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I’m stuck on this image of the Gorgon, the Mountain-mother, before that palatalization (okay, I just checked and that word doesn’t mean what I want it to mean–but I think it works if I use it to mean “make more tolerable”. I’m doing it) of the figure from a horrifying winged creature, frequently depicted with many snakes, to an Earth-mother figure connoting peace and abundance. I have to think that if the early Gorgons woke today and saw, say, Bakken, a great reckoning would be at hand. Today’s poem is about that.

Or it was going to be, twelve hours ago, but now I’m not so sure. Worked late. Poeming late. Pull your hair back, girl, and get to work. 

The Gorgon Over Bakken

“Earth that feeds him hath drunk of the gore, blood calling for vengeance flows never more, but stiffens, and pierces its way, Through the murderer breeding disease that none may allay”. the Choephori

1. She wakes.

Forced awake by the shaft of water hard down the wellbore,a hydraulic piercing through the brittle middle crust, she rises, hissing through the fissure, her skin tight oil freed from aged rock. Black and sheening, she unstiffens an ages’ coiling, reaches the surface, unfolds her wings in rage.

2. She flies.

Serpents rising all around her, a halo of writhing bodies and tongues, she circles, widening as she charges the neat geometry of white trailers, its angles a plague of dismal blight, so hideous she hurls her mask with its pendent tongue and drooping tusks down in a storm of fire. Beneath she is ice smooth and featureless, the slopes of her face bilious and merged, eyes moving cinders in the dark.

3. She sees.

She follow the veins of stiffened blood, for awhile she follows a red 4×4, her shadow shade for the man with one hand on the wheel, and the other on the woman. They have an arrangement, the boomtown booms, purple lights in the near horizon. The new refinery progress lesions in the review, the rigs needles caught firm in her veins, the rage-grief a devoted mother’s, akin to none.

4. She Grieves.

A spectre of death, her eyes her only weapons, she waits above the new rail station, to fascinate the profiteers of her violation with her snake-hair before slewing them with her eyes. She waits to return them to dust. Cloud-perched she waits guised in thunderstorm over the prairie, the black cars crude ants in a line, wings limp sagged and wide-fanged mouth mute but screaming, the train whistle screaming in unison, her scream the whistle, the whistle her despair.


Four’s all I’ve got in me tonight. It’s a start. Happy Monday!