land is more than land

stone mountain top, stone family
so very much time and so very many meals

zero below, one ten above, fahrenheit
we crack, fill, melt, fissure, split
we do it all

boulders, our children, our selves, find independence
break, tumble, fall and rest
knowing better than most, eternal return
imagining ourselves

spaces between our lives’ fallen beings
are a sun, rain, heat shelter
final Earth home for those who prefer to stay here as the soul flies there
— skeletons, basket parts, rock bowls and paints
you may trust us.

our dear relative
ponderosa pine
bark like long scales of a dinosaur
their pelts could have been made of ferns
licorice roots, and reflecting streams

wind works and winds, exciting clouds
encouraging pine to spin, twirl, tour jete
roots, not dancers outside of dreams, let go,
freedom, sorrow
snap snap,snap, crack
our fallen pine drinking water,
revealed spring

how was i to know, what i would become?
medicine woman
man who knows tomorrow
finder of all lost items
a baby born, already dead
these, hollow places

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.