Posted in Past Guests
Natalie Diaz is a member of the Mojave and Pima Indian tribes. After playing professional basketball in Europe she returned to her alma mater Old Dominion University for an MFA in writing. Her writing has been included in Prairie Schooner, Iowa Review, and Crab Orchard Review, among others. Her work was selected by Natasha Trethewey for Best New Poets and she has received the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. She lives in Surprise, Arizona, and directs the Fort Mojave Language Recovery Program, where she works with the last remaining speakers at Fort Mojave to teach and revitalize the Mojave language.
From the Desire Field
I don’t call it sleep anymore.
I’ll risk losing something new instead—
like you lost your rosen moon, shook it loose.
But sometimes when I get my horns in a thing—
a wonder, a grief or a line of her—it is a sticky and ruined
fruit to unfasten from,
despite my trembling.
Let me call my anxiety, desire, then.
Let me call it, a garden.
Maybe this is what Lorca meant
when he said, verde que te quiero verde—
because when the shade of night comes,
I am a field of it, of any worry ready to flower in my chest.
My mind in the dark is una bestia, unfocused,
hot. And if not yoked to exhaustion
beneath the hip and plow of my lover,
then I am another night wandering the desire field—
bewildered in its low green glow,
belling the meadow between midnight and morning.
Insomnia is like Spring that way—surprising
and many petaled,
the kick and leap of gold grasshoppers at my brow.
I am struck in the witched hours of want—
I want her green life. Her inside me
in a green hour I can’t stop.
Green vein in her throat green wing in my mouth
green thorn in my eye. I want her like a river goes, bending.
Green moving green, moving.
Fast as that, this is how it happens—
soy una sonámbula.
And even though you said today you felt better,
and it is so late in this poem, is it okay to be clear,
to say, I don’t feel good,
to ask you to tell me a story
about the sweet grass you planted—and tell it again
until I can smell its sweet smoke,
leave this thrashed field, and be smooth.
Originally published in Poem-a-Day by the Academy of American Poets.
- Review of When My Brother Was an Aztec by Ryan Teitman. The Rumpus. 23 October 2013.
- On ‘Hand-Me-Down Halloween.’” Poetry Society of America.
- “On Wednesday’s NewsHour“ by Mary Jo Brooks. NewsHour. 20 June 2012.
- Interview with Andrea J. Nolan. Barely South Review. January 2011.
Seminar with Rigoberto González | November 18, 2014
Reading with Rigoberto González | November 18, 2014