Selections from
The Bird Of Nothing

by próspero saíz

fluted-stone points


ice-age mammals melting

into myth

petrified forest


mocked by our petrified nature

daily renewal



prehistoric cities of today

fetish flurries

smoke stack tied to water

petrified life

discarding time

montage of skulls

the glaciers melting

bridges disappearing


hollowed-out nature

thick ivory shrinking

a three inch baby walrus


incised carvings

delicately flaked tools

or tooth of beaver

cherished by the hand

gnawing on wapiti antler

dreams of flight

the eye beholding suddenly

a 4 1/3 inch great blue heron

a space shuttle crashing down

transitory tools upon the moon

the infinite proximity of art



the 9 3/4 inch high pipe


a mississippi past

indian cleaving

small victim skull

and the waters running on

before the talking leaves

captured Sequoyah

and made him stoop


pin on stone


knife on charred stick


pen on paper

G W Y   tsa-la-gi

and the clean waters

running on

and the foul waters

held back

a trickle for the sea

new echota georgia

old print shop


cherokee constitution

old testament

and bilingual talking leaves


"catching a wild animal and taming it"

two eagle feathers and a title

still trace of iroquoian

the dying rivers lace the forests

where the mastodon is gone


montage of skulls

montage of signs

earthworks for ceremony

harness mound ohio

cipher of transitory

earthen embankments

geometrical shapes


burial mounds

for european plowing

a 2 1/2 inch platform pipe


empty burial mound

funerary art of hopewell


enduring hawk-eye

searching for the skull

looking up beneath the waters

[allegheny-ohio: beautiful river

frenchified senecan]

with empty stare

residue of human face

untimely unsuccessful

decay is always on the way

putrefaction petrefaction

corpse skeleton

the waters too are dust

remarked by earthen ruins

no riddle this

great heaping up of bones

no vanity   no power

the world does not suffer

and the digs of death

deep jagged lines

measuring forever

the distance in-between

the empty skull and meaning

violence or time?


is the river lost in the sea
and all words in incoherence
and all the known in the unknown
and the roaring waters of the torrent?

have all the rivers reached the level of the sea?
whence "fire on its back moving on the water"?

[and arizona a little papago spring
and connecticut a mohegan long river
and the ottawa's big lake michigan
and mnisota the dakota's cloudy water
and the big river mississippi of the illinois
and the missouri for those of the dugout canoe
and the mighty flat river nibdhathka of the omaha
and allegheny-ohio the beautiful river of the seneca
and the tanasi little river of the cherokee
and the algonquian river name wisconsin
and the big river-flats wyoming of the delaware]

whence the gold and blood churning at the bottom
of the roaring waters of the rivers?

eyes without tears
the misty blossoms cut
the grasses no longer heard
the breeze awaiting the sail of the night
and the cold brilliant flame of the compass
sinking into the western mounds

the prairie winds drive the rain nowhere

the shelter of the pine floating on
in the meditation of the dead leaves

the flutes dance on the water moon
the eyes crash into the rocks
the mountain moves away from the moon
a bright emptiness is flowing
there: the hermit poem is turned to stone

does the river have an entrance at the surface
does the sea have an entrance for the river
and who is able to survive the depth's of the cave
the safety of the cave is always greater outside
where those who dwell inside must ever look
there is a noise approaching from oh so far away
(from the profound bottom of all things comes the danger)
the noise overtaken in the silence
there is a light approaching from oh so far away
the light overtaken by the receeding darkness
the darkness which lightens all illumination
in the dark heart of things
                                            all is close but nothing arrives
the work of all illumination
                                            lost in the night
the night's illumination
                                            captured by a darker night

all the lights are dancing
                                            in the darkness of the waters
and in the bright insomnia
                                            of the whiteness of the sands

the darkness of the bird         nearer

still more distant than the inside

still closer than the outside

the bird of nothing in our nocturne

: the danger of a passing thought

the last night open to the light

something is uttered there

under the fatal blow of the day

the impossible night is nearing

From The Bird of Nothing & Other Poems, published by Ghost Pony Press. Copyright © 1993 by Ghost Pony Press.

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