from “Jaguar”

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

4I describe consciousness as mother, earth, and the intelligence that shapes it.It's like an image of the moon on two different television sets.The real moon exists in different space than our living room.When we go outside at night, I'm nervous; I'm afraid for the animals; I mix consciousness with time, confuse time with what could happen.I struggle for understanding beyond environmental fears and grief.Consciousness is like the live-feed of a jaguar on two different video screens.The real jaguar's filmed in a rainforest, preparing her energies.Before, I knew what to look for at night; I no longer know.My fear offers new possibility, the way awareness can create.Two birds perch in a constellation tree with the same name; one eats starfruit; the other looks on.They're together, which we recognize, like the sun and moon; one shines out; one waits for light.Observing and observed universe are complementary aspects of their love.

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Mei-mei Berssenbrugge was born in Beijing and grew up in Massachusetts. She is the author of twelve books of poetry, most recently I Love Artists: New and Selected Poems and A Lit Cloud, a collaboration with artist Kiki Smith. She lives in New York City and northern New Mexico.

“Berssenbrugge’s lines—saturated with the hallucinatory speed of thought—have the urgency of a manifesto; she consistently calls attention to the interrelatedness of all things. Few living poets are as able to enter headlong into the spiritual state of our environment and its endangerment: one of the best minds in modern poetry.”
—Major Jackson, The New York Times

“Every collection of poems by Berssenbrugge is a literary step forward...With her powerful command of words redoubled by a meditative patience, she captures a secret rhythm, into which she weaves lines that surprise us with their accuracy, their submission to experience.”
—Etel Adnan

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