Flies Buzzing

By Mark Turcotte b. 1958 Mark Turcotte

somewhere in america, in a certain state of grace . . .
                                                   Patti Smith

As a child I danced
to the heartful, savage
rhythm
of the Native, the
American Indian,
in the Turtle Mountains,
in the Round Hall,
in the greasy light of
kerosene lamps.

As a child I danced
among the long, jangle legs of
the men, down
     beside the whispering moccasin women,
in close circles
around the Old Ones,
who sat at the drum,
their heads tossed, backs arched
     in ancient prayer.

As a child I danced away from the fist,
I danced toward the rhythms of life,
I danced into dreams, into
     the sound of flies buzzing.
A deer advancing but clinging to the forest wall,
the old red woman rocking in her tattered shawl,
the young women bent, breasts
drooping to the mouths of their young, the heat
hanging heavy on the tips of our tongues,
until the Sun
burned the sky black, the moon
made us silvery blue and
all of the night sounds, all of the night sounds

folded together with the buzzing
still in our heads,
becoming a chant of ghosts,
of Crazy Horse and Wovoka
and all the Endless Others,
snaking through the weaving through the trees
like beams of ribbons of light,
     singing, we shall live again we shall live,

until the Sun and the Sun and the Sun and I
awaken,
still a child, still dancing
toward the rhythm of life.

Mark Turcotte, “Flies Buzzing” from The Feathered Heart, published by Michigan State University Press. Copyright © 1998 by Mark Turcotte. Reprinted by permission of Mark Turcotte.

Source: The Feathered Heart (Michigan State University Press, 1998)

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Poet Mark Turcotte b. 1958

Subjects Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Theater & Dance

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Mark  Turcotte

Biography

Mark Turcotte was raised on North Dakota's Turtle Mountain Chippewa Reservation. After attending school in Lansing, Michigan, he lived on the road for nearly 15 years. Turcotte moved to Chicago in 1993, where his literary career was given a boost by Illinois Poet Laureate, Gwendolyn Brooks, who awarded him the first Gwendolyn Brooks Open-mic Poetry Award and named him a Significant Illinois Poet. Much of Turcotte's work deals . . .

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Poems by Mark Turcotte

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SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Theater & Dance

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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