Category Archives: multimedia

Field Notes and a Sound Walk. Finding Grindelia

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Walking to a favorite arroyo… maybe a 1/4 mile away. I have the most amazing nature hike. Nature is always all around. Even beneath layers of concrete. The earth is there. The air. The cosmos outside our bubble of atmosphere is I would guess a cosmic nature.

I feel so lucky to know, at least, some of the plants by name. To tap in and align with ancient knowledge. To hopefully join a stewardship of respect for these plants and trees. Water and sky. And to remember, I am part of nature. Not de-natured. But one and the same.

I heard on a radio show that humans are, most attuned, to register the sound of bird calls. Songbirds. Why? Because songbirds are always around sources of water. We have an affiliation with songbirds that has always led us to water.

We are. Nature.

listen

Acoustic Ecology

Soundwalking

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Apache Plume

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Yerba del Buey
Grindelia
Grindelia aphanactis
Family: Asteraceae

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Indian Paintbrush

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Grindelia

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Limoncillo

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Cleome

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Milkweed…beautiful but, this species likely toxic to humans.

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I don’t know what this is

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Clammy ground cherry

And more Grindelia
a.k.a. Curlycup gumweed

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And it has coarse toothed leaves especially the larger ones further down the stem

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With my chipped polish!

Flower head with sticky curled bracts

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Basal set of leaves

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Graffitti and Grindelia

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Harvest during milky stage of flowers going to seed soon. I also harvested yellow flower heads and leaves when plant was in this stage above.

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Wildcrafting pretty photo blur

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I found Grindelia on the bank of this arroyo.
This beautiful plant… captured my attention. Its beautiful flowers and seeds… a mystery plant to me.
Also a reminder, to respect all plants and to wildcraft ethically and with good discernment and respect for the plant and the land.

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Grindelia in its sunny glory. Also known as gum plant as it has a sticky resin to it.

Medicinally it is a good expectorant and good for bronchial coughs and dry hacking coughs. Oh how I wish I had some Grindelia tea this past April!

It also makes a soothing skin salve. A tincture made with alcohol is recommended to help heal and dry up poison oak/ivy rash.

Also according to: Dunmire and Tierney’s book: Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province., 1995… p.p. 219-220

Uses include: waxes and resins in the U.S. and Europe. Also makes a good yellow dye.

Also the book sites various Puebloan uses… such as: a tea drunk for kidney problems, dried boiled herb parts with liquid added to clean abrasions, ground herbs applied to skin sores and a sticky blossom on an aching tooth.

I plan on making a tea after drying the flowers and leaves. And also making a healing salve with the dried leaves and flowers.

I will dry these tomorrow

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I did dry them… and now as I edit this post… I feel achey and a sore throat. I am having tea and honey now but I am going to make a Grindelia tea when I get home tomorrow morning. Feeling grateful that I have some Grindelia healing herb for a tea!

Meanwhile, I am saving most of my Grindelia along with Mullein and Aster for a healing respiratory tincture! I will keep you posted shortly!

history and use of Grindelia for lungs and skin aid!

Aster is a healing plant for respiratory problems too…

Aster Heals!

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So much to learn and discover.
On my own, nearby nature hike to an arroyo.
Some familiar plants.
Some new.
Songbirds happy with the weather and the recent rain.
A Sound walk.
Where I can listen.
Listen
And be in harmony with hearing.
Hearing what is offered. What needs to be still. What can be harvested or let alone. From hearing to listening and I am just beginning.
But at least beginning…
and joyfully.

Con alegría
Yerba del Buey

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Michael Moore Herbalist. Online Manual for Tinctures

Includes information on Grindelia

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Beautiful poetry…almost made me cry.
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poetry by John Luther Adams…acoustic ecology. “The Place Where You Go To Listen.”

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A spring in a desert arroyo.

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Posted Sites and these texts for Sources:

Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province. Exploring Ancient And Enduring Uses.
By, William Dunmire and Gail Tierney, Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fé. 1995.

Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. by, Michael Moore, Museum of New Mexico Press, 2003.

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Amaranth the Immortal Green and Grain!

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Story of a plant and how it helped me find its name.

Amaranth. I found you. You let me find you.
I remember. Looking intently at plants growing near a field of corn in the plains area just west of Denver, Colorado.

You were in the ditches near the field.
Alongside the road that tractors drive on.
Where we walked our dog.

Pigweed is the name that threw me off from you. Hard to latch onto, although pigs have good taste!

I thought the green, spikey cluster of flowers at the top could tip me off that it was, indeed, you.

But the leaves, the stem… the overall characteristics of you, Amaranth.
Wild, green leaved Amaranth.
Was something.
I still was not sure.
Like mistaken identity.
Or a case of amnesia where all I have is a picture to go by
with no name.

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It took me over a year of meanderings.
And leavetakings. Learning other plants which made my acquaintance before…

I found you on the upper banks along the foot and bicycle path of the Santa Fe river where I was walking.
A frequent walk which helped me notice you enough to wake up my sleeping vision and actually see you!

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(Patch of Amaranth in foreground on bank of river)

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(Just a week ago water was rushing through this riverbed. It was bone dry when I took the photo only to rush with water, just a few hours later. Rain from the mountain top making its way down. Perhaps over a course of days…)

The fertile banks of the river.
That is where you greeted me and lead me to understand your introduction. Where I finally learned to meet you. To see you for what you are. Amaranth the immortal green and grain.

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(In this location grows near the yellow flowered plant. Looks similar but only one is the edible, healing Amaranth!)

Grateful Harvest
near the riverbed

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(Can you see the top Amaranth leaf pointing to a patch of Mullein across the Riverbed?)

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This green, (as it is called in Nigeria. Green!)…
made its patient and hearty introduction to me again.

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As silly as this may sound?… plants have a way of helping me find them.

To understand, admire and observe them.
In essence, teaching me by name.

Thankyou Amaranth!

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Amaranthus retroflexus
Green Amaranth
Nicknames: Red root pigweed, red-root amaranth, common amaranth, pigweed amaranth, and common tumbleweed.

plant info

Amaranth word origins are from the Greek Amarantos which means unfading.
It is believed to have derived from Sanskrit. The Sanskrit word Amar means eternal…unfading.

More word origin here:
“”Amaranth” derives from Greek μάραντος [3] (amarantos), “unfading,” with the Greek word for “flower,” νθος (anthos), factoring into the word’s development as “amaranth.” The more accurate “amarant” is an archaic variant. Also, it has to be mentioned the Greek word amarantos is in fact derived from ancient Indian language Sanskrit and the meaning of the word is immortal immortal.”

word origin source

Amaranth, given its Sanskrit roots, in India today; Amaranth greens and grain are still a popular food source.

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Red root

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Stems can be green, tannish green, red, pinkish green

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Aztec Use of Amaranth

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Aztec art and sculpture

Image source and Aztec Culture

“In ancient Mesoamerica, amaranth seeds were commonly used. The Aztec/Mexica cultivated large quantities of amaranth and it was also used as form of tribute payment.

Amaranth’s name in Nahuatl was huauhtli.

Among the Aztecs, amaranth flour was used to make baked images of their patron deity, Huitzilopochtli, especially during the festival called Panquetzaliztli, which means “raising banners”. During these ceremonies, amaranth dough figurines of Huitzilopochtli were carried around in processions and then divided up among the population…

Cultivation of amaranth decreased and almost disappeared in Colonial times, under the Spanish rule. The Spanish banished the crop because of its religious importance and use in ceremonies.”

Aztec use of Amaranth and quoted source.

But Amaranth survived on the outskirts of Aztec civilization. Thanks to the Aztec people who, perhaps at great risk, saved Amaranth seeds!

Manataka American Indian Council Articles on Amaranth

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AMARANTH Some characteristics of identification:

For Amaranthus retroflexus

*Be certain for each type of Amaranth plant as there are 60 – 70 species out there! Although some(not all) characteristics for plant species are consistent.

As always, be certain of what plant you are foraging! Bring an expert. Seek expert advice!

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This is a general guide for identifying
Amaranthus retroflexus
* (see above)

.Red root
.Alternating leaves
.Long petiole (leaf stem)
.Leaves can be diamond shaped, lanceolate, oval and often pointed,
.Leaves may be notched when young
.Smaller leaves, higher up on stem
.Leaves can have a slightly wavy edge
.Leaf like growth at stem joints
.Shiny underside of leaf also is white veined.
.These veins are prominent
.Green bristly flower spikes
.Stems can be red, green or pinkish green
.Flower spikes can also form at joints of stems as well
and can surround central, top flower spike.
.Can be branched plant
.Grows in roadsides, disturbed areas, fields, gardens… .Even in arroyos… see end of post 🙂
.Grows to 3 feet on average

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illustration credit. Info about plant

amaranth memory course

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photo credit

Amaranth Traditional Day of the Dead Skulls

comprehensive plant info

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Nutrition of Amaranth Leaves per 1 Cup Serving.

Vitamin K 267%, Vitamin C 21%, Manganese 13%, Calcium 7%, Magnesium 5%, Folate 6%… and other nutrients.

wow that’s a lot of Vitamin K!

nutrition chart

Medicinal Uses:

“Astringent.

A tea made from the leaves is astringent[222]. It is used in the treatment of profuse menstruation, intestinal bleeding, diarrhoea etc[222, 238, 257]. An infusion has been used to treat hoarseness[257].”

Source

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Prominent veins on underside of leaf appear white.

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http://extension.psu.edu/pests/weeds/weed-id/redroot-pigweed

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How to make Cheera Thoran.

I foraged a nice bunch of Amaranth leaves and made a simple dish of greens with them along with some community garden greens. (Amaranth was also growing in the garden!)

I was inspired by the cheera Thoran recipes but the process was more of a whimsical concoction.

The recipes I saw said to use oil and heat up mustard seeds until they pop.
I used 3 tbsp sunflower oil
3 tbsp black mustard seed
Then added one half chopped red onion
2tbsp ground coriander, stir
Sauteé
Then add chopped amaranth leaves
Chopped swiss chard
And a little chopped kale
Also quite nice is a couple of sprigs mint chopped and sauteéd.
Sautee all for a few minutes
All recipes suggest… Do not add water

We loved our vegetable dish and ate it as an antipasta first course.

Veggies including Amaranth leaves and black mustard seed.

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Chopped Amaranth leaves

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Our yummy antipasta dish! Similar to Cheera Thoran.

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Terri holds in sunlight for view!

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I just found a wonderful site about Amaranth!

Amaranth grows in Nigeria. In the site link below, I am sure you can recognize an Amaranth leaf in a yummy pan of greens!

I learned from this site that… “It is known in Yoruba as efo tete or arowo jeja… (meaning ‘we have money left over for fish.’ “)

These yummy greens certainly compliment fish and can be foraged or available in markets in Nigeria!

efo tete or arowo jeja greens recipe!

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Amaranth Seed

I am very excited by this product by Bob’s Red Mill.
Amaranth seed! Can’t wait to pop it and make popped Amaranth and honey Day of the Dead skulls!

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Also on the back is a recipe for Alegría that I will share with you here! Alegría mean Happiness in Spanish! And, is a celebration food during the Day of the Dead.

Alegría

pop it!

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Also I made Chocolate Atolé from the following recipe and I will show you how!

Chocolate Amaranth Atole!

Inspired and basic recipe from Versagrain
Chocolate Atolé recipe posted above!

Option: dry roast flour in pan for a few minutes on low to medium heat. Careful not to burn.
Amaranth flour has a green almost grassy taste but tones down a bit when dry roasted. Also the cacao/chocolate adds to the overall blend of flavors!
…note… I did not dry roast the Amaranth flour and really enjoyed the Chocolate Atolé flavor!

Ingredients:

1/2 C Amaranth Flour
5 C milk or water. (I used 4 C almond milk and 1 C water
3 ounces chopped Unsweetened Cacao
(or unsweetened chocolate)
1/4 C coconut sugar
1 stick cinnamon
2 tsp Vanilla extract

Heat milk until warm/hot not simmering yet.
Add Amaranth flour teaspoon by teaspoon
Whisk constantly to incorporate
When flour all whisked in…
Let thicken a bit
Add sugar…whisk to blend completely
Add one stick cinammon
2 tsp vanilla

For cacao or chocolate chop 3 oz add to mixture when pulled off the heat. Stir until dissolved

We added some raspberries to garnish. A sprig of mint would be nice and I think mint herb water would be nice for the liquid!

Here are some pictures of our Amaranth Atolé fun!

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Chop the cacao or chocolate (unsweetened)

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Heat milk until warm/hot

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Add flour bit by bit whisk whole time. It helped to have someone else to whisk!

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Add cinnamon stick

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Add sugar whisk to incorporate fully

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Add 2 tsp vanilla and whisk in

***Take mixture off heat before adding chocolate!***

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Add chocolate bit by bit

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Whisk

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Keep melting by whisking…

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Enjoy!

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Atolé maker!

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and me too!

Atolé what a treat and everyday a celebration!

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Amaranth can be difficult to distinguish exactly what species of Amaranth it is… even for more seasoned plant observers… Factors such as hybridization, juvenile plant, cotyledon (beginning growth from seedling,) male/female plant all factor in. Also, what stage of growth you are acquainted with identifying can make other factors stand out with an opportunity for learning or doubt.

Accurate foraging takes time and I did not forage from this last group of observed plants.

I am not exactly sure what type of Amaranth plants these set of pictures are (including the one just above) although these plants closely resemble the Amaranthus retroflexus…

Hmmm more studying to do!

🙂

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Nonetheless, I want to show you these beautiful plants which match the criteria for Amaranth species as a whole. In this case… alternating leaves, growth at joints, white veins underneath, bristly green flower spike, long petiole…

Left side of picture… Amaranth from a view in the arroyo

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A small grouping of Amaranth in a 100 foot area

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In the beautiful arroyo

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botany glossary

A Forager’s Poetry and Art Collage.

“Choucroute.” “Kismet.” “Sunflower.” “Pepper Cakes.” “Redbud.” “Trouble.” “Not Only Words.” “A Prayer to Persephone.” “Floured.” “Jellyfish.” “Fiction.” “dna.”
“I can’t say it all.” Alkaline.”
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“Choucroute.”

choucroute.
Sauerkraut.
Please improve
the immunity of my gut.
Wilted leaves
And salt Crushed
Then rushed Into a jar.
I want to add you
To my repertoire.
Spice you up
And spread you
Out with my fork.
To inspect
Your funky fermentation
Then eat you.

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“Kismet.”

Kismet
A kiss of sound Went whoosh
through The vocal chords
Of my progenitor’s DNA

It tastes like blueberries now
A kismet melancholy
That tastes sweet Over cheered
Yet ready To stomp out hate
from my muddied feet

But, mud is a happy flood
That swallows Doubt and bitter roots
and connects me Oroboris like
To the first spring

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“Sunflower”

Courting
The likeness
Of a flower

In a pot
Of boiling water
Seeking the sun
Each petal a ray
Each bubble of water
Hot transformed
Becomes an air seed

Swallowing
The mid pregnant
Seed of an equinox
Swimming toward the solstice
Of the sun

Adding the fourth sister
Of sunflower
To the belly
Of my gardens

How many brothers and sisters
Of the sun
Onandaga
Your creation myth
Was not given
To me by
Tongues at birth

I am a sister
of the corazón of the stars
Wearing a tinsel crown
Siblings are we many

Always I want to crush
Petals
Yellow like flames
And decorate my face
Like our closest
Star
Soleil

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“Pepper Cakes.”

Cupcakes,
frosting, all things gooey,
sugary instead of stars dying
and nuclear casseroles and tousled eggs…
just cookies but mostly cakes,
spray pepper pastries
for brutal cops yet again cakes,
layers, non pareils,
and sheer apparel

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“Redbud.”

Oklahoma, a shimmering light catches purple blossoms
infused with the slightest blush of pale
crimson.

You come forward as if to greet me.
Fluttering your bouquets at the side of the road.
I am rushing
past.

If I were walking I could have.
But not to destroy a stem
in a selfish folly.
Last days of frost.
A green hued sunrise.

Not an omen so much as
a surprise.

I’ve seen more sunsets than sunrise.
But,
I’m not studying.

Just in the rush
I want to remember the purple
flower.

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“Trouble.”

trouble wanes moonlike
personified splash of light
a quick shyness sought

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“Not Only Words.”

I soften
the stillness is not static
it reaches

a school of fishes swims
I hear your voice
like sun

that polishes

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“A Prayer to Persephone.”

Epiphanies for Persephone’s
epitaph to dark wintry days,
Return the light and be jewelled.

Be born like a star piercing
the heavy blanket of night.
Be nourished and feel warm.

Joy remains undoused like stars that guide
Our journey to herald the dawn.

We bathe by the lavish light of the sun
The pomegranate heart of Persephone.
Returns us from night
And we are grateful for that wing.

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“Floured.”

Scraped
Blended
Rubbed
through mesh
to remove
the husk

Strained
Mashed
Boiled
To eat the starch

Floured

Pounded
Kneaded
Folded

Rested

Stored

Stretched
Shaped
Fried
And baked

Taken
Repeated
Reclaimed

Salted
Sugared
Slathered
Traded
Cooled
Filled
Topped

Tinned
Cut
Jarred
Sometimes soured
Dried
Broken

Opened
And
Eaten

Digested
Eliminated
Integrated
Given
Shared
Loved
Passed
Down

Favored
Savored

Disgusted
Or pleasured

Reminiscent
Or triggered

what
you
take
in
and
can
be
taken.

what
can’t
be
taken.

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“Jellyfish.”

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“Fiction.”

I haven’t
read enough fiction
to understand the
type

I haven’t
seen enough entries
to know my
catalogue

I don’t
drink enough lemon
to soothe my bitter
liver

Soon I will be barren gladly too, iron in the dock.

Taking up
room in the house of my uterus
and read

my personals again

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(The photo taken in Portland, Oregon library)

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“dna.”

dna dna like. dinah what is your name.
the perfect number
1951
using your dna after. you body gone.

little round up monsters
little birth babies
should have had your
love your scorn your roundup of
consent
territory body. flagged.
roundup the pretty dna.

thief by knife.

eating mutants being mutants.
how much do i want
wings to fly?

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“I can’t say it all.”

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Alkaline

rushing
by a dense grove.

almond pickers arrive
in rows with
deft harvesters’ hands.

a dip in a pass
and we are gone. All the while.

I am cooking this scene
with a small pan.

and I read:

1. Simmer flurry of a minute
until a reduced liquid.

2. Reduce to a candied vinegar.

3. a condiment
to go with.
a yellow ochre pallette
that rises above
pavement
workers

Datura

Haunting deep green
white and white and pink and trumpets.
You call to the night
Message givers.
You listen to prayers and secrets
You reap joy from a happy harvest season
And its Workers.
You. Armslengths away from the almond trees
You. Grow like shrubs.
The round tops of umbrellas.
You. Are nightshade in the day
And You. Are contrast.

the only poem I might
think to write

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Morningstar

You whiz past in your daycab
Hauling red-orange plum tomatoes
In your trailer
What friends have filled for $25.
Four hour shifts
Wake-up the driver
Times three in a day
Twenty years ago
and your trailers look the same.

songs on the radio
are
filled with
dust and almonds.

Lost tomatoes against the curb

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