Wednesday, July 30, 2008

le destitute

I could never clean my plate of
all the poetry you dropped onto it.
I could never take the words you
gave me and mold them into something
that could feed as many as you always
did. I could never take what
I was given and make it beautiful
enough for me to care as much
as you could. I could never finish
my portion of words, put them
together fashionably enough
to sell at gourmet restaurants
like stringed beans: metaphors,
similes, hyperboles, comitatus.
Do with them what you will, I'll
remain the child outside in the
sandbox, making mudpies with
my words that will always fall apart
as soon as my fingers are lifted.
Because I never saw myself as good
as the master creator you showed
yourself to be, when you gave me
the first words I ever spoke.

On Saying Goodbye.

Airwaves said it better.
back in the sixties when television stations
would end transmissions with a glimpse of
the american flag, and a recording of our
national anthem. I don't have either of those things,
but my static runs just as loudly as
any radio station to which you'll never listen.
No one listens to white noise anymore,
but it's the easiest way i know to
tell you that I'm leaving. That I'm still here.
That words are never substantial enough
to fill the silence that I would rather share
with you. With my thoughts. With your thoughts.
And whenever you turn on your radio
you will hear my arms coming through each empty
broadcast. Each time you turn the dial away
from the static, you'll hear me backing away,
arms open. Waiting for you. Leaving you behind.
Because I can't share silence with a man of words.
I am a man of words. And I don't have the words,
or the strength, to truly say goodbye to you.
But I'm saying goodbye. I'm saying please,
Don't touch the dial. Please, don't say goodbye.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Letter from a Canyon: trois

I am made of this stone.
It took nature a million years to
carve these canyon walls,
just as it took a million years
for nature to carve me. Perhaps,
I am made of all these
missing pieces, the sand and dust
swept away long ago into some
mysterious corner of the divine,
before forming the limbs and
flesh that sprouted from my
mother's womb. Perhaps, traveling
here is not an arrival, but a
return home, the missing pieces
finally placed together - the
dust and stone from all our inches
of flesh, the living reminder of
the void now left behind, unable
to be rebuilt, undesiring of
the attempt, undaunted by the
return to such insignificance.
I will remain small, smaller
and smaller, as the
earth grows large around me,
towering above all these pieces
of stone and flesh, wanting
to be reabsorbed yet told to leave,
seeking a new life in the vibrant,
living world outside these
ancient, breathing walls.

- 7/14

From the Canyon: A Love Letter

You came into me here, stranger,
beneath my pines and sculptures;
You combed your fingers through my trees,
breathed my breath, traced my paths
with your strong legs, drank from
my springs with thirsty lips and gazed
at my stars with watery eyes;
beside me, you became my lover for a night
before you left me, leaving only the pieces
of you buried inside me, and the footprints
across my chest,
only taking with you my air in your lungs
and the memory of my face, like a postcard
etched behind your now-heavy eyelids.

- 7/10

Letter from a Canyon: deux

How many of you, half-gods, planted
and harvested here, before we, the gods,
arrived? How many years, decades,
did you wait for us to bring you
our deadly wisdom, abandoning your
primitive temples for our tabernacles
of gold and steel - was this what you
went in search of, when you left the forests?
Did we bring you your heaven? Would you
laugh if you knew we looked back at your
letters and landmarks, searching somehow
for those secrets you held that elude us now -
those divine secrets that show us
how ungodlike we've become?

- 7/8

Letter from a Canyon

Your water eludes me;
the water that, piece by piece,
tore the hearts from these valley giants,
leaving petroglyphs of ancient races,
and ancient waters; the same water that
carves our road carves out my heart,
carrying it too, piece by piece,
millions of miles away
to blend into the vast, unreachable
expanse of the Universal.

- 7/8

Transcription from Lake Powell: July 7

Two glorious days have passed, remarkably, as it seems both a longer and shorter time. The hike through the Bryce amphitheatre was stunning, and towards the end of our ascent back to the car, the heavens opened and we received rain on the trail, and hail. Ouch. Next, we drove to Capitol Reef National Park, and hiked 4.5 miles up to a 360-degree panorama of the park and its canyons. It was magnificent, and we ate dinner and watched the sun set from atop those mountains, hiking for nearly an hour after dusk, and witnessing a beautiful scene of moon and stars in the open sky before falling asleep in the car. This was our second night of sleeping in the car, after having to do so at Bryce Canyon because, much to our chagrin, it began to rain at our campsite, and our tent's cover was not adequately keeping out the water. Last night we were merely unable to find a suitable campsite on the rocky trail, but I slept better. In the morning we attempted unsuccessfully to hike on of the washes at the park, but we still got amazing views of wildlife (albeit some cows as well), before driving to Lake Powell. Ricky drove most of the way, and it took us a while to get situated in a small motel (we could not find any campgrounds near the Lake), but swimming in the water was wonderful, and just what our tired bodies needed after our strenuous journeys.

A lot of poetry runs through my head in all of these places, but I can't seem to write anything down. I think I'll copy down the Keats poem that, for me, perfectly describes this trip, with Rick.


I proceeded to copy, in my journal, that same Keats poem, "Oh, Solitude!", that I had copied down here in my online journal only days before. It's interesting, looking back, on how that Sonnet so followed my mind up until that trip, only to be the poem to best describe my experience. Keats, you are indeed my lover.

Transcription from Bryce Canyon: July 5

"The dawn is my Assyria; the sun-set and moon-rise my Paphos, and unimaginable realms of faerie; broad noon shall be my England of the senses and the understanding; the night shall be my Germany of mystic philosophy and dreams"
- R.W. Emerson, Nature ch. 3. (Emerson's reference to England is a nod to Hobbes, while Germany is a nod to Kant)

What is it about Nature that causes men to be men again, as Emerson claims? What is it that revitalizes us? Perhaps it is the reconvening with our true Mother, with God, with the Divine. I wonder how much these people [read: tourists] do not see. The eye is the best artist, and if we could forsake all and be the transparent eyeball, perhaps we'd understand.

Rick and I are now at Bryce Canyon National Park. Yesterday, on the 4th, we were still at Zion National Park, and hiked through "the Narrows," literally in the river. I stayed in the water as much as I could, trying to become one with the water as Rick became one with the air, as he commented, "I feel as if I'm breathing with the canyon." It was a fantastic, transcendental moment. We hiked for ten miles before leaving the Narrows and hiking back up the three thousand foot ascent to our campsite.

This morning we packed and said goodbye to Zion as we drove up to Bryce, at an even higher elevation, stopping at a small local restaurant for lunch, local beer, and homemade pie. Unfortunately, we're camping at a campground here, surrounded by people, and this park, or the area in which we'll be sleeping and hiking tomorrow, seems way too populated - almost commercial, which begs the question, "how much of this Nature do people actually see?"

The view from Bryce point was phenomenal, where we'll be hiking tomorrow, hopefully with fewer companions. The sight was overpowering, and so Romantic (capital R, of course). I'm glad I've been sharing all of this with such wonderful company.