Michael and the Butterfly

Sitting with Michael McClure in the living room of his Oakland hills home
nestled into a grove of flammable eucalyptus, inhaling the camphor and mint-

perfused air which dilates alveoli in our lungs until we become a little oxygen high
talking about Artaud and Deconstruction and the mental versus physiological

construction of language and Michael says Derrida’s insights are like a
buckeye butterfly landing on wild buckwheat and what a perfect thing this is!

And the reason I invoke the buckeye butterfly he says is because the buckeye butterfly
is a very beautiful butterfly with its three huge eyelike moons on its wings and vivid

scarlet-orange bar under the moons and two bright red stripes at the top
surely one of the most beautiful animals on earth the buckeye butterfly

and he keeps repeating the words buckeye butterfly until they fill the air
each pair of words a tiny poem, buckeye butterfly, clouding about us starting

to flap their rhyming wings around our ears
to motion dazzle scarlet-orange before our confused eyes

until we forget all else, our talk blown away by wing-whipped wind
as Michael keeps repeating and releasing more buckeye butterflies

for what words could be better than buckeye butterfly?

–Jedediah Smith

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