an experiment in permaculture poetics



Five ::


a poetic inventory of saguaro national park




dive right in, sip enchantment


begin the green crawl out of earth


            blue and red burn in the sky high


                        sunset on your head



even when you dream that


your name is


                        collections of things made, things grown


                        that thirst you’ve never mentioned aloud



we give the blue of the blue that holds


we might be breathing in the room


                        but we are extras


                        in the middle of another gathering



get the facts straight. the truth is


            to replicate the shape of


            some natural order would be


                        crossing the border


                        of what you were holding



so much song overlaps


its globe a terrarium


            that calls out diminished things





drinker of sand, halo of bones


            to that rhythm


            of the first fall



i’ve lost this place


i try to find you


            but nobody moves, only



a single rhythm against


the sign of your thoughts


            so far away



endless movement of the universe



with flat of foot flush to the ground


stand up and speak as one about the heat



            for the next thing you know


            to extend preservation, the eye


            suddenly, stems away



we fall silent, wrapped


            in the early morning shadows


            soft crunching of sand



                        a rainstorm disturbs the settled words


                        as the sky dropping seeds of light





our blanketed galaxy in a fork of trees

            the dust, the million scratches

            beside the shrunken rivers

to the wide desert sky

                        called out by thunder

                        call and i don’t

                        taste the air with

this land with eyes like tiny planets

landscape is

                        at the margin of

everything she’d seen, but not what she was looking for

the light now casts its certain slant

            almost feathery, almost

            different fields of meaning

sleep at dusk

i believe in reincarnation

the fire was asking as it began

asphalt to ashes

            its center writ large at night

            who knows when it’s enough    


even the stones are talking

            into the thorny wash

            into earth deeply into thought

so, why would you spend your days

caught in a basket of

            bird song eclipsed by jet engines

                        and then feral rain

                        roots to roots to creek turned torrent

                        your sustaining alchemy?

after a lifetime

i’m only a little bit thirsty

most of the alternatives were unsuitable

                        long shots of another day

what do we know

to seek shelter, choose shade

who eats what the rain smells like

survival requires intention

a thousand more fires

                        or as a doorway

we can speak or not speak



Spiral Orb is an experiment in juxtaposition, interrelationships, and intertextuality—a cross-pollination. This opening poem composts fragments from each of the pieces in Spiral Orb Five. Standing also as the table of contents, each line is embedded with a hyperlink to its original piece. Once at each piece, you will find links to the other pieces in Spiral Orb Five.

Spiral Orb Five is a special issue on A Poetic Inventory of Saguaro National Park.

For past issues of Spiral Orb: archives

For more on Spiral Orb, see What Is.