“Boulder Zodiac”

“Boulder Zodiac” is the poem soon to be inked on the bodies of people who call Boulder home, as part of the Boulder Tattoo Project (a companion project to The Lexington Tattoo Project). Written by Anne Waldman, a resident of Boulder since 1976 and one of the founders of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (now Naropa University), “Boulder Zodiac” celebrates Boulder and attributes to it a powerful attracting force. Maybe you, too, will find Boulder irresistible after reading the poem?

Boulder Zodiac
by Anne Waldman

nuanced light, coyote yips
full Sagittarian moon’s clear shadow
you might spook yourself, seething centaur
drawing up the Boulder dawn into your chest
your lungs, take aim, it’s your own heart

city of choice, of modernity, of ancient creeks
a few miles from Continents’ Divide
and Arapahoe mystic native lore,
great-horned Capricious ones party here,
where Rockies crash Great Plains

where granite meets bone and Aquarius sheds
his water semi-arid land thirsts for
let it come down, sweet, dramatic, sudden
let it gather and snow melt lift the Great Platte
river is your life, your guardian

largemouth bass got lucky, and then not so
stocked out by Walden Pond, silvery,
the Piscean transmigratory life,
the way we see through water miles from it
land-locked, but look up at primordial Flatirons,

feel irony of topological wrench, of negative ions’
clarity, your mind stays high and clear
leads the pack, you are Aries
the “agrarian worker” and you settled here
to see the future ride the terrifying Dark Age

here in humility where poetry
thrives, where a warm chinook carries
gentle tread of the inscrutable bull down from Heaven,
a Buddha, who stops and sits, Taurus mind
of “negative capability,”

comfortable in doubt, in curiosity, study of
place, flora, fauna, every columbine flower,
Indian Paintbrush, cottonwood tree, Stellar’s Jay
mind doubles, being Gemini sees “both both” mirrored
in struggle, flames licking at canyon mouth, flood warning

crises at the gate! move to higher ground, rescue
meteorological archive of topological shift, note coming
hard times, scarcity of water on diffident Crab whose job is to scuttle
over surface, dig in, soul mate to the prairie dog perhaps who
surveys the environs with keen eye, raise a ruckus!

for mountain lion also, be sure to go asymmetrical
not turn your body, make loud noise, back away
honor his kinghood in these parts, roaming
Bald Mountain, O hungry Leo, lokapala of this berg
citizens, guard your house pets, do not be careless

honor the great open space, honor semblance of wilderness
Virgin wildflower, first bud of spring, close to tundra
once ocean and you feel pull of tide
another equinoctial moon over the downtown Mall,
Tibet’s magic shop, bookstore to browse, diverse eateries

share the wealth, education, sporting life, don’t mess with
balance of tolerance, keep Scales aligning, remember habitat is
your ecos- your house, your hearth- your ecology – your health
tip the scales and you go down, Libra, stay
wise, proactive, run the marathon, save the planet

from itself, do no harm, transcendent friend!
spiritual Boulder! aspirational Boulder! inspiring
with new age awareness slow growth ethos, reinventing
herself as the Scorpion does, grows back her tail in intricate
iteration, will not sting but seductively beckon….

Memorial Day 2013
People’s Republic of Boulder,
Copyright 2013 by Anne Waldman

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