I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can't look at hobbles and I can't stand fences
—Cole Porter & Robert Fletcher, 1934
I wade through water and I wade through mud
Every time I calm down it’s a bucket o’ blood
—Dixie chain gang field holler
…gone ballistic, not home but blood
on the range…
—Wanda Coleman, American Sonnet 91
Each of us, however unconsciously, can’t but be the vehicle
of the history which has produced us. Well, we can perish
in this vehicle, children, or we can move on up the road.
—James Baldwin, 1976
We try out the most perverse positions.
I’ll get moving now. I’m turning off the GPS. I’m a jet all the way from sea to shining sea.
I'm exceptional, I go into solitude, look at stars each night, dream of good government, and the one that governs least.
I will follow the science, ahead of the rest, but I select my own, keep that up as long as I can. Getting along, not my ambition.
I’ll pray to the indigenous, tread soft and slant, I don’t trust gods.
Should I bite the apple? Exit the Many? Enter the One? Will I overcome, pursue happiness, discover the self-evident.
Melancholic brewing coffee, proleptic in a bar, I clear out, knock down, hammer flat, make new—I’m young and I yearn, revolt, and sing.
I pledge allegiance, peddle sage alembics from fruited plains, decant voodoo to flaskets for a big sky franchise.
Ask me what I can do for the country. I’ll carry the torch. Have slaved and do slave.
I’m not going to the back. I’m somebody—circus whisperer, confidence man, my party’s whip, a multitude—and you?
I like it alone, do contradict myself—a nasty docile dandy sassy woman.
I’ll find out what Matt Dillon saw in Chester and what went down between The Marshal and Miss Kitty.
I'll never be picked-off; I steal to win—learned from Rickey & Maury & Zorro.
Today I wait in the car while my daughter gets her IUD, then we go for ice cream, then I drive her home.
Weekends I knit and rake, eyeing thy whiter jubilee, my secret’s an IED.
I know the cradle rocks above a purple canyon of forgotten graves.
I always swim out past the green light.
I’ll cross the Jordan, excavate Jericho, worship a fragrant moon; I’ll slow stenosis, liberate the lighthouse, get copacetic with codefendants.
Going to be a changemaker, transparent eyeball, scout. Not going to take it any more—I will step into as many rivers and on as many toes as I can.
I answer to Kit Carson—dead young, ruptured heart—make myself available to freedom.
Call me crazy I don’t care, I won’t reflect but I won’t forget either. I’ll walk the arc of history, shape my fear, damn the fat credential, name a lack that’s killing Salmon Nation and much, much more.
I sweat the heat of battle defending glaciers. My dreams take on GMOs, NGOs & the GOP.
On nights I dream my prayer must be make the luster on us all fall evenly, I know I’ll die trying.