mercifulserpent: (Default)
We Encounter Nat King Cole As We Invent The Future

Camme and I listened to Nat King Cole and she sweetly lay her head
on the shoulder of some well-slicked man and off
she went some slow easy step some thirty years ago; it wasn’t
yesterday but ghosts of time in tilted hats are ushered
by our heartbeats into the living room as we eat fried chicken,
drink Cokes and talk about swing, don’t talk
about heartbreak but it’s in the stirred air. How we loved,
and how we love. There is no end to it.
One song can be a crack-the-whip snapping everything
we were in the lifetime of a song back
into the tempest of dreams. And when the Cokes are gone,
chicken bones drying in the sun,
radio shifted into another plane of time, I don’t know
what to believe. My heart’s a steady tattoo of roses.
Camme and I go to sleep in our different houses, she without
her dancing man, and me with my imaginary lover
outlined in smoke, coming up the road. There’s a song
that hasn’t been written yet; the first notes
are a trio of muses in a songwriter’s ear. That song will invent
my lover of evening light, of musky genius,
I know it. As sure as I know Nat King Cole wore white suede
shoes, and smelled like spice hair cream,
as sure as the monsoon rains come praising the dry Sonoran.
Yesterday I turned north on Greasewood
the long way home and was shocked to see a double rainbow
two-stepping across the valley. Suddenly
there were twin gods bending over to plant something like
themselves in the wet earth, a song
larger than all our cheap hopes, our small-town radios,
whipping everything back
into the geometry of dreams: became Nat King Cole
became the sultry blue moon became all
perfumed romantic strangers became Camme and me
became love
this IS my favorite poem.
mercifulserpent: (Default)
Joy Harjo -- Legacy

In Wheeling, West Virginia, inmates riot.
Two cut out the heart of a child rapist
and hold it steaming in a guard's face
because he will live
to tell the story.
They know they have already died
of unrequited love
and in another version
won't recognize the murdered

as he walks toward them
disguised as the betrayed lover.
I don't know the ending,
or how this will make the bruised and broken
child live easier into the night
of a split world,
where in one camp the destroyers
have cooked up
a stench of past and maggots.
And in the other
love begins a dance, a giveaway to honor
the destroyed with new names.
I don't know the ending.
But I know the legacy of maggots is wings.
And I understand how lovers can destroy everything
mercifulserpent: (Default)
Fear Poem

Joy Harjo

I release you, my beautiful and terrible
fear. I release you. You were my beloved
and hated twin, but now, I don't know you
as myself. I release you with all the
pain I would know at the death of
my children.

You are not my blood anymore.

I give you back to the white soldiers
who burned down my home, beheaded my children,
raped and sodomized my brothers and sisters.
I give you back to those who stole the
food from our plates when we were starving.

I release you, fear, because you hold
these scenes in front of me and I was born
with eyes that can never close.

I release you
I release you
I release you
I release you

I am not afraid to be angry.
I am not afraid to rejoice.
I am not afraid to be black.
I am not afraid to be white.
I am not afraid to be hungry.
I am not afraid to be full.
I am not afraid to be hated.
I am not afraid to be loved,

to be loved, to be loved, fear.

Oh, you have choked me, but I gave you the leash.
You have gutted me but I gave you the knife.
You have devoured me, but I laid myself across the fire.

I take myself back, fear.
You are not my shadow any longer.
I won't take you in my hands.
You can't live in my eye, my ears, my voice
my belly, or in my heart my heart
my heart my heart
But come here, fear
I am alive and you are so afraid
of dying.


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November 2014

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