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Poems from the residency

By K. Shuck - June 2010

Morning Prayer 2010

Sing me a song of beans and crows at breakfast this

Morning's riot of Queen Anne's Lace at the foot of

Stairs which, let's face it, wouldn't even make good firewood the

Plums in their own ceremony of fixing sugars

Sing me a song of silliness and horses of

Feeling your way around a curve of an image that will

Tear you up, you can't forget to cry that

Dust that water off of the cypress bough

Sing me a song of yellow horses of

Horses bright as backyard plums of that

Redtail, he's wondering if my beads are

Food and if he can get through the glass and have them

Sing of being weary, of being good to each other please

Sing something sort of quiet something that won't

Echo but will sink into the walls of this place

Sing, distract us, your voice is prettier.

Another Feather Poem

Flight primaries are lovely, yes but

We both like the little ones, the drops this

Feather, speckled fawn and grey and white this

Fallen-right-onto-me gift and they

Donít get to be more given than that do they? I

Rezip it, tidy it, offer a pinch of tobacco a

Habit not lost though I quit smoking, what?

Maybe 20 maybe

21 years ago

Wa-do cousin, I can try to be worth it

In the Galleries

Always the joints, they are awkward

Points of connection points of

Contention that

Painting has been displayed since I

Can remember, always found the

Colors troublesome the gesture a bit

Flippant but as weíre old friends now Iím

Happy to see him, was dad with me the first time? I

Donít recall, the new friends that

Carving wonders if Iím available to talk, so formal

So polite, motives unknown no one walks alone

Through this much art.

Itís Not an Act of Patience

Forging snakeskin, fur and what was that

Exact angle of head? Animal working me out

Eat it be

Eaten or


Perhaps ignore there is

Always an urgency here a thing that

Rings you, you not some

Abstraction of other awareness but the

Primary song of a thing the exact note of

Passion or pain or satiation that song

Made of single and multi-element constructions of

Plastic modeling of red

Ochreís caress of the skin you have to

Fall in love really no

Other way


May even have meant to

Take your last breath into my lungs the

View from that pink stucco building was too

Acute too full of gunfire in the

Night and then we made the mistake of

Survival a common one so

Here in this other room whose view is

Origins and squirrels and the art of the

Self-consciously damned itís safe to call it

Confusing safe to say that no

Augury pulled this from my palm or scraps of

Pasteboard or even wax

Poured through the eye of a key

Donít know you anymore but then I see

Mackerel sky and think of how all we saw was

Hibiscus in among the strip malls


Itís a polite discomfort isnít it?

Here at the edge of becoming things and

Some of you think that you get a vote donít

Understand the difference between education and

Entertainment, why would you?

There is an impulse past paint laced with

Hoof glue and each individual glass gem in this

Compound eye we keep creating itís the floorboard we

Keep building the

Planks we place the sound we need to

Build geometry around the

Frustration we canít shake no matter

How many times the hoop dancer threads his

Feet through creationís ring at the cliffside


There is a joy in the specific in this

Particular collection of spoons and

Pressed glassware, pink, Dutch was it? There is

Something in knowing that that

Handful of bear grass from that

Exact hill, near the redbud and it wasnít a

Controlled burn that year but some blasted

Camperís fire

Not much damage, weíd burned other parts of the hillside

Just before and OH

Wasnít the beargrass perfect after

Worth knowing which water opened my

Eyes, let them see birds in beads

Dew from the seven fingered hand on Judaculla rock or this

Bay salt

It Happens Like This

Why is it the tea here

Always tastes of yesterdayís coffee? I

Remember it but donít

Reach for it anymore as with

Many of the old things this will

Make my hands shake

Like so many of the old rushes we

Wanted to make a racket once have learned to

Cause a sigh possibly a greater elegance

Hard to know in this rumpled and pilled sweater really

What to call this quieter impulse this

Pathology of myth this stubborn


Pow Wow June

Iíve come home I

Know it

Cowboy coffee with the girls we

Watch the Pow Wow rouť

Still life with road flares and the

Young women who canít see them but

Smell the smoke from his fancy new clothes the

Sweet flag on his breath I

Remember a woman who would have bet on those

Careful feet but I

Donít date cousins anymore, son

We settle down on the bleachers to watch the Dance and the dance

Heartbeat in the soles of my feet we decide

Stand, shake out our shawls, stand

We stand, an elegance of

Ndn women weíve retired from the drama we

Stand to dance

Fishing Lessons

Wonder what grandpa would have thought Ďyou gotta

Tease gotta wait important to

Sink the hook and those crappie with their soft

Mouths must lift them out gentlyí thereís

Something about these places an

Iffy welcome difficult chairs and the sense that we are all

Underdressed in the face of the exotic or superior in

Every gallery I want

Recliners want to know what beer the painters drank if they put

Salt in I want just one night with Cash or

Kenny Rodgers ringing past Vincentís love poem to

Working people past flowers like the ones grandpa planted for the

Love of his life I need to take him out of my memory

Sit with him in these chairs let him see this altered vision

Things seen through water

Smeared color and all hear him again Ďyeah ok, I

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