two for one

Sorry I missed yesterday! I just did not have a chance to log on. To make up for it, I’ll post two poems today!

First the poem I had planned for yesterday. The poet is Francisco X. Alarcon and I met him in Taos, New Mexico when I journeyed there in 1997 to witness the Taos Poetry Circus. It was truly one of the greatest trips I’ve ever taken. I was by myself and drenched in desert magic and poetry. I bought Alarcon’s book and he signed it: “May your sun shine forever.” Very cool. I chose this poem in particular because I have, in my adult life, come to realize that though snakes terrify me, I believe they are a spirit animal of mine. I have had multiple snake dreams over the years and I can’t help but be fascinated by what they represent in Native American and other cultures. Appropriately enough, this poem comes from the book entitled Snake Poems.

Calendar Keepers
by Francisco X. Alarcon

rattlesnakes
renew
themselves
each year

by shedding
their skins
by adding
a new ring

they trace
the shining
path of our
rainy seasons

And next…for Good Friday…for nothing that has anything to do with Good Friday…I bring you Mindy Nettifee. I’ve mentioned her before. Most of her pieces are long, but this one is medium. And while nothing compares to hearing her read her work, this piece (from her book Sleepy Assassins) comes close in the silent reading to her spoken magnificence. I adore her.

THIS IS THE NONSENSE OF LOVE
by Mindy Nettiffee

I.
our kiss is a secret handshake, a password.
we love like spies, like bruised prize fighters,

like children building tree houses.
our love is serious business.

one look from you and my spine reincarnates as a kite string.

when i hesitate to hold your hand,
it is because our touch unlocks secrets

i’m not sure i want to know yet-
because to know is to be responsible for knowing.

II.
there is no clean way to enter
the heavy machinery of the heart.

just jagged cutthroat questions.
just the glitter and blood production.

III.
the truth is this:
my love for you is the only empire
i will ever build.

when it falls,
as all empires do,
my career in empire building will be over.

i will retreat to an island.
i will dabble in the vacation-hut industry.
i will skulk about the private libraries and public parks.

i will fold the clean clothes.
i will wash the dishes.
i will never again dream of having the whole world.

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