Things are getting interesting.

Batman meets Donnie Darko or not really: mask from the Ethnographic Collection (National Museum of Denmark) – Peoples of the Earth

From The Wishing Bone Cycle

by Jacob Nibenegenesabe

I try to make wishes right
but sometimes it doesn’t work.
Once, I wished a tree upside down
and its branches
were where the roots should have been!
The squirrels had to ask the moles
“How do we get down there
to get home?”
One time it happened that way.
Then there was the time, I remember now,
I wished a man upside down
and his feet were where his hands
should have been!
In the morning his shoes
had to ask the birds
“How do we fly up there
to get home?”
One time it happened that way.

There was an old woman I wished up.
She was the wife
of an old pond.
You could watch her swim in her husband
if you were
in the hiding bushes.
She spoke to him by the way she swam gently.
One time in their lives there was no rain
and the sun began making the pond smaller.
Soon the sun took the whole pond!
For many nights the old woman slept
near the hole where her husband once lived.
Then, one night, a storm came
but in the morning there still was no water
in her husband’s old house.
So she set out on a journey to find her husband
and followed the puddles on the ground
which were the storm’s footprints.
She followed them for many miles.
Finally she came upon her husband
sitting in a hole. But he was in the wrong hole!
So the old woman brought her husband home
little by little in her hands.
You could have seen him come home if you were in the hiding bushes.

Once I wished up a coat
wearing a man inside.
The man was sleeping
and when he woke
the coat was on him!
This was in summer, so many asked him
“Why do you have that coat on?”
“It has me in it!”
he would answer.
He tried to take it off
but I wished his memory shivering with cold
so it wouldn’t want to remember
how to take a coat off.
That way it would stay warm.
I congratulated myself on thinking of that.
Then his friends came,
put coats on,
and slowly showed him how they took coats off.
Even that didn’t work.
Things were getting interesting.
Then his friends
tried to confuse the coat
into thinking it was a man.
“Good morning,” they said to it,
“Did you get
your share of fish?”
and other things too.
Some even invited the coat to gossip.
It got to be late summer
and someone said to the coat
“It is getting colder.
You better go out
and find a coat to wear.”
The coat agreed!
Ha! I was too busy laughing
to stop that dumb coat
from leaving the man it wore
I didn’t care.
I went following the coat.
Things were getting interesting.

(Swampy Cree)

Source: Howard Norman, The Wishing Bone Cycle: Narrative Poems from the Swampy Cree Indians (Santa Barbara, CA: Ross-Erikson Publishing, [1972], 1982), 5, 20, 33-34.

Found in “Technicians of the Sacred”, an anthology by Jerome Rothenberg, “one of the hundred most recommended American books of the late twentieth century” (LA Times Book Review).
“Juxtaposing primitive and archaic works of art from many cultures with each other and with avant-garde and experimental poetry, Rothenberg contends that literature extends beyond temporal and geographic boundaries, cutting across space and time, while acting as retort to those who would call that larger humanity into question.”


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