2 Poems from Tommy Archuleta’s My Travel Dream Dictionary

F [ire]

Twice I call out your name 

And twice the river stops flowing

Two men wearing long coats are standing where the road ends

One of them has a snake ready to strike embroidered on his back the 
    other a willow tree  

Touch either one and you’ll feel sick for a whole century     

Everyone knows that

Even so I want to soothe the snake  

Want to commune with each patiently sewn leaf 

I want to thank them on and all 

Feed them Christmas candy 

Both men take off their coats thereby exposing their wings 

As I burn with envy a picture of you stealing apples comes to me

You the hot yoga instructor who always forgets my name

Not you the distance between moon and meaning  

The phone rings     it’s the river     can I come over to console her 

Now I’m moving like Jim Morison 

Not the Jim having just shot one gram of heroin 

Rather the Jim on stage at the Hollywood Bowl circa 1968 

As if matters already aren’t tense enough 

O [uterspace]

Hating and loving people both goes the radio can happen to anyone

I’m driving slowly along a dirt road

At the foot of every dead tree rests a basket of daises   

Why won’t my headlights make the eyes of black dogs glow 

I stop get out and write your name in the snow 

Tired of feeling lonely everywhere you go 

I want to use my tongue but don’t  

Act now and receive this handsome knife set free 

Maybe nothing I do will bring you back to me

There’s a man standing knee deep in the river 

He thinks too much about outerspace I say to myself  

He says O you mean loneliness 

No      I mean outerspace I go 

No he says You mean loneliness     the god to so many down here 

Don’t you think loneliness is deadly up there too I say    

O yes he says most definitely     

More deadly even than fire 

Tommy Archuleta’s work has appeared recently in The New England Review, Laurel Review, Lily Poetry Review, The Courtland Review, and Guesthouse. His debut collection, Susto, is slated for release March 2023 through the Center for Literary Publishing as a Mountain/West Poetry Series title. He lives on the Cochiti Reservation.

The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative’s Editor, Laura Lee Washburn, has selected July’s poems around the site’s current theme “We’re Speaking” to capture voices pushing back against the current attacks in the U.S. on human rights and on democracy. Citizens of Kansas have an attack on their state constitution on the ballot August 2nd on which we hope they will vote no in order to preserve the Kansas legacy of being a free state in which all citizens have bodily autonomy. We stand in solidarity with all people affected by current rulings from the radicalized Supreme Court.


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