Poems by Kim Shuck, June 2010 Artist-in-Residence

Over and
Out past the lines

Poems from the residency

Kim Shuck
June 2010

Morning Prayer 2010
Sing me a song of beans and crows at breakfast this
Morning's riot of Queen Anne's Lace at the foot of
Stairs which, let's face it, wouldn't even make good firewood the
Plums in their own ceremony of fixing sugars
Sing me a song of silliness and horses of
Feeling your way around a curve of an image that will
Tear you up, you can't forget to cry that
Dust that water off of the cypress bough

Sing me a song of yellow horses of
Horses bright as backyard plums of that
Redtail, he's wondering if my beads are
Food and if he can get through the glass and have them

Sing of being weary, of being good to each other please
Sing something sort of quiet something that won't
Echo but will sink into the walls of this place
Sing, distract us, your voice is prettier.

Another Feather Poem
Flight primaries are lovely, yes but
We both like the little ones, the drops this
Feather, speckled fawn and grey and white this
Fallen-right-onto-me gift and they
Don’t get to be more given than that do they? I
Rezip it, tidy it, offer a pinch of tobacco a
Habit not lost though I quit smoking, what?
Maybe 20 maybe
21 years ago
Wa-do cousin, I can try to be worth it

In the Galleries
Always the joints, they are awkward
Points of connection points of
Contention that
Painting has been displayed since I
Can remember, always found the
Colors troublesome the gesture a bit
Flippant but as we’re old friends now I’m
Happy to see him, was dad with me the first time? I
Don’t recall, the new friends that
Carving wonders if I’m available to talk, so formal
So polite, motives unknown no one walks alone
Through this much art.

It’s Not an Act of Patience
Forging snakeskin, fur and what was that
Exact angle of head? Animal working me out
Eat it be
Eaten or
Perhaps ignore there is
Always an urgency here a thing that
Rings you, you not some
Abstraction of other awareness but the
Primary song of a thing the exact note of
Passion or pain or satiation that song
Made of single and multi-element constructions of
Plastic modeling of red
Ochre’s caress of the skin you have to
Fall in love really no
Other way

May even have meant to
Take your last breath into my lungs the
View from that pink stucco building was too
Acute too full of gunfire in the
Night and then we made the mistake of
Survival a common one so
Here in this other room whose view is
Origins and squirrels and the art of the
Self-consciously damned it’s safe to call it
Confusing safe to say that no
Augury pulled this from my palm or scraps of
Pasteboard or even wax
Poured through the eye of a key
Don’t know you anymore but then I see
Mackerel sky and think of how all we saw was
Hibiscus in among the strip malls

It’s a polite discomfort isn’t it?
Here at the edge of becoming things and
Some of you think that you get a vote don’t
Understand the difference between education and
Entertainment, why would you?
There is an impulse past paint laced with
Hoof glue and each individual glass gem in this
Compound eye we keep creating it’s the floorboard we
Keep building the
Planks we place the sound we need to
Build geometry around the
Frustration we can’t shake no matter
How many times the hoop dancer threads his
Feet through creation’s ring at the cliffside

There is a joy in the specific in this
Particular collection of spoons and
Pressed glassware, pink, Dutch was it? There is
Something in knowing that that
Handful of bear grass from that
Exact hill, near the redbud and it wasn’t a
Controlled burn that year but some blasted
Camper’s fire
Not much damage, we’d burned other parts of the hillside
Just before and OH
Wasn’t the beargrass perfect after
Worth knowing which water opened my
Eyes, let them see birds in beads
Dew from the seven fingered hand on Judaculla rock or this
Bay salt

It Happens Like This
Why is it the tea here
Always taste of yesterday’s coffee? I
Remember it but don’t
Reach for it anymore as with
Many of the old things this will
Make my hands shake
Like so many of the old rushes we
Wanted to make a racket once have learned to
Cause a sigh possibly a greater elegance
Hard to know in this rumpled and pilled sweater really
What to call this quieter impulse this
Pathology of myth this stubborn

Pow Wow June
I’ve come home I
Know it
Cowboy coffee with the girls we
Watch the Pow Wow roué
Still life with road flares and the
Young women who can’t see them but
Smell the smoke from his fancy new clothes the
Sweet flag on his breath I
Remember a woman who would have bet on those
Careful feet but I
Don’t date cousins anymore, son
We settle down on the bleachers to watch the Dance and the dance
Heartbeat in the soles of my feet we decide
Stand, shake out our shawls, stand
We stand, an elegance of
Ndn women we’ve retired from the drama we
Stand to dance

Fishing Lessons
Wonder what grandpa would have thought ‘you gotta
Tease gotta wait important to
Sink the hook and those crappie with their soft
Mouths must lift them out gently’ there’s
Something about these places an
Iffy welcome difficult chairs and the sense that we are all
Underdressed in the face of the exotic or superior in
Every gallery I want
Recliners want to know what beer the painters drank if they put
Salt in I want just one night with Cash or
Kenny Rodgers ringing past Vincent’s love poem to
Working people past flowers like the ones grandpa planted for the
Love of his life I need to take him out of my memory
Sit with him in these chairs let him see this altered vision
Things seen through water
Smeared color and all hear him again ‘yeah ok, I
Get this’