At 2,000 feet a pall of fog
The cloud is stable, still, and there is no sound
of wind in the new spring leaves.
We expect certain miracles or horrors in fog,
vision of lancers in wet armor
on a desultory retreat; or the death in cold rain,
with a broken leg, with no help,
and the leg,
looking at it close, is very broken.
You will die here, in this fog, on a high mountain.
The trail makes us sweat. She strips her blue shirt.
My first time with a topless hiker, and the trail ascends,
darkening under the cloud and a canopy of pine.
Back in the
city, at Parkside Lounge on
where a poetry reading is in progress.
At the bar, a bald man slams
his pint glass with an architectural exasperation.
He rolls his eyes,
grits his teeth,
pouts, then tells the bartender,
holding up his glass, “A Harp. In there. Please.”
And slams the glass once more on the bar.
Ah, the Angry Young New Yorker. He has not been served well.
I suggest he take a good hike.
Mountains of ice, dust,
Dear as winter fire
Built of twenty twigs
And one red-robin colored log.
A good climb
Makes you shut up, at last.
Whatever romance is in these high places
Is at the end of exhaustion,
Having done well, hurt your feet, been cold,
Hot, cold, having heard
The air thin,
And heard from the rarefied issue of your blood
A rare moan.
Slump on the glop of moss on rock,
And there is no view, too much fog,
But you have come from somewhere low
To somewhere high,
And this need not be said at all.
Then: the shouldering mountain thunder
And the clip and click of small petals rained on
And a voice not my own
But of tender fire-light
In the long cold upland tarn
And the smell of gunpowder
And the wide swung axe on the firewood
And the mosquito that sucks all night long.
My Lady and I lay in the long grass
By Pecoy Pond
Where the ticks bite
And there are rattlers in the rock eaves
And there is a thumping in the treeline
Of big mammal antlers
rasping the hemlock.
We strip, skip rocks,
Swim in the cold gilt spring tarn,
Penis and gland and hand and breast
And sumptuous ass.
We dried each other by the blackberry bush
Her knee and I and thigh.
She is colored sometimes like rum,
And colored sometimes like milk, and she has blue-green eyes.
Return to city.
It is a cavil
To think my eye
And I, shall be clean
From two or three forest
It is rumor what the drunk Satyr tells us.
He says there is a stream
Where the living
Shall be happy.
On this vacation:
My daughter brought
Me the skull of an ox.
My mother dug up
An old gun in the garden
And a rotten pair of socks.
Daddy went mad
There was pure water --
He wouldn’t drink
And his body
Shrank, his eyes
His spleen dropped,
His balls returned
To his abdomen,
His big toe disappeared,
His meaty thigh
Made no shadow,
And on the longest
he went to the mountains
These hikes have
Taught me nothing.
I was someplace low,
Then I was someplace high.
They are remedial learning.