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Here the ceasless tumble dances

Rude leaves thinking they are light

As sun quivers, rain shadows

While birds and men and even women

Go to day as if they could go through them

Like tunnels or sanctuaries


A gesture

Hand cups weary chin

The gentles of touch

Of flesh becoming and unbecoming

A place of whole emptiness

Where nothing matters


Matter is time coming less and less itself

Not a cup or tree

Or even bear most holy

But song and shroud lifting

Through sense and smell of dogs leaping


What is it you want

For that is what you do not want

Not the ceaselss trick of understanding

But the slow vanish into shimmer


The shimmer seems the point

Catch of silver fire on cedar frond

The loam as fragrant as any song


But the shimmer lies

In wait for what could never proceed and follow

For the procession and funereal were never the point

Only in the drum beat lies a truth

Not the beat but the drone

The ceaseless beginning and end of beater

Hitting flesh of horse


Hooves do not clatter hear

For made of wind and something I do not know

Is its value


Do you see how I said that

As if it were true

As if I knew or could know what we cannot know


And if remembered from what

Could we come

What could we know of



Of grace and utter humility

Of dances never begun or ended

Tortured ancestors ripped from fire and drum

Of rattle made undone


What could we know to be a bison raising its head

To receive the arrow or the dog panting his last breath

Or friend dying in California


Is this for you

Is it

Is this for you

It cannot be mine or yours or anyones except

Perhaps the shame and glory of the tribe

A feast never shared, a dance clumsily executed

Feet knowing better than heart where to step

The song the prayer

The dance the prayer


And what now

That this is said

What does it touch or shape or know

These curves of shape always broken by their utterance


Here it lives in the moment of the new journey

That moment where the journey never starts or ends

A body undone breaking apart

A voice trying to speak what cannot be uttered


Chance, future, what we can intention

Try so hard to frame what is frameless

The holy altar undone, always, always beginning again

And again and again


So there is nothing for it but the shimmer

As unsatisfactory as that is

As ecstatic as that is

A simple child’s drawing

And if we are lucky one note of his laughter

As if that weren’t good enough

As if we could ever hope for more or better


Put down what you are doing and listen to me.

You are not who you think you are

Bones and blood and spit

Not thought or poem or work so hard done

Or so resented

Or so loved

Or so revered

Ceasless it turns what it is not

And never has been or could be


Roars around me, the sound of fan

A slice of pounded steel poured to form

from tired hands in some factory

Cleaving air to wind oscillating as if it were something new

Something refreshing or untried to make

That which I still move and bend and fly.


I do not know if you should lean in or turn off such wind

Or feel it sweep across your skin

A broom to take heat or fear or grace


Pick up what you are doing and stop listening to me.

One voice

One moment

The moment before the shimmer but never the shimmer itself

Unknown and only a way to remember

What it is we can never know or forget.