Monday, June 9, 2014


Comanche, I have come
with credit cards
and calm, blue substance.
A confederate flag flutters in the wind.
Rebel rust creeps deep in the crooks of the cottonwood trees.
Red dust rimes the mouths of catfish, quick hooked and dumb.
Comanche, I have come

murmuring Springsteen under my breath
to shoulder my fair portion
of your slow, closed refinery death.
Once, twice, three times I have left,
but I can never stay away.
Comanche, I have come -

thorn and flower of your ghost town grave.

This one has absolutely given me fits, so I am anxious to know what you think and welcome suggestions.  For Open Link Monday at Real Toads.


Kerry O'Connor said...

I cannot imagine you having fits over a poem, when everything you write seems effortlessly brilliant.

What I like about this piece is that it seems to come with a history, or a legacy which is perhaps very American, but also very human. I especially like the extra long lines of the first stanza, there sound quality is particularly good and they seem to lead me back into the past.

There is something so tragic, yet eternal graceful about the Native American people, their story and fate.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

The parched-earth description in the first stanza is masterfully done.........and I applaud "your slow, closed refinery death"....brilliant! Love the closing lines especially. Powerful writing, Mama Zen.

Marian said...

gosh it just sounds so fantastic that i felt compelled to pause and read out loud and savor the rhymes and phrases in my mouth. really, wonderful!

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Great imagery, juxtapositions and action. I have nothing but praise, as always.

Susie Clevenger said...

No, I can't imagine having fits over this piece either. For some reason this piece makes me not only think of Native Americans, but the town of Picher,OK. I was there recently and it is so eerie and tragic.

Timoteo said...

I like the Springsteen line, which comes out of nowhere. But then I like surprises.

Gail said...

I didn't find anything I didn't like.

You shouldn't worry so because you are very good. No matter the subject.

Fireblossom said...

I like the catfish line and the last line. The refrain puts me in mind of Stanton (though it is often attributed to General Pershing) arriving in France and saying, famously, "Lafayette, we are here!" though the tone is very different. Maybe that's why it works, because of the contrast, both in scale and mood.

Susan said...

Do you live near Comanche, rodeo town? With its lake I thought it would be green green, but I can imagine dust and gatherings and ghosting down down. I can imagine people as the catfish "quick hooked and dumb"--I don't want to see it that way, but I do. I go "home" to where I grew up yearly and lately monthly, looking at the closed shops and caving roofs and can imagine some of the tiredness, see the thorns overpowering the flower. I did look up Springsteen: "My Oklahoma home, it blowed away .... Sad, like aging parents ...(And I am probably being way too literal!)

Anonymous said...

I agree with the rest of the lily padders that your confessed struggle isn't as outwardly apparent, but because it's radical in ways compared to other poems I've read by you, I can see the straining for a fresh articulation. (I mean, how many poems about islands and my garden can I write about.) In straining to be original, we go through all the old names for new things, never quite comfortable with any of them. That's the process, I think, of moving forward, or deeper ... There is a certain jarring of the meter between the first three lines and the next three, some difference between statement and iteration. Are two poems at work? The poem seems like a homecoming but isn't quite at home with that.

Marcoantonio Arellano said...

i look for the story unlike the nuanced technique of your construct context and meter.

i see a town left dead, a factory closed and rusty with the contaminants of its illness flowing in the stream where it's killed the fish in it.

you expressed it concisely but with originality.

gracias for this creative voice

Sioux said...

The simple "Comanche, I have come" is so full, despite it being only four words.

I admit that the fact that this gave you fits brought me jealous joy. Sorry. When you and Shay (only occasionally, I imagine) struggle over crafting poetry, it fills me with a little glee. Sorry. ;) (not really)

Ella said...

Rebel rust really got me! You worked through your fit-this one is bravo brilliant~

Ella said...

Rebel rust really got me! You worked through your fit-this one is bravo brilliant~

Anonymous said...

much to ponder, MZ. if this is your struggle, all I can say is, there is much back-story laden in these lines, that may merit explication, or a longer pen.

as it stands, a wonderful piece ~

Herotomost said...

Amazing. This is so prevalent where I live, a lot of my work is directly with the areas where this picture is painted daily. There are so many things at odds with each other in this backdrop and I never know exactly how to feel or how I would express it. This expresses it as well as anyone could hope. Great writing MZ, really amazing.

Margaret said...

Obviously you have a "specific" which you are writing about - this poem allows the reader to fashion multiple scenarios. "to shoulder my fair portion…" turns the poem around and makes me read a little closer. I believe this is a place, but a personal connection to someone is the draw - and the last thorn and flower (love & hate?) really cap off the intriguing quality of this poem.