we live in our shoes, tend instruments
for mapping and counter-mapping:
where we understand the fault to be,
marking each house with
This is not a revolution.
This is the presentation of a dream: a nomadic talk of
biofacts and toponyms—ghostly, covered in pitch
Look at all this detail, that can’t be scrubbed off!
now is in lavender,
the past is in maroon:
Here we have a boat,
just a rowboat.
Nuela Mohammed quakeburgers thermophiles
this deposition of sand
the acropolis in a test-tube
the second scramble for Africa,
your waste of time watching ice melt,
slipping into the comfortable worlds.
Future monsoons will come later
and later in the year.
The process of water was made lost to me:
The very difficult connection between desert and sea.
The segue to each continent:
Little river, moving earth. Flat farms.
Building codes. Land registries. Fake mansions.
Serpentinized Europa. Two-dollar heroin.
Microbeads. Indigenous political capacity.
If you didn’t know what they were,
you wouldn’t know what they were.
I daydream sometimes that I look up
and my audience is mainly a shag rug
of microbial communities—and a silky flycatcher,
a replicated kelp forest, hyperalkeline pools,
migrating people and reindeer, phainopepla and mistletoe
microplastics trapped in thick cellophane,
multiple waters that you can’t see coming in—
some more aestheticized than others—
all ever dedicated to their adjectival calling.
Transdisciplinary salmon whose mouths buck
when they hear the earth shaking.
They’ve felt these quakes
and have folded them into
their own teachings:
the very sensitive global records:
getting between the scales:
stratospheric truth to ground truth:
going to Rayón and not eating the cheese:
The work has already been done.
The work cannot be done.
I have never done this before.
I show it to you because I love it deeply.
(Note that all of this language comes from the wondrously various talks offered at the University of Arizona Department of German Studies symposium Oceans and Deserts. This occasional, composite poem was read at the closing of the event on 1 March 2014.)