Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Crisis, Years in the Making

My name is Paul Marquis, my mother is an addict.
A “trafficked” woman from the Ukraine came to live with us.
We fell in love, got married, had babies.
My grandmother was our bedrock, unconditional love.

A “trafficked” woman from the Ukraine came to live with us.
I realize that I created some of these problems.
My grandmother was our bedrock, unconditional love.
My wife is a liar, but she cannot help it.

I realize that I created some of these problems.
I have a full-time job now with my Uncle Don’s help.
My wife is a liar, but she cannot help it.
It takes a strong backbone to be a good dad.

I have a full-time job now with my Uncle Don’s help.
We fell in love, got married, had babies.
It takes a strong backbone to be a good dad.
My name is Paul Marquis, my mother is an addict.

What happens when I read the news before meditation

I go to my cushion, I sit

with Iran Iraq, all shook up - 7.3, an inconvenient sanction,
with catastrophe to break its back.

I sit with red scarfed women, quiet as the dead -
with their broken city, broken body, broken song.

I sit with the ones who always will remember,
forgiving my amnesia, preserving us like a peat bog, tar pit.

I sit with my faucets of hot water and long showers,
my own safe place, a lifetime of golden yolk, delicious.

Under the same sky, I sit with ten thousand children
toting five-gallon buckets, minding minefields and mortars.

I sit with questions poking the soft soles of my feet.
when I walk too fast they pop open and swallow me.

I sit with dilemma, with a thready song, pretending
that my fingers can touch the grief of red scarfed women.

I sit in webs of hope, take notice of a pileated messenger,
hammering away for the little things that deliver us.

And when grace tips me on my head, I am an ocean 
dreaming puddle,  a puddle dreaming spring.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Things stripped away float home

In finely grained nonchalance,
a subtle evolution has split me open.
I rise from leathery exuvia,
latest chapters lived and sorted.

Home, misty morning webbed in
lapis lazuli and down, unveils its still life:
mater familias, black coffee, first fire - in silence
to hold my reverence for half past four.

Jupiter has entered Scorpio, melts me together.
Love wants to return, every chapter and verse
gentled within my fault lined family. Collected -
a bitter biography to galvanize me,

an old hen to hunker down, wait out the storm,
water snakes to wrap my wounds, an itching heart.
I’ve built a rugged gravity of warts and tears, it
waxes like neap tide - things neglected are still ballast.

These tiny shells of forgettable days crunch underfoot - I
have sand in my teeth, and fruit heavy in easy reach.
Here is a cloud bank of dawn along the horizon -
pink and florid. A universe to unfold me, a new skin.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Somtimes A Door Is A Bridge

Come through, there’s
a gnat has jiggered across my nose,
an aeronautic whirligig – a tiny door.
Beware the flying dervish, my friends,

gyre and gimble in the wabe.
With a Jump and a jive and a heave.
“Wilderness is not a luxury…” *

This Tao Way, a wild walk – all mimsy were the tumbles-in,
all lunatic and pickled, these sapiens in the soup.
The tires that squish, the guns that splatter!
Beware the galumphing gentry.

And what a virtual parody, flattening
rain forests into 2D screens.
  “Granma said they was dead people walking around.” **

Three times a day, an orangutan stepped
from its cage into the limelight,
costumed as a clown. Ridiculous the tuxedo
to cover his bruises – the cheers to drown his despair.

Which is stronger faith or fear?
Oh shun, the dunderhead delight chasers.
“And we stand somewhere between the mountain and the Ant.” - ***

Come through, shame has sullied her shadows,
she folds apology into paper cranes,
melts bittersweet across their wings.  
Now rests she by the witch hazel,

anonymous among the tweets and twitters,
her regret naked in the feed. This is a true story.
“Flying insect population in trouble.” ****

You heard about the bull elephant
sentenced to life in chains? Nepal.
No plea of self-defense heard, his crime
laced in ivory. Oh, pachyderm with eyes of flame.

Honest anger to milk your life.
No one mapped his calamity,
“A scar is what happens when a word is made flesh.” *****

We wrap our troubles in plastic,
and oceans stretch downstream like souse meat.
What matters less - to fail or to die?
Give me a loose scarf of squid, alive and breathing,

Give me days to shape us in story arc,
hubris, blunder, crisis, eureka, humility.
“Superman don’t need no seatbelt.” ******

There’s a Colorado warehouse - 1.3 million
seized body parts – rhino feet, polar bear rugs,
leopard heads, bucket of dried seahorses.
it’s a tip of the iceberg, bridge to nowhere!

One, two! One two! And through and through…
What matters more - to run or to stand?
“The heart … broken open …the whole universe.” *******

Here is a robe of Indian Summer.
Here, a hijab of forest song.
The refuge, simple - a scent of cedar, a raven muse.
ball point and paper. Vitality lives here -

the congress of simians, a vestige of frogs.
Every vanished species – an amputation, a ghost limb.
 “Praise the bridge that carried you over." ********

Consider how essential, the gnat and the spider,
then look into the eyes of a kit, fennec fox,
on a short rope, busy market, freshly nabbed –
nay, I stand tongue tied, my dissent tangled in fleas and fur.

“a war against nature … a war against himself.” *********
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son,

…and shun the frumious Bandersnatch!"

* Edward Abbey
** Forrest Carter
*** Oren Lyons
**** David Haskell
***** Leonard Cohen
****** Muhammad Ali
******* Joanna Macy
******** George Coleman
********* Rachel Carson

Other obvious lines borrowed from The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

Sunday, July 2, 2017

An Answer So Simple, It Makes the Question Impossible

France hands its future
to the millennials.
Statue of Liberty beams across the pond.
How to stem the tides of refugees?

Heal every home
Bury the hatchets
Sing with the bees.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

since I asked

~for Joanie
Yes, we know about you, and
none of that matters.
Keep turning over rocks, opening doors.
I have no idea how it works,
no idea if the whole world sees us as kin.
How could she not?
Cut from the same cloth, you and me.
An afternoon breeze,
grateful for easy and what feels good.
Even in black and white,
just to marvel - EXACTLY Wow!

Yes, we know about that,
transforming day to day.
Our generation – once safely chrysalis,
intruding the verges with stray blossoms.
It’s an Aquarius light that breaks into morning,
pull us up into love. Maybe impossible
to plan or know what, or how to enter.
Make it up as we go.  EXACTLY Wow!

Yes, we know about living,
how stumbling brings courage,
to feel takes more.
I have spun the same love deeply.
A dervish planet, and
my pendulum swings,
sometimes widdershins.
When waxing moons get involved,
what is so purely heartache,
rolls up her sleeves,
says less is more. EXACTLY, Wow!

Yes, we know about worry,
how it bounces back, indomitable,
ghost dance of swallowtails,
moonlight on the Mississippi!
The past, a sooty cobweb,
a bit of glisten,
sweetness on the tongue.

Yes, we know about longing,
our compass rose of sleepless nights,
the holy axis of happenstance.
We pitched the red tent ages ago,
now it billows in story.
I have and you have,
if I needed you,
beholding the same humble – same silly – same strength.

Our beautiful bellies – geodesic harbors,
from whence we follow the questions, find the shortcuts.
Hey Sky Woman, Sananda, Laksmi
LOOK, we got this, EXACTLY, Wow!  

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Come Hither, The Beech Has a Story

The old beech to the sky,
Roots to shoots, capillaries make rain.
Roland’s axe stood alone, rust along the blade,
left behind with the house and the woodpile.

The road is open, his legs only now tired.
Walking, he’s been walking so long, forgotten
where he’s going, gold braids on his shoulders, 
melancholy, clueless.  His belly, queasy.
Roots to shoots, capillaries whisper lament -
Wherein, what-for, the harbinger, a turtle dove,
Maybird sends it to comb the wilds, to be her eyes,
her herald. She sent word weeks ago.

Wherein, what-for, his diviner, the moon,
loves to vex his memory, spin webs, dark penumbras.
Each morning, his head rings in wood thrush,
anon he fingers frayed epaulets, a strand of her hair.

Shoots to roots, Maybird laces a cotton bodice.
Within the bones of her corset, rides a secret --
Roland was never hers, she never his.
One is shimmer, the other a bell.

Wherein, what-for, the vigil, a companion,
she shepherds a season, watches, waits,
as furrows of routine terrace his absence.
Crows mock her patience, she disagrees.                                         

The moon grows fickle, Roland is restored.
This is an old, old tale. refugee returns for his bride,
he tucks a piece of bread in his pocket.  
Back and forth - saplings, briers everywhere.

Shoots to roots, mycelium sip sunlight,
Roland recalls her scent, rosemary and rain, 
bouquet to whet an axe's appetite,
a road to open, Maybird, his home.

A silver coin on the floor, something is shifted,
the cinders litter a long winter gone.
Once there were cake crumbs, then greedy sparrows.
Restless days overrated, and the door.

Wherein, what-for, Maybird's heart, a copperhead,
quiet in the leaves tasting the air. 
His desire is a dragonfly, life in four parts.
They hunt together, every evening new.


Bless the beech who holds this story, 
beware the moon, its greedy sparrow.
She's the shimmer, he's the bell,
an old axe, a dappled afternoon.

All the Trees Will Die & Then So Will You

When we are broadsided,
by really the most dreadful news,
moments that frighten breath, so it
tangles itself among ribs, pleading
don’t make me go out there,
red rain, rip tide!

Intrepid heart, storm dancer
gather a deep gasp. Let it pry loose
the diaphragm, push out the coward breath - 
feckless guinea hen
diaspora of wasps. It can be sustenance of elsewhere.

And allow no anxious intruder
to hunker down,
taking premise that suffering
can homestead here – no rank chatter
to foul the bright pump-house,
banging about tongue and bellows.

This moment, married to eternity,
dances with glaciers, typhoons, diatoms, kudzu.
And death was never a stranger,
maybe alchemist, liberator, owl.
Even so we live on, and
again like the trees.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Upon Our Arrival

Bring cash and coin,
they make money easy at the casino.
Jane Fonda could be there, Gary Farmer, Heidi HeitKamp.

Spirits in the camp are good, it’s an ultra-stellar colony,
Turtle Island, deep dreams of deep ecology.
The local currency: breath and backbone.

News from the front line: big storm forecast,
so are miles and miles of cars. This narrative spirals inward,
no second coming, see how the center holds.

Morton County’s finest blocked the bridge on the Cannonball.
they want to make the river a moat around their fortress,
but today she stands with her rabble of heroes.

Maybe we have seen nothing like this before;
but defense of the seventh generation, 
number one promise for a long, long time.

First Light Pierre South Dakota Days Inn December 3, 2016

The day broke 10 degrees, iron-fisted.
Parking lot isn’t talking, its striped asphalt skinned in dingy ice,
arctic breezes pitch pins and needles at us.

The blue tarp over the payload is stiff and cranky,
I bang my knuckles tightening a line.
Supposed to warm up to 25 today.

This wind is pig-headed – wanahosni, some say here.
I throw on another sweater. Another sip of coffee.
Under my breath, I practice: Mni Wiconi, water is life

We’re driving north, White Buffalo Calf Woman way,
wondering how it is in winter camp.
Will we be stopped and fined a thousand dollars?

Water protectors already shouldered the perils,
protecting a prayer is their resistance.
Living legacy of indominable will - India to Morton County.

State Route 14 is no prayer.
It cuts through ribs of a sleeping prairie.
We follow the wound, its welts of barbed wire and fence posts.

My fingers clear a hole in the window fog.
I mimic Sky woman peering into a new world,
imagine loess hills as sleeping turtles.

The turtled hills in Tennessee, burial mounds.
I know now the ground rule of first nations:
keep the East open, let the ancestors in.

In the front seat, a casual cadence of gossip
ambles along easy rifts of reggae.
He’s so Lakota, here’s a picture of his grandfather.

Ahead another rise, three metal silos hunkered down.
Intersection, Route 14 and 63, a dark smudge in the distance
lifts its head, a stubby pony shivers off the snow.

Herefords are practiced at cracking through frozen rind,
they know the Cheyenne River keeps it belly open –
Cheyenne: French for dog – a world before horses.

On the radio, Bob Dylan says he won’t go to Stockholm.
I’ve been tangled up in his songs most of my life,
lyrical geography beside the Duck River and Sycamore.

Here songs thrum like the breath of heaven fingering miles of tumbleweed
snagged in rusty wire. The long poles of tipis resemble hands
in a mudra for meditation. They invite us in.

Rise with the sun to pray.
Pray alone. Pray often.
The Great Spirit will listen, if you only speak.