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The Rutting Season in Homeless Camp

Paul Haeder: mother of clan, scattered progenitors, the fiber of love digging trenches for camp tents for two children boy and girl, brought to confusion by old man on crystal meth binge, layers of consciousness filleted back with drug of Nazi bombers, Kamikazes split atoms in Oregon Very essence of depravity

“Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend.” ― Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

Homeless Camp

mother of clan, scattered
progenitors, the fiber of love
digging trenches for camp
tents for two children
boy and girl, brought to confusion
by old man on crystal meth
binge, layers of consciousness
filleted back with drug
of Nazi bombers, Kamikazes
split atoms in Oregon
very essence of depravity

she comes home to Stepford House
cut through like gingerbread
holes through beams, ceiling, walls
doors ripped, copper pipes
eviscerated, home now
polluted place of meth fear
the tap tap tap of a brain
draining, filling with Draino
mother stays the course
until “the man” pulls rank
shuts down, forecloses
the steal of eight childbirths
and a tour in US Navy
shredded into a new
sense, as she slips
into the cover of woods
near Roseburg, somewhere
in the Oregon mish-mash
of conifer, thimble berry
Oregon grape

For years, boy and girl
swaddled in mother’s breath
snow shaken from dome tents
rayon home within rayon home she says
staving off the ice
she goes on and on
until the hard pan
of patted earth
and cramped automobile
turns her toward sheltering

sky sun cloud horizon
she leaves boy in woods
girl child almost woman
twisted learning, yet
our US Navy woman
is like whelping she wolf
the cubs like arteries
into her own soul

this kind of shit living
in woods, middle of city park
it’s a thing of consternation
revulsion, these high minded
denizens of disaster capitalism
predators with real estate
licenses, insurance claims
systems of oppression in robes
badges silk suits
insanity some yell out
chiding mother wolf for
abandonment, for oxymoron
of middle class turned homeless
class, forest children, begging
for some emotional
support, but no beggar this mother

she smokes like chimney
cups of coffee elixir hourly
gives her heart and soul
to those less healed
finds compassion in the haters
her story is one in a thousand
social worker poet dredges
in homeless writing class
people giving more in a minute
than some high-minded MFA
school, nothing Radford
has on my writers
their voices like this veteran’s
electrical, like aurora borealis
eruptions of Pele, the mighty
sun lifting pyramids in Yucatan
universal woman Navy vet
is, her heart like real muscle
of healing, real pump of blood
for the unholy existence
of her flawed but beautiful
babies swaddled in morning
light, the homeless camp protected
a dream turned to nightmare
resurrected into transcendence

Mother Sister Auntie Wife Daughter Proud and Black and Make No Bones About

“I have known the joy and pain of friendship. I have served and been served. I have made some good enemies for which I am not a bit sorry. I have loved unselfishly, and I have fondled hatred with the red-hot tongs of Hell. That's living.” ― Zora Neale Hurston

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her heaven is savanna, sub-Sahara
bones of Lucy the progenitor
of this wife of veteran
more than spouse
but proud angry earth
goddess twisting words
of white devils, now a landscape
of KKK staring down Martin Luther

words chiseled in the bones
of Selma, she points
to stars African dancers
called out to poets
the long limbs of runners
those bodacious bodies
earth hearth receiver giver
of warriors lion jaguar
leopard she knows
maize rhizomes of red
tubers

this is how it is, America soiled
with lynching, patina photographs
village idiots, white race
gathered for another
hanging, so long ago
now, this abomination
of Trump and deplorables
black face and Nazi salutes
these syphilitic Homo
Caucasian line of DNA
burdened by evil, yet she

chants against the bloody
drums, knows why the caged
bird sings, some color
like purple, this wife of
wounded warrior takes
nothing but gives
the gift of grieving
for her female clan,
children caught in homelessness

she is seed and ovum, broken
by years of a mother
crack addict, child receiver
of frozen tears, her own lamentations
long buried, graveyard
of ancestors, slave to no one
chained to a plantation
the star of tribes high
in sky, this woman’s
talisman, alone but mother
the shape of harmony in
disarray, her beingness
brighter than vainglory
fools, she’s determined

for life, not mere survival
children and husband
cocooned in wasp nest
of love, she brings to people
sharp stones, bones like tap
dancers, her voice like
the ancient calling of animals
like mother pachyderm
no child lost, as her low
song, her call rips through
roots and stones
until her children are grown
until friends are safe
until her life seizes destiny
of warrior, alpha female
wolf or rhino

her songs are carried
from home to home
her love like a thousand
gourds full of water,
honey for the journey
out of darkness
into a mother’s light
she sings the song
Electra, holds audiences
with goddesses, shaman
animals too smart
to reveal their magic
to mere men, she
speaker of clans, lost
family, the bones of slave
family the foundation
of her village

Paul Haeder