Lori Anderson Moseman

                             LINTEL | GUNWALE

                                   Discreet, Flagrant Abundance

                         "Phoenixes are penned up in cages while common birds soar free"
                                                    Qu Yuan, from "Huai Sha" ("Embracing the Sand")

                          She stands doves up outside          Somedays zikr is birdsong: 
                          their towel-n-steel nest.                     multivocal warble, fingers
                          "Fledglings, feed yourself."              pulling prayer beads apart.
                          I get to watch them slop.                            Still, I trade whirling
                          Later, she will wash them                        lessons for a boat full.
                          not with soap or fire or any                        Tribe of 22, we sync
                          four-letter configuration—                      our paddles into wings
                          not "love" not "evil."                        raise a dragon out of water.

                          Old plot: a protester drowns.   We race to rescue. Tongue-tied.
                          No twitters from Qu Yuan.      Stroke seat sets a count we see

                                           before drums quicken our torso turns.


                                                          Lintel | Gunwale

                           Our limbs now a leviathan                      we become source, same force—
                           swift sensory multitude.                          Like wind. We. We. We.
                           Blood pulses centuries.                          Codes in cadence plunge.
                           Pull Back. Pop our. Ancient habit.          We enter the door the lake is.
                           Again. Reach over the gunwale.            Arc in a discourse, we might
                           list hunger's corollaries,                          but we are intent on stroke.
                           Entry-in-sync satisfies even if                 eel grass swallows all paddles.
                           She waits her turn to steer,                     to stand up through the surge
                           steady against starboard's stronger        pull, compensate for others' 
                           disproportion / distraction.                       Such balance is alliance—
                                                       amphibious, non-carnivorous.


                        How Far Two Birds Flew to Carry Good News

                       the distance oarsman covered         mourning dove nestlings within dog's reach
                               before changing out crew         I was disassembled by their fall

                   a measure as variable as the sea        I hardly knew what to do
                               go ahead, count syllables        tube the bruised one, flush its sour crop

                          the runic inscription constant:       "they need structure"
                "often I was tired when I pulled you"       orphan opossums to an empty pouch

                           vika at vatne = rost at lande1       a shoe-sized skunk tries to pull its mother
                           the distance between resting       (road kill) from the center line

            parch earth a pit to trap what drags us        stroking the epileptic squirrel
          snowmelt a torrent against humble bow        a human meditates on the evolution of brains

                      what the gulls said: a secret still        refusing to map synapse
                        a gruel of vocabulary held high        a kestrel kept covered so it doesn't imprint

     1There are clear points of contact between land roads and sea routes in older distance measuring systems. The 'vika' at sea is 'rost at lande' according to the Ostgota law." Christer Westerdahl, Trade Routes Resource Blog. October 2004. http://www.abc.se/~pa/publ/land&sea.htm 


                           Biomimicry: A Blessing, A Binaural Beat1

                         A currach is simple nest                           An echo is a simple test
                         in the history of exile:                               in the exile of history.

                         hazel & hind's hide float                           heron & hardcover flap
                         stones to trap light                                    water records in waves.

                         Come solstice, ask Newgrange                Come sundown, ask Big Ben
                         why Moses is hissing                                why Al Khidr is missing

                         from the genre of voluntary                       in the vocabulary of genes.
                         voyages. In need of twin tablets               Theta state of neural knocks.

                         for an immram,2 I paddle wicker               Gunwale at a dock. Bows
                         tarred with a skin of (c)odes                      in another hemisphere

                         to add wings to my rib cage                      rise up in as Rishi Ki3 dragon
                         to glide on regenerative pitch.                   or Basara Taisho4 at your door.

     1Binaural beats (tones) are auditory artifacts (apparent sounds) the brain perceives when it hears two different frequencies (one in each ear) simultaneously. If a tone of 400 Hz goes in the right ear and a tone of 410 Hz goes in the left ear, the difference between the two tones (standing wave of 10 Hz) is experienced as the two wave forms meshing in and out of phase. This effect was discovered by Wilhelm Dove in 1839.
     2Immrama are 'rowings about' in medieval Irish Christian literature in which a protagonist sets about voyaging in penance for sins committed.
     3Rishi Ki is a poet-sage through whom Vedic hymns flowed.
     4Basara Taisho or Bajira (Varja in Sanskrit) is one of the 12 Yaksas, warriors of protection. He is the one who protects mankind, bringing people's aspirations to fruition.


                                                   Neuron Mirrors

                           monkeys                                                                   monks

        Frontal lobes of monkeys "unreported"                    Qu Yuan goes to the well, sees Odin
        provide a unifying framwork inaccessible                             in his well. Under each, effort
        to experiments. Laced with wit, rolled r's                      the aquatic, the thirst. Pre-lingual?
        flourished vowels, cells in human brains                         Moon cycles myth, stone etched
        fire when watching others being                                   paths to exchange: here then now.
        poked with a needle. Mirror neurons                           Seats six and nine plunge  paddles.
        dissolve barriers, map phonemes to lip                       Seven and eight wait. Dead weight.
        and tongue movements. Turning inward                        Never engage just the right or left.
        a circuitry so intricate it seems paradoxical.            Post-dock, port and starboard needed
        Abstract cross-activity grips us. The exact                  Drum may or may not dictate when.

                                             opposite too. Detach entity: engage sensory.


                             Will a Radical Dragon's Talons Fit on a Dervish?

                                                        trade sand for steel

                                                        anything is possible

                                                         to avoid going numb


                                                         a paddle as if it were a bird


                                              Two In-Hand

                             Both hands cupped: mourning dove + mourning dove.
                             Two in-hand is worth God's don't-touch bush-on-fire.
                             I finger feather, fragile bone. Tremor. Treble. Cleft.
                             I break syntax toward epiphany in a holding pattern,
                             but sound is never a concoction to wean fledglings.

                             We need a full story, so let a naturalist tell his: a virus
                             literally eats his heart, but he lives to see a baby grey
                             whale surface. Eye to eye. Man reaches out, comes to
                             know whaleskin's shudder. Most of us never in that boat.
                             When the mother grey lifted his craft completely out,

                             she eased him into a sweet glide—no sonnet, no oar.
                             Aura. Easily read jazz riff: Tremor, Zoom, Lip. If I had not
                             held you...old body—pity, pituitary, nonplus—at ease...
                             I would not know the full range of sentience (yours/mine).


                    I Have Gravel Paper If You Need It for Your Wren

                             I killed a humming bird while gathering folding chairs,
                             slid open a window the bird wanted to be air.
                             My hands too swift for my eyes to follow its shutter.
                             So, I struggle to spell guillotine, mourn a small green whir.
                             Where to put little broken neck? In the highest crook
                             within reach. Why I unfold chairs slowly with great care.

                             One by one the audience lets the guest poet harpoon.
                             Wail, wail, again wail. Her ghazal all sorrow.
                             Words I refuse to repeat. Anywhere. Were I in Cairo
                             wound in St. George's dragon chain, I could not unwind
                             in a nun's chant. Were I in Cairo, I'd try a dervish-whirl,
                             open into wingsong. Like when my friend let doves dare

                             to flee their rehab roost. Home is always wild woods.
                             Were I present to witness release, I'd own my own flight.


                                        Eat Try Not to Be Eaten

                     Last Night                                                      Night Before Last

    fox's story as told by a freckled-face                      a flick, Following, about imprinting
    girl who knew when to use a ladder                      (stalk, break, enter) murderous
    to climb a beech so vista lets her see                    end. again. a master manipulates
    the vixen transverse the glen again                       dedication and discipleship. curiosity.

    girl enters the door in the mountain                        man shaves to clean-up for break-in
    burrows in moss, drinks run-off,                             takes one pearl earring then a million
    leaps gorge cliffs, scrambles scree,                       bills he tapes to his body, hammers
    wards off wolves, nuzzles fox cubs                        the doorman on surveillance dead

    she goes where vixin willingly leads                       as is the Marilyn-Monroe wannabe
    the leash, we know, is a mistake                            model board at a grand piano
    as is fire and playing house, boxed-in                    doomed to be what she witnesses
    the fox lunging out a second story                          body on a bloody carpet, throw away

    window. girl must carry the wounded                      rug another layer protecting nothing
    wild back into the woods, walk away,                     blackmail she is surprised when she too
    let little foxes lick its mother clean                          is double crossed. we distance ourselves
    let the vixen battle back on all fours                       discuss jump-cuts and the slicing of time

                                               one of my dogs watches growling
                                               sudden movement and sound track
                                               trigger concern as does my tensing
                                               my other dog sleeps until I weep

See Luc Jacquet's film The Fox and The Child (2007) and Christopher Nolan's film Following (1998).


                                                   Ah Yes, Isis1
                             radial symmetry,/ spokes to all margins for support, for those who 
                             want movement/ this is achieved through bilateral symmetry only,/ 
                             a spine and straight attack, all muscles working up and alive
                                                                    —Murial Rukeyser "Fifth Elegy. A Turning Wind"2

                     Her lovely wings missing                            On a pier where we once lived,
                     on the gravestones in Attica                       the nomad museum projected
                     I visit (via text) long before                         arches, antechambers: a falcon

                     menopause. Now the need                        transverses space with a dancer.
                     to see wings' original splendor.                  Closest to Isis I get. Echoic
                     Okay, no need, a desire                             memory fixed. Short of Osiris.

                     for a full unfolding. Night                            No Set. No manifest dragoon.
                     on the Nile. Tall stone expanse                  No destiny. Just Grooves.
                     between anticipated hot flashes.                Arms to heart then opening out.

                                                        Yes, a dervish spin. Full skirt
                                                       turning wind. Yes. Gust. Gutsy.
                                                      Full throttle throat through crown.

     1"There is a thought that St. George is distinctly Egyptian, is Isis spearing her evil brother Seth, who has turned himself into a hippopotamus, and that the monster under the water is the rising of the water itself, the seasonal flooding of the Nile." Susan Brind Morrow in The Names of Things: A Passage in the Egyptian Desert. (New York: Riverhead books, 1997: 146).
     2"Fifth Elegy. A Turning Wind" in Muriel Rukeyser's Selected Poems edited by Adrienne Rich for the American Poets Project. New York: The Library of America, 2004.


Lori Anderson Moseman founded Stockport Flats Press and the High Watermark Salo[o]n after Federal Disaster #1649, a Delaware River flood. Her poetry books are Cultivating Excess (The Eighth Mountain Press), Persona (Swank Books) and Temporary Bunk (Swank Books). Her Doctorate of Arts in writing is from the University at Albany; her Masters in Fine Arts in poetry is from the University of Iowa. She has a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Oregon State University. She has been a forester, outdoor guide, farm reporter, educator and editor. Anderson Moseman was born in Montana and raised in California; she now lives in Ithaca, New York with her husband and two mutts. She is a member of Ithaca's dragon boat team, Gorges Dragons.