Sam Taylor

Human Geography

Today I walked over a real mountain.
With real feet. A heart that splashed
in the center of nothing, a red world.
Tonight, I am staying out of the arms
of my love, so I can feel my pain
like a tree standing alone in the night.
∞ ∞ ∞
Watching the invisible slaves we call
angels haul the clouds over the crest, ropes
taut over their shoulders. Cumulous,
cirrus. Ice slopes like an alphabet
in a land nobody touches. Except like this.
Even the edges of our world are full.
∞ ∞ ∞
Everyone locked inside a dance. Chained
to the intestinal annelid. To which
has been added the splendor of the dawn,
lichens on the cliff. Who isn’t innocent?
Don’t make me go out again
into the common language, Lord.
∞ ∞ ∞
If I can hold the word inside the dreaming
not as an act of certainty, but of
knowing nonetheless—a hand stretched out
in the dark, feeling the stone wall, the plum tree—
the constant rememberance of the fragile
prostrating before us, I can feel calm.
∞ ∞ ∞
Watching invisible angels we call
physics walk the clouds out over the edge
of the world, like a boy walking a horse
to find water—never getting there,
never tiring either. Fall meadow, spring onions.
Nobody knows where they are going.
∞ ∞ ∞
It’s time we stopped all the lies. The world
is beautiful. There is nothing to find
more than your own face or hands in the dirt
and the sound of your voice splitting the blue
atom sky, like a raven. Human cry.
Love is nuclear, Mr. President.
∞ ∞ ∞
Let us never say another thing about God
who may favor russet leaf-cutting ants
over the minister or sheik, the aboriginal
above the academic, the woman
to the man. A leaf may be more than a prayer.
Silence might be what words are saying.
∞ ∞ ∞
It’s time we stopped all the lies. The world
is terrible. Placing your hands in your pocket
and breathing as you walk through Wal-Mart
might be the path to salvation. A cell-phone,
a rubber ball, whatever you touch, many have felt
pain, making it, bringing it to you.
∞ ∞ ∞
Let us never say another thing about God
then we shall see that we cannot speak
again of science or doubt either, but only
of elk stepping through the snowy mountain
and a species of war, spirit-broken,
its metal explosives buried in the good earth.
∞ ∞ ∞
If we walk on from here, it will be without words
that are meanings, only movements and pictures.
Like a village that has taken what is essential.
The hands that built those ovens are gone now
which means they are in our hands now.
Dig, build, pray. Do. Whatever you can with them.

"Human Geography" is from Body of the World (Ausable Press, 2005).