BY JAN HAAG


ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS

INTRODUCTION + POETRY + MUSIC + TEXTILE ART + TRAVEL + ESSAYS + FICTION + HAAG'S BIO




THE "A" POEMS





AZERBAIJAN

3-21-00/11-15-03

For Linda

There are public baths
in Baku,
centuries old.

Older are the petroglyphs of Gobustan,
drawings of humans
from 10,000 years
ago.

In "The Mountain of Tongues,"
jabal al-alsun,three hundred
languages are spoken:
languages of the Talysh,
Tats, Lesghis, Avars, and Kurds;
Indo-European, Turkic and Caucasian.

The Azeri Language is spoken
in palaces, vast mountains built of stone,
far from the land of brilliant grass,
wild mustard we walked through today,

centuries later,
10,000 miles from Baku

in silence.





EARLY POEMS

Most of the following poems were written between 1983 and 1996;
specific dates can be found in files archived at the Blagg Huey Library, Texas Womens' University, Denton Texas




ACCELERATORS AND FUNERARY FURNISHINGS

1983?/11-03/15-03
(9233 25th N.W.)

I

A compassionate, English-accented fellow
asks:
"What do we think we are doing,
bashing all those atoms about -- the electrons,
the neutrons, the quarks?
They are consciousness.
Do we never consider the harm?
Building accelerators to fling them
toward the speed of light,
bombarding them with each other --
do we never consider the harm?

"We may be doing more than we think.
As skittish as those particles may be,
we may be creating matter.
Though they explode off bubble chamber
photographs, still, who knows what ultimate
changes we wreak -- creating,
perhaps creating matter."

They say:
"High energy particles do not come into being
until there is an observer, an experimenter who
calls them into being --
us."


II

They say:
"But bashing atoms about is the only way we can
study them -- the particles, the quarks."

I say:
"Since we can't see them unless we involve them
in drama/violence, we quite naturally call
that violence/drama that we see a part of them.
Might it not be the same for humans?
We can't really see human beings
unless they are engaged in drama -- a skinned knee, a terrible job,
a frightful husband, the throes of passion. As in literature,
we grow bored with stories unless they are dramatic.
The function of drama in human beings may be just
the means for us to see each other.

"We can no more perceive a human being at rest,
in its "natural" state, than we can see a muon or a quark.
Life itself may be blissfully placid.
It is our bombardment in the effort to see
that creates the drama
just as it does with particles."


III

They say:
"If there is a certain finitude of matter,
the universe is open, forever expanding."

They say:
"If there is more than a certain mass
the universe is closed -- it will reach its maximum
and contract back into itself."

"Right now," they say,
"there is missing matter in the galaxies
which may be other universes,
worlds we cannot see --
due to our limited way of seeing
(due to our chosen, self-limiting way of seeing)."

They say:
"If these universes appear or we find the neutrino has weight or
if we create matter by bashing particles, then we have only (perhaps)
1030 more years to be about. (In any case, look for a radical
change from proton and neutron decay 1032 years from now.*)

I say:
"Think, as you make things and dramas,
if you are making something which increases matter.
It can close down our universe."


IV

Beware of what you create.


V

I have noticed a compulsion to go against what I really want:
to eat when I am not hungry,
to remain in love with Allan though he bored me,
to stick with old friends even when they hurt me,
in short,
a natural compulsion to work against my own best interest.


VI

Why?



*This poem was written in the early 1980s, so the decay spoken about here may now be only about 1000 years away.




ACCOMPLISHMENT

1990s/11-15-03
(9233 25th N.W.)


A remembered life is a leaf picked up
on an autumn day, twirled
between thumb and forefinger,
stuck into one's braid,

laid on a shelf, in a dish,
and, after gathering dust 'til spring,
casually discarded for the evanescent daffodil.



ACE OF CUPS

1983-6?/11-04/15-03
(9233 25th N.W.)

I

Fame, Greek: Speak

A

I thought being a famous author would mean
associating with people the way I do with books:
I read a book, like it or loath it; I do not need to talk to it.
I have no desire to meet its author.
Of course, I might entertain the slightest fantasy...
But in actuality I have met enough authors --
and had nothing to say to them.
Embarrassed, I stand tongued-tied.
I do not care about their frustrations or frugality.
What they have to say to me they said in their book.
My curiosity is only to read their next book.

B

I realize to be a famous author you're expected to meet other
F-As, to be fascinating, fascinated, to have questions, give answers.
I have none of these. What I have to say I said in my poem.
For the rest, I am mute, inconsequential, silent.
If I have more to say, I'll write another poem.

To befriend famous people or rich or fanciful is ,
supposedly, the creme of life. I find fraternization boring.
Reality fascinating. People boring.
If I can watch people from someplace else, unperceived --
as long as I don't have to talk, to pretend to be interested,
to listen, I can love.
What I learn from other people, I learn in silence;
what I learn from myself I learn in solitude.

I write. I read. But, not being fascinated
or fascinating, there is no opening in the literary ranks --
my books are non-existent in their records.


II

Anonymity, Greek: Without name

seems to me to be a channel into love.
When I speak to no one but strangers: about the price of peapods,
fish in the ladder, the growth of the pines, the lilacs' early bloom,
the bus's lateness or whereabouts or doom, advise the night photographer,
on the freeway bridge to wait for fog -- ah! it is then
that my heart sings, it is then that my smile radiates
from the thousand-petalled lotus in my breast,
it is then I am contained and human.



ACE OF SWORDS

1980s
(1025 South Cloverdale)

Yesterday, today, sometime in the night,
in the sun, in the rain, in the last three
days, something is concluded.

I no longer worry, mince, carry my
head of heavy hair, my soul, downcast. I
drink chamomile tea, eat a

chocolate biscuit, get a letter from
France, whack off my hair, read Carlos Caste-
nedas, match his moth with my

moth, recall the gold specked dust of China,
know it will/did change my life forever,
Emptiness, eternity's

continuity, begins.




ADMONITION

1980s
(9233 25th N.W.)

In the sweat, in the anger,
don't demur to the musk's scent.
Surrounded by ocean plates that
crack, a light pat violent

enough to create the dawn,
do not think the fawn only
a violet fingered skull
mossy and full, life merely

a sense of rapture schooled to
hold and woo the pain. When it
drops tears, weep for the earth's hurts.
Eternity flirts to fit

each yielding joy to some old
groove, remolding anger for
creaks and whacks and light lessons
to seem like puns, and gold ore.




ADVICE

1980s
(9233 25th N.W.)

Unbending things
and things unbent --
remember one thing:

You've walked this way
before, returned
undreamt.




AERO

1990s/11-15-03
"...designed for aerial use..." Webster

I


In paradise lives Rita the Slim
and Richard with Justin on his
chest, jurisprudence in his heart.
In paradise lives John Bryan to tell
me about the red hearts of grevillea,
the snow white cloud of melaleuca --
odd plants, evergreens that bloom.

Bryan says, "A lot of evergreens bloom.
I say "I never saw a cedar or a spruce,
a hemlock -- they don't...." "The conifers
you mean." "Yes, I never saw a bleeding
heart on a cedar in the northwest woods."
"But evergreens include magnolias,
and pines do flower."

In paradise lives Rita the bold
back from the future, trapped in time,
burgeoning in virtual reality, growing
Mandelbrot sets, fractals that bloom
from z into forms as organic as a tree
and animals as exotic as another
evergreen, protea, or pitasporum

From Australia or MacWarehouse
odd things grow in Sausalito: the little
willow of paradise which sits round
the bed fro the pelagic cormorants,
the brown pelicans wheeling high over
the headlands of the ocean of peace.
Quail stroll beneath the cypress.

Justin the Manx has a room by the sea,
panoramic views including Angel Island
and the north. He watches the sailboats
in the green wind, dreaming of when
Richard the Law, Rita of the many names
will chuck his chin, stroke his whiskers,
feed him from a small blue bowl.

II


I forget what question she was answering
when she said she came from the future,
was trapped in this element of time,
teaching me, as if I were a baby, virtual
reality, technological tricks. I've seen her
with Scot and I've seen her with Richard.
There may have been others.

She dwelt below the nasturtiums, stood
tall beside the stairways of Sausalito.
Beyond her dwelt the quail and the
cormorant, pelagic cormorants they were
called. She had been here before.
"I do not want to come again."
She dwelt like a cliff-dweller in a house

by the sea among the bay and the laurel,
red poppies and yellow daisies, the wild
exuberance of nature at her most
flamboyant with foxes on her doorstep,
Justin the cat on a towel, the only
inhabitants of the living room looking
out upon the bay's white sailing ships,

the magnificence of the clouds clearing
at sunset. Justin the Spoiled was a Manx,
with a woeful life for a tale. He'd been
a cute kitty. The hills grew thimble berries
hardest of berries to pick, back on bushes
so remotely hung from cliffs and guarded
by thistles, that even the birds hesitated.

She came from the future, whisper-thin,
a virtual reality. She feared to eat lest
it change her mood. She believed that
believing in things, in people, would
make them happen, make them real.
She had named herself Aero and wanted
to pass through unknown. She wrote

books under assumed names, worked
each day into the evening. She was sharp
featured, furrowed and worried. Later
she was bright faced, laughing, young.
She danced through life and moved
as a surfboard moves, hugging the waves,
turning, flat, narrow and whole, riding

the crest. Rita the Bold, Rita the Shy
who spends money as if it were made
solely for her use, generous beyond
imagination. She painted the inside
window moldings yellow on the middle
floor for sun, blue on the top floor
for sky, green on the bottom floor

to reflect the green of the bushes beyond,
and her walls in purple and pink --
vast rooms, empty rooms. She used
her antique armoire for paper, called it
Bob. Her heart as in her work. She
worked each day and every night --
until twilight...




AFFAIR WITH A MARRIED MAN

1980s
(1025 South Cloverdale)

Next time I get a baby in my belly,
I'll scream. Scream your name and lack of love, scream
my name and lack of hope, scream our fear and lack
of faith that life can appear in this retreat from life

and light and love. Next time I get a baby
in my belly, I'll ask why you don't sleep at home.
Next time I get a baby in my belly,
I'll tell you. Let you share the terror. Memory.




AGATHA

1980s
(9233 25th N.W.)

I pet the cat
she purrs
I purr
my white hand stroking
her black head
her green eyes
closing
with the milky white edge
coming up
she sinks into sleep
forgetting to purr
I stroke her head again
my own green eyes close
I purr
she purrs
her paws tucked under her breast
on my breast
she sleeps



AGEING

1990s
(9233 25th N.W.)

I

Dye the hair, cap the teeth, trim the body,
glass the eye, if you need to, but no one can steal
the marigold beauty of times gone by growing taller,
hardier, fuller, more acridly pungent,
golden, dazzling, poignant.

Nubile buds expand until heading time.
Eventually the tangled dark green leaves,
browned by the winter are ploughed into the earth
to mulch those who'll grow some more.


II

I used to think I'd be somebody else someday.
I thought if I dwelt long enough on the hurt, I'd wake to find it not true.
I thought someday when I did what I wanted,
got where I hoped, found what I sought, I would be different.
But someday arrived. I am no one but me.
Fifty years is a small price to pay to resolve that doubt.


III

The only sad thing about dying at twenty-two: you didn't live to ninety-four.
They used to say: Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse.
My motto: Live long, live slow, enjoy the space and the time.
The Corpse? They'll burn it anyway.



ALASKA

1980s/11-15-03
(9233 25th N.W.)

My father was up there when the oil men were
whooping it up in the Anchorage Hotel --
the boys in from the mountains
where the slopes, rocky and bare, were
not yet named.

Phillip lunched with the oil boys
in the pleasant gloom at noon
-- they were laughing and asking advice --
what to do? how to proceed?
Father said:

"Dig a highway, plant some gas-stations,
plant some car-repair shops."
They handed him a map with his name
penciled across a mountain range:
the Philip Smith Mountains.

Father laughed and brought the map home.
For awhile, he dreamed about a land so bleak,
so barren that no one had ever been there
-- not even the Esquimo nor the Chinamen
who came as Anasazi

a thousand years ago.
Phillip was a grey-haired man.
He looked like a saint and wa happy
and handsome enough
to act a little silly.

Handsome and as frost bitten
as the ancient snow that clings
to the north slope --
never let's go.
On the Alaska map, you'll see

the Philip Smith Mountains
named in the gloom
of an Anchorage room.
He giggle with glee
and so did we.



ALEXANDER LATHROP BARRETT-PAGE

06-21-86

I saw your birthday star
fish and your sea horse, heard there were four
cats, two gerbils,
a goldfish named Cutey, another

named Beauty. With dark-eyed
Olivia you chased ducks and geese.
You big-brothered Rosa,
jumping high by the alfalfa sprouts;

nose to nose you giggled
in front of the salsa. I saw you
swig an orange soda,
and call time to end the day with some

cartoons and candy drops.
Alexander Lathrop Barrett-Page,
born at Shadow Mountain
Road near a town called Conifer,

your mother says your birth was
a joyous experience. I saw
you once in the belly,
and at six minus eleven days,

before celebrating
your birthday on the summer solstice.
With your dutch-bowl dark hair,
cherry lips, you laugh like the summer

sun. Celebrate your birth
with great fun, Alexander Lathrop
Barrett-Page -- this sixth one
and many, many, many, many, more.



Written for Alexander, Ted and Sally Barrett-Page in celebration of Alexander's birthday of July 2, 1980
the sixth anniversary of which we were lucky enough to celebrate with him on June 21, 1986



ALLAN,

1982

I left the tears on my face
so you might see the salt
of your sorrow reflected
from another's eyes to know

you have not suffered without
acknowledgement

as birds fly past the setting sun
on a day of summer mist
long after the day you were born
long before the day you will die




AMANDA

11-06-86

ca na ooh ba ha
cha bha bhu bha baa ba va
woo hoo hoo ba ma

(Translation)
(Though closed for winter,
our twin screendoored domiciles,
you live in my heart)

BA PA MA WOO HU
BA PA BA PA MA WOO HU
A MA DA CAW RA


(Translation)
Happy First Birthday
Happy Happy First Birthday
AMANDA COCHRAN


Ca ba, ROSA LEIGH HUGHES

(Translation)
(Love, HALLEY HAWLEY HUGHES)


A

M
A

D
A

C
A
W

R
A




AMANITA VERNA

1980s?
(9233 25th N.W.)

BEFORE DINNER


They brought in the Destroying Angel tonight
two lads brought in six --
white and majestic on their stalks,
their veils falling,

the silk of their paleness beckoning,
the loveliest of God's creations,
the most deadly.
We washed our hands.


AFTER DINNER


Darkness fell all around the house,
the moon did not rise until late.
There was mist, and silence,
the black cat crying at the kitchen door.

Did she know to avoid the Angel on its white stalk,
its flesh more silky than her fur?


LATER


The moon rose.
The lake was glass.
The loon cried
echoing
over the silver lawn.

I discovered
we all cherish our pain
too much.



AMERICAN STORY

06-05-86
(2801 Down Cove)

She was Haida and a princess
fishing one day with her father
and brother and friends
for salmon

The Makah canoe, a bark war
canoe, with heads of wood, colored
blue, perhaps, and red,
beaked in black

skimmed the ice water of the straits,
near the Sound, in the gloom of spring
or autumn, came close.
Makah shouts

she would remembered forever,
dancing suns, timbers crashing. Years
later when clashing
steel came to

Neah Bay, she knew it had been born
that day. As dark closed down, she searched
in the boat bottom
among heads,

forty, and detached, to find her
father, brother, and did. Lip to
lip she spoke a last
filial

farewell, rose slave to the Makah,
who left the Haida a virgin.
Healing powers like
tiny blown

milkweed seeds touched the terrible
earth, watered by tears, scorched by sun
they sprouted in long
patience, seeds

of agony, pushed forth powers.
The Englishman Webster fathered
a son for her, she
raised him white.



ARIZONA DESERT

02-16-90

I walked off the highway,
back behind the beer-bottle line,
among the rabbit tracks and the sidewinder trails,
back in the winter sand -- barefoot --

looking out for miles, beyond eternity
and the grey hills bronzed by the setting sun,
in the wind and the silence, wishing we were gone
and our shacks had fallen to ruin

so our grandchildren could hear tales
of the settlers who tried to make it here
when the land was still untamed,
and who left

because they didn't want to make a garden
out of the grandeur of God's desert
or an oasis out of the sand.
People are not the only owners of the land,

nor trees the only expression of God --
so are devil's claw and the tumbleweed,
the creatures of night and the big-horned sheep.
The whip-tailed lizard sticks out his tongue
at our presumption to garnish the land.

He laughs when our wells run dry
and the moon sets from an empty sky.

"The common whip-tailed lizard of the American Southwestern deserts is able to change from male to female and back again. This ability to sex-switch stops at reptiles; birds and mammals are incapable of the feat." Dr. Leonard Shlain, Sex, Time, and Power, p. 229

(Footnote added 9/21/2010; see "Testament, The New" )


AROUND THE NEXT CURVE

1980s
(9233 25th N.W.)

a young deer,
brown and white,
delicately boned
asleep beside the road
forever



ARRIVAL

1980s
(1025 South Cloverdale)

The wind blew hard that night along the balcony
in The Oaks. I arrived and they were gone. The
mosquito netting flew. Dry leaves shared my bed.

Coming from the north, the Santa Anas make good
company. They dry you out, let you breathe the
velvet sensuousness the south is famous for.

Faerie Queenes hop along dry grasses, palms,
petals, they use the eucalyptus' long tears for
wands, the scent of jasmine for gondolas to

glide your ventricles. Oh, yes. It couldn't
be indigestion. You didn't eat. The soughing
in the sycamores, the silken silver of the

wind blown pines crown you with cotton candy
fancies. Glad to be alone, you count the hours
before sleep, the days before death, and smile.

Nothing comes too soon. All the red birds
rest. Enough jasmine is enough, the chaparral
has no form, the hibiscus has no scent.




ASKER

1980s
(1025 South Cloverdale)

The cat's deep eye
waters the mysterious newt
the flame's edge dances
naked
serving solitude
this early embryo bids
farewell to the gloom

"A Newt, or an Asker, or some such
detested reptile..."* love
plucked
the feathers from my breast
and left a naked wattle

the hurt dies down
from repetition
the mind stales the words
Equisetum
Equisetum
rest

*Tristram Shandy




AT NEW MEXICO'S CANADIAN RIVER

1990/11-15-03

Down the hot wash
I walked to the river,
red-brown under the golden sky,
thick with mud and running swift:
blood from the veins of a giant
brontosaurus.
Way up stream where I didn't walk,
nor did my ancestors,
back in time it swam, from
our mother's decision
to release her favored children
after a hundred and seventy-five million years.

Not too much later she opted for us.
Time itself runs scarlet, runs fast,
impatient for Gaia to complete her period,
to be fertile again for another
species.
How little time cares for us.
"Be happy," our mother invites:
"breathe, eat, live.
Let the wind and the long grass
play for you, the small clouds sail free.
The river eddies to cool your feet,
hot from the wash and brown
from the kiss of the sun."



A TOWN CALLED BOULEVARD

A sign pointing to the left said: "Boulevard: Population 12,006"

1970s

I


It was one block wide and forty miles long, all the inhabitants hung
out on a line like laundry, like clothespins put up for shooting at

with a twenty-two. Strung out so long and so thin and so far
you would say it almost doesn't exist, that town called Boulevard.

II


O God, if a town called Boulevard can't make me serious,
if it can't divide me from dualism, what can? Two streets
and a yard of grass between them running down the planes
of the desert, planted with palms -- that's a boulevard all right.
A strip of difference, a strip of nature between two concrete
lanes of flattened over earth -- and they named the town that!

I hear echoes in my head of poems and voices and cries and kryias,
screams about being run down, chased between concrete streets.
I'm that roll of grass between the paving that keeps the sky
from the earth, that keeps the earth from sprouting green trees,
from sprouting palms right up through the floor boards of Fords
and Toyotas. O yes, I am that creature that keeps the macadam
down, the tar in place, the LaBrea bubbling. I am that creature
that bought the oil that built the road that ran through the desert
that once was nowhere and is now a town called Boulevard.

If I can block out the voices, cut off the Hydra-headed monster
that forms my soul, forms yours, if I could unpave the world,
untemper the sword, replant the universe, reconstitute the oil
back to the chlorophyll that fed the dinosaurs that roamed the earth
and are gone, that roamed the earth with us and are gone like we
will be gone when the town called Boulevard will be palmed on both sides
with dates, no doubt, and coconuts, and in the middle will run streams
of celestial harmonies, and all the voices now raised in cacophony
will even out into a smooth running unity that will mesh into one cry,
one psalm, one blade, elegantly divide with one back and one front,
one up and one down, one zone beveled ridge down the center,
one difference between the right and the left, then the
town called Boulevard will be a gas station on the highway to Paradise.

III


A lady in white and buff and hibiscus strolled across town,
eating dates, whistling at the palms, she walked right up
off the boulevard into the cotton-soft sky.




A TRICK OF THE MIND

1980s
(9233 25th N.W.)

I saw a dead bird. How still I'll lie one day.
Nobody is devoted to me and I to nobody neither.

The concourse of my life lies outside the normal
course of everything. When I participate it is so wholly,
unconsciously that, coming to, I stand outside the event,
no longer remembering, thinking

nobody was ever devoted to me and I to nobody neither.



AT THE COLORADO RIVER INDIAN TRIBE DAY CARE CENTER

02-22-90

There are five big palms and two more out back,
one small pine planted yesterday, and slim young mulberry trees
in a big bare yard waiting for spring, a roof with solar panels,
and many smart kids, who know their dinosaurs and why we plant trees.
They welcomed us with fruit and milk and asked us how far we'd walked.

We, on our Global Walk, walked two hundred miles to plant this tree
for Amy and Sierra, Belinda, Jamake, Benny, Flora, Chris and Vaughn,
who'll play and rest in the shade of this fine Arizona Ash as it grows tall.
May it grow and grow to shade Michael and Michael, Tyler and Hollie
and their children and their children's children.
May Geshell, Monique and Melissa and all the little children
love it bare in winter, blossoming in spring,
green in the summer, gold in the fall.

May all the children of Parker continue to love
the desert that surrounds them, the hills that protect them,
this tree and the earth which nourishes it.
We plant it with love for you --
and for our world -- that peace
and love may prevail.




AT TRINITY CATHEDRAL,

03-04-90

on my brother's birthday, where we listened to God's word
under the rose window of celestial blue, transformed as the wings of the dove,
where a stone pulpit -- under a copper awning,
beside a desert palm -- adheres to the courtyard wall,

we, who are walking the earth, plant this tree in your garden,
a Palo Verde -- symbol of the Arizona desert.
"Stones," Reverend Ain said in morning service, "are also the word of God."
Stones and Palo Verde are part of nature's, our earth's blessing, our heritage.

You, Reverend Kazan, and all your congregation,
have been so gracious in your love to us:
feeding us, helping us, opening your hearts and your house to us.
Help us now and always to be loving to all God's creatures,

to be loving to the land. As your city is named for the Phoenix,
help us call for a rise from the ashes to enjoy God's blessing, as simply as a tree --
a tree which, even with the tiniest of leaves
brings shade and green and form for your refreshment.



Written for the Tree Plantring by the Global Walk for a Livable World at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral,
Sunday March 4, 1990, 110 West Roosevelt Way, Phonenix Arizona 85003




AUGUST 6, l986


Down the rivers of the world
come lights for the souls of the dead,
dead by the blast of man's wrath,
man's intricate cleverness.
Down the Ganges and Volga
the Mississippi, and the
Colorado, the branched
Ohta, seven rivers in
one, 200,000 lights
flicker as candles are set
in the sunset waters to remember
the sunrise that blazed brighter
and more deadly than
enlightenment.



AUTO BIO -- CHAPTER 12

1980s
(13229 Linden Avenue North)

Afterward -- I lay for three years eating sausage,
thinking about God, death, unity,
problem solving, teaching,
the lack of anything
worth teaching.

Since I could learn nothing, what was I to teach, how
could I believe in any lesson?
I could experience,
have illuminations,
change over

time. But the mechanism of change eluded
my memorizing mind, my writing
hand. Each new discipline,
ardently pursued, worked
for awhile,

then died at the first intermission. New tricks
were needed to rouse my exhausted,
disbelieving mind, 'til
it seemed no further tricks
were to be

found. I wrote three hundred poems, I walked three thousand
miles. I lived in seclusion, I spoke
only with my family:
narrow-minded, salt of
the earth, with

little lives, no aspirations, who enjoyed the
rain, food, occasionally rubbing
bodies, did not know there
was a question of God,
a larger

world, temptation, abstinence, knowledge to pursue,
or scorn, hierarchies, the elect,
the damned. They ate and smiled,
they lived and found need of
nothing more.

When I eat I eat, when I sleep I sleep, chop wood
chop wood, but without consciousness, I
was bored to death. I could
not be so simple, so
sweet, so mild.

I questioned that there was the elect, the damned. I,
like a bodhisattva, wanted to
believe in the godhead
of all sentient beings,
but most were

so boring, so trying, so petty, pettily
involved in jobs, cars, cares, insurance,
taxes, feuds, gluttony,
greed, that it seemed if there
had been a

higher plan, God had abandoned it, despairing,
in mid-twentieth century, a
minority of one,
deeply out of fashion
and unable

to see the emperor's new clothes A change of mind
was evident, bowing to headstrong
human folly, "Let them
dance," God said, "and make their
bombs. Perhaps

afterward I'll try the dinosaurs again, or
perhaps, onward with the birds, I'll try
consciousness in the sky,
enlightenment among
wind swept clouds."




AVIAN SUMMER

1980s
(9233 25th N.W.)

Sleepy, the summer too hot for the north,
daily walking the tracks, picking the black
berries, shades of red, too, among spider
webs, bruised lips, dyed teeth, juice on the leaves,
not blood, smiles under the dappled alder trunks

flashing milk in the sun, grass greener than
algae, where fairy bells bloom where woodruff
spices the air -- What do the birds do all day
long? Sing in the flamboyant trees, wing toward
sundown, sip the succulent mosquito.




A WALK IN THE WIND AND THE RAIN

1983?

A concrete walkway, perhaps wide enough for a car: fenced,
a few weeds, some leaves. A man in a blue jacket opens a door
into a blank-faced building.

Against a plain concrete wall one block long, one woman
waits beneath the bus stop sign -- a flag of cheerfulness,
even though brown.

The black brick jumping tower
at the fire station, a tree in front, a crow overhead,
and no one to walk or run or jump...

Yellow,
on the other hand, does not lend
itself to blankness.



AWARENESS

1970s


Chimney times and
life times and
lost times and
gay times and
funny little
running lines
of laundry
in the wind
making my chin
quaver with
remembrance
of windy
weather in
the country of
my childhood
days nd nights
of mocking
birds and funny
laughter from
below the
stairs when they
thought we quite un-
aware of
scarlet shoes
and dresses
rustling deep
with taffeta
and velvet
soft as a
cat's cheek while
my weak little
knees ached from
crawling in
the grass watch-
ing the dogs get
stuck togeth-
er and the
worms get cut
in half.










Copyright © 2003 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jhaag@janhaag.com or jhaag@u.washington.edu

OTHER POEMS


BY JAN HAAG


ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS

INTRODUCTION + POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART

HAAG'S BIO

21st CENTURY ART, C.E. - B.C., A Context