Songline107 – Bill Piper

Bill Piper

Christmas Eve to Lambertville with
Hank what knits me still to this
world of purls &
back-dragging Delaware eddies as
grey under fog darkened silver in coiling
banks when late the raining early dark–& sycamores
across the river in quick high bundles of thin
white spidery ghosts
of disembodied nerves left flashing…like Eric Garner’s,
or the nerves of Tamir Rice,
where I was caught chanting
“I can’t breathe” off of
Trenton’s city hall, caught in the small wind & snowflakes drifting &
turned through the Christmas
tree with its giant orbs & gathering
in high sycamore branches & twigs as breath
in the veins of a high torn snow cloud, breathing it back
into each of us here, over the racist,
& over the just in this march of maybe three dozen in
coiling streets & sycamores gaffing us
into the late autumn skies…
it’s now I learn of the embryonic snakes, the buds
where the ambulatory appendages
would be if snakes would walk
are the inchoate hemipene, hook us like barrel
cactus Into writhing space, the folds of a mountain spine (what mad pursuit,
what struggle to escape) a dead man walking we
stopped in the wide field of light & by Anderson’s horse, (black,
a former prison guard…
& its hoof in the Christmas mud’s the
buttery slate of Himalayan chert…high prayer flags,
herds of wild brilliant red asses—
–the mountains walk::the horses stand–& sparrow buzzed onto the Michelin
tire still under the wheel rim parked at
Preeti’s in my Honda near where I hang
up in the green rain of catbriar
off in the Princeton gum swamps, green ears
of the catbriar leaves are as
peppers cut vertically, & their seeds are strung as buffalo nickels as
earrings a 19th century punk–I
would tie it up into my hair like John
Horse or Negro Abraham &
let it dangle–
a currency bound to earth & life & breath & the wind
Mary they jangle who hears
the universe cry out in pain

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