You must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Follow Salt River through funnel of time,
though she stings as she snakes through native sand,
as she did when she flowed from Edith’s eye
through her lot in another oasis, southwest of dead
sea. Feel riverskin shed. Undulate, merge into border-
flow, a kind of synovial joint between nations.*
In 1827, mi antepasado, Julian Pope, shadowed serpent
Gila, sliding from Taos to San Diego to escape
La Migra. How dare this gringo from Quinteque
flaunt Spanish law! Swim in the House of Mercy, Beth Seda,
the rabbi said. Stand. Even on Shabbat.
Watch angels trouble the waters
of conscience. Don’t look back;
step into this mikveh of names
of daughters and sons of your great-great grandparents,
as if listening to moan of mesquite under weight of axe,
their exodus from somewhere other
to the open tent of desert sun.
Los Nuevo mexicanos y extranjeros were fertile and prolific.
They multiplied and increased very greatly; the land was so filled,
most of their descendants forgot the poor
cousins, working on cotton farms in Appalachia
or Sonoran fields of wheat. To cure illness
in a family, wash each other’s hands or feet.
Sprinkle the water over your garden.
* From 1848 to 1853, the Gila River was part of the border between the United States and Mexico.
So we travel on earth seeking the terrain of Poetry, walking through wilderness and empty landscape or visiting those ancient sites like Dholavira in far-western Gujarat, or Mykenai in the Greek Peloponnese, or the Arawak campsite on eastern Carriacou in the Grenadine Windward Isles, pursuing that authenticity of experience in a form of antique material reality...
These are places, strange and vague situations where death is manifold and thoroughly extant to the careful eye. There are women’s bangles made of shell to be picked up from the saline dust or small copper beads and thin chert blades, or tiny obsidian arrow-heads that can be unhidden and disclosed beneath those bloody grey walls about the Lion Gate, or beautiful indented potsherds and ceramic fragments at the waterline where the Atlantic rolls out its long blue visceral waves...
Kevin McGrath 🐚Yoga of Poetry
“Dare to live the life you have dreamed."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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