I pulverized your jaw with a knuckle sandwich
but you fought back blossoming your hyacinth.
Then I shattered a quart of Colt 45 on the ivory
lingam of your skull but you exfoliated flecks
of lapis lazula therefor I tied off your red ribbon
and swung you around my head a plastic garbage
bag of last night’s pork chop bones then granulated
your skeleton against a concrete wall in West
Philadelphia glyphed with graffiti runes like black
and purple mouths that scream the unutterable
silence of poverty and victimhood. How did you
answer? I heard the sands of eternity inside your
skin sifting through your ribs erupting supernovae
from your pores the black hole of your olive smile
you became an ungainly greyhound cuddled on
my lap licking my face the tongue of the city its
destiny a shuddering seiche wave of compassion
contained in your pelt of mortality I pointed my
38 caliber Glock semi-automatic right at your soul.
How did you answer? You gushed mustard greens
to tangle me in vulva sheaths of the dream forest
the man in the black tunic flickering his curved
blade beneath your larynx you stared at the lens of
the world a docile most shocking parody of our rage
his body knotted cords of tangled angry scripture
eyes not more terrible than your fierce indifference
all of us captured by the quake of silence between
your scream and its echo the eloquent diluted pupils
of death the mute resolution to surrender hope this
moment the end the beginning when all that remains
is the razor and its exquisite thin crimson line.
How did you answer at all did you answer?
Embroider your tears in a shroud for the insouciant
Bodhisattva with threads of laughter each drop
containing the enormous sun.
FLOW INTO YOU
You flow into You the way
a trickle of ice becomes a mountain
pool edged with tiny flowers sun
gazing eye that blindly only sees
peripheral golden world dots streaming
snakes of breast milk through green
shadows of devil’s club now the
foaming tea among those angel roots
of You transmuting your sting to
spice the estuary of the Self alluvial
hips and thighs that open their oceans
of darkness we have taught our babies
to deny as they grow up get raises climb
ladders of success toward higher
brackets upper class ascended master
all the stress of heaven this infernal
rising only distancing their bellies
from their beaten hearts who need
to watch You drop a bursting seed
please let them sow You rivering
down the path of no resistance fall
of grace into your deepening breath
your subterranean succulent marrow
litanied with stars the pungent voices
of salty mycellium O daughter of loam
and light O foal of blood that seeps
from rocks the cloven hooves of
stumbling glaciers melted amniotic
broken water bearing ever You
downward show them how nothing
rises, everything descends.
WHAT THE ANCESTORS WANT
The ancestors want you to know,
you are not required to carry their pain.
Your mother did not spin the web that nets you,
you wove it from your own desire.
Yesterday’s rain won’t nourish this flower;
the new sun drank last night’s tears.
Your grandmothers are singing for you
to birth your own unbearable happiness.
Your grandfathers’ bones are praying for you
to hunt the sweetness in your own marrow.
You think you must stand like a warrior
in the withering crossfire of your father’s blood.
But what wounds you is the wavering blade
of your mind, slashing the past and future.
If you insist on making reparations, plant
a wild pine; let it be a tree of Presence.
You cannot pay them for the privilege of breathing,
for awakening this solitude of beauty.
They need no libation, they thirst for no offering.
They are not hungry ghosts,
But earthworms who luxuriate in loam,
shards of sunlight lodged in magnolia blossoms.
Do not carry them; they do not carry you.
They bear their own grief and laughter.
The past is vanishing smoke, the flame is now.
Be christened with this breath; name yourself.
You sleep alone in the chamber of your ribs.
No one else enters and leaves your lungs.
A mother kissed you, a father held you;
you owe them nothing for this.
They did it for themselves; now let them
be about the business of their next childhood.
Father your heart, Mother your body.
Hold and kiss new sparkling babies.
Give them your grandmother’s name if you must,
but not as a weight, not as a brand on the hip;
But as a prayer, a promise of astonishment
for what has not yet been conceived.
My religion is simple kindness.
It is very demanding.
Just when I think I’m
I miss the opportunity,
the ordinary sacrament
of gentle giving.
Then I see what a hopeless
sinner I am
and how much I need
the grace of the Savior,
who is not hard to find
and requires no prayer,
for whatever I am doing,
the Master is the one
who sits before me
Therefor I vow to be healed
by the very next person
and to bathe in the radiance
May I make you some tea,
Fred LaMotte says
Kate, thank you so much. I do a lot of interacting with people on facebook, where I find quite a poetry community. I love to do Poetry and Meditation circles where out of deep silence comes the Word of creation – poetry. We do a group collective poem that way, after a prompt, the first line. I wish I were invited to do more. We are all writing the collective poem. Once humanity had the power of mantra, of Godspell, the power to use language to heal and bless and create. But we have lost the power through rumor and gossip and wrong use of language. Poetry is a mindful way to regain the power to intensify language into a Word of creation. But one needs silence to deepen one’s language. So my process is to go deep into silence, and let the infinite groundlessness resonate. The words emerge by themselves. Peace.
Kate Long says
These poems are deeply meaningful to me. I would love to hear you talk about your process of writing. Do you ever do workshops?
Fred LaMotte says
Adrienne, of course you may share. No need to ask. Especially this poem because it is intended to be read aloud. Peace.
Adrienne McBride says
I truly enjoy your works.
Especially “What the Ancestors Want”
May I SHARE ?
Dear mr lamotte, I ask permission to do a performance piece reading your ancestor poem this saturday 11/28/2015 at a poetry event, much gratitude., Francine
Fred LaMotte says
So sorry I missed this! Please use any other time you like. I am honored!
Sam Silva says
i really like all of these