song for ourselves


a graduation

hundreds of foxes in their dens

hundreds of birds circling

withered and newborn lie together on the forest floor

where the spare ribbons and the cartridges are strewn

and the dog and rat and raven sit and follow and are pursued

everything is fable, is myth

we want to put our arms around it

there is no basis here for reflection

it’s just a pile of shit

it’s just a pressed set of trees, leaning

it’s wakeful women


the curling lines and snakes

and the American soil

between highways

but we



we grow

we urge ourselves forward

like our time is little, like we know what’s coming

like the advertisements,

if you look at them, spell out a disaster

but it isn’t the one the news predicts

it isn’t the one the commentators twine around

their fingers and show to the cameras with

giddy smiles, groping their viewers into the twists

and knots so that they can’t escape and don’t

want to escape because their bodies, pressed

against those fleshy hands, feel safe—


winter could happen

we could destroy

a caretaker plunges pole into ground

and make colors safe to bloom

horses stand around the stone

they bow their heads

they feel the sun

there are patches of buds, patches of babies,

patches of new life, patches of sunbeams,

patches of forest, patches of forced forest,

patches of forced babies

everything is red and green and white and

orange and brown and yellow,

and everything snakes

it does:

the bass sounds

the bow of the cello

the arms of the baby

supplication of the penis:

one lone cattail standing in the middle of the median

could you live there?


sprinkler cries into the prairie ground

making the bushes grow

so would it be possible?

to take a piece of land

and make it grow

with our bodies alone?

we don’t know

but hold on, they say

remember how you were trained

but we burst through the seams

and we feel the lack of air

and we cannot breathe, and the

plows are here and the shellfish and

it’s a dream we had last year,

the year before:

grinding grain for bread,

the women of the village stare

who are we, with our long blond hair

doing handstands in truck beds full of

antlers and bison heads

dancing on the silver lining of the car

running down the paths

we'll leave a broken tire

and some glass

the desert will eat it,

will take it in its hands

but what if all we have

is a snarl,

a ligament, a protection,

a Sigmund, a Karl, a Benjamin,

a George

and that feeling of ours

that things aren't quite the way they should be

the pursing of our lips, our mother's hands heavy

our child’s head in his knees,

waiting for the drill to cease




the rising of the hills

the clambering of vines along the trail

what if this is all we have,

and our suffering isn't a rose

but a skin graft

the land rejects—

red rocks,

red flowers,

red heather a mismatch

with all our factories

and services

how long will it take our

feet to reach the bottom?

how long to realize our ordeal

may have an end?

who are we to name ourselves

or be anonymous, sexy,

sexless, original, unoriginal–

in short, to exist?

i guess

it’s a game we play, how

all that the massacre meant

becomes a cute sign on a

metal plate lodged in cement

we saw what looked like a giant snail

on the roadside

but was actually a dead raccoon

curled inside its tail

and we cried

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