THE CHILDREN'S SUITE

THE CHILDREN'S SUITE

Fanny did all that work
after she missed with the prince
and later, her husband said,
Good enough, Fanny, Good enough.

What makes a dream a dream?
Doesn't the empirical world
make us also dizzy!

Sitting up, saying to myself,
You're not sleeping!
You're not looking around!
Saying to that longing other
I won't go on until we connect.

How were you rewarded for your silence?

2. Puzzle pieces of cups and saucers rattle
in my hands,
amid all the questions of sadness
influencing how we think of ourselves.
Whose voice matters more?

Tell me what you're working through
Schools are more segregated
than they were when we were growing up

Tell me about you

There we were in a truck
full of green things
The missing piece
is my favorite because
this is the book
my first child fell in love with

We were moving directly
into the path of trouble--
wind itself was picking up signals
from last syllables
coming from our mouths.

Jim Bodeen
24-26 May 2017

LA MARCHA PARA INMIGRANTES EN YAKIMA

NOTES ON THE IMMIGRATION MARCH IN YAKIMA

MAY DAY, 2017








Marcha para los inmigrantes en Yakima, Primer de mayo, 2017. Immigration March in Yakima, May Day, 2017 con mensaje de Mathew Tomaskin, del tribu Yakama. Yakama Mathew Tomaskin's speech before the march is here in its entirety. Movie by Jim Bodeen





NOTAS ANTES DE LA MARCHA
NOTAS DESPÚES DE LA MARCHA       
NOTAS EN MI CUADERNO
NOTAS CANTANDO EN MI CUARTO
NOTAS CAMINANDO CON MI PERRO
NOTAS SOBRE MI CARTA AL SEÑOR,

Notes, too, to the surrounding music
Notes to the Bishop.
I don't know too many, but I know a few.
Notes on my questions before the march.
Running water for everyone the mayor says,
and the woman walking with me laughs,
Show me the faucets.
                                     First question:
Who wrote the song, Precious Lord?
Hint, hint, it wasn't Elvis. And this one,
Can more people sing Las Casas de Cartón
than can sing, Love Me Do?

More notes on the dangers of the poetic line.
Matt Tomaskin said,
We didn't cross that line,
that line crossed us.

Scan that river.

The priest says, No tengan miedo, no tengan miedo.
la iglesia los acompaña. And I have that one on film.
You can take it to the bank. We're here, he says,
para apollar los inmigrantes.
                                                My own notes
from the church bulletin on Sunday, quote the pastor saying,
"Welcome the stranger. The Bible is clear on this." Bien chido, pastora.
My response, also in notes, ask,
If you don't welcome the stranger
how can you sit next to your wife?

El pueblo esta presente. And that's true, too.

el pueblo unido
jamas sera vencido

Empirical facts on that one, still aren't in.

The pastor talked about Jesus being a refugee as a child.
I was sitting in the pew next to a young man
who, like Jesus, had also been a refugee,
crossing, as North American Christians like to say,
as an illegal. I think pastor was talking about Baby Jesus, too.
I happen to know that my young friend,
on one of the four times he crossed, it was night,
he was in diapers, and the helicopter swooped down
with its lights on and got him and his mom.
Like I said to him after church,
if you want to know if Jesus was afraid
add those chopper blades and the big lights coming out of the sky.

No tengan miedo, no tengan miedo.
This is the line that crossed us,
the line we sing about in our song.
Escuelas internados.
These notes from the earth.
Notas desde la tierra.
Somos/as desde la tierra.

Notas en movimiento.
Notes on the move.

I don't think there are shortcuts for any of us.
Those men in ties on tv calling for us go back get back in line.
There's a line makes me laugh. No lloremos. No lloremos.
No hay atajos. No hay.
These notes from the long song walking.
Some of these be mine.
We are so many. We bring so much. We are so, so beautiful.
We're bringing the tortillas?
We're bringing the love.

Jim Bodeen
1 May 2007--16 de mayo 2017





Cheerio



CHEERIO

Maple Syrup
frozen blueberries
honey-sweetened oats

Jim Bodeen
14 May 2017


When We Came Back

AND HOW WE LIVED OUR LIVES

He was student body president
at the university, and became the voice
I followed as he trailed Cacciato
in and out of the war. When the war
opened for me twenty years later
I looked again and wrote my poems,
this time wondering if.
                                    Would we
ever cross stories?

The small college I returned to
after I came home in 1968,
was bringing him to town
for The Big Read. He had been
infantry, 11B in Quang Tri Province
in 69 and 70, had encountered
the ghosts of my time. His unit
had re-entered My Lai
before it had come out,
uncovered itself, the government
pinning guilt
on Lieutenant Calley
what was everywhere.

Qui Nhon, Binh Dinh Province,
bordering Quang Tri from the south
where two evac hospitals,
67th Evac and 85th Evac took casualties
round the clock, from January through July
when bombing stopped,
is where I was--at the 85th.

I write in Jubilee time
across 50 years, remembering
what got written on forms
for every casualty
who made it to us,
the narrative of what happened.
The narrative repeated hundreds
and hundreds of times each month,
repeating itself in numbers
that cannot be named,
named or numbered.
The revelation
in chapter and verse.
Still trying to bring it down to size.
Still trying to see it was that big.
My time. What he wrote about.  
When I was, well, earlier                                                 



DRESSED IN ORANGE BASEBALL CAP WITH BLACK LETTERS
READING HENDRIX IN ALL CAPS, BLACK BLAZER,
SLACKS, SHORT, JUST ABOUT SAME HEIGHT AS ME,
AND A SKINNY GREEN TIE WITH RED SPLOTS,
O'BRIEN HAS BEGUN WHEN I WALK IN TO TAKE MY SEAT


Vivid immediate bang, first words,
how the misfit became the misfit.

...the stink of a half-truth...
   
figure out the context
what he's trying to do, where he's going--
that'll tell you who he is
what I'm trying to do
where I'm going
who I am

What's that in the air
cottonwood

Just into his 70s arms wrapped
around Hemingway's ice berg
Explanation doesn't explain dyslexics don't become killers
Outside that hotel room, that cat in the rain
that woman, the man on the bed

Where the father comes into the story
Drinking at the VFW, drinking at the grain elevator,
Smart things to say so he'd stop drinking
Mother looking out the window
and the young wife and the cat in the rain
The craft of it, bad and mediocre telling
leave no room for the reader

Yesterday, for example,

Walking into this room
I gave my father the book and he told me
it was too much like real life
The other one had his Hemingway
Ice bergs and vanishing fathers

I gave up writing sentences

I committed myself to the sentence

What had once been fun for me hardened.
Where I tried to be me let up
Now once in a while

I walked out
just walked

this is how
it once was

it once was
how is this

this once was
this was once

This meditation in green
this sideways awful

What wants to be kept
and doesn't belong

For me it all mirrored
young black girls boarding
the city bus
with their
God bless


BONSAI SENSEI LECTURES FOR EIGHT HOURS ON WATERING TREES

After I returned from Japan, these trees
Sensei said, Wire it like this, so that the branches will follow
He looked at it and said, It's all wrong, it's all wrong, this is the worst,
and just like that I was no longer a soldier

Ultimate health
resisting everything
we're going to do to it
it needs to be healthy

Dr. Earth
with its good bacteria
equal numbers

Work around the poet
once a month
with little hills of food

The three things
trees need
water retention
oxygen
lava, pumice, akadama

Moving soil cuts roots
Every pot needs top soil
to stabilize

Jim Bodeen
25 April--12 May 2017



EARLY RAIN

MUCH LATER

Still morning
Trees so tall, reminders
in these moments
beyond their breathing

Jim Bodeen
11 May 2017

Walking the Yard

WALKING THE YARD

Before I do anything (after waking)

Before I do anything
each day

I walk the yard

Returning to the house
I sit for coffee
and write in the notebook

walking the yard

Jim Bodeen
14 April-9 May 2017

Jubilee Teacher, That One

THAT TEACHER

What's his name I
don't know his name
but when I came back
from the war
in 1968
I took his class
in the evening
a drama class
at the community college
that one
I'd been out of the country
two years
he called me into the hall
before class started
Come on, he said
I'm going to show you
how to walk
into the room

Jim Bodeen
6 May 2017