I've seen you in capitals and side streets
of Mexican border towns, in back woods and tawdry carnivals
black eyes peering out from beneath creased brown
faces following mine, to stop mind's chatter.
You are the bow and arrow dangling mid-space Presenting one shot
with aspirated HA —The vision I saw at Apple Hill 30 years ago!
I heard your approach just around the corner, a commotion
or slight hissing in New York City, where I last sighted you
dancing in the green market, loping your body
to the rhythms of little Andean men moving feet in unison,
your kind of tune—strings scratching the sky,
a bit off key. Arms uplifted, you swelled with drunken steps.
I've seen you the odd one out, the one who speaks up,
whose silence deafens, who displeases just through being—
Unwanted intoxicated female disturbing the peace
according to local police logs.
Your little crook'd finger leads me on, the sound of your bone
ornaments in the distance arouses me, your gait
spans continents and thunderous approach quickens my blood.
I'll gladly drink from your kapala any day.
I beg you to pierce my pride with your katvanga.
In olden times, I would burn, left out on a mountainside at birth,
whipped, subdued, or crushed. But I was rescued
through knowledge of you.
You summon all elements: rivers, oceans, mountains,
sky and winds to arrive at the lava source,
swirling cauldron of prima materia
to pass through the cosmic cunt, the cervix of becoming.
Jacqueline Gens is the co-director and one of the founders of the MFA Program in Poetry at New England College. For many years, she worked at the Naropa Institute (now University) in Boulder, CO, before joining the staff of the late poet, Allen Ginsberg in NYC. Her poetry chapbook, Primo Pensiero, with a foreward by Anne Waldman, was published by Shivastan Press in the fall of 2008.