking up, canoe-like along the river,
where,  coming down for their evening drink,
our hearts stopped,  afraid to slake their thirst?

Who will stand guard over them
so they can safely come down to the shore
and ask the river where the trees stop
and the reflection begins?
Through the trees the wind is trickling.
Only the shore answers in a slow, curved smile.

8/4/1983
added 10/16

Monday, August 1, 1983

VIRGO

VIRGO

In the moonlight,
naked,
I will cook fish

8/1983

TOBACCO

TOBACCO

From the campfire, flames leap and dance
as if the devil's fiddle were made of smoke.
A cigarette dangles from the gypsy's mouth.

The earth pushes up a cornerstone
in a slow rotation of silence.
The thin red wailing of a siren
heralds the dusk in another part of town.

She stops to light her cigarette.
The horses lean toward her,
hungry for tobacco.  

8/83