Joe Amaral

Sacred Ground

In smoked dawn, when
chants become kicked fire
and ash is wintry snow,
our bones await your calling.

Do not forget this density:
feathers on an arrow
soar. Spirit, throw blanket
warming the ice of grief.

We ask, where is the world?
There’s no help from reap
and sow. It’s on us, to stand
like rocks; resist as mountains.




Braided Steel

Hot sun singes human years. Weave
your hair into metallic ponytail. Let it flare!

Spray paint something obscene against a chained overpass.
Leave remnants of yourself cracking every damn compass.

Public nudity is fun. Lock youthful love upon swaying bridge.
Fuck the bolt cutters; the detentions authorities threaten.

Life snowballs, crush it. Carve your name in limestone rock.
On Cupid-arrowed trees, whittle initials inside crude hearts.

Feather bits & strands of wishes & skin like ashes
scattered from still steaming urn. Blood scrape sidewalks,

ever graphitizing your awesome substrate. Exhale
toxic atmospheres we entrap ourselves in. Accumulate

world travels like credit card miles, purchasing trinkets
to admire: ceramic Portuguese roosters, Peruvian drums,

homed on book stands & shelves, necklaces & pierced ears.
Anytime you’re feeling old, close your triangulated eye. Swim

into that settled memory that marinates so polite, coolly
satisfied with each maneuver you made despite knowing time,

or man, will try leaching blank those concentric rings you linked.
You shrug; stuck along the ennui of material things, but remember

that braided steel jutting out your dome- it binds forever, unique.
Swing it like a weapon. Armor to deter the ordinary. Go. Seek!