J.P. Dancing Bear

The Next Life and Windpowered
June 24, 2024 Dancing Bear J.P.

The Next Life


Sea fog drifting through the pines—
this is the place where marine birds
mix with land fowl;
noisy finches, ravens’ bickering,
and the gulls cry.
A hummingbird thrums less than a foot
from my head—
Here I’m convinced that in this moment I will die
and come back with a better voice.





“There is no enemy”
—Thomas Dolby
“…score one for the timelessness of poetry, the news that stays news.”
—John Gallaher


Here on the coast of a continent slowly grinding—
the sound of mills turning, metal on metal,
violent and clean, rusting with salt air—


powering my heart.


This red fist would lift but for the body
heavy in shadow, nearly iron, nearly …love
lost in the swept sand, the dust, clouds
racing over a nation of seeds


what if I should run and leap?
Throw my hands out like feathers
and catch my ancestors’ spirits— would it be
enough to take me?


The news of the world is dust devil—
spinning and spinning and spitting.


The air soughing over the land whispers
There is no enemy


If I were to release my breath I might shatter
the last window to my ghost.

J.P. Dancing Bear is editor of Verse Daily. He is the author of sixteen collections of poetry, most recently, Of Oracles and Monsters (Glass Lyre Press, 2020), and Fish Singing Foxes (Salmon Poetry, 2019). His work has appeared hundreds of magazines and elsewhere.