Poems of April 2018 #1

Concentric Bubbles

When I think in poetry,

I draw diagrams of meaning

inside larger circles of words

made of symbols for windy sounds 



Packs of baseball cards on the racks

as I walk past into the supermarket

enclosed me in a scent memory

of cardboard and bubblegum

a distant feeling circle

so immense I could never 

get outside of it.


Now my limiting circles have expanded

to reach stars and inverted

down to microbes and electrons,

my enveloping skin stretched 

so thin I could pop me with a thought.

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A Map to the Next World

By Joy Harjo

In the last days of the fourth world I wished to make a map for
those who would climb through the hole in the sky.
 My only tools were the desires of humans as they emerged
from the killing fields, from the bedrooms and the kitchens.
For the soul is a wanderer with many hands and feet.
The map must be of sand and can’t be read by ordinary light. It
must carry fire to the next tribal town, for renewal of spirit.
In the legend are instructions on the language of the land, how it
was we forgot to acknowledge the gift, as if we were not in it or of it.
Take note of the proliferation of supermarkets and malls, the
altars of money. They best describe the detour from grace.
Keep track of the errors of our forgetfulness; the fog steals our
children while we sleep.
 Flowers of rage spring up in the depression. Monsters are born
there of nuclear anger.
 Trees of ashes wave good-bye to good-bye and the map appears to
We no longer know the names of the birds here, how to speak to
them by their personal names.
Once we knew everything in this lush promise.
What I am telling you is real and is printed in a warning on the
map. Our forgetfulness stalks us, walks the earth behind us, leav-
ing a trail of paper diapers, needles, and wasted blood.
 An imperfect map will have to do, little one.
 The place of entry is the sea of your mother’s blood, your father’s
small death as he longs to know himself in another.
 There is no exit.
The map can be interpreted through the wall of the intestine—a
spiral on the road of knowledge.
 You will travel through the membrane of death, smell cooking
from the encampment where our relatives make a feast of fresh
deer meat and corn soup, in the Milky Way.
 They have never left us; we abandoned them for science.
 And when you take your next breath as we enter the fifth world
there will be no X, no guidebook with words you can carry.
 You will have to navigate by your mother’s voice, renew the song
she is singing.
Fresh courage glimmers from planets.
 And lights the map printed with the blood of history, a map you
will have to know by your intention, by the language of suns.
When you emerge note the tracks of the monster slayers where they
entered the cities of artificial light and killed what was killing us.
 You will see red cliffs. They are the heart, contain the ladder.
 A white deer will greet you when the last human climbs from the
 Remember the hole of shame marking the act of abandoning our
tribal grounds.
We were never perfect.
 Yet, the journey we make together is perfect on this earth who was
once a star and made the same mistakes as humans.
 We might make them again, she said.
 Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.
 You must make your own map.
From A Map to the Next World: Poems (W. W. Norton, 2000)
 Joy Harjo
Posted in All part of the process, change, Chaos and Order, Check this out, delusions of progress, Measuring Time and Space, mindworks, my museum of inspiration, Other peoples words, poetry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Dust Devil on Mars and Other Weather Closer To Home.

Spirit’s Wind-Driven Traveler on Mars (Spirit Sol 486)
Movie clip:
This movie clip shows a single dust devil that lofts dust into the air about 2 kilometers (1 mile) away, moving across a plain inside Mars' Gusev Crater for several minutes.
GIF (6 MB) | Quick Time (1.8 MB)
A dust devil spins across the surface of Gusev Crater just before noon on Mars. NASA’s Spirit rover took the series of images in this spectacular 21-frame animation with its navigation camera on the rover’s martian day, or sol, 486 (May 15, 2005).The event occurred during a period of 9 minutes and 35 seconds beginning at 11:48 a.m. local Mars time, recording the dust devil’s progress in a northeasterly direction about 1.0 kilometer (0.62 mile) away from Spirit’s perch on the slopes of the “Columbia Hills.” The whirlwind was traveling at about 4.8 meters per second (16 feet per second) and covered a distance of about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile).

Contrast has been enhanced for anything in the images that changes from frame to frame, that is, for the dust devil. The dust devil is about 34 meters (112 feet) in diameter.

Image credit: NASA/JPL

That there is such a thing as local Mars time seems to stretch my mind. The fact that a dust devil whirled across a desolate plain in front of remotely monitored device millions of miles from any person and that an image of it was captured for as long as the technology exists to replay and eyes that can witness it. For a mile it danced and then dissolved into atmosphere and falling particulate.  

For some reason, it makes me think of all those songs we sent out in the Voyager spacecraft, and especially the haunting sound of Blind Willie Johnson’s wailing blues, and hugeness of what we don’t know about our own planet and being human. A man I know died today. I did not know him well, though I greeted him almost daily for 2 years and was lately working with him in therapy. The details of his life, his catastrophes and loves, were mostly unknown to me. How do I balance the hugeness of a life that comes down to decisions made without much thought that lead to incidents that leave a person struggling to breathe and the fact that I know that there are dust devils on mars and what the local time was when they happened. What was the local time on Mars when this man died. I didn’t know he was dead until I couldn’t find him. I thought he was out napping in the sun. I moved through my day shuffling other patients into his slot and thinking. “He’s out there relaxing and having a smoke and snooze, because that’s what he does on nice days.” All this has somehow connected in my mind in ways I have not quite figured out yet. My life is not greatly changed by a man’s death or dust devils on Mars, but they are both markers that send the imagination reeling into the abyss full possibilities and inevitabilities that spring out of nowhere even though they are with us and have been long before we sent machines to Mars or we were launched into this life.  

Image result for supercell thunderstorm

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Cattails After Rain


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These are the Good Old Days

Wait until now becomes then, then you will see how happy we were.

Paraphrased from Susan Sontag, Unguided Tour


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2 Poems from February Leaking into March


I ride your bicycle hands,

  backwards through the dark ,

reversed and inverted

the wheel magnetized to

a grid of printed instructions

for unfolding origami lines

 rolled balancing,

over hills of rags and bags,

tottering stagger


and battered into muddy pulp

compacted into veins, 

  pumped in blood

and squeezed out

 Moaning into the morning light,

from the tightly turned tourniquet

of night.


Possible Side Effects:

Orgasm, a rent controlled apartment, retroactive denial and in rare cases minor flashes of wistful annoyance.

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10 Images:Winter Moonrise

This gallery contains 10 photos.

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