Transparent Words - Poetry


Gary Blankenship


Song of Myself #25 - Youth

Song of Myself #26 - Hunter (Wolverinbe)


Song of Myself #25 - Youth


25.  The youth lies awake in the cedar-roofed garret and harks to the musical rain,


the rain rattles

the rain clatters


but does the rain matter

except to lilacs abloom in the dooryard?


Will I find Annabel’s voice,

Gitche Gumee’s  ripple,

the soft quiet of a snowy evening

if I stare at the ceiling

and let the rain carry me into the night?



I need sustenance –

I’ve pretended to be Quaker,

even Witness and Mormon,

in order to at least eat well

on the Sabbath and meeting nights,

but since they ran Smith’s flock out of town,

the queer congregations have been leery of strangers.


If I make it through the winter,

I will join the army in spring

with the hope that I’m billeted

in a warm southern state

where we’ll do nothing but guard forts

from the British or Spanish.


Then there will be plenty of time

to consider magnolias

abloom in the courtyard.


as the rain falls

I sleep

the slumber of the deep




Song of Myself  #26 - Hunter (Wolverine)


26.  The Wolverine sets traps on the creek that helps fill the Huron,


half bear

half wolf

half panther

all devil

the beast stalks the northern forest

in search of his next kill


Attend my words, nojishe, grandchildren,

and I will tell you how I came to be named

for the forest demon, the fierce


My twelfth year, that of the Toadstool,

when I was left on Kitchee Manatou’s  Island

for my spirit quest


A morning when the moon was ripe,

I stumbled over the fiend,

skull broken from an avalanche


He retained enough life to twitch,

but with a quick knife strike I slew him.

The destroyer retained his sufficient spirit


to slash and scar my arm,


and here


But he was mine,

I skinned him for a cloak

and took his name, Gwiingwa'aage.


I was the tribe’s warrior,

ferocious in battle and love,

but that was then


Now, the forests disappear,

cities, farms and fields crowd the wild lands,

and we hunt with hoe and plow


This is now,

I lack claw and fang

and must say goodbye, nojishe*


to my demon

and the spirits of all those we rent






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