Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nanao breaks the mirror

from Gary Snyder:
"Nanao has taken off to walk the star path."

When I asked Nanao once what I should say to a friend who had just lost a loved one, Nanao said "Congratulations"

So, congratulations Nanao. We love you.
Gary and Beth

Nanao photo by John Suiter

Sunday, November 23, 2008

sardine factory

(sardine factory, Belfast)

May we be blessed by
the spirits of these fish
swimming through our world
from the world above
from the world below
rising from the depths of the future
blessing the depths of our past

image: Kimberly Callas
poem: Gary Lawless

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

toward a Migration collaborative project

Caribou Sutra

We learn to be tender
with each other.
We learn to turn
and wait.
We cannot walk
alone for long.
We take our songs
out of the air,
speak the language of
sun on the rocks
at the edge of the river.
We learn when to cross,
when to return.

Let us be blessed with birds.
Let us remember the sound of
wings in still air,
songs in early morning sunlight.

Let us carve beautiful birds,
send our souls to fly away.
Let us carve beautiful birds,
send our souls to fly away.

drawings by Stephen Petroff, poems by Gary Lawless

note from Two Elk - by Andrew Schelling
from the Teton Sioux - how the dream visits you, with responsibility more binding than a vow.
"The animals want to communicate with man - but Wakan'tanka does not intend that they shall do so directly man must do the greater part in securing an understanding.
Let a man decide upon his animal and make a study of it. Let him learn to understand its sounds and motions,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


For some time now I have been interested in poems functioning as curses. At first I had an Old Testament model in mind, a Jeremiad or calling down of the wrath of God onto someone or some thing. My friend poet/painter Stephen Petroff turned me on to the curses of Antonin Artaud, written during his institutionalization, pieces of paper with writing and drawing, scorched or burned through with cigarettes or matches, sent by mail to the cursed person. This is writing that comes alive, lives inside of you, calls out demons, and changes your life.
Here is a curse I came across today, in the collection The Best American Poetry 2008, edited by Charles Wright.
A poem by Maxine Kumin, originally published in The Hudson Review:

Though He Tarry

"I believe with perfect faith in
the coming of the Messiah
and though he tarry I will
wait daily for his coming"
said Maimonides in 1190
or so and 44 percent
of people polled in the USA
in 2007 are also waiting
for him to show up in person -
though of course he won't be a person.

Do we want to save our planet,
the only one we know of,
so the faithful 44 percent
can be in a state of high alert
in case he arrives in person
though of course he won't be a person

According to Stephen Jay Gould
"science and religion are
non-overlapping magisteria"
See each elbowing the other
to shove over on the bed
they're condemned to share?
See how they despise, shrink back
from accidental touching?
It's no surprise that
60% of scientists
say they are nonbelievers.

But whether you're churchy or not
what about the planet?
Damn all of you with dumpsters.
Damn all who do not compost.
Damn all who tie their dogs out
on bare ground, without water.
Damn all who debeak chickens
and all who eat them, damn
CEO's with bonuses,
corporate jets, trophy wives.

Damn venal human nature
lurching our way to a sorry
and probably fiery finale...
If only he'd strap his angel wings on
in the ether and get his licensed
and guaranteed ass down here -
though of course he won't be a person -
if only he wouldn't tarry.

Maxine Kumin

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Relics of the Magi

three wise men
out of the desert
following a star

In Iran then
called Persia
Marco Polo
out from Venice
in a town called Saveh
found the bodies
saw the bodies
of the three Magi each
in his own sarcophagus,
dry but
" still whole and have
their hair and beards"
the town now
lost, in ruins,
the Magi, gone.

three wise men
out of the desert
following a star

from Constantinople, a gift from
Constantine and his mother Helen,
to Milano and then
to Cologne, bones
of the Wise Men, three
crowns of the city, these
old bones, wrapped in Syrian cloth and
the faint scent of frankincense

three wise men
out of the desert
following a star

("worship makes relics real,
makes them part of reality"
Pentti Saarikoski)

on the Feast Day of Saint Jerome, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

poem by Latvian poet Ingmara Balode

for Leva, in Tuja village

Now the hornbeams throw flames in my face.
No boats go fishing today.

A storm is gathering at the horizon.
You're stringing bunches and beads
of rowan - and chokeberries
warm your hands.

I could tell you
"the summer is over"
but that's what
you know.

Ingmara Balode

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lynx Liberation Communique

Lynx Liberation Communique

Plum Creek Che
Down from the mountains

Comandante Lynx, Presente!
down from the mountains.
Comandante Wolf, Presente!
down from the mountains.
Comandante Moose, Presente!
down from the mountains.
Comandante Loon, Presente!
down from the mountains
with courage and strength
for the struggle to live
free in your own lands
to bring democracy
to biodiversity -
courage and strength
to stop the roads
No Pasaran!
to stop the clearing, the destruction,
the dying
Presente, Comandante,
Brothers, Sisters
We stand with you.

Gary Lawless

Sunday, February 3, 2008

bees - kimberly art/gary poem

bee line
line of sight
first line I see tonight
I wish I may
I wish I might
be the bee i dream tonight