An early valentine arrived from Susan Deer Cloud, her new book Braiding Starlight, a collection of poems about friendship, not friendship as a sacred bond or anything so poetic as that, but friendship as it’s actually lived in 3 am phone calls, back seat smooches, divorce memories triggered by birthdays, and all the other craziness that fills out a life these days. Susan and I met over a campfire a few years ago on Wheeler Hill, the pastoral home of Michael and Carolyn Czarnecki of FootHills Publishing, which has produced books by both Susan and me. Soon I was in her circle of friends, where I’m happy to be. She’s a Catskills native, an unrepentant child of the Sixties, a Native American of Mohawk/Blackfoot/Seneca lineage. She gets angry over injustices in some poems. She gets funny in others. She can’t hide her big passionate heart. And she commits the sacrilege of dissing both Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath in a spirited rant, “I Hate Emily & Sylvia aka NDN Ars Poetica,” that had me smiling from beginning to end. And I revere those two. Here’s a dose of Susan’s poetry in full for Valentine’s Day. Maybe I enjoyed this one because I’m a chronic reviser.
This Poem Is Not for Revising
anymore than you and I are for revising.
This poem is being written past midnight
to Blues playing on Friday night radio.
This poem is so goddamn blue the font is black,
my soul in one of its Black Irish/Blackfoot moods.
This is a poem not for revising
because this poem is an honest poem that howls
for you and me to “get down” and make love
the way love gets made in a real fine blues song,
sax, sex, sweat and whispers moaning to screams.
This poem refuses to revise, its root is in
the heart, the cunt, the cock, the simultaneous come,
is being written to the Blues the way you and I
are being written to the Blues, Babe, alchemizing
into rhapsodic odes to the naked body.
This poem is not for revising because you
and your Blues Mama blaze inside each other
where craft doesn’t exist, only naked poetry.
This poem won’t get an A, will never graduate,
professors will hate it because it has no theory.
This poem is staying rough to Blues on the radio,
to the urban night violet with mists after rain
playing the Blues along the empty streets.
This poem is not for revising because it craves you
unrevised, tender/raw/real/funky and crying
your Blues-eyed beauty into its dusky arms.
Braiding Sunlight is published by Split Oak Press.