Poetry at Sangam



BELL OF THE IMMORTALS by George Kalamaras

Based on a photograph, “Hunters Conduct Gunless Hunt,” of R.C. Ellis and D.L. Lile displaying five specimens of coyotes killed by their greyhound and two stag hounds during a three-hour hunt in the foothills of the Rockies. In nine years, these men and their dogs have brought in more than 500 coyotes. Pueblo, Colorado, January 10, 1941


The persistence of the Iberian wolf. That wind from Pueblo where all things hot.
The hammering the light the hard behind my eyes. Two dead coyotes upside down, hung
by their tails. Display of dead mid-run leg. I can’t do it anymore. Simply shut up
my mouth. This smile this hat. Run our words together as dead dogs
collide. It is easier for a camel to be eaten and shit out as sand
than for water to pass through the ear of a beagle. Here, quickly ingest my rage.
Rage, quickly, ingest my ache. I cherish the book, Issa
and the Meaning of Animals: A Buddhist Poet’s Perspective.

I collected my fault. I buried every third possum struck at the side of the road,
bleeding rock salt. How could how possibly these men?
They would have been better off drinking tea, perfecting a new strain:
The Silent Snow Swan, or Shy Panda, or Temptation of the Sable Tassle.
Anything vaguely animal. I swear I’ve sipped them all, most evenings in meditation when I leave the body cave and finally become human. Hound dog hound dog.
Heal my heart. Help me track the little Ethiopian Wolf and bring her home
to the roaming tent beds of the brain. The men look pony-built. Sturdy as horse-
bone, though not as many hands high. Their dogs seem confused, as if their tongues
and all the world betrayed. Snout-driven. As if everyone’s tongue betrays.
Lord knows a sonnet should be fourteen lines not more. My love of haiku
keeps me hiking. Cutting back my words. Doubling down a switchback
across a stream. Switching down an ache-back of rage. An aged sack
of blame. Colorado snowcaps. And all those plains. Teahouses.
Enticing blends like Blushing Lotus or Bell of the Immortals.
Even the Iberian Wolf seems alive. Even the remains of coyotes shed
new life here, now, forever, in the camera’s graze of dead pastures
of their fur. Hung-stuck by their tail. By luck. The blood
has rushed to their head and blossomed them
dead and given them the perplexed look of startled water.