Maya Jewell Zeller is the author of Alchemy For Cells & Other Beasts (a collaboration with visual artist Carrie DeBacker); Yesterday, The Bees; and Rust Fish. Maya has been a resident in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest and the recipient of a Promise Award from the Sustainable Arts Foundation. She teaches for Central Washington University's Professional and Creative Writing Programs.
Spell Begging to Be Your Gerry Lindgren/ Spell Lying Down on the Job
just think of penguins/ making their dark & cold circles/ meeting their eggs/ so footish/ & just metal wildly/ how I love to metal wildly/ take down a power line/ with your teeth/ my teeth are off-white with superpowers/ & supremacy/ so sick of those celebrity-white pearls/ centering themselves/ & I like to spin away a bit & put someone else in the middle for a moment/ & sonically whir/ & write to Chaffetz/ don't take the path less traveled/ leave it for the bees / & wolf / the deermilk/ & deertick/ who too have some right to exist/ while giving you dis-ease/ & why do you think you're the center of my world?/ & why am I still so glad you exist?/ with your mud-eyed wink/ & your shoes like a penguin dad/ turned in/ I'm trying to be intentional/ be intentional about everything/ & sometimes I still Bob Ross it hard/ like stumbling on a sleeping turkey in the morning/ all her babies under her wings/ & she yells at me/ & I run away into a field/ saying sorry sorry dear bird/ I was only dreaming with my feet/ though I hardly dream of you anymore/ in a few hours I'm going to make that official/ I have a blog where I'm saying it even now/ except every night/ well nearly every night I touch my own body/ wondering at its existence/ wondering at the essential questions/ with a hand that touched your face once/ & imagine your face there/ & also ammonites/ & what is this wild frond circle doing still winging my celestial matter/ out out rock star, star rocks/ out out spiral something/ the kind you like knowing burned out long ago/ not a huge fan of smoke, you/ so let's just sit in the dark/ what am I doing here in the last dark with you/ & so what I'm not the kind of girl you take home to your mother/ or woman to your mother/ (or wife)/ dads like me though/ dads who are (into) penguins/ & pangolins/ & other oddballs/ & I'm getting a tattoo that says #BWGSD/ you know what it stands for; you know that "bitch who gets shit done"/ it's a small thing/ like whales are the resistance/ like having a third eye/ on your knuckle/ so you can see the expression really clearly/ when you punch someone in the face/ or when you reach up tenderly/ as in, easy on the tendrils/ to touch a beautiful, potentially beautiful face/ oh face/ what is your magic/ why are you so tragical/ unshaven & ready to meet the world/ with its dark & cold circles/ oh how I wild to circle darkly/ here where you were taking a break/ still warm/ in this crept light/ I circle wildly/ dark dark wild thing / walking away into the dark/ bring me along okay?
The cognitive dissonance of our current political climate has spurred me into writing many poems as spells, incantations against reality. The spells are rushed and squished and often mix social activism with environmental anxiety, as well as blending personas, so there is a feeling of indeterminate or ignored voice speaking with authority against its own limitations. This poem enters that sequence, which began in my latest collection, Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts, and seems to be reaching into the next manuscript.