Jim Harrison

J
Jim Harrison
Another Country
I love these raw moist dawns with
a thousand birds you hear but can't
quite see in the mist.
My old alien body is a foreigner
struggling to get into another country.
The loon call makes me shiver.
Back at the cabin I see a book
and am not quite sure what that is.
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Man Dog
I envied the dog lying in the yard
so I did it. But there was a pebble
under my flank so I got up and looked
for the pebble, brushed it away
and lay back down. My dog thus far
overlooked the pebble. I guess it's her thick
Lab fur. With my head downhill the blood gorged
me with ideas. Not good. Got up. Turned around. Now I
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The River
Yes, we'll gather by the river,
the beautiful, the beautiful river.
They say it runs by the throne of God.
This is where God invented fish.
Wherever, but then God's throne is as wide
as the universe. If you're attentive you'll
see the throne's borders in the stars. We're on this side
and when you get to the other side we don't know
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Solstice Litany
1
The Saturday morning meadowlark
came in from high up
with her song gliding into tall grass
still singing. How I'd like
to glide around singing in the summer
then to go south to where I already was
and find fields full of meadowlarks
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A Variation on Machado
I worry much about the suffering
of Machado. I was only one when he carried
his mother across the border from Spain to France
in a rainstorm. She died and so did he
a few days later in a rooming house along a dry canal.
To carry Mother he abandoned a satchel
holding his last few years of poetry.
I've traveled to Collioure several times
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Vows
I feel my failure intensely
as if it were a vital organ
the gods grew from the side of my head.
You can't cover it with a hat and I no longer
can sleep on that side it's so tender.
I wasn't quite faithful enough
to carry this sort of weight up the mountain.
When I took my vows at nineteen
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The Girls of Winter
Out the window of the bar I’m watching
a circle of girls stretching and yawning
across the street. It’s late January and 74
degrees. They love the heat because
they are a moist heat. Heat loves
heat and today is a tease for what comes
with spring around here when the glorious birds
funnel back up from Mexico. The girls
don’t care about birds because they are birds.
I recall in high school a half dozen
cheerleaders resting on a wrestling mat
in short shorts in the gym, me beside them
with a silly groin ache. What were they?
Living, lovely, warm meat as we all are
reaching out of our bodies for someone else.
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The Present
The cost of flight is landing.
On this warm winter day in the southwest,
down here on the edge of the border I want
to go to France where we all came from
where the Occident was born near the ancient
caves near Lascaux. At home I’m only
sitting on the lip of this black hole, a well
that descends to the center of the earth.
With a big telescope aimed straight down
I see a red dot of fire and hear the beast howling.
My back is suppurating with disease,
the heart lurches left and right,
the brain sings its ditties.
Everywhere blank white movies wait to be seen.
The skylark dove within inches of the rocks
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Marching
At dawn I heard among bird calls
the billions of marching feet in the churn
and squeak of gravel, even tiny feet
still wet from the mother's amniotic fluid,
and very old halting feet, the feet
of the very light and very heavy, all marching
but not together, criss-crossing at every angle
with sincere attempts not to touch, not to bump
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