voices out of the West, mostly poetry, personal to planetary...

Latif Harris

San Francisco, California


Poet, visual artist, and Vajrayana Buddhist, Latif William Harris, lives, writes and performs his work in San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood. His tenth book, Barter Within the Bark of Trees,: First Will and Testament, Poems of Aging and Memory is forthcoming from Duende Press, of Placitas, New Mexico.

Barter Within the Bark of Trees

by Latif Harris

I have been visiting the worlds

between sleep and awakening

the worlds of vapor trails

and watermelons

salt air and acacia

where intellect surrenders to curiosity

all her rigid demands

sounding of a soft hammer

against a bell

a bell which will not sound

a bell whose resonance

resides in the dawn

I have been visiting the worlds

of a thousand islands

strung together like beads

encircling the languid heart of a


which contains photographs

of distant planets

with violet mountains and orange skies

I have been out there so long

that maps have begun weeping

blistering noons

frozen in the rings of Bristlecone Pine

arboreal quills stopped in mid-air

like bolts of green lightning


Intransigent as a porcupine

yielding as a woman

made of water and air


invisible as the print of a sparrow’s foot

on a frosted piece of white marble

I have been out there so long

that rescue has become unnecessary

the drone of helicopters has settled down

with the bees

the shouts of the rescue party

are drowned by the leaves

in the domain of morning

when activity replaces me

I will fall asleep

on a carpet of dark dreams

 and barter within the bark of trees is a non-commercial project, an online anthology, to share a poetic vision of the land we love.

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