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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

David Duncan

Of Sunsets and Rainbows

Look, you wanted a miracle right

like after every rain

a rainbow


so how about I shoot cosmic rays through the atmosphere

every evening around sunset

turn the whole sky into a crazy pastel painting

you should see the math that explains it


I’ll throw in mornings too

Monet loved those


I tell you what

I’ll even double-double down in my City of Angels

run double palette sunsets between the smog layer and the marine layer

I can still adapt with the times


I hear you’re stuck at home now

so come on out, it’s free

just you and me and the sky


just tell me what you want to see

sun dogs and moon dogs

fog bows and sky punches

lenticular clouds on the peaks


when you’re travelling again

go up on Haleakala

cast a Brocken spectre

watch your shadow stretch out over the clouds

a giant you wrapped in a glory halo


and if you missed the last one

see an eclipse, see totality

or head up North

I’ll light up the nights with swirly soft-serve neon


just me waving hello to you

no matter where you are


you should think about it

there’s a lot to see here

We Were All Fish Once

an ancient salmon now larger than a horse

so long has it been at rest

sleeping under an eddy

it will still be dreaming long after we have gone

it wakes at the end of all times

having spent its whole existence asleep


we were all fish once

and that was the story passed down to us


when we crawled out onto land

and the great beasts still walked the tree line

we changed the story and found her in a sea cave


and when we grew out hair instead of feathers

our tongues becoming soft and pink

we changed the story again and she hibernated to outlast the ice


you can still hear the echoes today

her scales becoming Brunhilda’s armor

the eddy, now the vines protecting Briar Rose while she sleeps

the water, a glass coffin for a dark-haired girl

her lips as red as blood and skin as white as snow


it is why we were told Aurora’s life began

when her fairy tale ended

how the circle closes

when Alinda of the Loch becomes the dreamer

guarded by a water dragon

and that Ophelia upsets us so

her final act coming much too early

and we do not always leave the water


the only truth is that the story must be told again

and in the telling, lose something of itself

the listeners worrying at the threads

remembering only fragments

each storyteller projecting

a part of themselves into the narrative

tying up the loose ends

with their own hair, bits of ribbon, and yarn


and if we find ourselves

standing at the edge of the pool

the salmon within our reach

a need to know, to see how it all ends, balanced

against the chance to see another sunset

to fall in love

to hear another story

In Praise of Entropy

nature / in and around all things / and not things / the return of the complex / to the simple / high to low / that which has built up must be torn down

in praise of entropy

sometimes you think / entropy is chipped plates, oil changes / sagging breasts / a break in the dam / bugs on the windowsills

in praise of entropy

you want to be in control / you want a say / you want immortality / invulnerable immutable inviolate / you want that that, that you love is forever

in praise of entropy

but it simply is / like gravity and sunlight / hating something that is true / makes no sense / the power unleashed by the wings of a butterfly / a single grain of sand / that scratched away the pyramids / fires and floods / tides and mushrooms

in praise of entropy

can you really say this / this is the best of us / we will build no more / anchor us here / it is not just the snake and the cicada shedding its skin / you cannot breathe in / without breathing in something I left behind / we must take in and give back / if we are to become

in praise of entropy

and if we do not fall / if we hold on / laminate this world / preservative ourselves inside and out / the calcium to our bones / but never our bones to calcium / our density only increasing / our orbit inescapable

in praise of entropy

if the structure does not collapse / all of our beaches will soon be fields / of sandcastles


David Duncan is a poet and storyteller from the Southwestern United States. His work has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, Zeitgeist Press and The National Library of Poetry. He can be found performing at open mics in the Las Vegas area.

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