"Grandmother Rattler"

Nov 2, 2015
University of Arizona Press

who coils in my bones,
what were you thinking that summer night
when you found the warm road
on the edge of the canyon and stopped
just there exactly at the center
where the pickups and cars and evening walkers would see
your spiral upon spiral,
hear the singing voice of your tail,
see your black head rising?

When I stopped my car
and walked up to you,
arms spread and hands open,
why didn't you move?
Why didn't you slide down the stones

Sara Habein and Tyson Habein / Nouveau Nostalgia

Saif Alsaegh was a young boy living in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 11, 2001. At the time, he and the other members of his family didn't even know where Afghanistan was. But they had been "under the influence of war" for many years. During this program he talks about war and the effects his experiences have had on his art — writing poetry, plays, and films. He also reads from his collection of poetry titled Iraqi Headaches and talks about attending college in Great Falls, Montana.

"Of All the Gifts She Ever Gave Him—"

Sep 21, 2015

the empty lake, the static on the radio, the years
with missing handle bars—

the one that halfway fit him was the gloves.
He wore them all spring, then all summer, weeding

even by moonlight, relentless as a ghost,
as constant as the sky we ignore

'til geese fly south and give us a reason to look:
their sad, odd honking like the sound of our desire...

Of course, he was crazy;
all the couples on our street know that.

One morning we woke to the noise of him weeding
his house, uprooting the plumbing, uprooting

"Wool Blanket"

Jul 27, 2015

I slept in the valley
shivering, neck sore
from carrying a dead tree
across my shoulders

I needed the wood
but more
I needed the pain

Raccoon wind
shudders brittle leaves
as when you get a sudden chill
and they say:

"someone has just walked
across your grave"

Twig snaps  –
& I burrow deeper
wishing I had brought
that wool blanket

glad, almost,
that I didn't

"Moment: Grand Canyon"

May 18, 2015
Grand Canyon National Park Service

We have just arrived.
We are standing on the south rim
looking down, feeling our bodies slip

and fall away from us past the cliff face
into that deep space below. We feel light
and small now, our equilibrium shaken, as we watch

the raven riding thermals, its sleek black feathers
shining in the sun as it glides just above the rim
then drops down again. Out across the chasm

Shiva's Temple rises above a moat
of mist and seems to float. Someone aims
a camera, someone puts his hand in his pocket

"Working Class Hero"

Mar 23, 2015

He wakes tired from sleeping rough
in the cab of a pickup truck
that remembers the Vietnam war.
He wakes up raw-bellied
from going to sleep hungry,
from driving a hundred miles the night before
in his failing Ford,
from needing this job too much.

His flesh cringes from the cold breath
of a mountain beginning
its withdrawal into
the season of solitude.
His flesh cringes from premonitions
of being touched by frozen wood and iron
before the first sweat of the day
comes to break the morning chill.

"Which Last"

Mar 2, 2015

In the thicket just west of my shack,
under the heaviest of canopied pines,

every day, all winter long, two does recline
and rest, and sometimes when I look

from the window their eyes are closed,
but still they go on chewing whatever

snowbound vegetation they've uncovered—
or just their sad, inadequate cuds, I suppose.

As I suppose my daily apple also
is due to them. I've been a little slow to learn

not to throw the core and make them run,
but to toss it gently between us, like so.

"American Nightmares"

Nov 17, 2014

(To the American False Dream)

America is
at the door
Soldiers are knocking
asking plitely:
Can we kill you?

America is suicidal
when the streets are empty
America is a bottle of alcohol
in the lonely playgrounds

America is a bloodstain
on Kabul's children's clothes

America cooks meth through gun barrels!

America, why don't you love me?
America, why are your legs shaking?
Do you know hyow the long-bearded men feel at night?
Do you know how many teenages have stopped hoping?

"The Milltown Union Bar"

Nov 10, 2014

for Harold Herndon

(Laundromat & Cafe)
You could love here, not the lovely goat
in plexiglass nor the elk shot
in the middle of a joke, but honest drunks,
crossed swords above the bar, three men hung
in the bad painting, others riding off
on the phony green horizon. The owner,
fresh from orphan wars, loves too
but bad as you. He keeps improving things
but can't cut the bodies down.


Oct 27, 2014

To maintain balance of the soul
Is our ultimate goal
For death and life are foe
But yet together stroll
Between the stars and the grasses
As crescent moons come and go
With each winter of snow
May you walk in beauty.