Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday poem #129 : Hugh Behm-Steinberg : Eastern Warbling Vireos



Their eggs are white, dotted sparingly with reddish, brown, or blackish specks.
Drab bodies, distinctive calls, they eat insects they subdue

larger prey like caterpillars bashing them against their perches, one calls down to me
you don’t dream in my language anymore, but that’s not true, when I think I sing

and the treasures I hid remain buried in the snowy field; I think about blue mosses to lay my
head upon, thermals to rest in and be lifted by without having to try so fucking hard all the time.

I’ll winter in Chiapas, and I’ll remember where I was born, and unthinking I’ll do all the labor,
I’ll produce a reliable translation, a dappled understanding, a Vireo-English concordance,

a rough and slightly rounded hanging cup, suspended from forks of horizontal twigs.
My castles will consist of plant matter, cobwebs, lichen, animal hair, and rarely feathers.

But our kings in Plains Cree reply there are no kings, only a book which all of us memorized,
an intersection of roads and birds.

You worry the past obliterates, and our bed won’t undo the past, and our milk will pour out,
but wherever we dwell is a place of joy, we don’t carry burdens, we make delightful the forests.

And of all these birds that circle, are you not more than one of these?



Hugh Behm-Steinberg is the author of Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books) and The Opposite of Work (JackLeg Press), as well as three Dusie chapbooks, Sorcery, Good Morning! and The Sound of Music. With Matt Davignon, he performs experimental improvised music constructed out of pre-recorded vocal samples under the bandname Oa. Their first CD is out on Edgetone Records. He teaches writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where he edits the journal Eleven Eleven.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

1 comment:

Laena Wilder said...

This man's work in incredible.