If You’re Going to Look Like a Wolf They Have to Love You More Than They Fear You.

The first deer had large teeth and no horns and
were not afraid.

The first deer did not have enough fear
for the men who needed them
to survive.

A woman decided to let the men eat
a grandmother decided her deer shall have horns
and be afraid
someone’s mother decided the men shall eat
and shall be feared.

*

A man thought wolves should be used
to cull the herd.

And we who had been catching water
dripping through stone
in the homes we dug
out of the earth
we licked our long teeth clean
            and set to work.

 

 

Related Poems

Cult of the Deer Goddess

Darling deer, beasts of our love, we are gigantic. Wild,
we wield no pitchfork, no distaff, no broom. Women
are supernatural, but we are more than that—witnesses
to great convulsions of nature. The hunters want to make
us less. Drag us through the fire by our heels to murder
what is witch in us, make fossils of our priestesses. Men
are small and call this power, but it’s just weal or woe.
In the vales and shadows our bodies make, they wed
our girls turned doe, turned woman, then doe, then woman
and we are not these certain shapes but the swift motion
of their shifting. And we are craggy hag’s head cliffs, mist
hanging grey at our chins, the saltwater below and all it must
bear, and what we cannot: men, marriage, massacre. 

 

 

Self-Portrait as Semiramis

Had I been raised by doves
wouldn’t I have learned
to fly
 
By wolves
to hunt in packs
 
Had I been raised by gods
wouldn’t I too
be godlike
 
In the movies the orphan
is the killer
not loved enough
unwanted
 
But wasn’t I
most
wanted
 
My mother
fish goddess
dove into the sea
for the sin of loving
a mortal man
 
I love a mortal man too
 
At night I coax him
from sleep
rousing him
with my mouth
 
By day
we build high brick walls
around us
        	  our Babylon
 
Had my mother lived
to see me rise from this boundless
deep
        	would she recognize me
as I have grown large
and my arms have become
the long arms of the sea
reaching over
        	         and over
                                	     	    for the shore

The Eighties

An Essay

A friend asks, "What was at stake for you in the Eighties?" She's trying to figure out Bay Area Poetry. There was Reagan's New Morning for America. Garfield dolls stuck to the backs of windshields with suction cups. At the beginning of the Eighties I was married & at the end i was not. The Civil Rights Movement became kind of quiet. Feminism became kind of quiet. An editor told a woman he couldn't read her poems because it said she was a mother in her bio. Many thought about word materials. Environmentalism got kind of quiet. The earth spirits were not quiet. Buildup of arms. Iran-Contra. Savings & Loan scandal. Tax cuts gave way to library closings. The Challenger went down with the first woman astronaut aboard. People read letters to her on TV. Mini-golf places with purple castles opened on Highway 80 in the Eighties. Chernobyl exploded & the media announced it as a setback for nuclear energy. People ate out more because of tax cuts. i fell in love with a poet. Earth dropped its dark clock. A few wrote outside the margins. Mergers & Acquisitions. The Bay continued to shrink. Many got child-support checks. Many came out. Deconstruction found the moving circle. A few read Lacan. Guns 'n Roses Sweet Child o' Mine. Our daughter drew pictures of trucks with colored fur. She had 24 ear infections in one year so why were you not supposed to write mother in your bio. Many wrote the lyric with word materials. The Soviet Union began to free prisoners. America freed fewer prisoners. Superconductivity. Gorbachev became president instead of something else. One son went to college. We cried. There was no e-mail. Art pierced the image. Blue-rimmed clouds hurried past outside & in. Some wrote about childhood; some wrote about states of mind; some wrote word materials instead of about. Symbolist poetry, by then 120 years old, pushed the dream nature of the world. Hypnotherapy. i began the trance method. In the Eighties, Mt. Tam stayed the same. Mt. Diablo stayed almost the same. Many species died & would not return. At stake. One son started a punk band; he had a one-foot-high purple Mohawk. i listened to the tape with another mother trying to make out the words. Oliver North held up his right hand. Reagan turned off his hearing aid. Sentences fell apart but they had always been a part. Yeltsin. Walesa. Wall comes down. Romania. El Salvador. Noriega. Some elderly folk lived on dog-food when their pensions collapsed. People worried about children, lovers, ex-husbands, jobs. Consciousness stayed alive. Interest rates leapt through the vault of the sky. We cried & cried. We made food & quit smoking. We learned the names of wildflowers & forgot them & relearned them. This was only the beginning. There's so much more to be said in answer to your question.