WIP: fox-bear love poem

November 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm (Uncategorized)

for women who are bear and fox
for bear and fox who are women
I present this gift

Year Zero

traditional gift: none
nontraditional gift: this poem
flower: wildflower (species unknown)


before there was the life you built together

there was the space that was empty for it to be built in…

the prologue then is this

year zero…

I offer congratulations to the possibility,

the space, the empty glen, the contruction site

of a temple, a marriage, a home, a life

where ever there is an anniversary

there is a birth…

I offer you my congratulations

on the moment before the first kiss.

You will receive much adulation

for time and labor

and the years that followed

but this is the second

that amazes me most:

when anything might have happened,

when nothing had yet happened,

before what did happen

became you.

Congratulations on this. Happy 0th anniversary!

Year One

traditional gift: paper

modern gift: clocks

flower: carnation


the landscape around them is changing,

men and bulldozers and wars of enemies

and wars of allies, wars of change itself

are threatening the forests of what is known

of what is knowable

out of all the allies and would-be allies,

this is the year that one ally is chosen;

the ally to outlast all others: the Ally.

The ally of a lifetime.

this is the year the fox and bear first spot one another

between the trees

love is also a wilderness, a wildness

what do two women care of what society thinks of the love of women

what do two animals care of what society thinks of the love of animals

what should we care even now of societies who STILL refuse to believe

1) men (and women) are animals; just animals

2) animals are capable of love; not just instinctual behavior we anthromorphize as “love”

3) love is instinct; wild, animalistic; a survival instinct

In that moment when the fox and the bear meet

in the high green grass

to roll and laugh and fish salmon,

pink pink salmon twitching

and jumping red and spawning

into the open

hungry mouths

of the red fox and brown bear

who fished in the river there

together, rolled in the sun naked

in their fur; bear and fox

found themselves in the moment

found something in the moment

worth staying for and so stayed…

the first year anniversary is traditionally paper

paper as in map

map as in how we got here

map as in where we are going

arrogant and hopeful, friends give cards

that say congratulations congratulations

that mean good luck, bon voyage, travel

advice, fingers crossed and who knew?

(you would even last a year… why invest

in more than a card) if you will last another

year and then another

…if/when you do these cards metastasize

get out of control, forget themselves

become something they weren’t meant to be…

you will have a photo album of such cards,

of the travelogue of this life together,

let my card –inadequate if well-meant–

be then a brag: “I knew it, I predicted it”

a report:”I saw it, I was there”

a letter from home to travellers abroad

a letter from the past to the future and back again)

let our cards be also what they are

simply lottery tickets… may you win the love lotto

may we too be as lucky to win what you have

psst… which of these is the luckiest

the winning number?

Don’t be selfish

your friends need to know…

can you imagine

what we would do with the lottery winnings?

what we would build? give back to

the community? give to ourselves?

share with you?

Year Two

Traditional Gifts: Cotton

Modern Gifts: China

Flower: Lily of the Valley


Cotton and China…

dishes and towels

tablesettings that are useful and decorative

that fill the kitchen

either too expensive too use

and so lives on display behind glass

to indicate this arrangement has colateral

(stuff we could split or smash

if the relationship is a wash)

clocks and bedsheets

that decorate the rooms behind close doors

and watch, keeping the time

to see what, if anything,

will happen there

…and for how long

these mute witnesses may be

celebrants, comforters, proxies

of gift-givers and as such harbor

gifter’s suspicions, intentions

and sit ackwardly on the bed or shelf

or be tucked into a box in the garage,

because the item or the relative is too

valuable to be simply discarded

but the daily presence is too unwelcome,

unwanted, intolerable, or simply too ugly

to share a place in this house, this marriage, this life

in the woods and bedrooms, wild

animals have no need for china

they eat with their claws and mouths

naked in their fur, lick themselves clean

hunt for sweet wild berries and slippery trout

Year Three

Traditional Gifts: Leather

Modern Gifts: Crystal

Flower: Sunflower


Women may gift each other leather

Women may wear leather(s)

The leathers they wear are costumes public and private

they reassure and tantalize

(Porno Mythbuster #29: cops don’t find handcuffs sexy

and that other thing… yeah no, not going to happen.

So don’t ask him or her to wear the uniform home.)

Bear and Fox do not wear leather

they are leather

Do not ask them what this means

they do not have the language to explain it to you

they do not understand your question

it’s none of your business anyway

Year Four

Traditional Gifts: Fruit or Flowers

Modern Gifts: Appliances

Flower: Hydrangea


Take the advice of traditionalists. Make smoothies.

Drink them on the deck, alone or together,

in the morning watching deer till your garden.

At night, drink them in the hot tub

after band practice with friends

or just two of you, alone and together,

watching stars fall around you.

With a splash wine, smoothie sangrias.

Leave the hydrangea to the deer.

Year Five

Traditional Gifts: Wood

Modern Gifts: Silverware

Flower: Daisy


“Prior to 1937, only the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversary had a material associated with it…A gift for each of these milestone anniversary years was also decided by the society. The logic of presenting gifts was that stability deserves a reward and more the stability the greater should be the reward.”

In emily post’s society you have earned the forks and spoons

to go with grandma’s china, congratulations.

Fox and Bear do not read emily post

or care for her suggestions. Bear rubs her

rough back against the heavy oak.

Fox gambols around her lover’s scratching post

(all the post that either recquire)

chasing mice for dinner. No silverware required.

Year Six

Traditional Gifts:Candy or Iron

Modern Gifts: Wood

Flower: Calla

Candy or Iron? Or wood? All these

are metaphors and materials

to be found in perfumed x-rated catalogues

that Fox-women share with slutty

femme and gender-ambiguating friends

like herself. Candy panties? Iron nipple

clamps? Calla Lily shaped dildoes?

Certainly these cannot be

what is meant by gift suggestions?

Not these gift suggestibles?

Bear-women blush butchly, grumble,

lumbering away from such conversation.

Chocolate or a watch, no doubt, is meant.

And drum sticks or softball bats would be welcomed.

But Bears are long suffering and know enough

not to open to gifts of some friends in public places.

Foxes will buy what foxes will buy

and what her friends (otters, beavers,

peacock birds and lions in heat)

know about that

should not be written here…

because it is not wise to poke the bear.


Year Seven

Traditional Gifts: Wool or Copper

Modern Gifts: Desk Sets

Flower: Freesia


IOU a stanza

Year Eight

Traditional Gifts: Bronze or Pottery

Modern Gifts: Linens or Lace

Flower: Lilac


IOU a stanza

Year Nine

Traditional Gifts: Pottery and Willow

Modern Gifts: Leather

Flower: Bird of paradise


More leather. This is paradise.

Refer to Year Three.

Yes, the happy couple is registered at

Harley Davidson.

Year Ten

Traditional Gifts: Tin or Aluminum

Modern Gifts: Diamond Jewelry

Flower: Daffodil


“By middle-to-late 1930s, people began to celebrate 1st, 10th, 20th and 70th anniversary along with 25th and 50th. A gift for each of these milestone anniversary years was also decided by the society. “

See how values change? The height of fashion

once demanded tin, now wants diamonds.

What did the romans mean? And when

have you known me to do (as expected)

as the romans, in rome or anywhere?

Still I wonder did they mean gift me

with weapons, jewelry or tins of food?

Surely in the 30s and surrounding decades

canned goods would have been

a welcome and loving gift.

In (dis)spirit of these traditions

I offer you this: let’s skip the yellow

bloodwar diamonds and cut

flowers and grab instead some

aluminum cans from our own

cupboard. The theater has free

tickets today to any show

with a donation of two cans

to the food bank.

How often do we just go

out to a movie together?

Year Eleven

Traditional Gifts: Steel

Modern Gifts: Fashion Jewelry

Flower: Tulip


Two lips. ‘Nuff said.

Year Twelve

Traditional Gifts: Silk or Linen

Modern Gifts: Pearls

Flower: Peony


O woman, here there is no gift we can give you

that does not already lay open

that you not already given to each other

what silky peon, what pearl, what man in the boat

falling out in the wet, linen bedwaves

as the world you have made of each other

and the rest of us are so far away on the horizon

other ships in the distance

(other captains and other destinations)

and nothing to do with the now of now

while you are now and in the now

now in each other

and now and yes still now!

You are captain and captive,

the ship and the sea; the boat in the storm,

the storm and the stormbringer

and yes, still now! Still yes!

the storm, the harbor and you follow

the advice of other poets

and moor, moor in her.

Year Thirteen

Traditional Gifts: Lace

Modern Gifts: Textiles or Furs

Flower: Chrysanthemum


Nothing unlucky about this year.

Step off, triskadecaphobes.

A full cycle of moons in a year.

A witches decade. A bakers dozen.

(Insert cop and donut joke. Insert

donut sexual innuendo.) Insert

life and love and fear and hope

and health and healing and change

and changes… and through it all

the two of you

in spite of whatever, whateverything

there. For us. For me. For each other.

For ever. Just there. Just here.

Still here.

What could be luckier than that?

Year Fourteen

Traditional Gifts: Ivory

Modern Gifts: Gold Jewelry



Ivory and gold? Is this the shopping list

of poachers or pianists?

There is no jungle. There is no concert hall.

There is making terrible, beautiful music

the joyful howling in the park

with the tribe… outside music… outside

judgment… outside the box.

And there is the den. Inside.

Bear and Fox snug, hibernating

curled together whenever their natures

and work schedules allow.

Inside the den. Safe

at home. At home

in each other.

Year Fifteen

Traditional Gifts: Crystal

Modern Gifts: Watches

Flower: Dahlia


“Prior to 1937, only the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversary had a material associated with it. In 1937, the American National Retail Jeweler Association issued a more comprehensive list, which associated a material for each anniversary year up to the 20th and then each fifth year after that up to the 75th, with the exception of the 65th.” Source: Cookie Lee, Wedding Anniversaries: from paper to diamond, page 61.

Because it suits them, society labels what it wishes

this a marriage, that an arrangement,

those an abomination.

Because it suits them, corporations merge and allow

for new definitions, new laws, new “rights”,

new solutions; they “give” what was never theirs

not theirs to restore, certainly not theirs to gift.

We do not need the advice of the gift-givers/list-makers

We are as we have been: natural, free, our own and each other’s

We give ourselves to each other

We are our own to give

Our lives are Ours to make whatever, whateverything

we will make

dykes, bears, foxes, amazons or marriages

whatever the label of the moment–

remain what they, what we always were

fierce, unflinching, true.

Year Sixteen

Traditional Gifts:

Modern Gifts: Silver Holloware


Hollowed. Hallowed. Hollows. Haloes. Howls.

Bear in Hollows. Bare in Hallows. Barren Haloes.

How-ling. Howling laughter, joy, pain

(at my pun-ning)

I’m not certain what is meant by holloware

so you’ll have to make due with this stanza

(only a decade or so overdue)

Year Seventeen

Traditional Gifts:

Modern Gifts: Furniture


It’s time to replace the bed. Again.

See stanza 29.

Year Eighteen

Traditional Gifts:

Modern Gifts: Porcelain


IOU a stanza

Year Nineteen

Traditional Gifts:

Modern Gifts: Bronze


IOU a stanza

Year Twenty

Traditional Gifts: China

Modern Gifts: Platinum

Flower: Aster


A cynic might suggest

that the shift from china to

platinum is toward

heavier and less breakable

projectiles but I think that is

my relationships I am describing

Year Twenty One

Traditional Gifts:

Modern Gifts: Brass or Nickel



Your relationship is old enough

to legally drink. Take a bottle

of Cold Champagne (and two

cold beers) in the bedroom.

Brass (the cop on top)

Brass Band. Brass Instruments.

Brassing off. Brass balls. Brass ring.

All metaphors tonight

and not.

The metaphor of grabbing

for the brass ring comes

from carousel riders getting a prize

by grabbing and catching

the dangling token

as they held tight to the moving

creatures (unicorn, phoenix, bears

and swans) they straddled.

While the music plays,

the carousel spins,

the machinery lifts the carousel beasts

and whether you catch

the ring or no, it is an amazing ride.

No metaphors needed.

Year Twenty Two

Traditional Gifts:

Modern Gifts: Copper



IOU a stanza

Year Twenty Three

Traditional Gifts:

Modern Gifts: Silver Plate



IOU a stanza

Year Twenty Four

Traditional Gifts:

Modern Gifts: Musical Instruments



Insert dirty joke about tubas and drummers

give it some cadence, a brassy innuendo

and then a da-dun-dum, rim shot at the end.

Snicker: rim shot at the end. LMAO.

Reposted. Like. Share.

Year Twenty-Five

Traditional Gifts: Silver

Modern Gifts: Silver

Flower: Iris


“The practice of giving peculiar gifts on various wedding anniversaries originated in Central Europe. Among the medieval Germans it was customary for friends to present a wife with a wreath of silver when she had lived with her husband twenty-five years. The silver symbolized the harmony that was assumed to be necessary to make so many years of matrimony possible. On the fiftieth anniversary of a wedding the wife was presented with a wreath of gold. Hence arose ‘silver wedding’ and ‘golden wedding.’ This practice, borrowed from the Germans, has been elaborated upon in modern times.”

Source: George Stimpson

Two wives: that’s a lot of necessary harmonizing.

Fortunately, you have and get and like the practice.

Year Twenty Six

Traditional Gifts:

Modern Gifts: Original Pictures


insert photo here

Year Twenty Seven

Traditional Gifts:

Modern Gifts: Sculpture


If I wrote something for you

here it be about the gifts of sculpture

you have given me (even

temporarily… such as fat

rattle woman) and about the

sculpture I often thought of giving

you (and those I have over the years)

and that even today I thought

something… what, dinner… art

a sculpture of bear and fox together.

And I thought give them something

they don’t have, something they need.

Fool, they have everything they need

they have each other. What they want

they get for themselves, for each other.

You women, crazy and sane, you are my best

friends. You are together and separate

a model for the life I am sculpting for myself.

I could have given you a gift certificate

but chose instead to stay up all night writing this

for you

to give you something only I could give you…

…because that is what you have always given me.

…because that is what you have always given each other.

Year Twenty Eight

Traditional Gifts:

Modern Gifts: Orchid


Orchid. Nudge, nudge. Giggle.

Year Twenty Nine

Traditional Gifts:

Modern Gifts: Furniture



It appears that tradition

has no true romantics.

There is no

gift, no symbol, no flower.

Even modern skeptics

predicted lesbian bed death

and their suggestion

of furniture is more

that of giving your wife

a vaccumn cleaner

for her birthday

because its time

to replace the old hoover.

Like so many things

that stay together out of inertia

rather than passion.

Besides they’re all saving up

for the real

holiday to come. The day with zeros.

This is a trick of commerce.

29.99 is not 30.00.


Buy a new bed. Modern

skeptics were wrong.


from the webpages of the Queen (UK not san francisco)

The historic origins of wedding anniversaries date back to the Holy Roman Empire, when husbands crowned their wives with a silver wreath on their twenty-fifth anniversary and a gold wreath on the fiftieth. Later, principally in the twentieth century, commercialism led to the addition of more anniversaries being represented by a named gift. In the Commonwealth realms, one can receive a message from the monarch for 60th, 65th, and 70th wedding anniversaries, and any wedding anniversary after that. This is done by applying to Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom, or to the Governor-General’s office in the other Commonwealth realms. In Canada, one can also receive a message from the Governor General for the 50th anniversary, and every 5th anniversary after that. The situation is similar in Australia, where one can receive a letter of congratulations from the Governor-General on the 50th and all subsequent wedding anniversaries; the Prime Minister, the federal Opposition leader, local members of parliament (both state and federal), and state Governors may also send salutations for the same anniversaries. In the United States, one can receive a greeting from the President for any wedding anniversary on or after the 50th. Roman Catholics may apply for a Papal blessing through their local diocese for wedding anniversaries of a special nature (25th, 50th, 60th, etc.).

As you can see you are ineligible currently for papal or presidential blessing and must make do with this: my blessing to you.

The names of some anniversaries provide guidance for appropriate or traditional gifts for the spouses to give each other; if there is a party these can be brought by the guests or influence the theme or decoration. These gifts vary in different countries, but some years have well-established connections now common to most nations: 5th Wooden, 10th Tin, 15th Crystal, 20th China, 25th Silver, 30th Pearl, 40th Ruby, 50th Golden, 60th Diamond. The tradition may have originated in medieval Germany where, if a married couple lived to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their wedding, the wife was presented by her friends and neighbours with a silver wreath to congratulate them for the good fortune that had prolonged the lives of the couple for so many years. On celebration of the 50th, the wife received a wreath of gold. Over time the number of symbols expanded and the German tradition came to assign gifts that had direct connections with each stage of married life. The symbols have changed over time. For example in the United Kingdom, diamond was a well known symbol for the 75th anniversary, but this changed to the now more common 60th anniversary after Queen Victoria’s 60 years on the throne was widely marked as her Diamond Jubilee. The origins of the current gift conventions date to 1937. Before that, only the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries had an associated gift. In 1937, the American National Retail Jeweler Association (now known as Jewelers of America as a result of an organizational merger) introduced an expanded list of gifts. The revamped list gave a gift for each year up to the 20th, and then for every fifth anniversary after that.


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