Diane di Prima: Five Poems from Loba

“she is the wind…”

she is the wind you never leave behind
black cat you killed in empty lot, she is
smell of the summer weeds, the one who lurks
in open childhood closets, she coughs
in the next room, hoots, nests in your hair
she is incubus
                        face at the window
                                                        she is
harpy on your fire-escape, marble figurine
carved in the mantlepiece.
                                            She is cornucopia
that wails in the night, deathgrip
you cannot cut away, black limpid eyes
of mad girls singing carols behind mesh, she is
the hiss in your goodbyes.
Black grain in green jade, sound
from the silent koto, she is
tapestry burned
                          in your brain, the fiery cloak
of feathers carries you
                                     off hills
when you run flaming
                                                to the black sea

Some Lies About The Loba

that she is eternal, that she sings
that she is star-born, that she gathers crystal
that she can be confused with Isis
that she is the goal
that she knows her name, that she swims
in the purple sky, that her fingers are pale & strong

that she is black, that she is white
that you always know who she is
when she appears
that she strides on battlements, that she sifts
like stones in the sea
that you can hear her approach, that her jewelled feet
tread any particular measure

that there is anything about her
which cannot be said
that she relishes tombstones, falls
down marble stairs
that she is ground only, that she is not ground
that you can remember the first time you met
that she is always with you
that she can be seen without grace

that there is anything to say of her
which is not truth


for there is another Lilith, not made for earth
of whom it is said / that when she is seen by men
it is as vapour / a plague / a cacophony
of unique bells / straining & stranger, they pursue
her unsubstantial cors thru this world
& the next. She is, in fact, the archetypal
foxfire of the stars
will o’the wisp of empty space
cosmic marshlight that lures us away
from the heavenly spheres, our home
to wander, forever, between quasars
at odds w/ the Sound of the Harmonious Crystals

temple flower of the abyss

                 on which is wound
                 that hope
                 which exceeds proportion.


White Fox that Leaps over Tombstomes


Shall we say that the streets were littered
                     w/ half-eaten food
dry leaves, debris of plastic & paper

Shall we remember the half-mad whores
                     who walked on them
Eyes black as Egypt: al-Khem
          the women
of that night?

                                            Shall we
recall the quarter moons of that era
their desperation
                the hopelessness of the wind
that flew out of Dead Center to its
               target in our hearts

What shall we keep of the hard shells
                      of our hands
the cloven claws held out to beg
                    held close
to keep what ran like sand?

Shall we able to name the skeletons
ostrich & pachyderm

Who will remember the bleakness of this time?
Who will recall it, later?

“I am a shadow…”

I am a shadow crossing ice
I am rusting knife in the water
I am pear tree bitten by frost
I uphold the mountain with my hand
My feet are cut by glass
I walk in the windy forest after dark
I am wrapped in a gold cloud
I whistle thru my teeth
I lose my hat

My eyes are fed to eagles & my jaw
is locked with silver wire
I have burned often and my bones are soup
I am stone giant statue on a cliff

I am mad as a blizzard
I stare out of broken cupboards

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