Andrew H. Oerke




Tree Huggers of the World Unite

 

Cross my heart and hope to die I graft my spine into the bark.

I'm a tree hugger who gets a kick out of rubbing the wood.

I pledge allegiance to the most natural world

I can think of and still call it natural

so I worship everything besides my urban self:

rock and baobab, beast and bumblebee,

to make my virtual self as real as possible.

 

Suddenly I'm slurp-sucked upward by a capillary

attraction that could be just contraction though.

What's the difference if my thoughts are shooting up

xylem and phloem and then out a cluster of leaves

into the wide-open air called wind and sky

where I would pledge allegiance to the natural world again

if I could soar so high though I almost do at the tree's tip-top.

Pantheist, all-around alchemist and whatever,

I salute the extraneous, the peripheral,

the superfluous, and the totally insignificant.

I see the extraordinary in just ordinary things

that whisper to me.  Saint Francis is my governor,

and Walt smuggled me into the Secret Society

of Dead Poets when my spine was grafted into the pine even

though just for a harebrained fraction of a second.

Now I'm redwood here, live oak there.  These upwardly-tunnel-

tough straws suck my breath up and breathe O2 back in.

 

I stand here with my back jammed into the bark

not into the wall where we all may be shot sooner or

later with pain-killing needles instead of bullets.

So let the Noble Savage scream for all he's worth

and sing for his supper as long as he's able to.

When they shoot me I'll turn and drop my pants to moon 'em;

they'll have a rosy red bullseye to aim at, right here.





Andrew H. Oerke recently returned to poetry after many years in development work with the Peace Corps and other volunteer organizations.  His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Poetry, and elsewhere.  In 2006, his two new collections, African Stiltdancer and San Miguel de Allende, were published jointly by Swan Books and the UN Society for Writers and Artists and subsequently received the United Nations Literature Award.  His most recent book, Never Seek to Tell Thy Love, was published in 2010.










                                    

 

Home
Current Issue
Submissions
Contributors' Notes


Email this poem Printer friendly page

A CLOSER LOOK: Jean Nordhaus

Peggy Aylsworth

Bruce Bennett

Brad Bisio

Judith Bowles

Terri Brown-Davidson

Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Gayle Reed Carroll

Grace Cavalieri

Will Cordeiro

Barbara Crooker

Philip Dacey

Dante Di Stefano

Margot Farrington

Roger Fogelman

Taylor Graham

Will Greenway

Maryanne Hannan on Diane Lockward

Audrey Henderson

Laura Eleanor Holloway

Siham Karami

Peter Kline

Judy Kronenfeld

Michael Lauchlan

Lyn Lifshin

Laura Manuelidis

Judith McCombs

Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely

Joe Mills

Yvette Neisser Moreno and Patricia Bejarano Fisher

David Derbin Nolta

Andrew H. Oerke

Dean Olson

Laura Orem on Linda Pastan

Laura Orem on Terence Winch

Scott Owens

William Page

Beth Paulson

Eleanor Paynter

Joanna Pearson

Simon Perchik

R.D. Parker

Oliver Rice

W.M. Rivera

Michael Salcman

Mike Smetzer

Matthew Buckley Smith

Stephen Spencer

Rob Spiegel

Jack Stewart

Mark Thalman

Kathi Wolfe

Patrick Woodcock

Katherine E. Young

More

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 


Last Updated: Feb 24, 2017 - 9:01:52 AM

Copyright 2005 - 2016 Cook Communication.