29 September 2009

Anne Waldman

[from Anne Waldman's Manatee/Humanity, Penguin Books, 2009]

& in the dream it was wolves all the way down,
             wolf pack thrashing & gnawing at the corpses of other animals
cannibal heaven
a small splash, a chill

an eye caught
metallic shimmer
   cloaks & hoods of the imposters
rent apart by wolves
   "I am a youth with golden cymbals dancing"
then one, turns
              to me as in blame
would you come to my rescue?

reliable humans? would you?
  notice animals dressed as humans now, imposter humans

             strewn out on the charnel ground, clothed
battered & trying to be animal again, scratch wolf-eyes off the facade of human

images of many ravage sites flash by
       as if there is atavistic memory
creation of a perceptual world of death & destruction
long evolutionary gestation of death & destruction

                      we stopped to observe (my companion always with me now);
cougar, head snapped
entrails ripped out . . . & spread all around
those parts not eaten
cougar cups eviscerated, killer instinct or survival

what can we learn from the predatory nature of other animals
to surround the bison
down the cattle

the other way around, you said
we came first
                  so like them . . .

we in our sweet-smelling realm so like them--
pack of wolves

                        & all breaths escape to exhale in the continued plight of
wolves, loyal in their pack abode, cunning
bright-eyed ones

                                                    ride over me tonight

& manatee
you can't mix a human monster ever enough to aid the manatee

surely our conscious plans have precursors in animal brains

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