you hear the voice of Federico Garcia Lorca weeping:
in every guitar: which is always of two minds: one searching for the
strumming hands of a musician: the other desiring to sing for everyone:
and does not care if it is discovered by the clumsy feet of a Galapagos
turtle: which reminds you of Napoleon Bonaparte: in exile: where he
took to standing on the back of a turtle: (one sailors had brought to
solve the entire loneness of the Atlantic Ocean): because the turtle
was so adept at ravaging the emperor’s vegetable garden: Napoleon had
finally reached a compromise with something: he rode standing
on the shelled back: in windswept mornings: hand in vest: reading the
great philosophers: to his reptilian companion: at night: after the
turtle would eclipse in heavy underbrush: then trundle over to forage
the garden: the emperor would weep: having lost everything: again: even
the slow moving turtle moon: with its wide O-mouth: mimicking the
singing face: of a weeping guitar
A Brief Informal History
For us, there was never a Harry Houdini
who escaped from the boxes or from behind
the Bureau of Land Management fences.
There was Jim Thorpe, who ran in circles
better than anyone else. He ran like a caged wolf.
That was something we all knew.
Great fists rose from the west, drifted over
the plains and pounded us with thunder
as though we had always been corn
waiting to be reduced to meal in the unfurling fields.
Out of the east the real fists came.
From within the snowstorm of lies, we heard
tales of our own resistance. But we heard
too, the names of our fathers embossed in chrome
on the fenders of cars, on the labels of alcohol,
in the lonely glow of neon above cafes. We heard
the death song coming from the sky, loud
and piercing the way a bird of iron might sound.
And all our ghosts. Those boys who went to war
and fought like there might be a freedom hidden
somewhere in blood. They came back to our open-
armed ghostfathers, their faces yellowed
and parched by the long poverty of their lives.
Our boys went back to being unneeded as a stone—
waiting in the desert, petroglyph for all that is lost.
(Poem Starting with a Line by Sarah Hannah)
Be fog someday, and you will have nothing
but clouded thought and muffled whale talk,
everything seemingly removed but close.
The old philosophers were right: everything
you need is within but they never mentioned
the terrible ordeal of location, the lack of landmarks
or that you could spend your life listening
to something very near, yet never touch it.
Forget insight—you are lucky for the lighthouse
and the fog horn. If the sounds of grinding
steel and rock never arrive then it is a good life
with gulls and pelicans somewhere above,
the lap of the waves feeding at your feet.
When you have nothing, you have it all—without
the gritty grip, the glitter show, the bending
of your life to hold all those things you should
never have called your own.