Sunday Jun 23

BearDancing J. P. Dancing Bear is editor for the American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press. Bear also hosts the weekly hour-long poetry show, Out of Our Minds, on public station, KKUP and available as podcasts.  He is the author of fourteen collections of poetry, most recently, Cephalopodic (Glass Lyre Press, 2015), and Love is a Burning Building (FutureCycle Press, 2014). His book, Fish Singing Foxes, will be published by Salmon Press in 2016. His work has appeared or will shortly in American Literary Review, Crazyhorse, the DIAGRAM and elsewhere.  


Some of us are so private that we die a little whenever even a part
of our lives is seen. I was living in the forest, I was keeping vigil
like a small animal, watching over the autumn nuts I'd gathered.
Someone would surely come and take all that was mine,
someone would sneak under my sleeping eye and steal
from me, or they'd make distracting conversations and lure me
into divulging my passwords, my secret keys, the maps
of all those places I do not dare to walk for fear of being followed.


I stayed pale in my blinds and hides, daring not to venture
into the light. I was so tired, I could not close my eyes,
neglect my post, let the thieves and the marauders pass
during a single blink. I was the sentry of my life,
I rehearsed my scripted language of halt and who goes there
and I was so lonely when no one came.

Elegy with Old Philco Radio
for KM

Just as the radio does not know it is stuck on an oldies station—
still the memory of the way we used to move, sway, drift, mouth
words to songs. Sometimes I think of halls lined with lockers,
the institutional sneaking we all became too good at—the crack
of a door and into a back chair when a teacher's back turned.
I remember you did that once, thin as a blade of summer grass,
a "good girl" above suspicion. If you caught me watching,
you dismissed me with a glance, a never-you-mind brow.


Now I have reached the Age of Goodbyes, and the radio drones
obnoxiously. It's true, I didn't go to many games, I ditched the rallies
whenever I could. We had nothing in common because the machine
cogged us that way. I just wanted out and, sadly, I think you would have
stayed in forever—dressed for the formal dances—high hair, corsage
still crisp in the box—captured on a old Polaroid taped to a plastic chassis.

Maybe Tonight I Am Morpheus

I cannot look : at myself naked : in the mirror anymore : too many feelings : like regret : or melancholy : like sand : passing through : my fingers : as my fist clenches : I don’t recognize : the ridiculous man : reflected : memories : of other bodies : I have occupied : cloud my vision : sinews : smoother skin : sometimes I can see : the old : sensuous self : as if I had lived : my lives : in a Klimt painting : curves : divots : we are all looking : at the milky way : spill through : our skies : all my bodies : blending into another : morphing : like I was : the god of sleep : casting stardust : across the galaxies : of tensing muscles : while someone says : it’s like that song : we are golden : we’ve got to get ourselves back : still there is so much : I refuse : of what I have become : even with my eyes : wide open : I still prefer : to focus : on a past life


these days : if I were to write : a love poem : I would : have to tell you : I still see : your red hair : how it would cast : its color : on everything you : were always : something of flame : I was almost : a moth : when I think : of what we were : I remember : you as Venus : on a half shell : that same look : on you face : as Botticelli painted : only you : could command : the waves : as though you : were a pearly moon : all those nights : I dreamt : of a goddess : of love : on the phone : with me : no you hang up : no you hang up : over again : as the night : flowed on we : were not teenagers : but we stayed on : the line listening : to the other : drifting off : to sleep : somehow our world was : a little fuller : for it perhaps : we were brightly colored : birds that someone else : might have labeled : love though : that was : too limited a word : we knew it : like a phone number : etched in the back : of our minds : lit up : glowing a neon sign : still you : had that look : Venus down : away something : yearning something : like sea creatures : at the edge : of the surf : the call : of evolution : wanting to sprout : legs lurch : forward onto land : to march : slowly to me : still dorsal finned : flopping to form : a limb to meet : you in a new : world under : a planet : as bright as a lure