Anne Waldman‘s love letter to Boulder is drenched in water references. They seem fitting, since the city just suffered through the worst flood in its century-and-a-half existence. But the poem, which was commissioned by the Boulder Tattoo Project, is copyrighted Memorial Day 2013, and the first public reading of “Boulder Zodiac” was held weeks before unprecedented amounts of rain started falling on Boulder.
“I have felt prescient about some of this,” says Waldman. “It is the poet’s job to investigate and be a kind of prophet and witness. I have had scary water dreams.”
Chelsea Pohl, founder of the Boulder Tattoo Project, manages and co-owns Boulder’s Claw and Talon Tattoo with her husband, tattoo artist Vinny Bachert, commissioned Waldman to write a “400- to 500-word love poem to the city of Boulder.”
Next week, Bachert will permanently ink the bodies of 200 Boulderites with the words from “Boulder Zodiac,” surrounded by stars.
What: Boulder Tattoo Project Kick Off and Fundraiser
Where: Laughing Goat, 1709 Pearl Street, Boulder CO
When: Thu, October 31, 3pm – 11pm
Boulder Zodiac” By Anne Waldman
nuanced light, coyote yips full Sagittarian moon’s clear shadow you might spook yourself, seething centaur drawing up the Boulder dawn into your chest your lungs, take aim, it’s your own heart
city of choice, of modernity, of ancient creeks a few miles from Continents’ Divide and Arapahoe mystic native lore, great-horned Capricious ones party here, where Rockies crash Great Plains
where granite meets bone and Aquarius sheds his water semi-arid land thirsts for let it come down, sweet, dramatic, sudden let it gather and snow melt lift the Great Platte river is your life, your guardian
largemouth bass got lucky, and then not so stocked out by Walden Pond, silvery, the Piscean transmigratory life, the way we see through water miles from it land-locked, but look up at primordial Flatirons,
feel irony of topological wrench, of negative ions’ clarity, your mind stays high and clear leads the pack, you are Aries the “agrarian worker” and you settled here to see the future ride the terrifying Dark Age
here in humility where poetry thrives, where a warm chinook carries gentle tread of the inscrutable bull down from Heaven, a Buddha, who stops and sits, Taurus mind of “negative capability,”
comfortable in doubt, in curiosity, study of place, flora, fauna, every columbine flower, Indian Paintbrush, cottonwood tree, Stellar’s Jay mind doubles, being Gemini sees “both both” mirrored in struggle, flames licking at canyon mouth, flood warning
crises at the gate! move to higher ground, rescue meteorological archive of topological shift, note coming hard times, scarcity of water on diffident Crab whose job is to scuttle over surface, dig in, soul mate to the prairie dog perhaps who surveys the environs with keen eye, raise a ruckus!
for mountain lion also, be sure to go asymmetrical not turn your body, make loud noise, back away honor his kinghood in these parts, roaming Bald Mountain, O hungry Leo, lokapala of this berg citizens, guard your house pets, do not be careless
honor the great open space, honor semblance of wilderness Virgin wildflower, first bud of spring, close to tundra once ocean and you feel pull of tide another equinoctial moon over the downtown Mall, Tibet‘s magic shop, bookstore to browse, diverse eateries
share the wealth, education, sporting life, don’t mess with
balance of tolerance, keep Scales aligning, remember habitat is
your ecos— your house, your hearth, your ecology — your health
tip the scales and you go down, Libra, stay
wise, proactive, run the marathon, save the planet
from itself, do no harm, transcendent friend!
spiritual Boulder! aspirational Boulder! inspiring
with new age awareness slow growth ethos, reinventing
herself as the Scorpion does, grows back her tail in intricate
iteration, will not sting but seductively beckon….