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Cedar Sigo Four Poems

The Studio

Coyotes on a torn paper hilltop howling at the sun, a blaring red stamp

A circular pond with animals feeding in droves around it, brown, pink, yellow cheetah, bare trees full of lime colored birds

A wooden ladder that swings down off its hinge

A huge room without bolts or nails, full of ghosts of friends (makers of poems)

Turquoise and black at battle in square shapes and ends of blades interlocked off-screen

Reams of paper in boxes (perfect, blank) next to ladders leading out the roof

Rodin’s sink crusted over with plaster, dry wrinkled hands resting on threshold

Seafoam green door, withered markings, golden deadbolt, depression glass tomb

Spilled green wine teased into gargoyle, his eyes are seething, his ears are burning

 

Aquarelle

Bent at my

desk

in pieces

in starlight’s

wire clutch

the eye is caught

staring into splinters

like the warble of

the dove at the start

of rain, and the curve

of the cane

to follow its script,

the lord of

the nadir is

the black sun,

a hot whiskey

with anise wash,

small circular brush

to lash and gather

to be trans

not destroyers

continuous snowfall

recorded, crystals

tapping colors

out from their centers

my idealized

voice in fact

a ruin

I can’t freeze

lines together

any longer

I need hot flowers,

figures ripped

loudly from

their boxes rather

off balance

crumbling smoke

losing the light

lifted

 

Three Landscapes

(LA Odyssey)

I almost insist on the words
                                           as doors left swinging

from the force no one saw

                                        A wrap around hotel

                                        with empty courtyard

                                        boarded up, sprayed white

                    Hiding Out.

      Nick is too kind
                                 two black
                         and slowly moving marbles against flesh

Sara, a model of containment

                                         Brian is luminous (all eyes)               

                       twin fires beyond the pit
                                                                  that only crackles green

                       brighter than the edges of the neon
                                                                                lining Fairfax

                                                             Family Books

                                                                                  The Films of Robert Blake

                                                                                        We score a trim ocean blue                                       

                                                                            windbreaker

                                 and Dinosaurs of the Land, Sea & Air

I slipped away from the bench
                                                 when they brought
                                                                     the car around

My black hobo sack abandoned

and thought a bomb. I was seamlessly high on my air heels and driven

                                    away to where the camera could not follow                                                        

 

(Tyler, Texas)                                               

                     Two out-of-towners
                                 in the sharp grasses
                      white churches
    not a hair feels out of place
                         They say the next county over
                                                     from Smith is wet   

You go around Ben Wheeler
   Through dumb-fuck White House
   Back over Black Beauty Ravine                                                                                     

                                                        Drink till mothers due
                           back at the home (for memory care)
     for a random viewing of Eastside-Westside, 1949
               (Where Stanwyck and Ava Gardner step into the same picture)

Finally alone together
          more arrowhead hunting
            We are fuses left scorched under lavender skies
                                       where Karen Carpenter’s longest note
                         is broken in half.                                      

                        Near dark
I shot what I thought
                   was a long stick
          and didn’t check back for two days
                                    It was a water moccasin                                    

                                head all blown off
                    and caved in
                                     slick as snot

 

(In and around Port Angeles)

                                          Crescent was the lake                             

                              And Air-Crest                                                   

                                                   A motel

                      Mind stuck at my sources                                  

                                                   A flimsy strip
                          Of rooms
                                          Painted,
spotless insides

A blossom curled to its drink
in the glass jar

                        fluid as past saviors and poet
                        explorers

                                           Philip                       

With the shade
                       of Miss Kids

            “Any rough land rises with light”                             

                                          a peeling red house
                      rotten wood trim

                                          It felt empty from across the river
                           I was a giant
Bent at the waist
                           With massive reach

                   (Through lines of rain)

combing knots from the fog

                                 clear down
                                                  through the pine

                                tiny points
                                of bloody
                                lime ink rejoined
                                every image
meaning light pressed
                                   the day long…

                                                menacing chord                                   

                     congested
                                               hall of mosses                                   

                                bump
                                            and narrow bridge

            

          I fell out alone and

                        So solid

Reciting my crystalline

                                          little head off
                                                 in slick
                                                              and banded verse                  

                               “O the air       

                                     from the valve                                                          

                               that burns

                                     which glyph”

 

November 19, 2016

                                 for Joanne Kyger

(1)

Poetry is the part

            that no one sees

clip the flower
              burn the brush                      

                      watch rain stream

                                                 down
                         the moon viewing

               window
six drops fold together
                                    then glimmer

burn a stick of Autumn Leaves                           

                                    crack the screen door
write longer

                       have beams shooting

out and over
                    the blessed
bountiful body

Do not revisit
                          poems the next day

they have already rejoined the actual

                          matter
                          daily music fallen
back into the fabric                 

                to acknowledge mastery

                          would violate her
flexibility

               even further terms (the heat

               and shape of the mountain)

(2)

                                Bring

                    the outside in…

          

          the gray continuous               

                        tangle of moss

          posing as a mandala

                          

                          burning the

         sudden white

                  tiny

                               cracks              

               in between      

                                        outside

These poems and the following interview are the second in a regular series guest-edited by Jennifer Elise Foerster.


Cedar Sigo was raised on the Suquamish reservation near Seattle, Washington. He studied writing and poetics at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado and has lived in San Francisco since 1999. He is the author of eight books and pamphlets of poetry, including Royals (Wave Books, 2017), Language Arts (Wave Books, 2014), Stranger in Town (City Lights, 2010), Expensive Magic (House Press, 2008), and two editions of Selected Writings (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2003 and 2005). He is the editor of There You Are: Interviews, Journals, and Ephemera, on Joanne Kyger (Wave Books, 2017). He has taught workshops at St. Mary’s College, Naropa University, and University Press Books. He just moved back to Washington with his partner, where he continues to write and teach.

“Aquarelle” and “Three Landscapes” were first published in Royals (Wave Books, 2017)

Featured image: Suquamish canoe in Agate Pass, early 1900’s (photo courtesy of the Suquamish Museum Archives)