Please help the Black Earth Institute continue to make art and grow community so needed for our time. Donate now »

a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Paul Nelson

Rabia O’Loren


(After a Haida tale told by Robert Bringhurst)


On hearing the wooden rumble of thunder we realize that we are situated below the platform of the sky.                     – Ramón Gomez de la Serna


What constitutes a good family they say and give instructions to servants under the backdrop of the hugest sucking sound in history prelude to when the wind’d no longer rumble from under the skirt of the great Ma   no longer float a blue heron’s Xacho-side lumber  no longer sustain.

Age of celebrity tattoo news     of the rise of Yurok

Duwamish Tsimshian Haida Puyallup Muckleshoot  Musqueam of  tornadoes hurricanes  earthquakes  tsunamis  bee silence  Fukushima and Fukushimas to come.

The weather born out of cockleshell embryo  or  out of snot,

weather that hunts birds and sends winds out in the skins of blue jay, weather  that steals hats of campesinos (compassions) for kicks weather  that would sprout houses when adopted by a master carver weather that would be a scholar of carving.

The weather when painted would sit facing the sea  would weep for owls with spots and

the new northward range of dolphin’s neighborhood  weather that would warn of the Big Ones who think of biting   weather whose big fish story is dried halibut and waits and waits and waits for a shift in settler rituals.

It could start with today is a good day to die could start with

the inheritance of the campesino  (compression) who opened up about his daily prayers for humility or when he  the one born in a cockleshell wd dress as wren & sit way above the sea as a cumulus cloud waiting to see what his latihan would bring: dance, song, chant or something more cathartic just beyond his   out   stretched   wings.

     Remember: crow’s yr brother, stumps

never lie, nature

       bats last.

6:34P – 6.25.11

Author Biography:

SPLAB founder Paul E Nelson wrote Organic Poetry (VDM Verlag, Germany, 2008) & a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, Washington, A Time Before Slaughter (Apprentice House, 2010). In 26 years of radio he interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, Wanda Coleman, George Bowering, Joanne Kyger, Jerome Rothenberg & others, including many Northwest poets. He lives in Seattle and writes at least one American Sentence every day.


©2024 Black Earth Institute. All rights reserved.  |  ISSN# 2327-784X  |  Site Admin