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from "The Islanders Remember That There Are No Women and No Men" | The Nation

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from "The Islanders Remember That There Are No Women and No Men"

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in the antediluvian island
in the primordial swamp
Hardwood was already my friend

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Justice may appear in the
guise of a hard, devious mother
I want shoes for my baby
son my werewolf son

The porcelain basin of memory is black
I spit down it brushing my feral tooth.

_____________________

'A double? oh really badly'

I have a
double a self I can't stand

I was discovered by primordial Columbus
and became his land?
Cliché says Hardwood.

_____________________

Wanting the real
and as a dream is a dream
I try to remember something:
the trees at Blythe
at night, going home
inside the steel cab of a pickup,
road lined with athol trees. salty, drab.
Home gone to feels empty
a little shakily and that's
more like a dream than a memory.

No I want real and dreamed to be fused into the real
rip off this shroud of division of my poem from my life.

______________________

I am a reflex an E for effort
(what I can't stand)--

equal to a shroudperson.

______________________

Eating eels near the Loire I learn to slither
not between poles but being the one pole the river.

______________________

Now that I've visited an étang
I always had visited one--
I knew these swamps when the stars.
An island of Sumer, no dead other
dark woman or enemy-maker.

From Grave of Light (Wesleyan University Press), by Alice Notley © 2006.

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