When you filled a glass with confession
and an entire standing army turned into leaves.
how it translates the windy day.
Insults and compliments became a ritual
wearing a field you show up to a rendezvous
to steal from your own chest a sculpted stone heart
inside which the rose is a landmine.
the few hold the reins.
To the American Buffalo*
Trapped in the arc of a sexual war
the sycamore and maple burn the eyes this autumn.
I staff the stars with suffocating memories
fragile ice instruments, lavishly buffalo.
As the calendar, a pool filled with children,
thumps the axis of paradise.
Could we ripen, with perfume of ______, its leather
sadness, eyes of jade,
eel-green seashore, mothball guests?
One could compare it to a sponge
how America absorbs all, meanwhile
these crown-of-thorn highways, drip
what poets need in the feast of
Memphis and in the keyholes of Albuquerque.
I am in Chicago thinking of Old Wests
and belly button hopscotch. I people
poems with small clouds of
nuns, tattooed horizons, fulsome
spatulas. At the very least the wolves
with their blonde daughters
dining at Chez Marie Antoinette
remember the equinox buffalo the nuclear buffalo, its armless
fires and summer watermelons,
even if they cannot hear the
supernovae from where it festers
on the plains because of their lovely new entrees.
Will poets who wash the world’s birds
mind oblivion’s clock
in salad taxis and
ever keep their hands to themselves?
Here in the chocolate dark of under-
kisses, I swear I can hear the ghost buffalo
that improbable crustacean.
*Some consider the term “buffalo” somewhat of a misnomer for this animal, as it is only distantly related to either of the two “true buffalo,” the Asian water buffalo and the African buffalo. However, “bison” is a Greek word meaning ox-like animal, while “buffalo” originated with the French fur trappers who called these massive beasts bœufs, meaning ox or bullock – so both names, “bison” and “buffalo,” have a similar meaning.
Larry Sawyer edits the online magazine milk, curates the Myopic Books Poetry Series, and is a core faculty member of The Chicago School of Poetics. He is also the author of Unable to Fully California (Otoliths Press). Sawyer’s poetry, essays, and reviews have been published in Action, Yes, The Argotist (UK), Arthur, The Chicago Tribune, Coconut, Court Green, Exquisite Corpse, The Miami Sun Post, The National Poetry Review, The Prague Literary Review (Czech Republic), ReadMe, Van Gogh’s Ear (France), Vanitas, Verse Daily, VLAK (Czech Republic), and elsewhere.