Wow, can this be possible?
Your hugs feel strong, so natural,
I can’t help looking at your lips.
You’re a young white woman whose poetic voice
borrows accent and rhythm from American Blacks.
Watching the women of Whale Gulch drum and chant
makes you feel guilty about stealing African culture.
If star-spangled candy-striped American Anglos
can worship a god stolen from the Jews
by the Romans and forced on reluctant Vikings,
why can’t these ladies worship African gods?
I guess they were getting tired of belly dancing.
We’re all from Africa, if you go back far enough.
Culture is not a possession, and cannot be stolen.
The Africans still have their gods and conga drums.
She lands on each one for a second,
moves her legs and flies to another.
It’s hard to believe she’s spending enough time
on any of them to do anything,
but the balls of orange pollen
on her hind legs keep growing bigger.
the music inside
flute echoes in a dark chamber
no beginning no end
I’m a creature of night
and the deep forest
a wild bird’s call
neither toward light nor darkness
cycle of birth and death
the happy song includes tears
heron wings over the creek
where am I going?
I don’t want to know
let it be somewhere good
This morning I did more layout
for the poetry anthology
and washed my clothes.
Pretty Marie from Honduras
rubbed her hands on my face
and said, “You’re so beautiful,”
but she doesn’t seem to want
a romance with me.
Korin said I was going through
some heavy inner changes.
Cheryl did deep tissue massage
on my shoulder yesterday,
while making me say affirmations
about not being responsible
for the whole world.
It’s okay to have fun and relax.
Why look for karmic causes
for my sore shoulder when
I’ve spent hours leaning over
large layout sheets on the floor?
This afternoon the mood is somber.
These students seem so serious.
I feel frivolous, out of place.
Dedication is good, but if
what I’m doing isn’t fun,
it feels like self-induced slavery.
Ellen moves her body in a circle
as though massaging the piano,
coaxing a subtle rhythm of notes
as she gains and loses inspiration.
In a dry woodland of small pines
between the United States Forest Service
and the Pit River Indians,
at least ten thousand dust covered hippies,
calling themselves brothers and sisters
instead of men and women,
believing themselves to be pawns fulfilling
a Pit River prophecy
about Coyote and Silver Fox,
blowing conch shells to gather everyone
together in silence on the big meadow
in the burning sun.
I’m a creature of twilight
on the edge of the forest
looking listening cautiously
stepping and stopping like a deer.
Alone together at midnight
in the room her lover built:
“What would you like to do next?”
“Do you really want to know?”
We kiss and talk and snuggle.
“It feels nice, but it could
get complicated.” “It could.”
She gets a towel, turns off the light.
We feel each other’s skin in darkness
until our eyes adjust to the light
of a hunter’s moon through tall trees.
Forty degrees in the living room,
sub-freezing in the green forest.
Two hours of burning rocket fuel,
dry rotten fir wood with lots of sap,
warms the room to a comfortable sixty.
Now to the typewriter on my desk,
where I’m writing the end of chapter
eight and three quarters, which of course
fills the gap between eight and a half and nine.
Don’t worry. I’ll renumber them later.
copyright © 2005 Carl Miller
Painting, “Wild Iris”: 1981, acrylic on canvas, 22 x 28 inches.