Questioning January

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(Colorado, 2018)

“Look, a grasshopper,” said the child,
fetching it to me in both hands, brown, young

and later a bee, zig-zagging,
weaving about colorful urban garb
this unseasonable hieroglyphic of best laid plans
hopeful dispositions for sunny stuff woven

then late afternoon at home, reclining,
loafing bootless near the wood stove,
dipping randomly into Leaves of Grass, for pleasure
interrupted by a humming January housefly,
a new, rare breed

I let it out, only to kill a mosquito later . . . in the kitchen
. . . in January . . . in Colorado . . .

What do you think will become of these young men?
he asked hauntingly,
these who in few short years shall be unconscionably caused
to register for the selective service
to serve a country run by the most deluded,
and adolescent old men blind to reason and light?

And what will become of these young women,
the Poet, always a democrat of the republic, intimating
now only children, yet line leaders, still whip-sharp, inquisitive,
born of our wounds in hopes of healing?

and in the unerring hours of Orion, I dreamed
passing through trees too swiftly,
noticing nests but not allowed to long linger
horrified to glimpse baby birds in them . . . too early
too early, these babies
born into the false light and miller-less spring

wakening with fever, I scratched my colorless beard,
knowing this, remembering old desires
endless summer, such sweet harmonies enchanted,
en canto, “sung into,” without care, wished for

be careful. for without weathering winter
we will not deserve the splendor that is July

The smallest sprout” said Whitman, Holy Bard of America
“shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life,
and does not wait at the / end to arrest it,
[ . . . ]

All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed,

and luckier.


– David Anthony Martin
(last lines in quotations by Walt Whitman


David Anthony Martin is a professional nemophilist afflicted with chronic werifisteria who employs the ancient arts of shikantaza and shirin-yoku to overcome his sense of hiraeth. He firages for wild mushrooms in season, collects feathers when he finds them, dreams nightly and writes daily. He is the founding editor of Middle Creek Publishing and the author of Span, Deepening the map, and Bijoux.

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