Sunday, October 29, 2006

Beautiful People

Kisoro district, Uganda


Nightfall - A short play

Chime or bell sounds at uneven intervals
A is sleeping on platform
B comes over and shakes him lightly.

B: Wake up, wake up.
A: I dreamed I was laying in the snow, but it was ashes.

Two Seattle Haiku

Rose red strip of sky
Cuts horizontal against
Space needle at dusk.

Below wire cut sky
Brick facades, passing people
Glow in the dusk light.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Eagle Creek

From the creek, a slope of cedar and mossy maple. Fractured sunlight through tree branches in forest. Rise up above creek - over moss coated scree. Arched walls of chasms yellow green. I am in fascination with cliff side vertical gardens of moss and fern, wildflower and lichen. A complexity within my span. Dark green, gray green, blue green, lemon green, olive green: moss. Flowers the size of a pin. Intensity of blue, white, purple, red. Drops of water fall glintsilver on moss covered rocks. Bees hover like moving sleep.

Curving fronds of black stalked maidenhair ferns. Alder, bleeding hearts, Columbine. Wild Iris. Red Paintbrush. Blue Lupine. There are few birds here. I do not know why. I have arrived too late for Trillium. I will not press on to Wahtum lake.

I peer onto cliff face, half lit, half shadow, and look close at one of the mosses that cling to it, I don’t know its scientific name. I see yellow dust collected below, surmise it spores. Odd shade of green unique to itself. Shape, interconnected circles like venn diagrams, indication of cycles of growth. This patched life has been here many seasons, in sun, in rain, covered by snow in convulsive January storm. Under night and day, darkness and light. Close touch its life in nature, the insects that might gather upon it. This is one bit of moss, I circle with thumb and forefinger touched.

Next to it another moss, another kind. A fern. Cryptogamic flora. A single blue wildflower. I stand back, carefully, wary, aware of precipice, and take in all that I can. A thousand species of plants and insects, moss and lichen cling to this shear wall. All is actual, as opposed to art, artifice, this existing, on its own, not for man’s purpose, but through and for its own ancient crafts and devices, acidic secretions, evolved chemistries, symbiosis, contingent histories, many understood through science and craft, but many simply and impossibly unknown. On a steep cliff, overlooking a chasm in rock, and the sky above, and the creek tumbling down to great river, the river which travels past my home to the North Pacific. The world spins a great blue ball in space, half in light, under sun, half in darkness, under stars.

Straight white patches of ash. Rockslides. Clamber at cliff edge on columnar basalt. Bridge over deep narrow chasm, geological fault that pierces the thick layering of volcanic cataclysm. Once the deeps opened, and mantled this region with lava. And in contorted layers of time, the rock cracked by tension. But I have stayed too late. The inevitable descent will be through darkness.

The sun withdraws from the valley, as if with the snapping of a spiders strand, a windblown arachnid sprung from connection with tree limb, spiraling, drifting. The valley and all contained slide with the earth past last arched angle of sun, spinning all towards vortex of darkness. Limbs of moss covered trees appear like human figures. The music of the rushing creek, inevitable orchestra of motion and erosion, forbids deep silence, but darkness will consume the gorge. Deep water turned dark black, foam of streaming luminescent white, in last breath of small light, I must return.

My narrow path descends deep under cliff ridge and moonlight. I am immured within cedar and moss.

When acid sun comes on to tongue

We face outward from a warm room, watching night transform the snow wrapped features of streets and buildings into geometries of street lamps and lit windows traversed by the red moving lights of automobiles; travelers in warm enveloped worlds crossing from one destination to the next.

We dress in warm clothes and mittens, a double layer of socks, heavy boots, thermal underwear, and down jackets., insulating our bodies against the clear and brutal Wisconsin winter night which will soon surround us.

We head out toward the shore of a frozen lake about six blocks away, passing through the late night deserted University grounds that curve in a crescent around its shore. The frozen lake is patched clear windblown ice and crusted snow. We walk out, toward the center, crossing a ridge of buckled ice.

A network of fractured and refrozen cracks in the surface of the lake, and the patches of snow and ice, mimics a map, and we walk along its highways. This map is the place itself. Each route followed and each destination or intersection is the product of event, occurrence, turbulence in the lake water beneath, wind blowing the snow in particular patterns and putting weight on the surface, the heat of the sun and the cold of the night, freezing and melting. We follow a ritual of direction and intersection with the full confidence that through this ritual we will reach a non existent destination., arrive at a point of event.

Above us stretches the Milky way, a band of foam in the black tear scarred sky. Around us stretch the lights of the city of Madison, like a string of pearls. And the wind blows slowly, over the surface of the lake, and we are iced on the crystal wind blue past our minds, and I lay on my back in the snow, and feel the clear acid as it rushes through my brain, and feel the dissolve into sky and the planet spinning through space, into the black of space and i melt into the ice the ice melts and the lake melts in a burst of heat and rush. As the planet spins through space and I a dot on its wheel.

On the border line white ice between dark and cold water, and dark and cold space, ringed by city lights and stars, I breath, the blood flows through my veins and arteries. My flesh on a framework of skeleton a warm body my fingers moving beneath the gloves, back crunching on granular snow. My body in the world travels through my nerves to my brain, as I tongue I taste I touch the acid sun.

Friday, October 06, 2006