flower headband

medicine man’s, desert home, kitchen
open to all who come
medicine waters, beetles, snakes

idle hands and all
so i’m washing kitchen shelves, not soaking aches
my heart hurts as if it always sees tomorrow’s change of worlds.
it’s coming in,

someone places a mouse trap out, because someone else said to.
i say no.
clack, it goes, right away
a man said, ‘these mice have a suicide wish’
‘i hadn’t even placed the cheese in it, yet’
mices walk into their neck-breakers
clack, again; clack, again.
i too do not want to see, that which we have become

sometimes the fridge is too full
skunks like their slightly bitter celery
raccoons treasure apples, mushroom stems
perhaps i purchased too much or grew them especially in my garden
with them in mind

box full of rat smash traps, oh my
you my little mammals with your little-er babies
with so much in the kitchen to eat, why did you
all take this way

i wash dishes, making food scrap piles
these pyramid Beings, set out gingerly for mice, flies, ants
whom i imagine too will be food, for foxes, birds
as will my body, as was my Lord’s

fly splat swatter
inner organs smear, stop!
corner bolted grave sign
giftwrap red ribbon – prayer flag
dollar store flowers – death marker
broken neck, car crash
with all of this wide road around, why here?

drive by a midnight funeral pyre against desert hills
we would all dance, but we have no more cause
walks past graveyard road signs
hoping black shapes and shadows jump out,
so we can say
i will never die.

fly off, fly swatters
one more day
lay offerings for that world,
to come

Questions and Answers

Is there a specific moment that inspired you to pursue poetry?

i (we?) think and speak in poetic forms.
Poetry to me is a sort of transcription of naturally-occurring conversations within relationships with living Beings. Poetry is in everyday conversation, email, drawings, walkings, in many internal and external dialogues. Poetry in written form is one of my practices to attempt to explain everyday revelations, via words and sometimes with associated art and photos, to discuss feelings and thoughts with readers.

How/where do you find inspiration today?

i am inspired by on-going, consistent, noteworthy, hidden and yet painfully obvious happenings, relationships with reality, i suppose, messages, that come from the natural world into this mechanized human-centric one.

Do you use any resources that a young poet would find useful (e.g. books, films, art, websites, etc.)?

just a few days ago i was working with a young artist who said if another artist did not have a large web presence, then that person did not really do anything, and additionally, their work wasn’t worthy, or good. “If they don’t have a big web presence they are obviously nobody and I don’t care about them,” she said. Being curious, i asked for clarification, and the artist reiterated that if someone doesn’t come up high on a google search, they have obviously done nothing.
I am not sure, but is this how youth see the world today? Is worth, value and relevance an internet construct? How mechanized and easily malleable we as humans have become? Who are our philosopher kings (and queens), where are our collective redeeming social values?

Un/Fortunately, for myself, regarding poetry, i feel completely divorced from popular internet realities, films, et cetera as my source/inspiration/useful ally for this type of work. It just isn’t real enough for me. As for most modern western films and popular tv, i have given up on it, as too often – and as a matter of its canon – it perpetuates and advocates for the worst of human attributes, vulgarity, prideful idiocy, misogyny, violence, objectification of the body, pathological materialism, colonialism and commodification- things that contribute to the world’s pain and suffering.

My love affair with books continues (but is far in second place to personal experience), especially those with photographs of non-human Beings, and as random insights into geographies, biographies, natural history.

As a published writer, what are your tips or words of motivation for the aspiring poet?

i recall words from a well-known poet, who noted the growing absence of publishing opportunities for poets, and the corporatization of publishing houses. Does this matter to you, dear poet? Or is this making poems our hearts expression, which continues, despite whatever.
Van Gogh’s mother had a chicken coop full of his paintings.

For me, it’s all about making, poems, art, justice initiatives, any act of creation are truly independent acts.

I have a large volume of prints, paintings, poems that may never see the light of day, which is fine. I feel married, committed, belonged by the work of aesthetic practice. We all, i think, have to belong to a place, and belong within a commitment, to create our own life’s purpose, which serves a good greater than the individual self. This to me is the revolution of care, to reject corporatist greed and selfishness, to believe and act everyday in our walk in beauty.

What inspired or motivated you to write this poem?

Poems are a sort of vision place, something that comes in from a spiritual walk. Thich Naht Hahn recalls the Buddha’s right thought, right action, which to me means attempting to live in deep listening, deep looking, deep response, as a way of being in the world, in everyday life. This practice, to me, requires an aware diligence, which i am not sure I am able to maintain all day every day, but with practice, becomes a natural <cite>modus operandi</cite>.
i find attachment to place and all of Her Beings a daily, active meditation.

Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.