a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Wind is youth, always younger than us. Keep putting out our lighters. Scorched tickseed laughs at us. Crownbeard. Yarrow. Dogtooth.
We crash this wildness with our mating, pantomime the shrill purl of meadowlarks, the buzzing hack of the crows, bones littering a riverbed.
Deep in the drought the lakes are down to spit. Codependently conjoined we fade up the wet musky sky. A mountain boomer sprawls a gash on the forehead of a rock, head a pollen burst, a sun king blessing us with indifference.
Sometimes it is only the build of it I need—construct to hang the eye on, colors in all suns, a dream what the touch could be if all of it were perfect to touch and then I need the air to make it earth again.
Fragrances, bee balm buzz, stankmusks you can feel scratch at your chin—heat, cool.
We are there again the image held & holding, in the buzz and sting of gnats, the flerp and shlagh of stepping in and out of bison shit.
Summer dusk burns at the blue. The Refuge is closed at dark.
I can picture some age of us replaying through these old sights and chancing these outcomes again. A handful of mirrors in a lapse of stars.
( ii )
north in Caddo County,
first to the office tucked between the sloping
veins—by pickup down
a nameless chert road—into Blue Canyon,
the AC freon chill between two turbines,
sleek white towers with three spiked blades each,
still for now, shitted with
Cows in the fields either side, firewheels
of flowers along the post oak fences.
Others in the distance—
powerful forearms turning a zoetrope of entropy,
farming air into heat, light,
when they first announced their coming—
ruins the natural landscape,
something something about beauty,
the scraggy burls and edges
cauterized all down the roadways
to a pale white scab.
And the rumors, Cowtown lore
can’t resist a good conspiracy.
Keyboard theorists abound:
drummer from my college band,
in early humans,
wind vibrations & seasonal clairvoyance,
the man I used to see in church, his bible full of bills,
busting into the gas station, shouting
The signal isn’t beaming
anywhere that is for us,
anymore than these hills are at all ours,
or ever could be.
But if you are here
exploitations of air & land…
Seth Copeland graduated high school with eighteen other people in southwest Oklahoma. His work has appeared in Drunk Monkeys, Kestrel, Juke Joint, Heavy Feather Review, and Yes Poetry, among others. He currently lives, teaches, and studies in Milwaukee.