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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One Poem. One Planet. April 20, 2017

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20.

Who am I to say
what is impossible?

Brushed by dawn’s grey scarf of light
I am the crazy child

who finds the message from Vienna
waiting on her phone

A metaphor is never
just a metaphor

A yellow chrysanthemum
in a crystal vase

is a proxy sun in the kitchen–
it is also the sun

-Arlitia Jones, April 20, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 19, 2017

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19.

Notebook Fragment

Across the forest floor,
beneath shadow of spruce
and mountain ash
the daughters of the wind

go forth

… … … multiply

numerous as stars
a temporary galaxy
at our feet—

anemones to us,
we are mystery at great distance
to them

–Arlitia Jones, April 19, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 18, 2017

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18.

The bear was as surprised as we were
suddenly face to face on a trail that had ceased
being a trail at least a decade ago when miners
quit this worthless claim

I am alive!
declared the bear

We are in love!
And lost!

we said, backing away
Hey, Bear. Hey, Bear.

Above us mountains held the blue milk sky
of the in-between season—
not winter, not spring—unlovely April
with its dingy grass and slick mud

Husband and wife celebrating the anniversary
of their life-long joining , lost in the water-song of melt,
calling out to the bear and the un-beautiful world
as if our tongues were made of flowers

that bloom a month from now,
anemones high in the mountains.

Let us renew our vows, Bear, let us pass, Bear

into the birch, tall-throats waiting
for their green voice to ripen.
Hey, Bear. Hey. The bear considered us,
sniffed the earth then left us to our troth

— Arlitia Jones, April 18, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 17, 2017

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17.

Spring Haiku

The world did not end
in war. Dawn pinks the mountains
and the brown bear wakes

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One Poem. One Planet. April 16, 2017

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16.

Portrait of the Demi-Goddess as a Child

There came a day when my father, a powerful and wealthy king
(he was a butcher)

Lifted me up to set me high atop the back of a gleaming black mare.
(It was a Huffy banana bike. She was pink.)

She cantered and tossed her head. I smoothed her neck. Her name was Sheila.
(Her name was Sheila.)

My short legs were barely long enough to hold the curve of her ribs
(I couldn’t reach the pedals)

The King declared me confined to an Empire the breadth of a day’s ride in any direction.
(Our driveway and the street in front of the house.)

But Sheila’s mane was silver and her tail flowed like water when she ran.
(silver handlebar tassels)

Along her spine, my velvet cape flared like a blue wing wherever we went
(I tied a dishtowel around my neck)

and wherever we went we galloped. Headlong. Breathless. We ran away to Ghost Mountain
(To the top of Deadman’s Hill)

where highwaymen beat their horses and turned them out on rocky cliffs.
(mean boys always drop their bikes in the dirt)

Braggarts who blocked the way of any traveler, tested themselves against all comers.
(You know, a guy really died on this hill.)

Together, Sheila and I made up a single body of will and speed.
(Bet you’re too chicken.)

Sheila was the best of horses, she’d always done whatever I asked–
(I pointed my front tire downhill)

So, now I asked her for her cherished legs, her roaring heart. I was fearless.
(I was fearless.)

–Arlitia Jones, April 16, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 15, 2017

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15.

Eleven days ago a hostile tribe captured our myth
and replaced it with their own version

of our voluptuous Eve, our great goddess, our life-giver
who, we now believe, fell to earth from a hatch in the sky

to transform an entire mountain into an appalling blossom
of rock and fire blooming into burning air

a giant peony of smoke opening to the sun
o’ mother of the sacred boom and incinerated corpse

(whose love we now know weighs 10,000 kilos)
protect your children in this garden of misery and shame

two miles away the enemy’s child turned to see
her flash of light and felt his eardrums shatter

and five thousand miles away another tribe, despised and motherless,
is rebuilding yet another myth for their own retelling

-Arlitia Jones, April 15, 2017

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One Poem. One Planet. April 14, 2017

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14.

Before and after have places.
—Lao Tzu (604-531 BCE)

Between fear and hope
now is where we are

now is the weight in the hand of ripened daylight
or it is the agile joke where laughter leaps from the tongue

now is the bright notes of a robin’s song spinning
inside the tornado, it’s also the mangled lawn chair

now is the blank ceiling that shelters us
when a star drops its gold coins from so high up

now is the disappearance of the moth vibrating its wings
same as it is the brown bat banked in careening flight

now is the bridge with missing slats
between birth and death–deliberate faith or folly

in between before and after, that coaxes
our first step onto the water’s back

–Arlitia Jones, April 14, 2017

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Friday Night Writes: TONIGHT!

Source: Friday Night Writes: TONIGHT!

One Poem. One Planet. April 13, 2017

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13.

The walls of the cathedral in Lima are made of stone mortared together
with a million egg whites from the sea birds that to this day
nest in perennial multitude on the nearby rocks elbowing out of the Pacific.

The workers used what they had to hand, our tour guide tells us.
Over the mountains, for instance, where there are no sea birds,
the workers cemented their cathedral with the blood of oxen.

It’s easier to crack a few eggs, than to slaughter the ox, no?
A few eggs and the leg bones of believers for bedrock under magnificence.
I raised my eyes to the domed vault. I looked a really long time.

God’s not up there, I thought—but what I say is: what did they do with the yolks?

In the catacombs it’s immediately obvious that cracked skulls
without their lower jaws, stacked one on top of the other
resemble punctured egg shells shucked of their gold.

–Arlitia Jones, April 13, 2017

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