Monday, March 5, 2012

Hunting Camp at Yucca Valley

French writer lost in buffalo dreams, where grass grows tall and oceans never meet.
The words keep coming, the readers expecting, and soon we should all be satiated.
From the trail of tears, i translate thoughts to poetry, life to fiction and love to text.
This poem is an excerpt from the upcoming book of desert scratchings, etchings and sketches. It was published in Hobo Camp Review.

Hunting Camp at Yucca Valley

A thrush sharpens its beak on an Atriplex,
and suddenly, it is morning;
I push the sand with naked toes,
I am alive with need, waters beckon.
The thrush is in full song,
the mountain in full rose.
Children stir.

Hunger makes its usual rounds.
First the men grunt, then they sway toward the rocks,
shivering quietly in their long-johns and woolen socks,
they put their boots on in haste; no time to waste at dawn.

The grain ground up and boiled,
I prepare the gruel for the children
who groggily slither out of their bed-sacks,
one by soft one,
Coffee begins to sing on the makeshift grill.
I blow on my fingers in silent anticipation.
Gun propped up against the tent,
I watch for any movement, alert.

The men walk out of camp,
whispering position and angle of their prospective prey.
Now sun is ready to return to hell in its quotidian chore,
to suffocate life down here by noon.

A last coyote silently lopes away
not far from the fading embers of our last fire.
A game quail marches by, in full breast and cocky plume,
to lead me away from its young.
At that moment,
I decide to let the carbine rest on its wooden pedestal,
a harsh token of my weakness.
Eye full of grits and fat;
Hunger subsides to conscience.

Let men rip the air with their power in the mid-morning hush -
let them drag a heavy carcass home to the mining camp,
for me to butcher, for the children to grow.

One shot is all I hear:
Winter will be kinder
with a burro in the freezer this year.

With sincere apology to the animal kingdom for the humble distribution of protein for healthful childhood development.

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  1. Eco-living, eco-hunting, and eco-survival all walk in hand with necessity of gentle humanity. Beautiful poem, Nadine. Well done. ":)

  2. raymond, this poem was one of the first i wrote for my book " antechronos" in the early eighties; it was a liminal test of my values meeting our needs..lessons etched in the sand. i am revising older text to prepare for a poetry compilation. too busy to create now..organizing is the drudge of the publishing realm.

  3. this reminds me of the primitive hunter gatherer societies and what they did to survive. Good read :)