Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 22, Poem 22 - still life with sheriff, governor, desert

because Arizona's attacks on ethnic studies must be stopped. if it is allowed to succeed, it will eventually be in every state. It is only the conservative vanguard of a nationwide movement to destroy the education of youth of color, if you think your state's policies are better, take a closer look.

still life with sheriff, governor, desert

The governor of Arizona lives

near a river she made

out of all rivers. This one day,

is the fable I will tell

my children, about what it is,

or means, to be an American.

It means you will have

to be a mountaintop, I will

tell them, whe you feel

like a valley.

I have always been a cupholder.

I’m learning how to be a gorge,

how to be holy and an iron gate.

I know now that sometimes

these are one and the same.

I am convinced the governor

of Arizona does not know this.

I can never remember the name

of that sheriff who all but suggests

the murder of Mexican immigrants –

but I am water. I was taught

this by Bruce Lee. I do not need

to remember his name. I need only

know that I am water, I am an American,

I am a cemetery, I am love,

when I do meet him. Again,

I am water. I am a place

for his bones to rest.

When I was a boy, we rode

our bikes up the mountain

until we found the deepest pool

in the Caura River. We swung

on vines and dropped into the cool

abyss – we cooked things

on its bank. We were unafraid

of dying – we were the whole

worlds ad nobody who did not love

me, mattered, the way –

this man – this enemy of mine,

this enemy of truth, matters,

even though I will not remember

his name. Iwill not remember

his name because sometimes

I will need to hold my woman

and rock her and say, baby,

its going to be alright, and I’ll have

to remember that I am water

and that my hands are rivers

and my chest is a dormant volcano

for her to sleep in, and I can’t

remember this and the name

of the sheriff as well, and the Arizona

governor cannot make me

remember it either

or take the rivers

of my arms to build her house around.

Today, I am a mountaintop.

I am a valley. I am a gorge.

I am a canyon of karma

around the bones

of the governor, her husband,

and their children, baking

in this hot, hot, desert

sun. I am a shell casing.

I am a cemetery – I am love.

My lover knows this. She lets me

forget the names of my enemies

so I can be love, so I can

one day preside over their

bones – over the dirt

they will become.

To schedule a reading or an appearance please contact Ofer Ziv at Blue Flower Arts at 845-677-8559 or email


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