Once I saw a wolf tread a circle in his cage
amid the stench of monkeys, the noise of musty
jungle birds. We threw him bits of doughy
bread but he didn’t see us, padding on through
some imagined forest, his nose on blood.
We began to move on in boredom when he jumped
against the bars, snarled, then howled
in rage that long shrill howl that must remind
us of another life. Children screamed and ran,
their parents passing them in terror — the summer
day became hard and brittle. I stooped there
and watched his anger until the keeper
came with a Flash Gordon gun and shot him full
of dope. He grew smaller and sputtered into sleep.
…my friend, the marrow of the gods, the black thin walls that scratch out story after story, a billion bright stars shot through with deaths eye, from birth to age, the burial of wisdom is broken by trees that never died, as I hunted and fished for clocks wound backwards, on rainy nights, the wolf stalked my country side, while I asked god whose blood colored the sea, at elevens : eleven they looked down on me, I sunk in the river, in a mattress without comfort, happiness unfound in the dead feathers cushioning my skull, as their ancestors spoke in song upon the trees that would not die, I understand I am a fool, 37 years it is my birthday.
Inspired by and words re-arranged with my own from: After Ikkyu and other poems, by Jim Harrison
Today in the gardens of dawn, i spoke to a crow, an immense bear wore his crown and a bed of strawberries presented the colors of red, the unknown animals nursing the mouths of a much slower time, between the planets the lady of the elevator is resting upon a golden saddle, tugging like great continents—time and gravity, amongst the bones and the ghosts, the ashes retuned to the tree, the river rained with serious weight upon the mountains shoulder, i believe we are heading in a direction kind ‘sir’, Argentina hung its self in clocks, the great-bear hemorrhaged, the plastic virgin gave birth to a blind eye, what is so complicated, the thin line between the wood and the planed field, at noon they will decide, the strip mall will sell t-shirts with pictures of trees to benefit the amazon, butchering the smaller gods within, embarrassed by the stars, they fished for maze in boxes expecting a special prize, to give comfort for the ugliness we’ve become, I hope its a fucking mirror, revealing not the vanity of our youth, but the struggle that is the world around us trying to survive, us…
Inspired by and words re-arranged with my own, from After Ikkyu and other poems, by Jim Harrison