An Uncertainty of Importance

Pine pitch feet dangle

Splash of water proving
Only that this is where I am
That I can distinguish between hot and cold
And this water is black tea
Floral bouquet basking in a setting sun warm

and I smell like shit
Like gay masturbation
Like a nicotine and divorce bonfire

Still surrounding
Amongst familiar paths of a childhood
Long since passed no one speaks

Letting inner sadist run free
I play hooky with mosquitoes and smother
The embers nearly allowing flaxen glitter
To perish before breathing back just enough life,

Another splash
I am here
Feeling only water and diluted rays
Of sunshine stretching sapling liquor thin
Along shallow canyons breaking surface tension
Sink and sink oh liver of mine
One inch at a time,

Translucent wings carry a plump bug away
Leaving an itch and drip of blood-
So this is why the rivers of the Upper Peninsula
All resemble rusty cinnamon- that colour of bad dreams
Lost concentration
Distance a dilemma
Lost in thought
Still getting in places I shouldn’t be
Is it bad timing if I was going to find out regardless?

Kicking a submerged boulder
Tumbling, plummeting
Into turbid tranquility

Could I ever outrun such a burden as this?

Seeking Physical Presence In A Stock Photo

Teenage intuition seeks alternatives to baring witness
Conversations  delayed till no longer relevant

Legs run
Tracing root systems to river’s edge
Flames whisper from peripheral’s blur
Time capsule’s accordance
Flesh is buried
Trinkets sewn of heart string
Reunite with hand prints on hinges
Pulling heavy breath through narrow openings
Stumbling still abled
Safety in knowing but not showing face,
Translated shoe laces missing
Tied a knot somewhere
Stopped the bleeding for a little while longer
Scrapbook sheets left behind
Licked a stamp as last chance exit
To be returned anywhere
Except every moment not shared

A picture framed
Gravel roads kaleidoscope stained
Porch light projecting a phosphorescent montage of letters kept
Context shown as postscript flashbacks
Narrated by voices in tones of bodies present,
Pressed together pen under skin
Wrote in cursive slender yet elegant,
A signature and hyphen followed by
A smile with some numbers added
Replaced the thought of never seeing you

An Epilogue of You and I

Settling for
Sand falling in precipital pattern,
A cloud cupped in your hands
Formed an hourglass spoke nothing of
Coincidence rather, we watched
Intently the flipped motion picture
Of a mountain evanesce into transparent mist

Potentially blunt ignorance
Or just enjoying a sentient moment
Of naivety, loosely strung
Cotton clothing embraced the moisture
As gift from Lake Michigan,
Shaving warmth from skin
To accept this weight felt closer in sharing
something other than a kiss,
It seemed limitless
The possibility of being able
To walk anywhere

Barren feet beget tandem path
Turned twisted pulling memories from momentum
And the smallest actions go unnoticed
Distance in inconspicuous space
Hinting at inevitable outcome,

Breathing-a mercurial montage
Fizzling forth collective images
Immortalized in wet cement
Chalk drawings of cigarettes
Lighting up caves of empty
Fields between hair and glistening cheekbones,

And the last grain of sand stumbles
Triumphantly to earth
And we felt such relief

A Collective Obligation

Carbon caked to barren
Feet walking on ash then
Dirt ran to water wash
The mess away, right
With grace, if anything at all

Fire forlorn fighting aphotic
Precedence set aside sticks
To burn set aside each other
As well birch bark wrap old
Wounds in words carved from
Apologies and cambium, if
Anything at
All a semblance of sentiment perhaps
It’ll be found
Clinging to wayward horizon

Maybe Hope or A Huge

The trees

If you turned the lights off
Let night saturate atmosphere as embers of
A once roaring fire now smolder beneath
A blanket of ash glowing just so softly,
It might look like a bustling city,
From a few miles away,
Grasping at silhouettes of oaken statues
Reaching for a familiar hand
The space between main street and this palpating heart
Has grown so distant
I tell my heart to slow down
Driving back home to where lights
Shine a different context,
Not to get excited
A memory once sung has buried itself
Once providing strength
Now wormholes long and hollow
Leave me fragile and petty
Not to get excited,
The lake has evaporated the fire
So going 55 seems more a punishment than celebration,
Not going to the infant incandescence
The pyre waits as debt and birthdays fill empty space
After all
What burns better than dead devotion?
Eyes lock to the sky as we get closer
Pretending for a little while longer
That the memory of being alive is tangible
And my heart beats fast
And the city climbs atop the statues
Glowing just so softly
And something’s waiting for me

Between You and Everything

A congregation of remembrance
In honor of being pardoned-
Like bare bodies sitting unattached
To their skeletons
Placed in plastic bags
Collected from old desk drawers
Beneath bed posts,

How simple an act as writing a letter,
With disposable blue pen or whatever
Was on hand- an electric lime green crayon
For instance, how incredibly human
To speak as easily,
So violently private,
That soft-immense intention
Behind even the unoriginal “Dear”
And always “p.s.”
Always forgetting a detail or wanting
To add more:
A paragraph of incessant thought not
Needed just to let you know and
Another
With a final goodbye,

But paper bleeds
Beats the same as when
Written a carbon copy of a once-
Loved one’s insides
A reflection of our own selves,

Lit with birch bark and butane,
Under old-growth cedar on river’s precipice
A bit west of the rope bridge-
The usual place for bitter coffee and armistice,
All at once
Peace by piece
A plural body reclaimed,

It was a brilliant fire

Where The Light Shines

It’s the weekend, Friday forever and again. Commemorations are cut into cedar logs; between branches children run from front porch to aching maple. A vision kept close a memory once experienced now is in the process of being created. Fleeting from nest buried amongst a web of rafters, birds sing above our heads heard faintly beyond mechanical repetition, scrag engine roaring fervently from forest to moment trees dissipate and in their place is a heart and home. The birds sing-still persistently heeding no recognition to intrusive noise- songs lathered in shades of purple and braids of love- tea whistling on woodstove mixed with coffee roasted to full city in contrast of the wilderness looming just outside the entryway. Porcelain basking on windowsill wisps of steam floating; remaining motionless for a second then evanescing. It’s ready, beckoning.

It’s 8:30, determined by the streaks of vermilion glistening through a receding doe corridor. By noon, an hour prior, the last tooth would have taken its last bite for the day and we will begin bathing in the warm rivers of laughter. It’s 9 currently though- first break, the only for today. A jittery fawn shuffles between piles of fascia jumping over vague gravel roads between bundles stacked like jenga minarets into the ditches before appearing again just around a corner. Coy yet curious, walking to the mechanic’s garage for breakfast, strange fur colour catching its attention, following seemingly close yet asunder, my shadow has competition, for a little while at least. The door opens unwillingly almost stumbling, moth-eaten, the passenger chair from a Chevrolet Silverado catches me almost purposely. The fridge is opened, revealing amongst two peanut butter sandwiches, half-a half-a dozen bottles of Ketel One, a stale bag of roasted garlic bagel crisps and approximately fifteen hand-rolled cigarettes. The room is cozy if defined by size and stubborn decision to not rot. Space is scarce, flat back against the wall as if to walk along the precipice of a mountain. A picnic table born of monolithic pine occupies center, lack of capacity fails to impede rapid ebullient fables. Talking lambent with tones of joy, five episodes of Seinfeld and Friends is bolstered into nine seasons fully reenacted, an entire cast played by six lumberjacks.

Thirty minutes, a rest worth a lifetime falls through animated reconciliation and soon enough the engines are roaring again. Two hours turns into a victory lap. Narrowly dodging thunderstorm of foliage, we chuckle. Later recounting the near death experience as if we’d been exiled, left to build again our own society from scratch. The volcano erupts spontaneously, violently an avalanche crashes toward what little progress has been made. Silence follows, a hand is seen, reaching up from a small desecrated hut, another appears then another, the bodies attached slowly become visible. Stubborn survivors who defied isolation and Mother Nature is how the tale will be told. The mess is cleaned up, logs loaded back onto the dock, blades re-calibrated, a few details ironed out, some key points cleaned up, feathers in line, the alarm goes off. The weekend is here, we meet in Maplewood.
It begins with music, subtle songs of crickets and warblers in the morning we whistle in tune in attempt to capture the tenderness of being feral. Fluctuating with cyclic evolution the melody transcends scene a new movement orchestrated by the guidance of memory and reverie. A single note held from this symphony whispers of unrelenting presence. The crescendo soars at first rest, crashing into reiterations of timeless rendition, the body is a pit for the theatre of Earth.

Pattern gives way to tradition, at 11 pine violins and raven trumpets ease into caesura, feet trace familiar path to truck, heard faintly between door and hallway, “Sultans of Swing” is sung softly. Driving home a moment of bliss is held in a deep breath, close enough to see the familiar neon faces of recognizable wildlife, far enough away to get lost in an amiable world playing hawk-dove with theory and knowledge. Drifting routine alone at high-noon pacing hot water sanctuary, garments exchanged for expression. A slice-pair of toast is burned to crisp taken a second to cherish- the simplicity of being so early in the day, often times taken for granted is the essence that built these bones. A text message is sent on the feathers of local pigeons. Feet crossed standing up facing the window overlooking austere terrace, a colony of sunflowers watches over the garden whose abundance is annexing the woodshed and dog pen. Returned minutes later metal band clinking against porch sill, to take my time is all that is requested.
Animals breathe for fuel, plants breathe for fuel, all living things breathe for fuel. This is without fault for every second the creature remains alive. One of the more notable qualities of humankind is the ability to take something that is intrinsically archaic and fierce and make it rest at our heels. Breathing, an absolute necessity to living has lost its control over us. Humanity rarely breathes for fuel, for survival. Humanity breathes for happiness, grief, to form relationships, to send nations to war, breathing has become a part of language. On the drive to Maplewood, I breathe for Arcadia.

The cabin smells of bitter coffee and wildfires, a knock isn’t necessary but it’s best to build a second’s worth of anticipation. A rhythm not broken for years the inhabitants understand that these things are absolute and essential-the knock, three light taps, two are heard faint as a fire crack, the last is given to nature for her to make. The door opens, lunch is well on it’s way through the digestive tract. The coffee strong as ever is only just starting to fertilize the soft whimper of wind outside- the sun burns perfectly crystalline. Greeted with piano teeth and an apology “It’s basically water today”. A rest may be needed. As now the river, a tumble weed away, runs black as it runs red with iron ore.

Perched on cobblestone wall a calligraphic sky dances with vermiculate figurines; at once like falling leaves shadow puppets, against a backdrop of cedar vistas, scrawl cursive portraits like pointillistic novels. Here, we are dew drops embracing shaded blades of grass.

Thrown as if apple cores to the forest, rest takes form in tracing corridors of birch and pine. Taking note of deer paths, serenity is found in beaver tracks. Rolling lopsided from clearing to clearing we stumble upon a bird’s nest resting in a willow tree. A timid glimpse offers the beauty of newborn life. There’s a stretch about a mile south that leads to a decrepit concrete foundation, where colored glass peeks weakly above verdant moss beds. A remnant of logging’s past, it’s said if the wind blows right on a cold Autumn night one can hear the steady chug of a steel axe cutting relentlessly at a defiant weald. Lost in the world before, a steady breeze carries us back to the cabin. In celebration of simplicity, to living together with nature, the evening is set and the fire is started.

Babbling a brook away the branches join in harmony to the trickling of water flowing so steadily. An occasional splash, kaleidoscopes flicker, fish gallop seemingly aware and seeking invitation. The pot has been drained two or three times, each increasing in strength from water to wine Friday ends enveloped in amethyst. South of the river we stop and holding everything, as if it was actually ours alone, today and tonight, forever and again. A joke is spoken, laughter finds wings to fly slipping up our throats the motion soothes cracked lips placing perspective on the monument like an aerial view of an eagle soaring over the Grand Canyon. Speech is reserved for the flame, gathered in storm debris formation we wait for the eulogy, breathing delicately and in rhythm.