Monday Poems
9:13 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Flood Song

He wanted to hold back gas-soaked doves with a questioning glance;
he wanted the clock to tick, downwind from this gavel and pew,
from this leash, bucket, drainpipe, and mildewed cracker,
from the mind's muddy swan served on a platter with lemon rids,
from spiders scurrying over its bone-polished surface,
from crosshatches punched into its shredded time card,
from the desert near the tree line where the molting must have begun,
where crushed bodies heave warm, jellylife,
in the thicket at the foot of the wandering,
perched inside their velveteen shirts,
chirping crimson, then vermilion, then rust,
as the water's song wilts the petals of splayed bullets
spilling from ceramic pots into stovepipes,
as the yelping of lambs rutted with wagon tracks
bubbles from glass tubes, triangular in their circular sleep patterns.

> an excerpt from Sherwin Bitsui's collection titled Flood Song

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Flood Song, poetry by Sherwin Bitsui

Sherwin Bitsui, a Diné (Navajo) from the Navajo Reservation in White Cone, Arizona, received an AFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts Creative Writing Program. He is the author of the poetry collections Shapeshift (2003) and Flood Song (2009).
 
Steeped in Native American culture, mythology, and history, Bitsui’s poems reveal the tensions in the intersection of Native American and contemporary urban culture. His poems are imagistic, surreal, and rich with details of the landscape of the Southwest. Flood Song is a book-length lyric sequence that explores the traditions of Native American writing through postmodern fragment and stream of consciousness.
 
Bitsui has received a Whiting Writers’ Award, a grant from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, and a Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship.