Saturday, December 27, 2008

Video Feature 3: Christopher Arigo plus A NEW POEM

Embedded is a 5-minute video of Christopher Arigo reading from his poetry collection
In the archives. This reading (9/20/07), hosted by Steve Dickison and the San Francisco
State Poetry Center in conjunction with Omnidawn, was held at the Unitarian Church
on Franklin St in San Francisco, CA. Other readers that night were Donald Revell
(link to his video here), Bin Ramke, and Laura Moriarty (link to her video here).
(We plan to have Video Features of Bin Ramke as well as other wonderful writers
in coming weeks.)

For more information about In the archives, published by Omnidawn, click this link.

And here is a new poem from Christopher Arigo:


And the explosions forced away the hummingbirds


and the air surrounding them screamed
(did they scream or was it you)
startled by their own flight
by shrapnel by phosphorescent buzz-bombs
byproducts of terror and potential terror
the potential dormant in mating index finger to trigger
the finger’s potential when hovering
above buttons red and dead-like—dead-making


and they wait—

breathing shallow muscles tensed pupils dilated to swallow
more light more light

some freeze flooded with endorphins some flee flooded with fright some fight
and reasons come in waves of chemicals and flashes and screaming


someday the hummingbirds may return
to a hole in the earth to wait for a time more loving
please don’t leave us—
sadly most won’t miss you until you do


and the hummingbirds fly until they lose momentum until they run out of air
and the machines are patient
and the birds will wait for their malfunction
violence mates with an efficiency some call modern living
the birds occasionally twitter and vrrrip in response
the timers are set to kill


hummingbirds wish the war would end
(or is it you or me)
it is hard to hum when children die from bombs
this country is killing hummingbirds
(or did you mean children)


hummingbirds live in a world where people destroy their homes
because people want bigger homes
because children need to write poems
because I kill forests too


—pens have potential for dead-making too
—pencils are made of trees and rock
—poems are made of trees and rock
—poets should be soft stones willing to erode


the hummingbirds visit the poinciana not you
they do not bloom on their own

these hummingbirds are of the desert to which I must say goodbye
they cannot be made machines—
the hummingbirds are not helicopters—
they care nothing for airlifts or fleeing criminals
their red throats do not imitate gunshot wounds
the whirring of their wings brings air strums to your ears
the chatter of helicopters sweeping with menaced eyes upsets your ears every


listen did you hear what the birds say:
they say a nest is a refuge is a home
a nest is a place for real children unkilled
a kinder-refuge untouched by almost-adults


you hope the hummingbirds are not disturbed in their nests of plant down and
spiders’ webs

covered so perfectly with lichens as to appear part of a branch


Christopher Arigo's first poetry collection Lit interim won the 2001-2002 Transcontinental Poetry Prize (selected by David Bromige) and was published by Pavement Saw Press (2003). His second collection In the archives (2007) was published by Omnidawn Publishing. Additionally, he co-edits the literary magazine Interim with poet Claudia Keelan and is currently working on a book-length hybrid scholarly/creative nonfiction project on the intersections of ecopoetics, ethnopoetics, hunter-gatherer culture, language extinction, and anticivilization theory. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Washington State University.


1 comment:

Peanut McSizzle said...

"someday the hummingbirds may returnto a hole in the earth to wait for a time more loving please don’t leave us—sadly most won’t miss you until you do"

Yes, sadly, our ways will be the death of many things we didn't have time in our busy lives to notice until they're gone.