But it's really fear you want to talk about and cannot find the words so you jeer at yourself you call yourself a coward you wake at 2 a.m. thinking failure, fool, unable to sleep, unable to sleep buzzing away on your mattress with two pillows and a quilt, they call them comforters, which implies that comfort can be bought and paid for, to help with the fear, the failure your two walnut chests of drawers snicker, the bookshelves mourn the art on the walls pities you, the man himself beside you asleep smelling like mushrooms and moss is a comfort but never enough, never, the ceiling fixture lightless velvet drapes hiding the window traffic noise like a vicious animal on the loose somewhere out there— you brag to friends you won't mind death only dying what a liar you are— all the other fears, of rejection, of physical pain, of losing your mind, of losing your eyes, they are all part of this! Pawprints of this! Hair snarls in your comb this glowing clock the single light in the room
From The Book of Seventy by Alicia Ostriker. Copyright © 2009 by Alicia Ostriker. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.
Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
“Remember.” Copyright © 1983 by Joy Harjo from She Had Some Horses by Joy Harjo. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
My river was once unseparated. Was Colorado. Red-
fast flood. Able to take
anything it could wet—in a wild rush—
all the way to Mexico.
Now it is shattered by fifteen dams
over one-thousand four-hundred and fifty miles,
pipes and pumps filling
swimming pools and sprinklers
in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
To save our fish, we lifted them from our skeletoned river beds,
loosed them in our heavens, set them aster —
‘Achii ‘ahan, Mojave salmon,
Up there they glide, gilled with stars.
You see them now—
god-large, gold-green sides,
moon-white belly and breast—
making their great speeded way across the darkest hours,
rippling the sapphired sky-water into a galaxy road.
The blurred wake they drag as they make their path
through the night sky is called
‘Achii ‘ahan nyuunye—
our words for Milky Way.
Coyote too is up there, crouched in the moon,
after his failed attempt to leap it, fishing net wet
and empty, slung over his back—
a prisoner blue and dreaming
of unzipping the salmon’s silked skins with his teeth.
O, the weakness of any mouth
as it gives itself away to the universe
of a sweet-milk body.
Just as my own mouth is dreamed to thirst
the long desire-ways, the hundred-thousand light year roads
of your throat and thighs.
Copyright © 2015 by Natalie Diaz. Used with permission of the author.
On this voyage into the deep communion of solitude
I’ve casually come to know
the old and withered costumes of the sea;
I’ve walked carefully through the colors of copper
when the dusk has already conjured the last prayer of the day;
Through seasonal doorways
I’ve called upon the twilight ghosts
arched in the corners of the narrow cobblestone streets;
I’ve let my lips evade the necessary verses
to find the ending phrase for the afternoon;
I’ve disarmed the elusive equity of the night
to conceive an intimate verse from its fortified mysteries;
I’ve cast aside the grieving songs of my twilight
as the sky envelops the enamored vestments of the night;
so many things
in search of you…
Centroamérica en el corazón
Por este viaje a las profundas unidades de la soledad
he conocido sin planearlo
a la vieja vestimenta del mar;
he caminado con cuidado por los colores del cobre
cuando el ocaso ya ha lanzado el último suspiro del día;
he llamado por estacionales puertas
a los fantasmas del poniente
en las esquinas de las calles angostas;
he permitido a mi boca eludir los versos necesarios
para encontrar la frase terminante del atardecer;
he desarmado la equidad profunda de la noche
para concebir un verso íntimo de su faz amurallada;
he desechado los duelos del ocaso
cuando el cielo se cierne sobre el manto enamorado del crepúsculo:
From Central America in My Heart / Centroamérica en el corazón. Copyright © 2007, Bilingual Press / Editorial Bilingüe, Arizona State University.