Every Michigander is Far and Wee//Jeni De La O

fresh,    fresh,    come spring!                 oh,mud–
and air!             yes, sun–touched                      skin is lust,
breathes life into every broken rust;
that magic!       how?    impossible!       impossible green!
swinging happy,            on        giddy wind,
breaking           open     every    single    blue     in         the sky.


ah, hear birds                squawking at a returning sky?
mmm, see the child       joy-eating                     mud?
ohh, feel the not-yet flowers                             dreaming wind?
and tentative shoulders uncoiling (yes)              lust?
there                cannot be a      hidden green,
where all living things wake,      shaking             off        rust!


my bones!        oh        sorry bones of winter’s rust!
let me peel this skin away          so you can peek at the sky!
let me run your edges against    new      budding green!
let me pack your dimples with   freshest            baby mud!
silly aching bones,         I will make you drunk for lust,
like an old man in the park, laughing      with      the       wind.


what is sweeter             to my soul than the       taste     of wind?
mind my little crumble-clouds of            shed     rust,
oh shedding!     oh, stretching!    oh garden snake of lust!
watch my starving eye swallow the entire dome of sky!
ahh, the balsam of Gilead is       sun-warmed     mud,
ohh, the waters of Jordan are a pressing dream green.


yes, fill my mouth with earth    and moss          and green,
give me only this                       and the smell of rain on wind–

and I’ll say,                    what charm of seasons! spinning yards of mud
whose rich flow slips  all            language           for        rust!

kindling joy: a    sweet               smoke offering that pierces sky,
electrifying mitochondria,          bumblebees buzzing lust!


Pulse threading every    imaginable        sort      of lust
for leeks           and peas           and                   sugar snap green
that inched from earth, unfurled           against sky
and,     for us,   re-claimed the sun.       what carries in the wind?
a six month history,                   entombed        /          in rust.
now we are sunny little pigs,      gleeful snouts               caked in mud!


and we know    summer is                     a lust wind,
and we know    fall brings                      a green rust;
and what follows           we        tuck      into      a          sky-mud.

Jeni De La O is an Afro-Cuban poet and storyteller living in Detroit. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Obsidian, Gigantic Sequins, Rigorous Magazine, Fifth Wednesday, and others. Jeni founded Relato:Detroit, the nation’s first bilingual community storytelling event, which seeks to bridge linguistics divides through story. She is a Poetry Editor for Rockvale Review and organizes Poems in the Park, an acoustic reading series based in Detroit. You can find her on Twitter at @jenidelao.