Sheaves ~f G l @ a s s.
Three wheat stalks from The Glass Wheatfield by Jacqueline Berting:
the field contains 14,000 waist-high, transparent, individually-crafted glass stalks of wheat.
The boy in the boat, Scéaf (Njord): wheat, spear, and shield, original artist unknown;
engraved by L. B. Hansen. Reproduced from Den Poetiska Eddan
(Poetic Edda) by Nils Frederick Sander (1893).
Neither glass nor wheat are native to North America.
Glass trade beads were first introduced to Arizona and New Mexico by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado y Luján in 1540. The first North American glass factory was established in Jamestown, Virginia during 1608.
In 1493, Christopher Columbus brought wheat to the New World. Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro carried wheat from Spain to Mexico by boat in 1519. Beginning in 1540, missionaries and conquistadors first took wheat from Mexico to what is now Arizona and California. However, wheat was first grown productively, on an island just off the Massachusetts coast, in 1602.
Kristallnacht. Glass shard on black cloth.
From our gaps protrudes something
that looks like leaves——but is not——
into two parts…
we could not live
we could not enter…
…on the Ho Chi Minh trail
a Memphis gunner
raises hand to heart pocket—
his fingers push into
Marlboros | marrow | blood
glass syringe snaps
in the medic’s shudder:hand
He was binding sheaves, the gunner’s widow wails
In the field…tying together…
But his sheaves stood up, separate…
The others bowed to them…
and then >
a shattering > = America
Ota Benga, of the Mbuti people, was captured by slavers,
taken from his land near the Kasai River (formerly the Belgian Congo),
and put on display at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
displays Apache and Mbuti
at the 1904 Saint Louis World’s Fair
dubbed The University of Man
while our mother pregnant knits
hot bricks to warm the bed
scent of venison stew / woodstove smoke
weight the air
months she clicks for her unborn
needles 2mm handspun pale jade wine and ivory
her afghans, as time
then her broken water
in the wagon
firstborn, a son
she bleeds out
husband cradles her——weeps absent—her pulse drum
she bleeds out dark matter
she bleeds out a world…worlds
of string and
she bleeds out
one small kick : a cry
I Didn’t Birth
to Be a Soldier
into this Holi parade ~ Brooklyn curry breeze
tossing colored powder
at hennaed children
who toss back
pull coiled cords < the dancers’ masks open, revealing
no, endless inner beings
Let us wander then ~
to our Mojave…drifts ) ) to desiccate…
our inhalations on the playas:
thymus & thyme
datura binds scapula our seepwillow vas
deferens hip dewthrust
your labia now fringed with dozens
of reef-blue eyes
like a Florida bay
A few more piercings | a few routs | a reaching
‘round of limbs |
of menstrual broth
Flesh tears on the yucca, creosote
Come, bandage me with your hair
and sweetmilk ejaculate
—thus repaired, I know it is
f * impossible
without sacrifice f *
to the dove of America’s day in this world
An adult humpback whale, approximately 79,000 pounds, breaching.
Sequoia queens sprouting ~~
~~ endlessly ~~ from their boles ~~
~~ a pipevine swallowtail tasting ~~
~~ through its feet ~~
~~ today ~~ like Costa’s hummingbird ~~
~~ we eat twice our weight ~~
~~ in penstemon nectar ~~
~~ strip and cloak ~~ with Savannah graybeards ~~
~~ of Spanish moss ~~ the brittle frillery ~~
~~ and clasp ~~ a female leatherback turtle ~~
~~ diving 4,000 feet ~~ on one breath ~~
~~ then deeper still ~~ agate darkness ~~
~~ at last north ~~ through blue whale ~~
~~ blood vessels ~~ large enough for any person ~~
~~ to trespass ~~
The bare of them—of their nature—
And our nakedness———————a herald, a gift!
Our groom of ah’s straining
in the western holster,
our second life of southern dreams
walking the sky
to Pollock of the east, so strummed
that he doesn’t bother to mix—
or even use a brush
Yep, at the deepest level of Bang : Crunch,
we are one United
hum > Oklahoma
Choctaw okla humma———”land of the red people“
Pawnee father and son, Oklahoma, ca. 1912.
Enters our Pawnee chief, 1892 earrings clapping
scalplock and porcupine roach
buckskin war shirt
bottleglass bead bolo
starving settlers gather
to build him a fire
Fools, he mutters = Build great big fire
And have to get a
Long ways from it.
fx We build a little fire
And sit around it. fx
I rise in straw hat / rope suspenders a pioneer child
to greet him:
Chaticks-si-Chaticks The “Men of Men”
I this girl or boy
breast pocket bulging with jerked buffalo
stiff as bone for chewing
together we hand sickle
all day barefoot
pants rolled high
whistling through the wheat fields
one tin cup < we share
the water crock
and cracked old cornpone
from my tin lunch pail
he helps me to bind the field~leavings—
—and we make glass
Deaths of sand
A Birth of glass
Oklahoma Wheat by Dorothea Lange, 1938.
So you loafe with me now… among our sheaves…
a shattering…a chiming
How we rest now in December
atop our postbellum globeshards
your tongue plunges ~ to my gristled heart
and reaches ~ till you stop my little wounds
and reaches ~ till you shod my feet
and reaches ~ beyond shiver
observe! my shavings of flesh
and soul healed!
breastfed fields of colostrum bloom
each grain safely softstarch
beneath glassy beeswing
White Tara tau
eyes opening in the forehead
no male % no female
no American % no Other
fx thus we exalt inter national
sprung~joined from quartz tears
on the faces of our Gods
of the Worlds fx
A child says, What is America’s glass?
Fetching it to me with nicked hands,
knowing things speak
if looked through
not shattered >
How could I answer the child?
Bayou Segnette, Louisiana: giant virgin cypress trees killed by petroleum sludge runoff, 1972.
I do not know what it is
any more than anyone.
Those who know, do not say;
Those who say, do not know.
When a Black Goddess rises from the bayou—
her marshgrass cornrows
threaded with infant redfish,
gummed with dispersants, tar—
we ask her what it means.
Sighs she, Which of you knoweth the perfume of a magnolia?
We claim that we know.
She strokes pocked furrows
Of swamp tupelo bark. Then orders, hissing imperious,
Put it into words.
We are silent—————.
And tremble as our canoes
tip, upset by Letiche the Monster, our Tainted Keitre
shouting Who dat say dey gonna beat da Parish?
While shattering glasswater
around the muttering, bobbing dead.
I guess the glass must be all the children
of America who do not sleep
on cypress moss pallets
to gain strength
from the trees——
I guess it must be Pele’s Hair volcanic windspun
each golden strand tipped
with one black tear——
Or Maine’s moon jellyfish see-through saucers
dustpink gonads like four-leaf clovers
in each buttermilk center——
Or fixed lightning fulgurite hollow tubes
of glass smooth within blackrough without
like Appalachia miners——
I guess it must be the sand of my disposition,
out of clear hard grains melted—
on this strange American ground.
I guess it must be Manhattan
Project trinitite——gloss-crackle desert crust
the sand drawn up
into the mushroom ing cloud melted
becoming celadon rust and pitch
and then rained down——
Or I guess it is the Cup of the Gods,
A cloudless goblet deliberately dropped
Bearing no name so that we may seek
Among the sharpness,
Bloodflesh and say Whose?——
Or perhaps we will taste it
on the someday
when our armies’
straight, drab uniforms at last
won’t run but cling, untied states
morphing into flexing peignoirs—
across boxy guts,
spaghetti straps gripping
bristle. (A holiness
and in love, that craves a give,
a bend.) O, how our mouths
will then laugh,
sighing, Come away with us,
newloves. The moon’s a glass
upon our tongues.
Perchance the glass is the clearbone
Erase~space of our pointillist flesh—
A rare “dome” or “brain” lava fountain eruption of Kilauea volcano, 1969.
Kilauea means “much spreading.”
The volcano, home to the goddess Pele, has been erupting constantly since 1983.
Each atom more than a million times
Smaller than a hair
And more than 99.9999% void—
Or earth/atmosphere’s finite but clarion water—
Waste product of star
f-1 Or I suppose the glass is itself a grain…
the produced babe
of the cosmos ∂ stars ∂ earth ∂ stones—— f-1
Or I guess it is a uniform rune:
And it means, Ground among gods among birthwardeath
Silica of boneligamenthairteeth
Transparent, the glass eyes
In our loinsnipplesnavels
Sinless, the bare window
And stainless breath
Innocent, the lens of this formula fed babe—————?
Forgive despite bounty I am unsatisfied…
I climb through sulfurous clouds gagging to toss coins/
fish/chickens/vegetables sometimes kukui/plumeria now and then a
goat/tires/scrap metal/Dell into Kilauea crater, inflationary fingers
thrust from lava in its depths—even tadpoles wriggle up to gasp:
How many Kentucky mountaintops
How many crude-slick terns
to die among the mangroves?
Ach, Neil, our conquest flag is metal >
so it never waves on the windless moon
Hopkin’s Rosy Nudibranch, Hopkinsia rosacea MacFarland, 1905, by Anna B. Nash.
to distract, Googolplex Goddess of the Keys
sleeps spooning with me
all night ~ all day
in our crystal conch bed domed palace
of sand dollars and junonia
trans lucent semen milk-tight
no bitbridles to our ecstasy
the joy of morning the hue~born nudibranch
between her lips
She gives ^ pomegranates ^ pawpaw
robes of vanilla
trained and gentle sea cows pas de deux
a choir of upside-down jellyfish
the ∞ cornucopia of imagined reality
Do you hear
(she asks on the leaving wind)
(her uterine discernment, by necessity,
lightless and deep)
all waters, amniotic, expressing their desire:
How can we reproduce ourselves?
Yes. The open set ~ ring within ring.
Soft Sheaves Fine Sheaves Flabby Sheaves
Tao Tau lotus unwinds
So stop now————————————————
with me and own all that rises
from within and beyond this country,
within and beyond the mind:
evermore, the wet~elastic scattering
Matter tends toward increasing complexity
Look for me then
not beneath your bootsoles
but on your/their soles ~ in your/their soles
and in the silicon étalé of all flesh
Lovers’ Lane, 2009
and in your soul always alone
always ahead | back turned
on the tree-lined lane—
With each thought we make this world…
…like the fired melt~meld…
…of sand+soda ash+lime…
Every bud a small swelling…every root softened
Every tree, if slashed, growing upward leaving
the wound…healed…the same distance
from the ground…
There are no entirely black flowers…only parts…
I have heard the naysayers, the Occams…
fx yet we shall multiverse…talk only…
of trans-world identity…wavefunction…
all that is created and not created…
the Ultimate Ensemble fx
Neither beginnings nor endings nor accidents
Ancient parallel to youth
Each failure pulls forward the spirit >
while we, mistaken,
rub ourselves anxious
to remove any trace
of global jam
Oh Wrestling Jacob,
Here comes the dawn!
I’ve still got you…
I write this to bait | The Founders
| The Creators
In Big Bend National Park, the Rio Grande separates the United States
and Mexico within Santa Elena Canyon’s 1,500 foot high walls.
who made not just the liquid flex,
but also the fissured mica
scattered in this poem—
rock without ripple——
like our penis
of factory citrine nacre
enshrined | enstoned | petrified, the rhetoric
of the States’ United fences:
I own a sky
in my pocket
I own a sky
of my loins
I own the sky
atop The MX·TX·AZ·CA Border
we screw in the saddle
and sleep in the canyon——
C’mon down in our hole we say
See what you kin see
Ain’t no one here but us
You will never leave
a plastic scapular
of the Virgin
melted and baked
into the dead
toe tips black
to end air
heart burst from cocaine
given to make her walk
Machinery covered by sand, date unknown.
fleeing a village
that had lost
At La Linea, The Boundary, Coyote stops Little Red Riding Hood and asks, “Where are you headed? What are you carrying?”
“I’m off to my abuela’s house,” says Little Red Riding Hood. “I’m bringing her pico and tortillas.”
“You must choose,” says Coyote, pointing to two paths, fenced, of sharpened glass shards:
Needles or Pins
“Which path do you prefer?” Coyote asks. “The Path of Crystal Needles or the Path of Crystal Pins?”
“I’ll take the Path of Crystal Pins,” says the girl.
“Well done!” Coyote replies. “I’ll take the Path of Crystal Needles, and we’ll see who gets there first, who
wins the agents calling
border crossers Tonks
for the sound of flashlight thuds
on human skulls.”
900 John Doe grave markers
like cement bread loaves
astride desert border—
where, Coyote, the universe
unfixed as sand—————————
United States Food Administration poster, ca. 1917-1918.
—better to drift~sift, then, no barriers but breeze
because borderwalls grow
[Iwo Jima: 1945]
lives in Suribachi foxholes,
drama of rust. To move
is a shore, each moment
of difference. Straddle
trench latrines, whore baths
helmets. Even rocks
charge. Moldy bully beef,
hardtack, and above smoke
slowly weds. When might
relax? The colonel
of dusk in his tie
of burnt soldiers,
astronomies. Now fate
unbuttons as the Night
Police fire, lakes
of summer dying.
Wounds like mud,
of carbon. If you get a flag
to the top, put it up. I will plant
caramel islands, the teen
as blood lungfills
and mountains with jelly toast
summits. His childhood
replies: To shake
is mulch smell
and bright leaves
against gusts. Then
the milk foxes
and feathers, this lull
and vibrato. Sand can’t
argue as bombs cleave
the garage! IEDs,
‘n bake. Breath
waits, ever patient
between desert clouds
and all clocks. Thermos
full of hard candy.
On the asphalt,
lanes scatter. To drift,
the major shouts,
and then become legend.
and running from
sullen flack. We swab
our raw crotches
with salicylic acid
because no patrol
reflects. These generals
are lawyers for fungus,
our dead beaten
and then set
ablaze. Even the fabric
of sea elides into wrath,
not float. Hear those
shouts as they burn
Blackened, each body
Listen to parts XI through XVI:
- 1. Untitled. (From the Glass Wheatfield by Jacqueline Berting.) Photograph by Colin Doyle.
- 2. The boy in the boat, Scéaf (Njord). Original artist unknown; engraved by L. B. Hansen. Reproduced from Den Poetiska Eddan (Poetic Edda) by Nils Frederick Sander (1893).
- 3. Kristallnacht. Photograph by Colin Doyle.
- 4. Ota Benga. Photographer unknown.
- 5. Mojave Desert, Nevada. Photograph by Ryan Hagerty. Photograph courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service.
- 6. Humpback breaching. Photographer unknown. Photograph courtesy of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- 7. Pawnee Father and Son. Photographer unknown. Photograph is a replica of an illustration from the 1912 book KANSAS: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc.
- 8. Oklahoma Wheat by Dorothea Lange, 1938. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
- 9. Bayou Segnette, Louisiana, 1972. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ARC, The National Archives.
- 10. First Pictures Atomic Blast! 1946. Army and Navy newsreel, made by Universal, about the Bikini explosion.
- 11. Kilauea volcano eruption. Photograph by Jeffrey Judd, 1969. Photograph courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.
- 12. Hopkins’ Rosy Nudibranch, Hopkinsia rosacea MacFarland, 1905. Reproduction of a painting by Anna B. Nash of the Hopkins Seaside Laboratory. Photograph courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- 13. Lovers’ Lane, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Photograph by Steve Hillebrand. Photograph courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- 14. Rio Grande River in Santa Elena Canyon. Photograph by Rudy D’Alessandro, U.S. National Park Service. Photograph courtesy of the U.S. National Park Service.
- 15. Machinery covered by sand. Photographer unknown. Photograph courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.