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

Diego Luis

Pacific Passage

They met

in the lower intestines

of a ship

they fell in love

despite their chains

despite the storms

over the waves

they starved together they

mourned together they

told stories of lost childhood

and dreamt of running, of swimming

in sun-scorched seas, of rebirth

as albatrosses, while dumping friends

into ocean currents and watching the sharks swarm,

and when the whips came like thunder they grew

wings from cracked shoulder blades and found

the same winds as Magellan, flying west

into certain night, the dark their blanket

from cold, waiting for a glimmer at their backs

to alight a familiar coast, where sea birds

snatch fish and roost and share warmth when

storms roll in from the far east, storms

strong enough to snap palm trees, but storms

that would crash vainly against the nest

they built—a nest impossibly strong,

Of iron chains and charred earth

The First and Last Argonauts

The last caveman
had an inquisitive mind
and became the first Argonaut

from void stone
to sun-blighted plain
the Argonaut molted
from his sedentary form

legs and feet glowed
red with strain and life,
and the first Argonaut
traveled far, far beyond
the reaches of his imagination,
beyond even the spiral of images
and color he dreamt in the pure
black of the cave

his conscious state burned,
his spirit yearning, and
new vistas became his sustenance,
chasing the place where land
falls into sky, where both
are one, folding infinitely
into each other

the first Argonaut crossed
the earth—on foot
and as mariner—
gathering the wisdom
of land and sea
of all Our Mother’s songs,
the names of every wave,
even Time’s last riddle,

and for us, the last
Argonauts, those who tread
the old footpaths of our
common ancestor, with ear
to stone earth we can still
hear his last whispers,
embedded in primordial footprint,
he hums with indescribable beauty
and sadness, the last
of Our Mother’s songs


black and white photo of Diego Luis looking at landscape

The Forgotten

black-and-white photo of discarded shoes with a sign that reads "If it disturbs you, don't look"


Diego Luis studies history as a doctoral candidate at Brown University, but he seizes every opportunity to escape the libraries and archives to venture once more into the world. His poetry and photography have appeared most recently in Cholla Needles, Glint Literary Journal, Harbinger Asylum, Hawai’i Review, and Indigo Lit.

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