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GOODBYE SONG

Don’t plague the butterfly
blessing the lemon bush
it’s like pushing a ballerina off balance
or stealing a bushel-full of tangelos
working to be ripe.

As intent as breath
cancer takes us
from the ones we love.

Truth waits for us to discover
Justice has her eyes covered.
Chaos harbors the scales.

Hectares of ash move out with the waves.
Heart travels through Chaos,
from life to peace,
freedom from fight
from fear.

On the day you die a roadrunner steaks across the road. We rent a canoe and laugh too hard as we remember how to row.  We set out for some place to say a prayer and a sandy shoal to rest and picnic. I think of Giovanni and  Nicholo in matching life jackets and bucket hats on the empty bench between us. We discover a halcyon cove where the birds loll on marooned branches. I place my hands over my chest stare up into the sky and weep. Jane recites her poem

Blue Nude

Please take this shy Spanish girl
whom they say you resemble
and ride with her,  here are the field poppies
damaged by night, here your blue slumber, your horse.
Take this prayer, which you must surrender
in order to understand, as in moments when you are reduced
to the truth.  When you are ready,
the beasts will be there.  Let silence go through your heart,
the mild horse your blue one
already stirring toward morning, where it will be white.

While she recites I think of you in your final hours. I hear Chris Cornell singing “all night thing.” A lone heron watches us row back to the dock.

I pledge to see you, dear one. I will repeat you, your brilliance, the mode of your brow. Countless gestures impart understanding. Like a child fighting sleep we move towards closure. I will shrink into a bawl then open as you flower through time, loving, ardent, with the capacity of your spirit to give.

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Denise Marie Franco b. December 18th 1967 d. March 13th 2013.  In Denise’s words,

“On this Thanksgiving 2012, I give thanks for the wonderful life I have lived and the wonderful life I continue to live.  I am blessed to have two wonderful children, and a wonderful man who light my world and fill my life with love on a daily basis.  I am blessed to have a wonderful supportive family, and amazing supportive friends. Friends I consider like family!  Friends I’ve known most my life (you know who you are) , and ones I’ve met in recent years, all who add substance and peace and love to my world.
Thank You… because I feel very fortunate!”

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The slideshow is composed of photographs taken by Denise. “Blue Nude” is from Jane Miller’s Many Junipers, Heartbeats.  The image above is of a poem I wrote several years ago. Brian Watson found it among Denise’s papers and read it at her memorial celebration in Malibu California at the Nicholas Canyon Chumash Village.

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To the New Year

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible

http://poetry.arizona.edu/promotion/2011/01/poetry-times-tragedy

Marlon B Evans Photo

Poet Marlon B. Evans was born on October 8, 1952 and left this world on July 28, 2009. Wendy Burk: Marlon was Tohono O’odham and Akimel O’odham, Desert and River People. He received a B.S. from Rochester Institute of Technology and a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He had just completed his first year of graduate work in the University of Arizona American Indian Studies Program, with an emphasis in poetry and media arts.

When I think about Marlon, I think about the poems he wrote, and also the poems he had not yet written. We can’t know what those poems would be. But you can read a feature on Marlon’s work in the Fall 2007 issue of Red Ink Magazine, a journal of Native voices that was very close to his heart. And thanks to Marlon’s good friend Eric Mache, you can watch a video of Marlon reciting his poem “A Eurocentric Memoir.”

Marlon surrounded himself with a circle of other writers and artists, as talented and unforgettable as he was. Here, a few of them share their work in tribute to our friend Marlon Evans.


Simon J. Ortiz

September 26, 2009

A Love That Thrives

Soon after we met, a number of summers ago, the late Marlon Evans told me what he really wanted to do.  Write a story, write a script, and make a movie about Ira Hayes.  In fact, the true story of Ira Hayes.  Ira and the Akmiel O’otham community.  “Not that drunk Indian story, not that Tony Curtis b.s. movie Hollywood shit,” Marlon said.   Read the rest of this entry »

Franci Washburn

September 26, 2009

Still Present

In Memory of Marlon Evans

In the rain drenched brown of the earth, still I see your face

Dripping sweat after your run up Tumamoc.


Read the rest of this entry »

Frances Sjoberg

September 26, 2009



Recitation for Marlon Evans

from his self-introduction in Red Ink


Taking a poem from beginning to end


With a story in between


Read the rest of this entry »

Joe O’Connell

September 26, 2009



Marlon was my best friend for many years. Among the qualities I appreciated during those years were his honesty and generosity. He would talk, then grow silent and think, then talk some more—as if an invisible string were slowly drawing the truth out of him. Read the rest of this entry »

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