Pointed to it — that old shotgun, what
happened to Mohea’s shotgun? Gave us it
and her guitar I’m thinking to you, remember?
There’s a wealth of nations in the shelves
nations of summer, or in the lazy susan.
What was the can with the hatchet and chief?
Baking powder, I remember everything.
The lazy susan smelled fifty-eight years old,
corn starch, canned tomatoes, canned soup.
Come to me across the wide Missouri, the
Colorado, the Gila, the Verde, the Salt . . .
The reason I love you aside from tradition
it was a pure elliptical language of the long day
Do you know what you’re saying? For,
I’m tired of all the traditions — Are you
tired of the cohesiveness you’ve brought us?
We all originated in being attached
with spaces to disappear into I have needed
my upbringing as a highstrung westerner
different but from where I was from. In the
first stories I lead everyone across the land-
scape I know to a hollow in a rock wall. See?
Thought blows through it and comes back. From who?
Always someone there Pepe Le Pew
Minnie the Mooch or the mind I projected
into the void to rebound and love us, cover us
with crocheted shawls. But we the dead are really
in that void. I throw my voice . . . But it is really
ours. Senor Wences, the scant rain, the pale
Mohave with the tatooed chin, Danny Andrade,
everyone you ever took to heart. Can it be enough
to do for an eternity? You are starring in where.
Making my thought as script across
the galaxy of danger and flight. I flew to you
and do, he says,
I have sonar, vibrating intelligence. Active,
there’s so much room for the words to enact
and perform between the houses of our minds
along the cosmic dust trail. This is the real.
Alice Notley has published over thirty books of poetry, including (most recently) Songs and Stories of the Ghouls, Negativity’s Kiss, and the chapbook Secret I D. With her sons Anselm and Edmund Berrigan, she edited both The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan and The Selected Poems of Ted Berrigan. Notley has received many awards including the Academy of American Poets’ Lenore Marshall Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Award, the Griffin Prize, two NEA Grants, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry. She lives and writes in Paris, France.