Gather   (For John Trudell)

 

It starts as they always say, at the beginning.  My body on the pavement, my head in the grass violets whispering to me.  I turned over in the dark and thought, at last I have finally gone mad.  Grandmothers whispering, I heard Meridel say, You must go mad to live in america, just stay out of their asylums.  Yes I thought, just don’t get caught.

There are poems in here I am still afraid to let out.  The truth like looking in the eye of God, too big really to see and God too small a word for everything.  Some have such a small god they think god blesses america,  as if some divine creator is going to truck in nationalism with this fucked up country.  Poems like God only scratching the surface, touching the edges. The opening of the whole.

It is a matter of constellations and what stars guide you.  It is stories and bearings and truth. The map to waking and living and dying, the map of our anger and love. What carries us but this?  I need to know, to walk mad among America.  Because everything must have it’s place of origin it’s simple beginning in story, often hidden from the naked eye. Cells divide, someone's face makes your heart jump, what of this place?  It’s bloody stars?  I am caught by that. 

He saved my life tonight and I wanted to thank him but he was smoking a cigarette, talking to some people and I am shy. So I just walked home and thought, thank him by not giving up.  

We are hostages in this culture if culture is the air the people breathe, if each breath is your place in things.  If culture is the way this foot touches earth again and again.  The way you walk in this world is everything.  If culture is relationships and the place for bones and memory, is it?  If culture is who we are, we are hostages in this one.  

Caught between the tribes and the abyss.

Hostages are known to become attached to their captors, a basic act of survival. To submit out of the desire to live, even as someone's prisoner.  
 
I got high tonight alone in my pink room.  What a gift it can be, something you take in that deals in perceptions. Little road maps from earth out of these head trips.  Night and her delicate leaves pressed at the windows and I let them in.  Someone should love me fiercely for this act of letting it all in, because it scares the shit out of me most of the time. 

I know this sounds really sad.  There is always more to it and it shifts with each moment to find it’s balance.  I know it can be really hard to hold on to.  The clarity, the hope that moves the muscles that keeps you walking this path.

Gather. That is the word that carries me right now.

And the Muskrats sitting on the ledge of ice as the ice recedes to revel the lake from it’s long cold sleep.  Have you seen them there?  Small delicate paws wash whiskers over and over and ruffle and arrange brown stiff fur. A small cry of joy escapes me at the sight of them.  To see myself in these ungainly creatures.  Swim little sister they say.  I just might, this summer I just might walk on water, not so much like Jesus (and I ain’t saying he did and I ain’t saying he didn't) but if I do, it will be for the grace of muskrats.

It’s so hard when this society is exploding bodies, stones, hopes, the very night.  When the lies are reported like certain weather as to deny horror that we are named by.  It is hard to know how to take a breath.  Such madness.  It is late and it starts as they always say, at the beginning.  My body on the pavement, my head in the grass. Down here among the violets all of life whispers.  

Keep breathing,  keep breathing child.