alice notley



And Who Is Crying
And who is crying
And why
And why am i crying? 

For myself or for the dead women? i dreamed that they, we, had blonde-haired selves that ate other such ones for food. long crinkly golden hair. but says Cherokee not i for i am Cherokee. and maybe you did anyway Mara says. and the dead Afghan woman says i am back, and why and why am i crying since the Afghan women have been liberated? so to speak. because you are dead says Mira, and so you are dead and not vindicated, since you are dead. dead dead. that is our meaning we forget for the writer is bound up in herself. crying. and who is crying. and why and why am i crying. she moved the tent house which they had boarded up and covered with corrugated sheet iron on roof and sides. they bought lumber and materials to build a structure onto the former one. it was partitioned into a small bedroom and a living room, with a screened-in porch. she lived there until her death in 1945. but i can’t find the rest of this part of her story; my grandmother, three times widowed, died ten days after my birth. selves that ate other such ones for food? 
but says Cherokee not i for i am Cherokee. or yes. on the Trail of Tears due to the discovery of gold, and so who was liberated and from what? that i am a woman is it part of anything even my events as a woman, erased by the large tribal death? is woman a tribe or only for you? i am here because (for i am the one who keeps questioning why) your deaths cry out so loudly? my death is tears of negation, and i am in negative space because i am too hurt to occupy the ancestral spirituality—am i also too modern that is ruined? and who is crying, and why, and why am i crying. dead Afghan woman says can we be more dead than others? who can be certain of who is most dead? but i had not thought such grief could continue. These were tough years for our mother, who was frail in health and no financial income, with five children. the salvation army helped us, and we received help from the county until i went to work at woolworth’s in 1925. the men were lovely too Carmen is one. D’s blue eyes and blond hair, was black at the time of her demise. she had a mental breakdown and suffered for about ten years (her lobotomy and death are not recorded in this document.) are you here too? and your mother? if i try to hear your voices i will cry. and who is crying and why? i am crying because i never knew you. and because Cherokee though part of me is voice so difficult and hurts still; and the Afghan woman whom one saw die on tv. there are no complete thoughts. i know we are all here together. i am not dead but my death is my soul, who is crying. 

The humane treatment of prisoners is a treaty stipulation and not a moral obligation. the United States has always done as it has wished, says Cherokee, with regard to treaties. ask any Cherokee. because it is not important to get along with anyone except for the powerful and rich. as none of us have ever counted. every single person mentioned on the front page of the international herald tribune today is a man except for the bits of the blown up Palestinian woman the first terrorist of her kind. every column on the op ed page is by a man. there are photos of a male tennis player and of the male premier of Bavaria, there is a photo of an Israeli woman weeping, because the tears of women are politically exploitable. ( and why am i crying?) inside the newspaper are three photos of soldiers including one of a general, a photo of many male Afghans, a photo of a male journalist who has disappeared, the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat posing with two young boys, a photo of four Macedonian men in their village, a photo of some men involved in the Enron scandal, a photo of a man head of the SEC, a photo of a wireless computer screen in Tokyo with a Japanese worker, a man, nearby, a photo of a man who works for Apple, a photo of men from a Rugby match, another photo of the male tennis player, a photo of two football players after a match. 

I am not dead but will die in this world and my death is my soul, who is crying. as none of us has ever counted. do you know what your existence was—that is a discredited kind of question. if everything i know is from my body. where i am and my soul is. was i alive only to be aware of that fact. was i alive only to love and be hurt by that. was i alive to be told over and over by people, not just men, that i had so much going for me. was i alive to give the men a justification for their obscene machinations pervasive throughout the details of my own life even into my body and causing the crying of my soul. so you might say this is to go too far, but it is not. we have all been invaded, we the dead women, and that is why we are together in negative space. 

About 450 U.S. troops have already arrived in the Philippines, Pentagon officials said. Alma is an owl and she will terrorize you in your future dreams when you wake up knocking your head against the headboard of your bed, trying to get out of your past actions, for i know things about soldiers, but no one would ever listen. because your body in its privacy in its veritable intimacy of you—and why am i crying?—knows it has no right to kill, except for food, and even that is sticky. but all of this is discredited. Alma is your omen, god is your omen, beware of her. if you see her you will know, that before your death the privacy of your body will be filled with the wings of your guilt; for you will know that anyone’s self is as intimate to that one as yours is to you and you negated that, you deleted yourself. the death was yours and it was the worst thing you could do. you will know this from exactly within where god’s wings have come.