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Organic Poetry
Elegies for Slaughter

 Elegies for Slaughter




If you were to bitch,

       who among the latent antepasados

              would listen


& if one were to startle

              by visitation, in flesh,

       would the mesh that holds you

                                    to this surface give,

        would you live for act II

or smash the mirror?


Beauty is the first gasp

       we try to dash from

                with everything a tremble

to recover the flow cottonwood seeds model

                       in the late May of afternoon Slaughter.


Every terrible angel blinds us

           with its beauty, each wild pink Stuckside rose

                            holds the promise of one last thorn

          Thor knows is pain one day

                           protection the next.


The morning trucks growl

        mimic your own desperate hunger

                  your blood song gone awry

in the lie of the family nuclear


                    and whom besides the cat

           is there in your hour of need

always in search of the edge?


        The memory of Stuckside bluffs

               (where Alice dove & lived)

               is always within the range of a Tuesday

                          daydream like the last

         lost ancestor, inside us like that song we ignore


that we bolt from to muck it all up

                with the wrong kind of grease.


          Lilac blossoms give way to scotch broom

                   to wild pink roses, dogwood, cottonwood

                        & you invent new sneezes,

             take a new lover to teach you

                            how to comb your hair.


If you don’t see that flying down,

           seeds dreaming of giants

                          does the event happen?


No. Springtime’s an event

            sets the table for your senses alone.

      The neon sunset colored

               arson orange and purple haze

                       waits all day

                for your gaze before it ripens


while Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Riviera Paradise

              elicits 3AM jazz radio memories.


   The eagle feather falls

              onto your beadless summer hat

                    only when you halt

       your desperate lunges.

Ancient constellations wait

          for your cue

                             to slip into   formation

        send off a comet you can see

                when the tv’s off and your head rests

in your lover’s lap.


        The green wheel inside your chest

               is where the universe

                        rests its brand of spin


even as a Chinook wind

              tries to tear the skin off your face

      and the race of machines grinds down

                     to a certain future of rust

                             and blackberries


       and we marry a harmony angled

                by Monk and Klook

            unaware the urge to control

         and the jewel in Indra’s net

      are yet a semitone apart.




Allen’s voice in my head

         down by the river

    one branch made of skin


one bird drops too easy

       from the cloud-tops

              of this particular Big S



               & you like an ancestor

       of Levertov want to learn

                 the birdsong Yardbird

    couldn’t scratch out of a pawned alto.


          And yet the utter loneliness

       a mountain of lost sperm

    slippt through your greasy fingers

   an itch no edge could stop.


The brown hills are muscles

       blossoming out of Tahoma’s wild



and we watch every last glacier take Miami.

And they thought they patented Slaughter.


You reached for joy

           settled for drama

                    and skin and velocity

      dark   pink   stabs at intimacy

              gropes at your lost innocence


and only dead poets and thunderbeings

                crack the tinittus

                  that burns new neural grooves

      when you ordered the poetic equivalent

                      of Epistrophy


an ignored neon sunset

                  closer to your grave.


              One, a lover with little ones

               behind curtains: don’t peak!


               Two, Czernina who’d spit

                 rather than swallow, or take

                       a chaser,     who

                  didn’t even look at the fetus.


               Three, lonely, in Charm City

                    there’s a branding for you

                       teaching the secret

                          language of lust


       and you’re unsure what’s skin

                          and what’s rust, but know

             life of the breathing dead

                       gets old after a decade

                                   or two.


           The rust flakes off

                  into irises and monkey

                              puzzle trees, while flecks

         of old skin

                          find their twin, become

            parts of constellations that light

                               the new way home.



             The guilty river god of the blood

                         looks up from the white waves

                 of the Stuck to spy

                                an accident carved out of the starfield you called Aquila


     a thunderbeing’s lightning bolt

                  carrier whose feather festoons

                       the last lust hat you’d burn

            on an island named for an ancient chief.


And time may stop

            but the stars do not, nor the churning

                    finite inside lightning

                      that begins as black plasma and imagination

      which you in your youth thought infinite.


       The lunge

                      the grunt

                                     the bolts shot out

               in a primordial white fire/magnesium flash

                    delirious juice you only now don’t take

                                for granted


             like the way your palm stroke

                         made her eyes shudder

                             or her nails on your summer back

                              or her bent before you

                               or you her, delirious.


     In the night   in the shadow

                 below the white of the July starfield

                        you wonder if this is the product

                        of your own slaughter.


           How many breaths left?

           How many thunderbolts

                   in your quiver

                          in your early A.M. tremble?


     The rose petals rightly hers

             now deferred to a bust

                    of Kuan Yin


            and urges inside are the wars

                  of the bloodline

                       the hungry ghosts

                                 or wolves

                  you haven’t yet learned to starve

                           or feed.


One angel kneeling angel cocksucker wiping it off the chin angel fixing a south side flat tire angel punching out a bully angel offering a hand for ash angel w/a greasy back door angel who takes it all angel wants to learn to swallow angel who says no and means it angel feigns an abortion angel w/ an endless backscratch angel in the morning in the afternoon bedroom angel who calls it a nap angel who takes time undressing angel of undetermined gender angel craves it in five star hotel rooms angel who makes it go faster angel who needs a nip to elicit the wet reaction angel who makes sure all the food is different colors who warms the sake who delivers who’s wide open after 5 years who resumes the ancient play of tides and smells like the sea and craves your scent angel who makes a puddle under you angel who chokes on it angel makes your feet spin angel who makes you throw your hat in the fire to combat lust angel with a Cuban cigar and a wisecrack at any given moment angel who rescues your migrained head with Canadian cranial sacral hands angel on the telephone angel of email angel who heals your body from above tough love angel who slaps you angel who wakes you from your deep psychic slumber angel in pussy fur angel who dives endlessly from the Stuck bluff angel vegetarian angel who started it all and has earned her wings and keeps on giving and giving and giving in the ancient primordial silence who rescues you with a spirit song of your own making whose ingredients are blood and trust and some kind of unnamable juju Lorca calls Duende and Yuan Mei calls Xingling and Rilke calls angels and each tries to put wings and human attributes on a force that lies just beyond the grasp of poems where glaciers’ dreams of muscles become mountains, verdant stomping grounds for limitless unseen angels.



For an hour

   still learning to navigate Slaughter

           and hear the antepasados’ low murmur


    the giant cedar tree’s solace -

                a muscle man flext,

                           trapped in bark.


            Or  discovery of madrones

                         how they like to be scratched

                                how they, like you, gnarl out

                    their own twisted path to the last star.


            Over the centuries the heart

                       in your line

                            made the wrong kind of muscle.


  Let diphtheria slaughter the angels

                   you might’ve called uncles.

                         Let the bloodline scatter

            under   excuse of war.


                 Let your own personal winter

             stretch on, ignore woodfrogs   daffodils

                  lilacs   scotch broom is this not

                               the unknown substrate of Slaughter?


Why does drama still

             push out joy for you?

                    What’s the charm in complexity?


          Remember the masquerade? SAM

                   those ancient Igbo masks, why not

                                 try one on, find  resonance

                      in different roles  don’t forget


libations, maybe  bombay gin for  angels

                  who underpin  this activity.

                             Maybe you’ll begin to see

        in the blackness in which all this got started.


                                  Maybe the cat will make

                     you remember how to play

                                    the need for a little hit

         now and then.


                     And you dear woman?       Sorry

                       I could not trust my skin. Sorry I trusted

       the low murmur of the ancestral urge

                     more than the lunge into your moist


                                           Maybe I was afraid          

                                                       I would disappear


            many years after I created an I

                         that would not be lost to Slaughter,

                                       an I that could survive

for a time.


            And still you see  signs

                           backyard kale that bolts

                                   like you do.

                                                    Hungry voodoo


                 springs up and manifests helicopters

                                  in wilderness, wine bottle

                                             weapon memories


                          and weiss bier-fueled drives

                                       and you survive w/o a scratch

                                            every time. Did you think


              it was YOU all this time?

                                Was it a would-be sister

                                               one day  stopped

                                                   kicking, or would-be angels


         who know when to give up

                           become ghosts

                                 push the car away

                                                   from speeding trees?


             Each day   stars

                      are new measured

                     according to their relative positions

                         the hungry dead doctor sings again,

                                                     again. Look up


                       you see how your new skin fits

                             like Marion said her neighbor oak did

                                     growing from one nut

                                           didn’t slip out your greasy mitt


          while  stars continue   beam

                           their ancient rays

                                        upon the ways of Slaughter.








For Amalio Madueño


¿Quién son esos chulos del cielo?

The cross over.

                   The take-off.

                         A game above the rim.

           ETA showtime

                               or the open J for three.


Now when we lose a step

           develop guile, admire

          creativity of the juke

                                 & deuce

                           off the glass.


     The gray beard of Bill Russell

                      and a memory of Red’s cigar

           or Wilt’s women,

                     all with widowed skin.


 Out of our quarrels with others we make

             rhetoric Yeats said, but out

                      of those conflicts with ourselves

                               Slaughter will never know.


           One day she just stopped kicking

                      and a fetus dies

                             w/ angel wings or whatever


they’re giving ‘em these days.

              We wildcraft, bushwhack

                     through realms indigenous

                        someone back in the bloodline knows


          & shows us in that green doctor

                               the Scotsman knew about.

               In those 14 foot high sunflowers

                   couldn’t save your marriage.


 Acrobats indeed

            with speed off the dribble

                            and a timely pick

                                              & pop.            


Beauty’s the first gasp

              we dash from, then the defender’s

                             nature & you paint

                     your hair expectation yellow

                            w/ a side of botox.


             Try to hold off

                       the arson orange West Hill

                                sunset, no use. June clouds

                    can only hold up so long.


        Los chulos del cielo move through them

                        burn bright for a time

                            hunger for another rainbow

                J in limelight


                                   pick a fight w/ nature

                                 always lose

                               but look good doin’ it.



We think we know them

                 but what we know’s


                                  and what’s an apparition

                    scares us shitless.


Estimados antepasados

          sacar (please) el hambre

                   del muchacho en mí, leave


           the old man’s hunger, leave

                        all the earned gray, favor

                             the look inside, por favor.


             Stave off the divine

                        fist against righteous

                                 fist after  rock rips

                                        twine, it’s only June


        in Slaughter and the blueberries

                            not nearly ripe.


              The cedars above

                         the base of the cliff

                 in the shadow of Tahoma

       are that much more impressive

                       when the fog lifts

                                               in June but June


     is still mountain winter

                    and winter forever for unlucky



          Some will never airport rendezvous

                           w/ seven yr old daughters

                       eyes fixed on ancient cedars,

                                                while  f a l l i n g.


                 One muscular cedar

                           a model for you

                                  in your flight from Slaughter


         flexed, three points curled toward



      In our own weak way

                 we hang on

                         so concerned with survival


           we don’t recognize each struggle

                      conquered, each shadow bit

                                 part played


                    IS the blossoming  

                                 until we wonder why

             those petals are falling

                            wonder how the wrinkles

                     the gray and how large are

             those things yesterday were just

                                tiny cedar cones



or little girls waiting for reunion with Daddy.


           Fate’s bent away from heroes

                 sometimes as much as an   out

                           stretched   hand


   in summer that suddenly becomes winter

                  in the shadow of Tahoma.


¡Mi dios me ahorra!

¡No estoy listo para morir!

¡Dejarme por favor

              ver a mi hija

                      una más vez!


              We all smile at the flash

                     all who began in ecstasy

                     all who recognize a real hero

                            until winter makes it moot.


        Burn a snip of cedar

                   petition antepasados

                          but who turns

                                    back time?


             How soon after

                        one large fall

                              does a heart stop beating?


     Blossom at her feet

               or in her memory.


              Blossom at the bottom

                           of the cliff

                                 or at the top of the Olympic

                  edge, still holding


           foot hold, hand hold, or the view

                           of evening constellations. Sure, Saturn

                 in the sky this week


                                 but at one time you held on

                     to that night swan


and no one hears the little detonations

                  like no one heard the fog-muffled

                                  cry from the edge of the cliff

                     where Jeff Graves hiked the Eagle Peak Trail

              in the shadow of Tahoma

      not trying to become the newest blur

                             in the oldest constellation

                                    that could have been you.


                        Only thing wrong with love poems

                         is that the poem outlasts the love.


           And the love poems never return.

           And never’s not a long time.


                         And the invisible

                                calls up to uproot

                                       the springtime of the bloodline.


              Oh, so erotic and shapely


                       as the parade of Succubi

                                     with whom you still wrestle.


                 And your hungry inner ghosts dance

                          with my hungry inner ghosts.

                               This is as close as they come


                       striking the appropriate voodoo

                                      bloodline mambo

                             and your Indian softball

                                               body reminds you

                                          it’s not fast

                                           as your mind

                                                 no more.


        Yet there are highways

                       for which the yellow stripes

                                  are nebulae


                 made from the wandering lost syllables

                            of all those dead poets

                                 whose resonance slip into your dreams

                      when she’s not making plans to suck

                                     the essence from you, one

                                          OH GOD! at a time.


                You look over your shoulder

                             let dream snow cover your footprints


                        maybe Rexroth has some clues, maybe

                               your veins can still throb

                                        and burst with the blossoming


               just as you firedance the solstice

                             respond to the raised ante of our age

                                        where everyone’s cruel drug

                                                         is velocity.

                      And Rosa’s red roses

                                     shedding their blood tint.

                                                    Erun mole.


               Turn chicken sausage


                                     y jugo de mango


                  into 7 cupped hands of blood

                         45 important muscles

                         500 fistfuls of flesh

                         23 different sizes and shapes of bones

                         28 vertebrae

                         24 ribs

                         32 teeth

                         900 ligaments and tendons

                         8 lymph nodes

                         shit, piss and sweat

                         wind, water, earth, fire, metal

                         three channels

                         six basic shapes of consciousness

                         30 daily emails

                         typed out in the dry heat

                         of Mercury-in-Retrograde

                         seven unkind words

                         blurted hastily in a weak moment

                         and one moment

                         where you can stop to watch the clouds

                                  darken, and Saturn emerge


             the distant thunderheads are for a moment confused

                          with the outline of the Olympic Mountains

                                   whose their gentle prodding


                              allows the heart-king reign

                                         over all space

                                         & time   is not the wily presence

                                             who steals our mobility, no.


                    It redefines the heart’s architecture

                              translates for the seeker

                                      una lengua nueva.


                       This mracle of angels

                               antepasados latentes

                                   who carry off


                          after wheelbarrow of skulls

                                 from between the legs of the succubus.


                But you and I dear reader

                               we’ve danced this two-step

                                           eons ago, we


                      learned this salty mambo

                                 a few poleshifts back.

                         How’s that for ‘glistening with creation’?

                                the canuck said

                                     while chanting his song

                                   to reach that highway between stars.


              For they are not as far as we’ve been told.

                     They light the sanctum

                                     of cathedrals we’ve

                                                     only dreamed of.


                          They give the Queen all the fire

                                 she’ll ever need.

                                 She who keeps hearing

                                       all those love poems

                                            you keep writing

                                                    to other lovers

                                        while she waits, patient

                                             watching the waters

                                                  plotting your star

                                                        guided return



                           For George Bowering


                The rez dog looks

                        w/ hungry eyes the night

                                  of the first salmon feast


            he will eat good tonight

                        but for him the world’s

                               a feast of big flavored scents.


              Beauty is the first gasp we try to dash from

                      but for Slaughter    sight’s

                                  become blindness.


          He won’t stop for any forehead kiss

                      lost in the closed of his m.o.

                                  If he did he’d


             be lost in that

                            continuous stream of faces

                                fish face, first springer face


                face of many lovers lost in O face

face of man with bleeding head face

          fist through the angry window face

                     of 6th grade and sliding home safe face

       face of the angry man swinging the red wine bottle

       face of the governor plotting land swindle

       face of Quan Yin forgiving all face of

                    Ganesh lifting another elephantine

                    obstacle face


        otter face eagle face redtailed hawk face

        face of first stellar jay face of mountain

        cougar face, snake face, face of lover

        on the run, daughter’s sleep face or first check face

        or straddling Noguchi’s Black Sun face

        before the setting NW arson orange sun



No longer afraid of death

         for the little deaths become easier after

              we dissolve into our hungers

                       like the rez dog on feast night, like


              the seagull pecks out the first salmon’s

                           black eyes on the stuckside beach

                                 reach eternity without naming it


            settling for the word be.

               Study the cat’s eyes

                          when the magic shoestring

                   springs to life again


              and the hunter’s nerves remain



           You, dear one, in her and her and her

                           never stopping to be,

                               goal-oriented as the rez dog


              with  meat  on  his  mind.


                                                        How you’ve perfected

                          the spectator’s glance

                                      when every now and then

                the velocity cools to manageable


                            no longer a blur

                  somehow you see how starlings cohere

                             start over the bay

                                  swerve chaotic in their order

                                         toward skyscrapers


                        festoon the Olympic

                                    sculpture park



               as the last neon orange arson sunset

                            reflects off Teresita’s dream

                                      become real

                                          and you realize


                     the old you, cracked

                                can’t be patched up.


              And children indigenous carry in

                           the first salmon

                                    under the hunter’s

                                         dream song


                    under an old cloud memory

                                   which mimics your heartbeat.


             Sight’s become blindness

                        but some long looks



                          and until starlings are banished

                                     from Slaughter you track

                                           in your own rez dog hunger

                                           their wild flight home.




Stars are what we are and will return to

after this lucid dream we burn through.


Not yet counting breaths

           no longer young

        linger now

    like the May lilac

 now coming in April


              tracking every murmur

   only now that lightness

               has been discovered.


        One shot

                and then no more.


       No fouling another off, no

     overtime periods, no

   more bleaching away

your footsteps tracking all over


                the wily paths of Slaughter.

        Then loved ones start dropping

          and you didn’t call, lost

                   in your own story of meat.


    Lost chasing a bloodline murmur

           you confused with intuition.

                Who cares now what the score is


        when you start counting breaths

     all but the few steps seem like diversion

    and the sky no longer pities our fathers.


Take THAT past the next pole shift

          and see if your new language

               of sneezes punctuated by Stuck

                      River gurgles makes any more sense.


Or the religion made of dreams

          of Grandfathers thirsting for their lost

     star muscles

                  replaced by skyscrapers

            and tanker cars filled with flammables

         rusty cars in the front yard

                    feeding brambles, making

                          new fruit. Glass shards

                  in the median reflecting light

                              from July’s Mead Moon.

          Candy wrappers in the flower beds

                       and gravel lots filled

                           with the remnants of explosives.


             They’ll never know you walked

                      the greasy sidewalks of Slaughter.

                           Never know the small neighbor

                                       favors, won’t remember

                             your stand on abortion, but festoon


                with flowers

                       the tombstones of the scholars

                                          of war. Your old garden

                            will be a strip mall and your essence?


          Maybe a poet will discover

                      some lost alliteration and write a new book

                                     on juju. Maybe a son of Abraham


                 will plan some wily duende maneuver

                                 and have an east breeze blow in

                                           a line right when he needs it


          burning with post-romantic bloodfire

                        and one of the last of Thor’s thunderbolts.


             She said we are the people

                               of the parenthesis

                                     and the death of the old gods

                                          plods on


                          we lose patience for the birth

                                         of the new.


                     Moth-eaten English Heather

                                 we only recognize when it eats

                                          our overthrown softball

                                                  or scratches our trunk

                         backing up in haste.


                                                      And what can you show

                   the angels they ain’t seen before? The dead

            are notoriously hard to please Spicer said, or was it Lorca?

                          What do the angels want

                                              besides Indian beads

                                  on your summer hat, besides

                        cedar wrapped into a cap Rosa wears

                                    with a tail of her late son’s hair

                                                         hanging from the back?


                      They demand ceaseless your construction

                              of a heart of fire, postcards,


                                                  They demand ceaseless

                        arson orange sunsets

                                  and the occasional offering of tobacco

                                                    and spilt blood.


                     They want to live vicarious

                                  through your heart-attack-serious

                         burn   revel in each thrust and mambo


                 get stuck in your throat in the fetal position

                               and force your tongue

                                       to twist out new sounds

                                            that chart the heart of

                          Slaughter’s every gimmick

                                       every last dance step.


                  Track it down.

                            Get it

                                    on the record.

                      Tell it slant like the new song

                                     of the old blowed up river.


                       Or red paint power

                               underneath a dying sun

                                           or a lost Mead Moon sister



                                  where each of us chooses

                                      Slaughter or plum trees

                                         and the angel smiles

                             when the first flicker

                                        from that new heart of fire rises

                                  and stays steady in that next

                                           Chinook wind.




                  After summer rain

                               angels would trample

                                          the wet grounds outside

                       the carnival of glands

                                                              and yet dead poets

              always get the last word.


                                             Perhaps time sweetens

                           with each deeply-felt elegy.

                                                           We see their picture

                                 as if they’d live forever

                                                 the day before the Times

                           writes their obit.


                                                     It is the rare July

                                angled rain can eat NW faces, shudder

                                     what’s left of the white blossoms

                                                    who refuse to complain

                       about their well-timed descent.


                                        Unlike Slaughter the trees

                                                 the Nootka Rose

                                                          Wild Ginger

                                                               Sitka Columbine

                          Dogwood, Indian Paintbrush, the Fireweed

                                                        remain neutral, hold


                                      like Tahoma does

                                               the resonance of every step

                                                        and waits patient

                                                       for us to honor our greed.


                   Inside in silence

                                     except for Friday night car tires

                                                       humming on wet road

                                          below the sound waves

                             of earth cutting through space


                      underneath the dimmest constellation

                                     and the sound of the lonely night’s last freight train horn

                                        dead  poets  pose  as  angels

                                 send metaphors for your verse

                            remind you the whole world’s alive

                                        inside that green wheel spinning


                        in your chest. Making a mandala

                               of spent matches from lit prayer candles

                                    &  pink  rose blossoms  offered to the Lady.


                                    You are only a reflection

                                                  of a reflection

                                           of the skill your parents had

                                               in the lightning flash


                    that became you and for which you yearn

                                               to return

                           endlessly checking the weather forecast

                         while the Stuck River rolls beyond the spot of diversion.


                      You get a hernia as your marriage falls apart.

                              Or your nose bleeds for recognition

                                          but the grace saving you’s

                                                 the extraordinary patience


                        of dead poets.

                                             Dead poets in the garden

                                                         scaring raccoons.

                                Dead poets animating the cat’s eyes

                                              for a moment

                                                        moving molecules

                      to drop white blossoms for your amusement.


                            Dead poets caught in your throat

                                   in the fetal position

                                            like latent antepasados

                                               turning the last bloodfire burn

                                     into your richest, deepest song.



                            Sunlight’s headed south now

                                          faster than the cat can comprehend.

                                                        Makes the tips of Stuck waves

                                               more white. Animates Coyote’s smile.

                                   Lubricates the stunts of Stellar Jays.

                                                      Keeps light shining on Slaughter

                                      not waiting for better weather.


                                             And a poet you knew

                                                           will become that light

                                                 or that latent angel

                                                        or that force moving molecules

                                    to amuse your evening walk

                                                     faster than your aging synapses

                                             can flash across their gap.


                                      He who could live beyond the last parenthesis.

                                      She who could hold fire in her hand.

                                      He who makes better weather for those who honor

                                                                        their ancestral land.

                                      She who marks the Northwest July sun’s

                                                            closing arson orange and apricot rays

                                                                                      in skin, bloodfire and melted wax.

                                      She who taps the never-ending flow

                                                          can withstand every

                                                    parlor trick Slaughter

                                                                   could ever conjure

                                           with the rare commitment to every

                                                           blossoming every species

                                                                         has ever known.


11:21P – 7.20.07