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Cormier & Doyle-Gillespie – August 2019

Edward Doyle-Gillespie and Melissa Cormier traded art and words. Melissa shared this image, titled “skin,” with Edward:

In response, Edward wrote this poem:

The Calculus of Skinwalkers

Your mother is telling skinwalker stories.
When we go to see her,
when we bring her cigarettes,
when we bring her milk,
she tells us her stories
about the skinwalkers.
While she digs in the garden,
while she tosses handfuls of corn to the chickens,
while she moves stone, wood, and water
as the nameless mesa watches,
she tells us that skinwalkers
will know your name.
They will call to you, she mumbles,
when you walk to your outhouse
in the middle of the night,
or linger too long to smoke cigarettes
beyond the humming lights of your trailer.
They will lure you away because they know
just which words will draw you
into the coyote darkness.
Skinwalkers are happy these days,
she tells us as she makes fire
in the shadow of the nameless mesa.
Because so many bones grow in the desert these days.
Because so many native girls gone missing now.
Because so many Mexican children
blow away like snakeskin
with the wind now.
Because a skinwalker,
you remember,
makes his powder from the leavings of the dead,
blows it like a sudden scirocco in your face,
and simply waits until you are ready to
strip yourself naked and run
on all fours with him
in the dark.

* * * * *

Edward shared this poem with Melissa:

When Tourists Come

For a moment, there is a small, brown man
weaving his way
through the veins of the market place.
He wears the straw fedora of old Latin men,
and he tosses back a sample shot of the rum
that is meant for the tourists and for the rich
that live behind white villa walls.
He walks with the graceful fury of
the abuelos,
moving in between
a boxer’s shuffle
and a soldier’s promenade,
making his demands of the earth
until he stops for a moment
and watches the guitar curves
of your body.
You are searching
for our souvenir trophies,
and when your arms are full
of woven dolls
and lacquer ashtrays,
and you are going to the counter to pay,
he looks to me and he says a word in Spanish
that is lost in the gentle leeward winds.
I flail for a moment,
trying to clutch
the fluttering pieces
and sew them together
before he can use the magic
of old Latin men and
disappear like smoke
in the Caribbean heat.

In response, Melissa made this Polaroid series titled “Wanderlust” (click images to enlarge):

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