Friday, February 10

I write about roadkill...

When I drove past the lifeless coyote on the side of the road, his spirit went through me, and I wept. I needed to know that Coyote met his demise with courage and honor, so I had this conversation in my car, out loud. 

Interview with Coyote

Abandoned, broken, leaning against a roadside cross.   
A new day for Coyote, just another day for me.   

Coyote, tell me, did you see it comin'?

Nobody ever sees it comin', my sister.   
too busy watchin' out for the arched neck of my enemy, 
too distracted listenin' for the howls of territorial war.  

Was there no escape for you, Old Man?

I did not want the escape, pale sister,    
the cracks, the curves, all painted in the blood  
of every pack brother that's stood at this cross in the road, 
the deafening upheaval came,
the earth split wide enough to swallow all my relatives,  
and I surrendered.

Were you afraid, Barking Jackal?  

Fur bristled up my back,  
my nails chiseled deep
in the hardened-soot-covered field,   
my eyes narrowed to slits,  
my lungs inhaled the dusty night, 
is that being afraid?  

So, this was a humbling experience for you, Brave Brother?

I trembled in awe of its cunning power,
but I was not humbled, sad sister, 
to be plucked from the pack,  
to thrash from the relentless squeezing of the skins. .
to drip warm and weak is an honor.

Any words of wisdom for your cousins, Phantom Wolf?

Only this, weeping sister,   
cease to be an obstacle in Its path,
the invasion cannot be stopped.
Drop your pelts and dance through the Wall of Fire.  
Create the world and hang the stars  
before your nose turns black as raven.

Abandoned, broken,
I leaned a plastic tulip against the roadside cross.


This poem appears in my book, from the earthen drum of my body  2018

Saturday, April 10

Celebrate Poetry Month

To help celebrate Poetry Month, I invite you all to post a favorite poem, or talk about a favorite poet, or share how you celebrate poetry month in the comments section below. Here are some ways to add a little poetry to your day.

Ways to Celebrate 
  1. Poem in Your Pocket: Find a poem you love, make copies and carry it with you. Share with co-workers, family and friends. 
  2. Read a book of poetry: "Poetry is a response to the daily necessity of getting the world right."
  3. Memorize a poem
  4. Put poetry in an unexpected place, like abandoned art.
  5. Take a poem out to lunch: read a poem at lunch with a friend. 
  6. Write a poem! Express yourself with words, found phrases, imagery, or what inspires you! Put it on paper and give it some power! 
I'll start. My favorite go-to poets are Pablo Neruda, Sherman Alexi, Gary Snyder, and the late, sassy Maggie Estep. I love discovering voices that I haven't heard of before. I enjoy the revolutionary spoken word that this political climate has sparked.

I have a new favorite poet, Anita Endrezze. Anita Endrezze is from Native American (Yaqui) and European heritage and is a writer, poet and artist. This is a snippet of what she says about her poem The Wall.
"I asked myself, what should the Wall be made of? Since I'm a poet, I work with imagery and symbols. The Wall itself is a symbol...A wall of
taco trucks, a wall of solar panels...what could be freer than sunshine and renewable energy as opposed to millions of dollars to build a wall?"
I love her bold political theorizing and the way she blends her culture and vision with the current controversial climate happening today. The imagery and layers of her message speaks to the very heart of the border culture and how a wall could compromise the existing eco-system and way of life. This poem makes me want to know more about this contemporary, multi-cultural poet. You can learn more at her website:

The Wall 
  by Anita Endrezze 2017

Build a wall of saguaros,
butterflies, and bones
of those who perished
in the desert. A wall of worn shoes,
dry water bottles, poinsettias.
Construct it of gilded or crazy house
mirrors so some can see their true faces.
Build a wall of revolving doors
or revolutionary abuelas.
Make it as high as the sun, strong as tequila.
Boulders of sugar skulls. Adobe or ghosts.
A Lego wall or bubble wrap. A wall of hands
holding hands, hair braided from one woman
to another, one country to another.
A wall made of Berlin. A wall made for tunneling.
A beautiful wall of taco trucks.
A wall of silent stars and migratory songs.
This wall of solar panels and holy light,
panels of compressed cheetos,
topped not by barbed wire but sprouting
avocado seeds, those Aztec testicles.
A wall to keep Us in and Them out.
It will have faces and heartbeats.
Dreams will be terrorists. The Wall will divide
towns, homes, mountains,
the sky that airplanes fly through
with their potential illegals.
Our wallets will be on life support
to pay for it. Let it be built
of guacamole so we can have a bigly block party.
Mortar it with xocoatl, chocolate. Build it from coyote howls
and wild horses drumming across the plains of Texas,
from the memories
of hummingbird warriors and healers.
Stack it thick as blood, which has mingled
for centuries, la vida. Dig the foundation deep.
Create a 2,000 mile altar, lit with votive candles
for those who have crossed over
defending freedom under spangled stars
and drape it with rebozos,
and sweet grass.
Make it from two way windows:
the wind will interrogate us,
the rivers will judge us, for they know how to separate
and divide to become whole.
Pink Floyd will inaugurate it.
Ex-Presidente Fox will give it the middle finger salute.
Wiley Coyote will run headlong into it,
and survive long after history forgets us.
Bees will find sand-scoured holes and fill it
with honey. Heroin will cover it in blood.
But it will be a beautiful wall. A huge wall.
Remember to put a rose-strewn doorway in Nogales
where my grandmother crossed over,
pistols on her hips. Make it a gallery of graffiti art,
a refuge for tumbleweeds,
a border of stories we already know by heart.

Thursday, October 1

the re-telling of stories...

As I move through each day of this pandemic, this political crisis, and the devastation of climate change all around me, I look for ways to spark creativity, even if it's painting or writing for just 30 minutes. But my brain is so often in shut down mode, frozen, unable to move. What I find most helpful, is looking through projects I haven't finished, or looking through my art books and papers, and sometimes I am moved to work on these little bits of forgotten art. And that feels good, to squeeze fresh paint on my palette and just play. As for my poetry, writing prompts don't always work for me, or trying out a new poetry form just feels claustrophobic and constrained. That said, I want to share a prompt I stumbled upon a couple years ago, that goes like this:

Tell the story about something interesting that happened to you, or in my case, re-write a poem and tell it in the form of an instruction manual.

Now this I could do. I simply took a poem, and re-wrote it in the form of an instruction manual. I didn't have to create something new, I just re-structured an existing piece. The original poem was about rescuing a dead Redtail hawk that was crisping on the freeway. First, is the original poem, followed by the new version.

Shaman's Toolbox

Nocturnal victim of russet and ivory
fuses to the asphalt
as cars rush past in a parallel universe.

Sacred tools at my side,
gloves, newspaper and a garden trowel,
I kneel on the blistering gravel.
Squeezing the sun from my eyes,
the fisted talons come into focus.
Carnivorous beak, still.
Eyes fixed in a death stare.

With prayer and intention
I wrap the fallen raptor
in a shroud of Sunday funnies.
Flesh beetles drop from the frayed edges.

Hidden in the safety
of a Steve Madden shoebox
cornmeal and tobacco dust
the decay, the beauty, the silence.

A balanced pyramid 
of precambrian rocks
holds the spirit deep in the arms
of a dry California hillside.

Beneath the unforgiving shade
of yarrow and sagebrush,
heat blows across my face,
and I wipe the grieving sweat
that stings my eyes.

How to stop on the freeway to scrape up roadkill...

  1.  gather these items for your toolbox: newspaper, latex gloves, garden trowel, cornmeal and tobacco, sage, matches. carefully place items in a Steve Madden shoe box. 
  2.  put Steve Madden shoe box containing items in the car, the trunk is fine. If you don't have a trunk, on the floor in the back is good.
  3.  get in car, merge onto freeway. this is the most common place to spot the fallen messengers, usually found fused to the asphalt.
  4.  when you see the rust-striped wing flapping like a fancy-dancers headress, you will need to safely pull over on the side of the freeway.
  5.  get your toolbox, and carefully get out of car and walk slowly toward the body.
  6.  while kneeling next to the body, open the shoe box, put on latex gloves, lay out the newspaper, trowel, cornmeal and tobacco.
  7.  carefully lift the body from the asphalt and put on the newspaper. you might have to do some scraping with the shovel. allow the flesh beetles to drop from the frayed edges. 
  8.  dust the decaying raptor with cornmeal and tobacco and wrap with the newspaper like a shroud, then rest inside the shoe box.
  9.  drive to the country, away from traffic, people, negative energy. you're looking for a quiet peaceful final resting place on a dry California hillside.
  10.  once you have a spot picked out, get your shoebox, and don't forget the sage and matches this time. ceremony is key here.
  11.  dig a hole deep enough to bury the shoe box. With pure intention of the heart, offer prayer, song, gentle words.
  12.  fill hole with the red dirt, stack rocks, add greenery, and erase any signs of footprints, or humanity.
  13.  beneath the unforgiving shade of yarrow and sagebrush, wipe the grieving sweat from your eyes, and light your sage.
  14.  embrace the beauty, the silence and let the spirit finish the journey.

Monday, April 6

Eostre's Eggs

.. and the Legend of the Easter Bunny 

 The Anglo-Saxons hailed Eostre as the Goddess of Spring the Greening  Earth, and FertilityHer name means "moving with the waxing sun."Around the time of her festival, when light and dark are equal, the animals began giving birth or going into their sexually receptive cycles, named "esturs periods" after the goddess. The woodland animals, who also worshipped and loved Eostre- would play in the warmth of spring light and feast on the new vegetation Eostre provided. 

One of Eostre's devotees was a small hare who wished to give a gift to his goddess, but he didn't know what he could possibly offer that would be of any value to her. One day while foraging, the hare came across a fresh egg, a very prized commodity.The little hare wanted very badly to eat the egg, as it had been a long time since he'd feasted on anything finer than dry grasses. Before he could take a bite of his prize, he realized this egg might make the perfect gift for Eostre. But, he thought that Eostre could have all the eggs she wanted. She was a goddess, a creator of Life itself. Giving her just any egg would never do. How could he make this egg a fit offering for his goddess? 

The little hare took the egg home and pondered how to make it as beautiful and new as Eostre made the world each spring. He began to decorate the egg. He painted it in the hues of Eostre's spring woods and placed upon the shell symbols sacred to Eostre. When he felt he could not make the egg any more beautiful, he took it to Eostre and offered it to her. Eostre was so pleased by the little hare's sacrifice of his egg to her, and by the manner in which he decorated it for her, that she wanted everyone-especially children, who are themselves symbols of new life- to enjoy these representations of her bounty. 

Since that Ostara day long ago, the descendants of that hare have taken up the task of delivering decorated eggs to the world's children at spring. They are called Eostre's Bunnies or, more commonly, the Easter Bunny.