Robert Ronnow
                                                                   Janie Huzzie Bows
                                                                
Ronnow   Reading



                                          Earth


Two people cannot see the same way but they can teach
One another their ways. One gives up body and soul
To follow the flow of the historical woman until
He can close his eyes and glide through mountains effortlessly.
He gives up earth and he gives up air, he gives up being touched
But he forgets to give up desiring to be touched. Then
One day the sun is hot or the moon is full, he desires
Uncontrollably to be touched and he flies smack
Into the mountain and never comes out the other side.

You live to prepare yourself to die. You leave behind
A wreck of strewn projects or a few icy pearls.
Incredibly you leave your voice behind saying
Over and over again the same words. You leave
Memories of yourself behind as pictures in the heads
Of people who wish you weren't dead or hadn't been alive.
They wash the pictorial body, shave it, comb your hair
The way they liked it best, cut a little here, add a little there,
Then easily, easily and kindly forget you.

Two hundred years later the wall crumbled and burned.
The ashes were spread logically across the plain,
A mathematical formula could describe the distribution.
The ashes were like seeds and from them
A thousand higher walls were made. It was lovely
To see those walls breathing imperceptibly
Shifting their glances so slowly as to go unnoticed
Behaving as if they were dead.

If I breathe, they breathe. If they are ash, so am I.
Having tried to separate myself and failed
I donate my body to science. The wall needs me
To breathe and hear. It gets my ears and lungs.
Trees need me to cast their night spells.
Are they asleep or are they dancing
A primitive fertility dance in the forest?
I choose trees because they can watch everything
From the distance of longevity.
To them I donate my soul.

Everything should be made of earth.
Earthen walls, earthen homes, earthen bodies, earthen sex.
Nothing should be made of air. Earth should inhale
And exhale air. Air should whip and caress earth.
Air should dry it out and crumble it. Earth.
Water should wet it and dissolve it. Earth.
What is the function of fire? Fire makes earth permanent
And then fire makes earth into air. Water
Makes earth into mud. Mud makes earth into homes.
Homes make earth into walls. Walls make the earth breathe.
Breathing makes the earth crumble. Crumbling
Makes the earth seed.


Copyright 1983 & 2007 by Robert Ronnow.