Tagged montana

“Blurtso feeds the fish” (I)

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Feeding the fish? said Pablo. Yes, said Blurtso, from the edge of the river, there must have been a dozen people doing it. You mean “fishing,” said Pablo. Fishing? said Blurtso. Yes, said Pablo, they have a hook on the end of their line which they bait with something tasty, and they try to get the fish to bite it. The hook? said Blurtso. Yes, said Pablo, so it will push through the lip of the fish and they can pull it to shore. That’s not very nice, said Blurtso. What if you did it without a hook? Without a hook? said Pablo. Yes, said Blurtso, just put some food on the line and throw it in the stream so the fish can eat. Well, said Pablo, you wouldn’t catch anything, but you’d probably make a lot of friends.

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“Of the earth”

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The city before the city
was the earth
before hands held it.

The dark soil breathed
and the grasses sang,
until they were strangled
with slow cement.
To construct their shelters
the people went to the hills
where they razed
the orchestra of the trees,
stripping their strings,
so the limbless trunks
could be stacked and sold,
and only silence remained
where the music had been.

Not satisfied with a single roof,
they hired bandits
to return with their blades
seeking the slow heart
of the sequoia.
The lawyers at their windows,
unable to see through the smog,
signed the death warrants
of the hills,
while the rest
sat stupidly in their homes,
watching the walls grow,
until there was no door
for day to enter,
no crack for the wind,
and the dim light remaining
was tinted and conditioned.

When their prisons were complete,
they thrust their hands
beneath the soil
and melted its singing metal
into the graceless lines
of their automobiles.
In the sudden haste
they went from house to house,
smelling of synthetics,
stepping out only long enough
to curse the wind’s breath
disheveling their hair.

They put wheels on their homes
and carried them
groaning up the canyon.
They spread like smoke
through the trees,
splashing the branches
with obscene shapes and sounds.
They stayed until dust rose
where there had been blossoms,
and engines roared
where there had been birds,
and the waters choked
on their sudden blackness.
They left their broken trail
of plastics and noise
until even the wind could not wash
their echo from the trees.

Oh Lizzy, if not for you
the seasons would surely die!

Your sweet hooves
stepped from the foam
like polished shells
washed upon the shore.
You laughed
with the curl of the waves,
and your slow breath copied
its repeated rhythm and sway.
Your prints swirled in the tide,
and the jealous sea reached
to pull you back,
but its frothy fingers
touched only your heels,
then stretched and expired,
sinking in the sand.

Your hooves continued
over the hills and valleys,
moving in perfect balance
when the earth narrowed to a log
fallen across the stream.
They continued past the remains
of the beaver’s winter work,
along the unscarred path,
to the deer’s scented trail
that led secretly back
to the bank of the singing brook.

It was there your eyes learned
their color from the branches,
and stole the silver light
of the stone’s push upon the stream.

It was there your soul learned
the circling chase of the birds,
and your hair stole its aroma
from the cool in the shadows.

It was there your heart learned
the wisdom of the water.

When the wind
whispered your name
you followed it to the top of
a red-rock mountain.
It pressed its kiss against you,
sweeping the length of your snout,
and caressing with delicate patience
the curve and lilt of your ears.
There,
braced against the wind,
the extending light caught
and filled your form
with its rising breath of fire.