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Wednesday, December 15, 2010


by Rochelle Owens

Naming a wish wishing a name
Gila monster descended
into  this world
in the twenty-first century
hatched from the egg of the sky
emerging from a fiction
her body an astrological plan
in harmony with the rays
of the sun
slowly slowly slowly slowly
towards the four directions
a monster
of brilliant color
sleeping underground
dreaming of monkey cup
and cobra lily
vulnerable flesh eater
spiritual carnivore
Gila monster
the warmest of mothers
like the warmest of mothers
righteous and paradoxical
vulnerable flesh eater
spiritual carnivore
there goes a beautiful reptile
slowly slowly slowly slowly
towards the four directions
a cold blooded messenger
a monster
of brilliant color
her fatty tail
studded with yellow and black
beadlike tubercles
her gift of spit
her healing reptile spit
spit of power spit of cure
spit of metamorphosis
in harmony with layers of water
in harmony with Alpha and Omega
in harmony
with the rays of the sun

Rochelle Owens is the author of eighteen books of poetry and plays, the most recent of which are Plays by Rochelle Owens (Broadway Play Publishing, 2000) and Luca, Discourse on Life and Death (Junction Press, 2001). A pioneer in the experimental off-Broadway theatre movement and an internationally known innovative poet, she has received Village Voice Obie awards and honors from the New York Drama Critics Circle. Her plays have been presented worldwide and in festivals in Edinburgh, Avignon, Paris, and Berlin. Her play Futz, which is considered a classic of the American avant-garde theatre, was produced by Ellen Stewart at LaMama, directed by Tom O’Horgan and performed by the LaMama Troupe in 1967, and was made into a film in 1969. A French language production of Three Front was produced by France-Culture and broadcast on Radio France. She has been a participant in the Festival Franco-Anglais de Poésie, and has translated Liliane Atlan’s novel Les passants, The Passersby (Henry Holt, 1989). She has held fellowships from the NEA, Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and numerous other foundations. She has taught at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Oklahoma and held residencies at Brown and Southwestern Louisiana State. This section of "Ode to a Gila Monster" is Rochelle Owens' sixteenth New Verse News poem.