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Punta del Este Pantoum

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Accept my need and let me call you brother,
Slate blue oyster, wet sand crustacean,
In your hurrying to burrow, wait. Hover.
Parse opening’s disaster to creation’s

Slate, to another blue-eyed monstrous sand crustacean,
Water-bearer. Hear the ocean behind me,
Pursued, asking to be opened, asking Creation
To heed the tides that uncover you nightly.

Water-bearer, wear the water beside me,
Hide your burying shadow from the shorebirds,
But heed the tides that uncover you nightly.
Gems in sandcastles, stick-written words,

Hidden from the shadows of shorebirds,
Washed over by water. Waters revelatory
Gems, sand, castles, sticks, words—
Assured of erasure, voluntary erosion.

Watched over with warrior resolution,
Crab armor, claws, and nautilus heart,
Assured of a savior, reconstruct your evolution,
Clamor to hear, water scarab, what the tampered heart hears.

A scarab’s armor is light enough to fly.
In your hurry to burrow, wait. Hover.
Hear the clamor of the crustacean’s heart.
Heed this call of creation. Call me brother.

Chip Livingston, "Punta del Este Pantoum" from Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas. Copyright © 2011 by Chip Livingston.  Reprinted by permission of Chip Livingston.
Source: Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas (The University of Arizona Press, 2011)
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Punta del Este Pantoum

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  • Poet and writer Chip Livingston was born in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and grew up in Pensacola. He earned a BA at the University of Florida, an MA in fiction writing from the University of Colorado, and an MFA in poetry from Brooklyn College. 

    In his poems, in both free verse and received form, Livingston explores justice, sexuality, and identity. He is the author of the poetry chapbook Alarum (2007), the full-length collections Museum of False Starts (2010) and Crow-Blue, Crow-Black (2012), and a collection of essays and short stories, Naming Ceremony (2014). His poems have been included in the anthologies Best Gay Poetry 2008 and Best New Poets 2005. He has received fellowships and residencies from the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation and from Wildacres and three nominations for a Pushcart Prize. His fiction has received awards from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas and Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and...

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