Poems by Marc Beaudin
Talking Earth Anthology: Marc Beaudin. Marc Beaudin is the poetry editor of the online journal CounterPunch and the co-owner of Elk River Books in Livingston, Montana. His latest book is The Moon Cracks Open: A Field Guide to the Birds and Other Poems. He also edited an anti-war anthology, Jihad bil Qalam: To Strive by Means of the Pen, for the mid-Michigan activist group, Tri-City Action for Peace. Marc believes that anarchy is the only true democracy, all patriotism is fascism, and that Brahms’ “Violin Concerto in D Major” is more powerful than all the guns, bombs and oil pipelines in the world.
More information can be found at CrowVoice.com and ReverbNation.com/MarcBeaudin. See a video Trailer for The Moon Cracks Open at http://www.goodreads.com/videos/show/2760-the-moon-cracks-open-book-trailer
In addition to writing, he directs and designs for the stage, and is currently producing a play he wrote, Frankenstein, Inc., a modern adaptation of the Mary Shelly novel which explores the monstrous consequences of corporate science putting profits before people in the realm of genetic engineering.
Marc will read, sing and talk with host Barbara LaMorticella on Talking Earth, Monday night October 17 from 10-11 PM.
Three Poems by Marc Beaudin
from The Moon Cracks Open: A Field Guide to the Birds and Other Poems.
Floating, eyes closed,
face to an unclouded sky,
held by the cool hands
of the Cheyenne River
I forget – for a moment –
the uranium from inhuman mines
into each pore of my body
like late-afternoon sunlight into every window in town
The uranium I myself put here
by paying my taxes, by shopping for a bargain,
by reading the lies of American history textbooks,
by watching the propaganda of John Wayne
on Sunday afternoons wrapped
in a blanket the colors of the flag,
by thinking that wisdom is to be found
in the books of dead men
rather than in the song of the nighthawk
or the poem of cottonwoods clacking in the breeze
I float, apart from myself,
allowing the river to carry me like a vapor,
my feet dragging through muck and over rocks;
weeds and small fish
brushing my legs in velvety greeting
The sun through these pale eyelids
becomes a field of sunflower;
the voices of the native children
among the golden heads nodding in the wind.
They transform this poison nectar into song.
And in my broken Lakota,
with my funny, city-bred accent,
I try to sing along:
Wanbli gleshka waniyan nihiyouwe
“A spotted eagle is coming for you”
When I stand and stagger to the shore,
dry off, and climb into my truck,
I hope that the toxins I have absorbed
will leave this river
some small part cleaner,
and will shine on my skin like a mirror.
–Red Shirt, SD (Republic of Lakotah)
Federico Garcia Lorca Reminds Me of Robert Frost
On a night like this
you can hear the ropes creaking
in their pulleys as the moon rises,
and the click and hiss
of each star coming on,
a hum of machinery sounding
almost like wind through the trees
When a coyote knifes the darkness,
you think of sirens.
When an owl echoes your question,
you look for a door to lock,
a window to latch.
You pull your coat tighter
to your chest, and try
to remember that song from Sunday School;
but all that comes to your mouth
is the iron-salt taste
of your own blood.
It’s then that you look down two roads
and wish you had paid more attention
to that poem
you had to read for class
–Ewald’s Bar, Saginaw, MI
Only the Dead
“Only the dead have seen the end of war.” –Plato
PART ONE: THE VOICE
The sky too is concrete
rain whipping cold like a father’s belt
& I stand
thumb in hand
waiting for that one good ride.
This is where it begins.
This is where it will end:
A boy sways in the branches of dying trees
turns away for a moment,
& finds himself, a grown man planted
in the gravel of another road–
a crow perches on his heart;
an owl on his tongue.
This is where it begins.
This is what I’ve become:
Western highway fading south,
boots lapping up the puddles
like thirsty dogs,
eyes squinting into the torrent
of black black rain.
I am grateful for the weight of my pack
& the icy thunder all around.
And then the welcome smile of brakelights
& I’m trading stories w/ a farmer,
turned trucker, &
opening my coat against the heat
& the miles peel away like dollar bills
& the cars flash by like half-thoughts
& the stillness returns
& with it, the haunting words
chanced upon in a photograph
in our illegal attic:
“Only the dead
have seen the end of war.”
Sometimes it all comes together
to form what we call a moment
& the moments line up,
to become a memory–
a cluster of images;
a fury of autumn leaves.
And in this moment, now,
it suddenly occurs to me:
I have never, in my life,
left a forwarding address.
PART TWO: THE CRY
America, land of the big backyard
& swimming pools
& self-induced lobotomies
& thirty-one flavors
& neon, day-glo electric chairs–
if only I weren’t born w/in the golden bars
of your Fourth Reich,
if only I weren’t born in the shadow
of your Roman Eagle,
I could love my country
the way Neruda loved Chile
or Kazantzakis loved Greece
but you’ve made it impossible
to separate land from state
people from policy
geography from government,
& so to be an American poet
is to always be a poet w/out a country
because a poet is nothing if not a teller of truth.
And we gather in fields of broken glass.
We love the weeds that splinter the sidewalk.
We stay up all night talking to walls.
We, following Whitman,
sound our barbaric yawp & wear our hats as we please,
we gather on rooftops
from rusty eaves.
Only the dead have seen the end of war
but not all wars are fought
w/ the guns and bombs
of the weak desperation of empire–
the flag-waving children of Babylon.
Sometimes the moon
is the only witness to murder;
& he would never
rat out his friends.
PART THREE: THE WILDERNESS
This is where it will end.
This is where it begins:
in muddy procession
the wind picks up
& all I want
–Highways 1 through 99
** See the Video Trailer for The Moon Cracks Open at