Poems by Marc Beaudin


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Talking Earth Anthology: Poems by Marc Beaudin

Talking Earth Anthology:   Marc Beaudin.  Marc Beaudin is the poetry editor of the online journal CounterPunch and the co-owner of Elk River Books in Livingston, Montana.  His latest book is The Moon Cracks Open: A Field Guide to the Birds and Other Poems.  He also edited an anti-war anthology, Jihad bil Qalam: To Strive by Means of the Pen, for the mid-Michigan activist group, Tri-City Action for Peace. Marc believes that anarchy is the only true democracy, all patriotism is fascism, and that Brahms’ “Violin Concerto in D Major” is more powerful than all the guns, bombs and oil pipelines in the world.


More information can be found at CrowVoice.com and ReverbNation.com/MarcBeaudin.  See a video Trailer for The Moon Cracks Open at http://www.goodreads.com/videos/show/2760-the-moon-cracks-open-book-trailer


In addition to writing, he directs and designs for the stage, and is currently producing a play he wrote, Frankenstein, Inc., a modern adaptation of the Mary Shelly novel which explores the monstrous consequences of corporate science putting profits before people in the realm of genetic engineering. 

Marc  will read, sing and talk with host Barbara LaMorticella on Talking Earth, Monday night October 17 from 10-11 PM.  



Three Poems by Marc Beaudin

from The Moon Cracks Open: A Field Guide to the Birds and Other Poems.   

River Music

Floating, eyes closed,

face to an unclouded sky,

held by the cool hands

of the Cheyenne River

I forget – for a moment – 

the uranium from inhuman mines


into each pore of my body

like late-afternoon sunlight into every window in town

The uranium I myself put here

by paying my taxes, by shopping for a bargain,

by reading the lies of American history textbooks,

by watching the propaganda of John Wayne

on Sunday afternoons wrapped

in a blanket the colors of the flag,

by thinking that wisdom is to be found

in the books of dead men

rather than in the song of the nighthawk

or the poem of cottonwoods clacking in the breeze

I float, apart from myself,

allowing the river to carry me like a vapor,

my feet dragging through muck and over rocks;

weeds and small fish

brushing my legs in velvety greeting

The sun through these pale eyelids

becomes a field of sunflower;

the voices of the native children


bees darting

among the golden heads nodding in the wind.

They transform this poison nectar into song.

And in my broken Lakota,

with my funny, city-bred accent,

I try to sing along:

Wanbli gleshka waniyan nihiyouwe

“A spotted eagle is coming for you”

When I stand and stagger to the shore,

dry off, and climb into my truck,

I hope that the toxins I have absorbed

will leave this river

some small part cleaner,

and will shine on my skin like a mirror.

–Red Shirt, SD (Republic of Lakotah)

Federico Garcia Lorca Reminds Me of Robert Frost

On a night like this

you can hear the ropes creaking

in their pulleys as the moon rises,

and the click and hiss

of each star coming on,

a hum of machinery sounding

almost like wind through the trees

When a coyote knifes the darkness,

you think of sirens.

When an owl echoes your question,


you look for a door to lock,

a window to latch.

You pull your coat tighter

to your chest, and try

to remember that song from Sunday School;

but all that comes to your mouth

is the iron-salt taste

of your own blood.

It’s then that you look down two roads

and wish you had paid more attention

to that poem

you had to read for class


and years


–Ewald’s Bar, Saginaw, MI

Only the Dead

Only the dead have seen the end of war.”  –Plato


The sky too is concrete

rain whipping cold like a father’s belt

& I stand

thumb in hand

waiting for that one good ride.

This is where it begins.

This is where it will end:

A boy sways in the branches of dying trees

turns away for a moment,

& finds himself, a grown man planted

in the gravel of another road–

a crow perches on his heart;

an owl on his tongue.

This is where it begins.

This is what I’ve become:

Western highway fading south,

boots lapping up the puddles

like thirsty dogs,

eyes squinting into the torrent

of black black rain.

I am grateful for the weight of my pack

& the icy thunder all around.

And then the welcome smile of brakelights

& I’m trading stories w/ a farmer,

turned trucker, &

opening my coat against the heat

& the miles peel away like dollar bills

& the cars flash by like half-thoughts

& the stillness returns

& with it, the haunting words

chanced upon in a photograph

in our illegal attic:

“Only the dead

have seen the end of war.”

Sometimes it all comes together

to form what we call a moment

& the moments line up,

like schoolchildren,

to become a memory–

a cluster of images;

a fury of autumn leaves.

And in this moment, now,

it suddenly occurs to me:

I have never, in my life,

left a forwarding address.


America, land of the big backyard

& swimming pools

& self-induced lobotomies 

& thirty-one flavors

& neon, day-glo electric chairs– 

if only I weren’t born w/in the golden bars

of your Fourth Reich,

if only I weren’t born in the shadow

of your Roman Eagle,

I could love my country

the way Neruda loved Chile

or Kazantzakis loved Greece

but you’ve made it impossible

to separate land from state

people from policy

geography from government,

& so to be an American poet

is to always be a poet w/out a country

because a poet is nothing if not a teller of truth.

And we gather in fields of broken glass.

We love the weeds that splinter the sidewalk.

We stay up all night talking to walls.

We, following Whitman,

sound our barbaric yawp & wear our hats as we please,


or out


& everywhere

we gather on rooftops

drinking rainwater

from rusty eaves.

Only the dead have seen the end of war

but not all wars are fought

w/ the guns and bombs

of the weak desperation of empire–

the flag-waving children of Babylon.

Sometimes the moon

is the only witness to murder;

& he would never

rat out his friends.


This is where it will end.

This is where it begins:




in muddy procession

the wind picks up

& all I want

is another


of coffee.

–Highways 1 through 99

**  See the  Video Trailer for The Moon Cracks Open at