Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Tumbleweed Maker


The Tumbleweed Maker






You are the thing that
makes the tumbleweed,
the thing that consuming,
consumes itself.

Not the snake but the fire,
not the mirrored serpent but
the serpent in the mirror,
not the rain, ever,

but forever
the dustbowl wind
that takes everything loose and light
breaks what tries to stand

that    pushes              pushes
pushes
to have its way
then getting it,                     
                             sighs away.

I hide from the sun
you pull out  
to smile benignly
dripping gold on yesterday's wreck

while trusting flowers come, 
tumbleweeds sway in greengold balls
the cat lolls on his back
forgetting to crunch up the doves

and things seem--
O
just 
fine--

until the smile 
opens its can of hell,
curls leaves, drops flowers as
the panting cat thins in parched dust

where
the warped wall,
the emptied weed
the hiding heart

are light and loose and broken
ready for you,
the black wind
that blows it all away.



~April 2014








Images: Homestead and farm in Texas County, Oklahoma, USA, during Dust Bowl.
"Dust Storm Near Beaver, Oklahoma"1935
USDA, NARA respectively, public domain via wikimedia commons 

15 comments:

  1. This is wonderful. I accidentally type first winderful. I particularly like the "o just fine" and the description of cat and flowers and the smile opening the can of hell and the insistent almost toddler like pushiness and walking away. Thanks. K.

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  2. that in consuming, consumes itself...the snake in the mirror...we can become our own worse enemy....there feels like an inevitable-ness to it all in your words as well....or maybe an acceptance that this is the way...

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  3. Wowsers ... OK: So the portal to Dante's Hell was inscribed something like "all ye who pass here, abandon all hope": For hope is for eternal blisses 'n' such, something to keep the locals singing while sweating away in the fields. Hope is the dewy-eyed ardor which makes it so hard to see things as they really are. This poem is Visine for that stuff, clearing away the prettiness to behold the garden as it is. "Behold," like our snow man; and soaring like Robinson Jeffers' hawk, thriving in the real creation. The thinking in --

    ... Not the snake but the fire,
    not the mirrored serpent but
    the serpent in the mirror,
    not the rain, ever,

    but forever
    the dustbowl wind
    that takes everything loose and light
    breaks what tries to stand...

    -- gets to what's under what's under, thinks three deep, finds a way to surrender to the dustbowl wind because that's just where we are (or you are, in Oklahoma these days). (Rain and rain and rain here in Florida, thanks to the unjust distributions of global warming's extremities.) Something other than Christian hope comes into here, though, because the terribly beauty of its making is what thrives even as it's blown away. It's all we get here, stuck between heaven and hell. Amen.

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    1. Yes, endless rain (I lived in San Francisco once yes) can be every bit as erosive, corrosive, dangerous, killing, breaking a thing as that wind. Nature is not all posies. Thanks for reading, B.

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  4. Of course, "Grapes of Wrath", but another book I read that has always stayed with me is "The Worst Hard Time"… Until the smile opens its can of hell - exquisitely tragic.

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  5. What a vivid, relentless description of the can of hell opening and wiping out the o just fine.

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  6. It's all caught in my throat by the end of this read. and oh, your title is perfect!

    pushes and sighs away.

    I can not hold onto any one image for long, in this piece. it is touch and release from the get-go. from O Just fine -to- everything gone.
    Way to un-simplify creation!

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    1. Thank you, jane--I'm unfortunately all too good at un-simplifying. ;_)

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  7. You will not believe this, but I am working on a piece centred around the snake consuming itself.. we are definitely experiencing a metaphysical connection through the invisible pathways of ether. I'm relieved that aside from that, my piece is different, otherwise readers might think I am helping myself to your ideas!

    I love the movement of this section of the poem:

    and things seem--
    O
    just
    fine--

    until the smile
    opens its can of hell...

    Mine is a long way from finished, but you'll recognize the image when you see it.

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    1. Ha! Well, I'm glad its not just me channeling bits of your thoughts, Kerry. It's a very old symbol, and not unusual to see it beng used in poetry or art, but still, odd we both are thinking of it just now. Quite a bit of synchronicity going on in the aether lately for us, I agree. I'm glad you like that part you quote as I was within a micro-millimeter of cutting everything after 'sighs away...' such a long poem--but I feel better about it now. Thanks.

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    2. Ooh, no! We couldn't do without the black wind to scour the scene at the end.

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  8. This spins down into the essence of life... good vs. evil, light vs. dark, hope vs. despair. Masterful imagery, springing to life right off the page.

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  9. "dripping gold on yesterday's wreck" -- wish I had thought of that.

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  10. so I just read this and of course you have already commented on my own Joad piece, and that snake winds from Oklahoma to Salinas waiting to sink its teeth into the ocean, but falling just short - never realizing that salt water will kill you. or something, but that's how it feels ~

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  11. Brilliant as always....I cannot imagine the hell of the dustbowl days...so completely avoidable. Man preys on himself...seems we don't learn

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg