my mind is a maze of serpentine
storylines, bending and swirling
with the Kabul River, cuddling, carving
belting the Hindu Kush;
Hindu Kush to the Tian Shan;
Tengri Tagh or Tengir-Too, anything at all
to breathe in Mountains of Heaven.
Sharp, cascading inhales of the ice gods, the grins
I see in the snow lines, the dusk-shades cast by sunlight—
Two final footsteps echoed against the scratched glass door
& off we were—
murmuring swampy lives away,
lobbing for ourselves the God-given champagne
against the bobbing she-queen, Queen of the Nile.
Life was in bubbles, great wads
of the stuff, tacky & sweet and still
criss-crossed in hot-blooded pen—
the deeper we burrowed in our footstep murmurs,
the deeper we saw;
until the hole grew so lightless
we found refuge.
The shadowy evening cast itself long against the sign pole. Stirling Point, the “southern-most point of New Zealand”–not even the southern-most point of Bluff–hung there, suspended, like some glorious trophy I would have given back for more time.
My body ached.
Electricity was zip-lining through me, pulsing in the backs of my knees, the creases of my elbows, the temple vein. Max, Arwed, Drew and I had been walking since 4 a.m., a steady thump of feet against compact sand, the New Zealand south coast as mystical and unraveled as we’d imagined. We had hiked 70km today to be here; my legs, strong now from seven weeks of hiking, were sore.
My palm closed around the metal pole.
I felt everything descend.
Do you have the time?
time to bend
hairy fiddlehead ferns and ask her secrets;
“unfold yourself,” you speak, the echoes
rich against the Manoa waterfall.
Nothing to prove. Tis
just to be.
Merited, honest, sound
open-minded and even-handed
I see the scales are already
and all I’ve been doing
You could go sterile on a seat like that,
he told me, jiggling one dusty finger
at the black cheek-shaped seat
of my bicycle, which rested with me
against the cafe umbrella stand.
I didn’t quite follow his reasoning—
which he gave in file-folder
eruptions of statistics and news articles clear
from the research department of his mind.
I am at home within myself.
A Hawaiian twilight dims the background; I can hear the sleepy cooing of a nightjar on the branches of the acacia koa above me, blinking itself awake. Perhaps it’s a common nighthawk. Sue tells me those frequent the south shores of O’ahu.
With the sun descends the temperature. Nothing alarming, nothing intense; no reason to leave my cross-legged perch on the stone bench. A simple breeze lifts the hair from my face, leaning in for a kiss. I can’t recall ever being too hot, too sweaty–knowing that the version of myself, not half a day ago, couldn’t have remembered the reverse.
All this fuzziness astounds me ;
warmed up from the soul and told
(under no uncertain terms) we’re
destined to die the martyr
in due course.
But not now—perhaps.
At least until the sun goes down and
the ants cease their ant-nibbles and
the cricket boys back go to bed.
I am grateful for the sand between my toes,
that finds me in the coziest
of places, that works away and makes me
softer. That reminds me I live near the ocean.
I am grateful for the lithe sleek
bicycle I pedal down University avenue
until I can’t pump hard enough and must
let gravity take me.
I am grateful to have a job, a task,
something to put my name on, to sweat for,
to sit down and feel it for. To have a reason
to love a cold water shower.
Continue reading “5-Step Process to Get What You Want Out of Life”
If the hair on your head
heightens and heightens,
enlarging like the alarmed housecat
frazzled by herself–
and if the clouds that swim
between the curling ferns of our
sister, Mountain, swimming like
ancient phantom-mermaids, reach toward us–
and if the lizards, brown and
green, with knowing grins and lithe
bodies, dart and scale
the box air conditioner that bulges from outside the door–
then you (and me) understand
the non-complexity of impending rain.
What I yearn for—like you—is a just a notch of catastrophe. Rising up from the soul like pewter rainbows, swimming golden lead, funny and relevant all at the same time—catastrophe. Secret substance of hope, infectious balance; if nothing’s broken it’s all boring.
Boredom is safe, too secure. Too responsible. So predictable. Left handle of balance, tipped so easily in this modern day of ours, this bright-eyed America this lit sculpture.