IMPULSE TO LOVE
We keep the strong Black Medicine, coffee.
We shed the fat of the soldier food.
We are shirt wearers. We are big-hearted.
We have been sHADOWmARKED.
From defeat we have achieved a new fierceness,
a new kind of recklessness.
from Mari Sandoz Crazy Horse Camp
North Dakota, Chile, Viet Nam. Extreme places. Isolated places. A seizure calls to poetry from these places. And in each instance it is in these worlds that poems find themselves at home. At home with voices, these poems explore making home among extremes. Everyone is a veteran of these wars.
The middle way also makes a prophetic path. Less explored than other celebrated extremes, the border worlds–beginning with the family living room in North Dakota–are the worlds given for exploration in these poems. The borderland worlds can be seen not as marginal, but as heartlands.
Returning once more to North Dakota, the birth land, and the land of exile and the mother, these poems get as close to the mother’s voice as possible, this time beginning her body itself. In Chile, surrounded by Mapuche Indians and the birth land of Neruda, guided by the shaman Don Eduardo, the machi, poems encounter Pinochet and his machine guns in a small bookstore containing Neruda and poetry after 20 years of censorship. Viet Nam opens up in the wild ways of the garden. The poems suggest that the war fought in the living room is the same war fought in Viet Nam. These poems map these wild ways, impulses to love.
0-911287-27-2 paper $13.00
This House: A Poem in Seven Books
The bass player wonders
what’s going to happen next,
but he doesn’t let go of the string.
He’s holding back to make the song.
Commanded to follow, and obey, the dream, This House explores what the dream gives, traveling and mapping internal and external worlds, listening and telling stories, including la jornada sagrada to Macchu Picchu with young Latinos. This House tells their stories too. Sacred journeys. Sacred lives.
Finally, it all comes down to listening. Just listening.
WHOLE HOUSES SHAKING
Empty Bowl Press
Praise for the 5th bottle of chemicals, the last drink
on a week-long binge, for the job of the chemicals
is to out-poison the poison in your body.
Praise for the nausea, for in our time
it is a synonym for cancer.
Praise for the little Christ’s, rhythmic, literal,
who hear the clock ticking words of Jesus.
Praise for the asshole, working around the clock
carrying the obscenities from your body to the sewer.
Whole Houses Shaking is a blood-transfusion. He takes the word, kin, often an occasion to glorify or revile one’s roots, and re-infused it with kindness. This is grown-up work. The acceptance of loss and the care with which emotions in a family’s history can be chronicled and even mapped are the booty of frequent raids on the wasteland of the American psyche. Yet the poems avoid the predictabilities of myth and take on adulthood as Whitman and later James Wright challenged us to.” —Michael Daley
ISBN 0-912887-30-3 (paper) $10.00
88 pages 6 x 9
Casas Enteras Temblando, the Spanish edition of Whole Houses Shaking, is available from El Instituto de Cultura del Estado de Chihuahua. This Spanish version, translated by Anna Cecilia Villarreal, Ruben Alvarado and Frank Malgesini, won the translation award for publication through El Instituto de Cultura del Estado de Chihuahua in 1998.
OUR MOTHER BLOOMING— A book of poems for my wife. Her search for her mother. An attempt at finding her, and telling her story. Letterpresed and hand-sewn. 250 copies. Out of print
LOCKUP—a printer’s prayer and testament by Jim Bodeen. 1988 Bumbershoot Award winning book for Best Letterpress Book Design. 180 copies printed on dampened rag paper bound in handmade end sheets sewn into Mexican Bark Paper. Artwork by Marty Lovins from an original warrior shield and belt buckle. Out of print.