Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Into the Hybrid at Luther Burbank's Garden

I'm working at Napa Valley Writers' Conference this week, which means in between helping to run this incredible conference I get to sit down and hear poets like Brenda Hillman, Kazim Ali, Camille Dungy and Brian Teare blow my mind with craft talks about various topics.  This draft of a poem happened while listening to Brenda Hillman discuss the various types of courage it takes to engage in the poetic space.  It's a meditation on Luther Burbank's Garden in Santa Rosa and the way we hold history to a specific line, even though it is all subjective. 

Into the Hybrid at Luther Burbank's Garden

Mounds of earth like open graves
grammared by stones, guarded by toothy daisies.

The medicinal garden, the sensory garden
the garden of starts and failures contained.

To question history is to watch the chaos of its particles
glisten into discernible patterns in the air.

We loosen embedded stones with our toes
amongst tree that grow into each other.

We ask--where is he buried?
Light caught in the fingers of lost cedar.

We ask--where are the unattested species recorded?Indecipherable writing in notebooks
sketches of leaves, a seed big as a child's fist.

Please do not record insidePlease do not disturb  outside: the war of air.

What's pushing up--
ache of earth against this litany of breeding air:
mind to mouth to mind to mouth.

This breeding between what was, what will be,
and what will be left to believe.

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