Aren't you a medicine man?
Aren't your lungs full of blue smoke and jars of dust that your mother collected in Idaho?
Are you confident in the permeability of memory?
Confident in your snake oil cures?
I think I know you
I think I've been waiting for you patiently sipping my beer and humming "golden slippers"
I think the best thing about home is that there are almost no poisonous plants here and the bees rarely sting me
You sang the second verse of "Home on the Range,"
the verse that nobody knows
And I couldn't breathe thinking about what my life would have been if it hadn't been this
I went ahead and bought the miracle elixir
You see sod busted up by a long, sepia-toned farmer. He is pushing a plow that belongs in a museum of the prairie. You feel as if this is happening to you. To your insides, I mean. You feel a squirming pancreas, and a dancing spleen. You feel a change coming and you are happy about feeling, about movement, agriculture. You catch a glimpse of yourself in a window and realize that you have grown to be 10 feet tall. You are looking down on the corn; at eye-level with the barn. You imagine your father, the farmer, would be very proud of the tree you have become, and the windbreak you afford his fields.
So during the depression with the dust bowl and black blizzards a huge threat to agriculture in America, FDR proposed this idea for the "Shelterbelt." Basically he wanted to plant trees all along the prairie in long windbreaks to protect farms. He never got all the funding he wanted for it, but some trees were planted anyway. It just ended up being on a much smaller scale than he had proposed. By the time it was done the drought was nearing its end and WWII was on the horizon, and the whole thing has been largely forgotten about.
25 and broad shouldered
the sun hits his eyes
23 and half naked, my chest,
the top of our heads
The ocean throws boats off
the edge of the world
the horizon stretches
longways, a hammock
In the water eyes open,
his grin, luminescent,
In the water eyes closed,
the taste of salt, the quiet
way the waves go on and on
Last month you saw Marilyn Monroe riding sidesaddle on a bicycle. Her cream colored skirt billowing as she passed you by. You noticed she had aged. She was gray and lined but still beautiful.
Last week you saw Tupac walking to work. He clocked in a few minutes early and kept his head down. During the lunch break he talked to you about settling down and starting a family. He used the word "suburb" and you almost gagged.
Yesterday you adopted a dog who had been hit by a car. You gave her a name and a yard and a bed and grain free kibble. She's fine now. She doesn't even seem to notice her stitches. She sits on the porch and barks at squirrels while you fold clean clothes.
Today you realize you have learned to raise the dead. But only so they don't remember themselves. Only so they have no recollection of who they were before. Only so their lives are blank boards.
You are afraid of your newfound powers, but with Mars in your house you will learn some control.
"Don't bring back your mother," you repeat like a mantra.
You won't feel restraint until the 21st.
Relax. Breathe into it.
You're a hill. You're an immovable object.
You are shaking this whole world
just by being in it.
Breathe into it.
You are going home now.
Like a forest full of birds.
We talked about ghosts at work
There are slaves in the attic
Where the floorboards creak
We have seen glasses and plates
break, untouched, Our house was built on Southern ground
We talked about premonitions
There were brothers dead in train crashes
Where the steam boiled and metal buckled
And sisters finding body parts in their sleep
When I dream
I see my mother
Are you real? I ask
I can't be asleep again
Just more so now...
She takes my hand with cold soft
fingers she smells like her
hand cream her eyes make little 'm'
bird wing creases her face is smiling
the way it always has she does not
bother with mascara she sits bright
and hunched in tallness
Are you real? I ask
I'm real. She says
I wonder if tonight I'll dream of slaves
The floorboards creaking
Or of brothers
And their hands thrown in train crashes
Landing under metal somewhere
In the woods nearby
Whatever being haunted means
I am scared that nothing I do makes a difference I am scared I feel all of history pounding in my head I am happy to see her even being less real, sleeping
**even if she is *more so now
On horseback, they chase you,
But you are light and you are gaining distance. On horseback, they chase you, and you laugh along with the hoof beats.
Your smile catches sun, and you have never been scared of bullets.
I wanted to remember your smell
Even after we stopped having
Anything to talk about
I wanted to remember how your
Skin shivered, warm and desperate
Even deep into my dreams
There was a day when you rode on my
Handlebars and we moved like
Water through canyons
There was a day when we traced
Each other's shadows as big as
Gallows in the dust
I keep having this dream of the spring of 1887: I go out to bring the cattle in, but they are all dead. Frozen to death. And floating down thawing rivers. I keep having this dream of Bolivia: we are cornered after robbing a payroll and I am glad you are not with us.*
The last thing I remember is your smile catching sun