from "The Islanders Remember That There Are No Women and No Men"
in the antediluvian island
in the primordial swamp
Hardwood was already my friend
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.