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"I have been thinking about how it is possible to live under the current political conditions we find ourselves in. President Obama made Stonewall a national park after Orlando happened, maybe out of guilt, a little gift for the gays. He has an opportunity now during his final days to make a strong statement about Standing Rock, to speak out against the Dakota Access Pipeline. He promised the Standing Rock Sioux tribe he would respect their sovereignty. I want to see him make good on this promise."
—Julian Talamantez Brolaski

stonewall to standing rock

who by the time it arrived
had made its plan heretofore
stonewall   it had not a penny
thats not true it had several pennies

can you make a sovereign nation a national park how condescending
instead just tell them to honor the treaty

what can poetry do it
cant not not do nothing
it must undulate w/ the 2:30 pm dance music the sole
patrons at stonewall

there was a shooting in ohio today
the music made me feel a little anxious it was
hard thumping dance music a notch
upwards of 100 bpm notoriously the beat of life
the optimum tempo for cpr
I consider downloading a metronome real quick to test it to tap it out but
I don’t want to be ‘anywhere near’ my phone
meaning it’s in my bag on the stool 2 feet from me

there is an amy winehouse video on no sound at least
I think it is amy winehouse
she is at a funeral black and white
there is a stuffed bird slightly obscuring my view of the tv
it looks like a kind of tall pigeon w/ mottled brown
and russet with a white ringlet necklace and black dots
is it a carrier pigeon I wonder I sent
a text to jocelyn at standing rock several texts

are you still on the road
ariana and i r gonna go out there in december
sending love to you
tried calling bt yr mailbox is full
send a sign when u can xoxo
howdy.  thinking of u w love.
hope all is well.  send smoke
signal telegram carrier pigeon 
send love to my twospirits at the
winyan camp.

last night we prayed for her and for zephyr and l. frank &
the twospirits especially at standing rock
there’s no sign of that struggle here but they are selling tshirts commemorating
the other and the six days of riots
led by transwomen of color they later tried to whitewash in that terrible movie
like it was all these hot angry upright downright forthright white gays so ready
for the revolution 
and now people are treating standing rock like burning man

a drink called goslings
videos by the pigeon misaligned with the music
the smell of booze in the air made both of us recoil slightly I saw
or felt it

I’m here to make a poem I was already paid for when I had less than $2 in my bank
account (and I joked I would go right to the bar and buy everybody drinks ) not even
enough for a subway ride and I used the 58 cents I’d gotten for busking for the first time
alone in the long hallway between the library at bryant park and the orange line trains by
the ovid quote ‘gutta cavat lapidem’ water (or a drop of water really) hollows out
a stone.  lapidum a stone or rock ariana once described cd wright’s style as ‘lapidary’
I loved this as a description of writing like the hieroglyphics are
literally lapidary and I told my grandmother about it as we
were driving from mescalero to albuquerque she knew all about the
plants and the names for all the rockforms mesas or buttes or
ziggurats and I said how do
you know all these she said by long observation and
I used to study geology in college I wanted to major in it
but they wouldn’t allow women
to major in the hard sciences then so she
began to study religion
tho she already had medicine

ricky martin on the beach
or is it someone younger sexier
the grand canyon splitting apart
is it an ad is it a video
even the sands at the beach
are bouncing with the beat
the tempo has stayed very similar this whole time a tick
up I suspect from 100bpm

Copyright © 2016 by Julian Talamantez Brolaski. This poem was commissioned by the Academy of American Poets and funded by a National Endowment for the Arts Imagine Your Parks grant.

Copyright © 2016 by Julian Talamantez Brolaski. This poem was commissioned by the Academy of American Poets and funded by a National Endowment for the Arts Imagine Your Parks grant.

Julian Talamantez Brolaski

Julian Talamantez Brolaski

Julian Talamantez Brolaski is the author of Advice for Lovers (City Lights Publishers, 2012) and gowanus atropolis (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011), and coeditor of NO GENDER: Reflections on the Life & Work of kari edwards (Litmus Press, 2009). 

by this poet


since one immured is not forgot
I let a pansy wilt for rot

and vowed the banker’s misunderstood
what crowned the leafy brays of cottonwood
let all the trim gone daisies
be forgot.   let bloodbaths
fill the dailies

all incognitos arrayd
we swim through the Hudson only


clock reads 7 at all hours
juncos make selves known in the snow
this time dawdling
I write in horse, but I see in athabascan
when it’s time for elevensies, the clock reads 7
what telling fortune therewith
time is a thing that gets spent, like youth, $ and desire
n/t so lovely as a


who never thinks too cold, too coldly of themself
who lay awake (toûtseul) in tha dark room & thot to
     disappear themself.
who would not (not not notnot) be consoled & raged
on pompous ponces, jowlyfacd rich people &
     that melancholic pool, despair