The New Animism

Defined by the unspoken, what are the
circumstances that take this friend away?
Traveling with the Khan’s golden table, his
rusty cello. Sometimes he’s wearing a red
cape, sometimes he’s surrounded by birds.
Sometimes sorcery is just salt. Sometimes
you just have to bury your dead. To be aware
of the other-than-human persons all around.
To know butterflies by flight pattern and trees
by smell. Monarchs and viceroys. Willows
and milkweed. Mongols reached Vienna by 1241.
We couldn’t be acquainted any other way. It
all means something to the people who
understand it. I don’t know what it means
but I mean it.
Stones fed on tobacco smoke
become jaguars. Education has become a
commodity. No two minds are the same. There
are three kinds of eunuch. Betrayal seldom
follows a straight line. In sweating we recall
our ancestors. Through the spirits of the leaves
that are boiled for steam, the patient will be calmed.

Aroma of an ancient language. Words that erect a wall
of arcana. Words we say over food to keep from dying.

Whit Griffin (© 2012)