Editor's note: these poems originally appeared in the old/previous Luna Luna
CONFIRMING AN AGGRESSIVE COURSE
Nine veterans from Minneapolis were identical as defined by the primitive pleomorphic army
We followed them to the blast-site 47 months before the serial counting
of immature nucleoli began.
The bizarre and prominent ants stained with green paraffin flames
were stable pretransformation.
One received mustard. Seven were documented.
Two years ago when the sun glanced off water
a northern pike named Jesus didn’t care
how dead he should have been arched
into the sun before the camera could take
a second picture. Spreading his fins he found
an antidote believed in a monastery
of camels and horses and pickup trucks
cinder block basements wedding day leisure suits
bow ties balding braids trips to an old chest x-ray
fishing with Buddhist prayer flags
waving from New York city apartments.
The arch of his wife’s back recounts
the withered red white blue basket balls
offering scholarships the planting of bamboo
in the backseat of a convertible because.
The sommelier will not let her get away.
We go out the back door we go out the we go
weave woven whisk educate rot he’s gotten
bigger from the travels of our host
circumnavigating ribs skin water eyes elbows
knees ankles veins arteries tendons.
in the back of his room no longer hungers.
Smile for me perpetual
with your acne scars and waxed ears
with your sharp jaw bone and I
will tell you I am from an uninhabited wilderness
with tawny bears and baby bull elk
rubbing against mail boxes
Smile to make me
hurt along your sunshine coast
which my hermit-father would love
so remote says an echo and I see
you do not have the echo the echo does
You are an echo with a smile that pulls
your wide mouth tight and into which ocean
behind your herd of teeth I seek
Smile for me perpetual and haunt me
and I will tell you of my rock hut
illuminated by moon off lake off sun off you
Oh for 25 miles and a ferry
my bioluminescent surface
seduced by the elevator’s 50-year hourglass
I am without names
but your smile is not from Andalusia
my hermitage is in Wisconsin
with only an echo of a ferry ride
Lend me yours and I will radiate
my liver in your mouth
and with a squid glowing on the cover of Time Magazine
we share all the same reasons
So many reasons
your echo your smile the liver’s daughter
and it all happened so fast we were gone
in the wake we created.
HARVEY CUSHING IN A JAR
A young girl’s head may trace the evolution
of the sturgeon’s spine the Arc de Triomphe
the master tent-maker’s canvas
stretched taut on twenty-four fly rods
pretending to be ridge poles their tips hooking
further each day each minute each click
smile turn click smile turn
each hollow out the eyes and click turn shave
turn smile lie dead now turn
smile here’s a pillow click.
A sturgeon appointed puppy with no hands
forgets in these days at a breathless pace
that not all can ride and defeat the very capacity of man
under stress and responsibility and he may then be
a splendid surprise to himself
for the operative part is the least part in this world
clear of the saddle. Outside the grocery store
a mutt took from a pile of refrigerator magnets
the letters “H” “V” “Y” meaning Hoarfrost
Astrocytomas Rhesus Valance EpendYdomas.
She scoops up boys names because she is a prediction
all watched over by machines of meticulous graces.
He must go fast go digging down
go on top of and through of
blow-holes. He must go beware of
razor clams beware of
walrus go rotting in tidal pools
dig fast as the sand as the recreant
tortoise maps. He must follow
the flag poles to the clams that
go fast as the walrus fat. Boys and
spades. Spades go faster than
shovels as greener than green-
backs. He must go be aware to
not permit dinner to decompose
to not go to the calving holes
But reach down to muscle mouths.
NO ONE CAN SLEEP
Like wooden wheels dragging stallions
no one can sleep.
I once caught a bullsnake weeping
on the engine block
of Pop’s blue truck.
Damn dumb truck. I like it better
this way open like a cotton bud
embroidered on a green couch.
We never dove for abalone.
Do you think
you could make it to the bottom? Maybe
the wind will ruddy you again.
Like a three-month baby in a bottled restaurant
there is pie for breakfast tomorrow.
Editor’s Note: Confirming an Aggressive Course, Spleen House, and Liver House originally appeared in issue #42 of Mudlark
Nathaniel Mohatt holds a PhD in Creative Writing and Community Psychology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and an MFA in poetry from Saint Mary’s College of California. The intertwining of poetry and the arts with community wellness is at the root of his work as a poet and a scientist. He is co-founder of Pirate Pig Productions, a community arts promotion extravaganza based out of California. He was raised on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota and in Fairbanks, Alaska, and he is married with two young daughters. He has been published in scientific and literary journals, including MiPOesias, Big Bridge, Jack Magazine, Camas, BorderSenses, The American Journal of Community Psychology, the Journal of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, and Social Science and Medicine, and his chapbook “Rotary House” was published in issue #42 of Mudlark.