TALKING TO SHIVABALAYOGI ABOUT GOOD AND EVIL, HOW WE ARE CARRIED IN THE ARMS OF THE BRAZOS

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for my friend Jon Madian

one
You who beat my heart
we are walking the road to the White Salmon together.
I see the river gorge is the outline of your body
hear happy whistling of chickadees as breath through your nostrils.
Tinkling bells of rain water announce you are here

you are alive.

two
You tell me there is no high wall between evil and good.
The watcher sees his own eyes
shining back to him in the dark.

In the dark we won’t recognize our own face
or notice the left hand reaching out for the right.
The dead speak, glowing with good intentions
but you should not listen to them.
Find out for yourself.

three
Evil and good bleed into one another
are always mouth to mouth
as the Brazos River is to the Gulf of Mexico
mud tongue of one tasting the salt tongue of the other.

four
In the estuary of the Brazos
black and white men no one values
pull garfish from rainbow colored water.
Roll them in cornmeal
flecks of tar still in the flesh when it is laid down in the lard
to fry.

five
There are men who cannot survive a salt river
who must believe they are all one thing and not another.
But in the mouth of the river, the one is food
for the other.

six
There is a body
where memory of horror and of loss is still alive.
There is another body composed of Brazos water
moving as a wave into the Gulf.

seven
In a dream, I am taken through this open window.
Travel flooded streets grey with diesel.
I am carried by the Brazos, we are rolling
in a torrent of the Holy Mother’s love.

We flow on through alley ways seeking the drunk and the dead
bending down over them as a friend.
A blue wind follows, lifting those who are ready
into the sky.

eight
You tell me all of us are thieves.
When the stone is rolled away from the tomb
we take with us what we have stolen from ourselves.
The cotton we are bound in is unwrapped by a blue wind
and we see the sky round as the mouth of a cave.
We hear it calling a name that sounds like water.

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