One Poem. One Planet. April 30, 2017

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30.

Everything hopeful is happening
right now in the sky above the mountains still merled with snow and rock
the clouds erecting white Potemkin spires into the blue expanse
brief fabulation gone in a moment, blown down by incoming wind
that rides the tide’s gray back,

Such beauty is not meant to last
and yet it has a purpose to make us lift our eyes to the moment
we imagine ourselves
as residents who soar through blue kingdoms at such high altitudes
we are barely seen,
so high, we must throw our voices down to earth so people know we pass.

Let go and fly as the sandhill cranes
for now we are those sandhill cranes (see them?) migrating past
the billowing towers of white
to far away paradise of delta and shore across the wide open blue,
and down below
the fledgling lovers who suddenly hear look up,
again and again, you call my name, I yours

–Arlitia Jones, April 30, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 29, 2017

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29.

Nature Poem

Snowshoe Hare who lives
in the tangle of downed trees
next to the culvert where Porcupine
used to hole up in late winter
is gray

Snowshoe Hare who darts
across the mound under white birch bowed
to each other over bare ground where
White Dog sprawled in the dirt
is quiet as a ghost

Snowshoe Hare who streaks
up the driveway toward tall grass
behind the house where Bear
huffed his breath into the spongy ground
is running for her life

–Arlitia Jones, April 29, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 28, 2017

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28.

History Sonnet

Perhaps it started when Siegfried killed the lindworm—
the Horrible Serpent dead—so the town of Worms
could cobble to life with congratulatory stone
Cathedrals and Churches and Monasteries, Cloisters
then smithys, jails and burghers’ mansions in view
of high-held domes and steeples—the Pope’s monster-less realm.

The Modern World born of Empire and Martin Luther’s
insurrection—95 Theses nailed to the revered door—
now Lutherans must kill Catholics.
The Serpent claims an eye for Siegfried’s eye
and tooth for tooth for fang—the heretic—
—the hammer—the nail—the new reality
where the worm is now Authority.

–Arlitia Jones, April 28, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 27, 2017

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27.

Bald eagles have on average 7000 feathers
compare that to the giant pacific octopus—
with her eight tentacles she wields 2,240 suction cups

We are the counters of everything

we 7.3 billion inhabitants on Earth give or take
a century of democide: mass murder of the people
by their government, that’s 268 million of us in the last 100 years

We quantify to comprehend to find our way
in the forest in our mind, the tangle
of 1 billion times 1 million dendrite branches
where memories flit tree to tree

The bigger the number the better we feel

Inside the red canyons of the human heart 724 trillion blood cells
fly by carrying their bead of oxygen
making our bodies a riot of constant miracles

Compare that to the unexaggerated ratio of

For every 17 children in the world, there is one land mine, or
every 20 minutes someone takes one step and the ground clicks

The problem is we are always talking about numbers.

–Arlitia Jones, April 27, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 26, 2017

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26.

Notebook Fragment

The king boletus is perfect
for days like this when you could really use
a forest mushroom to retaliate on cruelty—
a round proud audacious head
pushing out of the loamy ground
is a ruddy forehead to stomp, a bloated face
to kick.

–Arlitia Jones, April 26, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 25, 2017

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25.

By now the children know my name
those that still talk even pronounce it correctly
and this pleases me

they shout it in the streets
where men lift them high
to bolster courage
or test for enemy snipers

Others, the children driven from their beds
still carrying the moon’s silence in their mouths,
their breath soft as ferns,

never speak again
hoping this will keep me from coming

It won’t

I am the red havoc who brings
fire to reflect in their eyes,
smoke to darken their skin

Where there was a door
through which they once returned home
I provide concrete cratered
with a hole the correct size
for their small bodies to fit
and this too, pleases me

–Arlitia Jones, April 25, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 24, 2017

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24.

Sound — six-footed ant
scuffing the forest’s green drum —
at last, rain arrives

–Arlitia Jones, April 24, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 23, 2017

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23.

Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.
—Walt Whitman

Inside the coyote’s mouth
is a savage place for a barred owl

Twisting in the wind’s violent tarantella,
the trunk of the blue spruce eventually shatters

Flower shaped and malignant, the tumor blooming in the lungs
will eventually drown a man.

I am trying to understand, Walt.
I am.

But how I am to see the hand of a soldier
killed in battle, fingers darkened

and curling too tightly into the palm,
as anything other than a dead star?

–Arlitia Jones, April 23, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 22, 2017

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22.

I’ve been thinking about extinction
how dull the world will be without
extravagant horns and spotted furs
how quiet the ocean will be
without the blue whale breaking its surface
how unadorned my poems will be
when every wing is folded, every song cut short
how quickly dinner will pass
when the chair across from me is empty
when my own chair is empty
and all that remains is the clutter
of knives and forks, empty plates
layered with dust and moonlight.

–Arlitia Jones, April 22, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 21, 2017

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21.

Three kinds of flicker
today: the first in front of my car

as I left my driveway,
flare of a wing and flame colored flight

disappearing into the alder.
The second a shimmering late sun

tunneling into the volcano’s flank
way off on the distant horizon,

a fiery mouse hollowing its nest, trailing
orange tail in a lavender sky

And finally tonight this bright feather
of memory suspended in the bell jar

where I keep every beautiful piece of you
I haven’t already lost or dulled with unabashed devotion

–Arlitia Jones, April 21, 2017

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