The sun rises.

The sun sets. 

The sun rises again.

This is the way of things.

 

Remember:

 

This is the alpha

and the omega.

 

The beginning

and the end. 

I. Watershed

Where do your waters flow?

Can I ever know?

Of what waters am I?

They are yours they are mine

within you.

 

Where the water meets the shore 

you’ll find me.

Where the foot soles pound the floor

you’ll find me.

Where the knife edge cuts to the core

you’ll find me.

Where the river flows once more

you’ll find me.

 

And I would give you life over this.

And I choose everything light over this.

The world is ending.

I saw the sun rise today 

and I knew.

 

I knew the sky was about to slough off

Or boil away

Or collapse into singularity. 

 

I knew that the trees would catch fire

I saw it.

I kissed dirt and tasted ashes

not the memory of ashes

ashes to come.

 

Ashes commanded into existence by the mouth tasting them

I knew then there was no hope.

 

I knew when I walked the mountains and smelled saltwater

 

I knew

 

I have sucked the teat of this great planet

and with lips parched and throat raw I screamed

 

where is the life I am owed

 

I said the same to the sea

To the trees and the daughters of trees.

To the birds and the flowers of the field.

To the white birch and the elm.

To the lady’s slipper and the wolverine.

 

Until, at last, she answered me. 

 

I owe you nothing.

II. Confluence

I once was with power and life flowing

Now my mouth is sewn tight shut to silence my singing

My hands are bound with shackles of cold steel

Rusted black, too hard to break, too subtle to heal.

 

I once was a spirit in this soil

Shaped the hills, shaped the veins of all people

You have tapped, you’ve struck gold, sucked the juice

Spilled blood all through the valley for what use?

 

My currents forced down tracks I never chose

To the sea, for whose wealth? For whose ghost?

You’ve no right, no flaming sword to bar my way

Don’t forget: you decay, water remains.

 

I once was with power and life flowing

Did you forget that these myths aren’t just stories?

Spare me your words, your soothsayings well meant

How can I forgive while I’m paved by good intent?

 

In our search for some eternal life

Would we widow ourselves? Bury our flesh in the loosestrife?

At our end, we can choose the roar of the cataract

Or to spread ourselves thin, withering away, waning within.

 

Ask yourself as you kneel at the riverside

Is this genesis? Is this genocide?

In the mud can you taste the tears they cried?

And do you know for whose greed they died?

 

Do you know you must answer for their lives?

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Lift high the moon

A burning wick

dripping candlewax

down the sloping edge of the sky

 

In this candlewax the first cells emerged

 

Life needs a river

 

and what flows faster than time?

what flies faster than moonlight?

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III. Impoundment

 

There is a field fair

Free from cold despair

I will meet you there

At the waterside

 

Take my dusty hand

Lead me into the land

Where my legs can stand

Our mother will abide.

 

Beneath the sheet of stars

Night sky rains down in shards

How could my greed have marred

Luminescent flight?

 

Forgive my fever dreams

We’ve only rotting beams

We both know times are lean

The wool is off my eyes.

 

Is this some cruel joke?

Rivers of light and smoke?

I’ll forget how I awoke

At the waterside

 

Feed me your hungry fear

Concrete’s no place for you dear

My faith won’t last the year

If your heartbeat dies.

 

All seasons must fly. 

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What simple lines make the running waters

Over earth and under stone

Bridges cast across the narrowest ribbon point of the river.

 

Ribbons of white and blue

Ribbons of taupe and mauve

Ribbons of electric green

Ribbons of indigo brilliance.

 

What kind of magic would make the wind roar?

What kind of magic would make the limbs shake?

 

Over earth and under stone

I can never face the lone hunter

Cornered and fragile and frigid and afraid. 

 

I am worried

I am worried that the valiant dream is ended

I am worried that the sudden, gasping, cathartic reach

for life

and beauty

is ended

and

 

Over earth and under stone

why should we not turn away down her boulevard shores?

 

Having wondered what monsters we would encounter 

with that compass in hand,

Over earth and under stone

we exchanged maps

we trashed our compasses

took off our clothes

and plunged

Over earth and under stone

into the wild flood. 

 

And I said to her—

 

Let’s have a funeral.

IV. Delta

 

Shrimp boats passing through the sunrise

Deep nets dragging, pulling up all life

I’m a runner, a thief in the night

You’re a hunter picking a fight

 

And you know, I never wanted to fight.

And you know, I never wanted to die.

 

I hid beneath the cypress, but you had them leveled.

I curled among the rushes, but you brought your shovels.

How dare you follow, how dare you plumb my depths

How dare you erase me from my own house.

 

And you know, I never wanted to fight.

And you know, I never wanted to die.

 

The hills you’ve razed, the mountains you’ve planed.

But with my persistence I gently do the same

Snuff out the candles I’m calling your bluff

This phosphorescent glow is enough

 

This should have been freedom, a cleansing of sins

But the water is poison, it eats at my skin.

 

When you build your great bridge across my back

what would you say to me?

Would you lie to my face? Lie to my face,

that’s what’s good for me.

Count your transgressions twenty-seven miles long

and still counting.

Watch as you hem me in, prod me, taunt me,

the crisis is mounting.

 

When you drive your great piles of stone into my flesh

What deep black ugliness will you dredge up?

 

And you know, I never wanted to fight.

And you know, I never wanted to die.

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V. Estuary

 

I have seen your back broken by steel

I have seen your flowing waters staunched

to never reach your heart.

 

But floating on your back, I see your spine

reaching through the eddies, their curled lines

Curving ‘round the peaks

and I touch your bones on the shore.

 

Seeing how the cracks in white lime fit seamless with my joints

Dipping in my mouth I breathe in your blood, and I know

 

You course through me

As I course through you

 

How I need the pools and rapids

the floods and the droughts.

How could we be such fools, so vapid,

so careless, so cruel,

The captors, the rapists, the murderers of mother and child

 

Now great black serpents crawl on your back

(what have we forgotten now?)

River of soot, river of ash

(and will we be forgiven?)

 

There is no end to the rivers’ reach

And failing to notice, I’ve burned every inch 

Of her skin and mine

 

 

If I only knew the words you cried out

If I only knew.

If I only knew your voice

 

I would cry my tears into you

And let you sweep my soul away

Can the current find a way through?

It must, these waters cannot stay. 

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