She’s not the one you know
Not from long ago
Those ancient structures gone
The timing was all wrong
Arrows missed their mark
Mixed with heavy spark
Gone is all despair
Lost in exosphere
—-No need to remember, she feels the spin around
Searching lower lands
Among forgotten hands
She is an island now
That’s all she will allow
She lives above the dust
Beyond the fragile crust
Painting in new hues
She’s not the one you knew
—-No need to recall, she feels, new shapes abound
She’s not the one you know
Her thoughts like seeds have grown
Scraping clouds and sky
We know the reasons why
The ground beneath is rough
Scorched by heavy touch
She shapes old clay that’s cold
It’s she that wills the mold
—-No need to go back, she feels what she has found
(Art by Elan. Click on image to enlarge. More found here.)
Up here, the rain might not end. The mountains yank it down.
Leaves, thistles, and remnants of yarrow, who only months ago relinquished their hold on the land, now find themselves pummeled into a wet carpet.
You walk cautiously.
You think of snow.
A crazy thought but a real one, envisioning light flakes floating down, forming a subtle comfort, evenly spread.
It’s not a surprising thought, for all you see across the surface of the lake is rain…a driving rain, moving horizontally…as if it’s a mad ghost, curling up the mountains, whipping trees, challenging their stoicism, lifting you off your feet, slightly, with every surge.
It’s that small perceptible feeling of not being grounded that moves your imagination into other thoughts.
It envisions a fall, down the side of the mountains, the rain having swept you off your feet. Your stomach turns. Here, alone, you become afraid and when you see your fear, you laugh. A laugh different than the laughter you’re known for.
You walk cautiously.
You want to get angry
Angry back at the rain, for pulling you away…apart…unsettling your warmth down to a shiver.
You walk cautiously and look down while the rain hits the back of your coat’s hood.
The old leaves beneath your feet shimmer and you see your feet are planted firmly on the ground.
The dust scurries, moves, hides
My fingers take the pulse of linoleum
Wax, dirt, desire, finish, surface, sealer, room
Remnants of a shine, dried bugs, skeleton specks
We were the warmth, the life, the struggle, the stumble
Lying there as outlines of life, to live, to grasp, to want all
I turn my palm upwards, as if to control something that’s gone
Wasn’t the air the heaviest that night? It pressed us down, held us
What we left is now unlocked—floor-less space— abandoned, for rent
As if it has misplaced the words
My spine. I cannot lay flat upon you
Your plastic skin has been manufactured
Pain was not real, that night, or any other night
Only sweat, evaporating quickly, losing all speech
Lost all signs, signifiers, meaning and meat, bone and skin
We are candy wrappers skinned sweet, scent of survival absurd
We could not stay there, it isn’t ours, it belongs to larger rooms, housed
Tile that mingles, holding galaxies, universes at bay, the floor is spinning
My feet are getting dirtier, dirtier
We cleaned together, clung to our heaviness
I am a crumpled paper, phone number named me
Our bodies—gravity, whirled—beneath polished sim skin
Sunk in masks—pushed up, propping an arm upon us all
We came here for the moments, motions, our starving plans
Pieces of tile, adhered, adorned, measured, while yet becoming
Worlds are found in rooms, they are claws scratching, patch of tile
We remember the feeling of the room, the air, our bodies, the cool, cool, cool, cool
(Art from Twin Lakes, Oregon)
He wears rocker shirts. Wears one for a couple weeks straight. Mötley Crüe, Maiden, Def Leppard. After a while, they turn into a fuzzy beige, frayed, stretched, slept in. Matches his forehead above them, receding hairline, exposing a weathered field of grease and veins. The long hair is still there, a combed back frizz. It’s the kept memory of a youth who embraced worn Levi’s, cheap wine, water pipes snuck into arena shows. The hipsters copy his look. Except, they get mullets and paint their fingernails.
He keeps 66 compact discs under his bed. Aerosmith skips on Dream On. He looks for a replacement. It’s a desperate need easily solved, but for some unclear reason, doesn’t.
Outside his room the fall leaves scatter in confusion, caught inside an undetermined wind. Fall can’t decide what it wants to do. There are large algae blooms in lakes and ponds. Warmer days sneak in, sandwiched between dry, cold stretches. A haziness lingers about, resembles phosphorus.
He has lost the ability to stand without losing his balance. Somehow, his shirts steady him. Don’t ask me why.
Snippets of blue and clouds
Poke through rafters
That once held meaning.
Still, something walks
Within the ruins
Weathered old boots…and
Ashen hands, brushing
Stone, steel, and rust
Feeling along debris
As if it were night
In the summer shade.
Outside, where tourists
Muffle the sound of the falls.
Young summer types
Adorned in shimmering
Glacier melt, current dripping
From plump elbows
Dash about, in the radiance.
Look from the open air
Into worn out windows
Unaware of how much
Walking ghosts do.
Her eyes…opaque. If you look into them, she won’t return your greeting. Her sight fixes upon someone who’s not there, as if the air holds a face that no one can see except for her.
In words you don’t trust, she tells you what she sees…the symmetry of shapes, the mistakes of nature, the movement of lips when they sing, the spin of a record playing a song she wishes to forget but aches to listen to…the curl of a handwritten name.
She tells you these things…and when she speaks it’s lucid…as if she’s telling that person, who’s not there, the very thing they need to hear.
(Image entitled Blue Unravelled. Click on it)
Denny and I, with his Wasco legs, inside Gifford Pinchot…
Late, when the dust of the gravel road settles, fast, into black…
We cup our hands, to make an old whistle, like the hoot of an owl
To settle our minds, to settle our fears, of the directionless twirl of sky…
Upon hearing the tones from our small soft hands, deer stand still, freeze
Their black pool eyes, resolved, never leave our movements…
And the stars we see above the maze of Douglas Fir
Are old stories still being told anew…
Our voices, with purpose, retell them to each other.
We’re measuring distant planets
By the flutter of their stars
By the flicker of the light
Next to their circumference
Abstracting them down
Bringing them up to surface
Through <code> </code>
To words, pictures, and meanings
To read them aloud and aloof
To write them as extensible language
Copy and paste our findings
Upon the script
Of our own atmosphere
Marked up upon our own globe
Which sits conveniently
Within grasp for a spin
On the table in the study
Next to the books
Where blue whirls by
With a few rearranging squares
Rectangles, lakes and islands
Fighting for eye contact
We keep our fingertips, lightly
Upon the smooth cold metal surface
Enjoying the texture
As it twists
Through our touch
(image. An unfinished project)
Cathy is in the twilight heat
Before the summer night
Moves like tectonic plates.
She tells me stories
Of shooting people in Vietnam
During the war
The rifle she used is under her bed.
I saw it when she asked me
To feed Molly while on vacation,
Cathy took her wife to Canada
To watch the dwindling caribou migrate.
It’s such a plain rifle, worn
Its wood stain nearly all rubbed off
The barrel dull, black and textured.
She drives hundreds of miles
To watch the caribou.
Cathy is in the twilight heat.
The sun is an orange throb.
She tells me how she used to hunt,
Southeast Oregon, Steens Mountain
Hauled back all of the animal
Limb by limb, organ by organ
Buckets of blood and fat.
I don’t like it when the sunrise is hazy
Cathy throws seeds to two blue jay parents
They’re always uptight, worried,
Especially when Molly chews grass near them.
A grey squirrel gnaws on antlers
In Cathy’s backyard. Antlers decades old.
A sprinkler chases the drought.
Saddle Mountain from a distance is a few uneven bumps. The jetties appear as pencil marks, drawn outwards towards the sea. The river wants to keep going, to stretch beyond the haze.
A few old growths dot the forest, challenging the wind. They’re loners in a crowd of confused youngsters, hanging onto tales, their bark scoured by rain and salt. I lay a hand upon their exposed skin, smooth, cracked.
A tattooed girl asks if it’s okay, to break coast guard rules, to continue on, past where the trail is closed, to have a look at Deadman’s Hollow. I smile. No dead men there, just ghosts of ships, who have no souls until their names have been wrecked.
I tell her of swimming the Columbia, dog paddling into sand drifts, frightened, thinking I’ve bumped into a river creature. Then, after feeling the silt move cool between my fingers, calm down. The current plays with this muck, flying apart, then glues it back together. Deadly for ships. I’ve stood upon many, walking, shin deep, in the middle of the watercourse like a river rat Jesus.
Until large ships make their way through the dredged parts of the channel, carrying cars, toys, particle board furniture, and microfiber pants. Their wakes knock me off my river dance. Fallen, I swim with the current, sideways, grasping the mud of the soft shore.
I think of ship skeletons and the tattooed girl who looks for all the things she will know.
|Elan Mudrow on No Dreaming Required|
|Elan Mudrow on One Spin Around|
|the little spark on No Dreaming Required|
|beautifulbarbadosblo… on One Spin Around|
|Elan Mudrow on One Spin Around|