My poems written for a Spoken Word & Sculpture Project with artist Liz Miller, whose paintings and sculptures are pictured. Her works are also featured at the Iron Works Art Gallery in Hilo, Hawaii.
Raven Brings Life to the Earth
Insects in cedar amber, honey of the dead
mother fir and nurse log, words
in silence of the virgin mind.
Who carries this dream away
in her black beak as I
I am riding the black waves of silence
into the beauty of your annihilation,
where the kiss of creating rises to greet me.
It happens in one beat of the raven's wing,
the uncomplicated soaring we are.
It is not a lover that our body needs,
but the flame of Presence
upon the wick of its agreement.
Every promising stranger you fall for
is me, and I am your own dark lips.
Between the domed emptiness of listening
and the red eruption of your fissuring heart
there is a mouth for answering the whisper
of love's black radiance. Somewhere
in sweet astonished silence
your wing beats next to mine.
Raven In the Cosmic Egg
Madonna Raven sleeps in Mother Night:
motherhood in motherhood,
Layers of crystal emptiness
feathering embryonic dark
where colors of silence flicker
in a thingless sea.
floating on albumin night
in a Presence unsalted by birth.
Two helix-twisted lovers,
Past and Future,
fizzle in a dance of strings.
One is named Not Yet, Not Yet,
the other Until, Until;
she in a veil of logarithms,
he in a blanket of regrets
woven with beads of possibility.
Womb dancers, frantic
phantom birth pangs!
Raven mother is pregnant
with unbearable quietness.
Raven In Flames
destroyer of day,
each flame an eye
of night, the seer
in the seen.
Raven On The Beach
At the beach, Ravenhears
men moaning from clam shells.
Ravenhears lobster gods,
blushing with frustration,
click their claws.
Ravenhears the croaking
of sea turtles, creaking backs
inscribed with faces of the unborn.
Ravenhears the wail
of hungry spiders in exquisite
coyote ululation in a hemlock breeze.
for the world to come,
then gets to work
pecking things to bits,
freeing the voices.
Raven On the Beach, 2
down the shore.
Fat Yoruba Ju Ju Mama
rattle in each claw
rumbling haunches hunched high
croaks and coaxes life back
over the beached whale....
Don’t make fun of Raven's cakewalk:
Behind Every Great Speaker, A Silent Raven
Before the world, a word.
Before the word, desire.
Before desire, a wing
beating through darkness,
rhythms of silence.
A beak as black as the moon
carries the seed
of the world before this one.
If you would go high, get down.
If you seek heaven, dig.
If you want to fly, surrender
to gravity. A shadow
is never humbled. The grass
is never felled by wind.
Coyote scratches up a dry bone
which sprouts black feathers
and dances upward,
pulling your blood to the stars.
Raven Teaches Men to Hunt
I've had strange dreams three nights hungry,
sick of eating roots and nuts, hallucinating
unborn children, singing curves
of death in their hands, piercing
winged glistening sticks and
white-eyed antelope fear,
dreams that died in first light.
Raven flew out of dream clouds,
dropped a terrible rock in my hand.
Like no other stone, it spoke
obsidian prophecies, engines of grief,
nuclear furnaces, cauldrons of war.
"Is this a tool or a curse?" I cried.
Raven answered, "Ghraawh!"
Raven Grows the Tree of Life
Look at me, I'm Raven.
I'll be still if you sling me a fish.
Look at my long round talons
for holding, not tearing.
Loose eyes for weeping, not seeing.
Beak of night for opening and closing
in gestures stranger than knowledge.
Claws root deep to monkey-wood seed,
pumping sap through wing-feather veins.
Think you see me but I'm
leaves against the moon!
Come close, enter the humming
bell of my throat.
Swim through the gullet of my heart
stinking of other worlds
deep inside this one.
Gut me to my ebony craw,
rosewood liver and spleen:
find carcasses of mastodon in tar.
I nestle uncarved in trunks.
You are my branches.
Now throw me that fish.
Raven Among The Trees
What really matters is immaterial.
That's why, at the end of every argument,
we say, "it doesn't matter"
and instantly return to the silent
forest. In the forest,
raindrops glisten from twigs,
every fir needle weighted
down by a terrible droplet
filled with unnamed planets.
The forest at night is a shapeless bell
which is the voice of Raven.
It cannot be struck
by the clangor of thought.
A bell, nevertheless,
ringing with possibility.
Raven glides low among the pines
along the salmon-mad creek.
One wide-eyed insomniac hears
her caw, caw, caw
and runs from a cedar bark kiva
shouting, "Throw that trickster a fish!"
Some fish-spearing warrior responds.
And to catch that fish,
Raven drops the Sun in your hand.
What will you do with it, warrior?
Raven Shows Us How to Make Petroglyphs
Women carved stones while men paddled out beyond the breakers.
Draw a smiling whale to put the whale out there to sleep.
Draw your big-bellied grandmother with a mouth like an earthquake,
you might make berries grow.
That's the language of desire, but I give you a language of astonishment,
scrawled by old men at the end of all-night dancing:
a language for living on the edge of creation and death.
They dreamed that they were salmon, I brought worms and minnows,
dangled them before their mouths, you should have seen them writhe!
Then I shouted, "Write it down!
Make maps of your blood and marrow if you want to eat!"
Famished, they drew with their own bones.
They became artists.
When it was over, they ate silently.
That silence was the point of it all.
You find your Word in their ancient stone scratches.
But I make deep-throated sounds of power
that have no meaning at all.