Warrior Rock Light

 

The river is high for winter, but it’s still the water I know, its muddy banks, dirty shore, lucid waves. Swollen, I can’t follow it to the lighthouse. I cut through brambles, to the trail, stepping on spongy flora forming a false carpet, made of branches, dried leaves, and grasses, hiding the ground, hiding everything.  Curling around fallen trees, the carpet creates deep catacombs. I don’t know why, I’m searching for the dead, that kid that went missing, that woman who hasn’t been heard from in years, bones, fingers, humanity. All colors of the years here have melted into a gray mass. Anyone could be lost here, everyone is, perhaps, lost here, in plain sight. Every now and then I see the ground. I hear the river, its slow pace. 

I know why some jump into the river, inside the hidden current, upstream, from the city

To become lost, to lose themselves, to become gray like old flora, that’s the last place to hide.

There are freshwater clam shells strewn along the river’s shore, eaten by birds. Clams filter everything, then so must the birds. And it’s me, filtering…through the gray. There’s not really a way to get lost here, only a way to become hidden. The river’s been higher, flooded the brambles, the soft carpet and all things that have fallen for countless seasons. I stop my search, though I know someone is lost… somewhere… in here. If only I could lift the carpet, look underneath. Afterwards, I would place it back down, exactly how I found it. The trail is the shortest way, always on solid ground, a few feet higher than the river, a little muddy. 

I reach the lighthouse.

(Image: Mt. St. Helens from the Columbia River)

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Shade

 

 

 

 

Mary Shelley

Remnants of the past…embedded.

Curled inside chalky lava flows

Stuck to a shape…ripples in stone.

Only elements change its appearance.

 

I and everything wait for the rain.

The parched flowers and grasses

Fragile skin, stalks, browns and beiges.

Bloomed full, so easily, last spring.

 

The bridge is out, lower in the canyon

Where the Klickitat heads for Mt. Adams.

Along the dryness, scattered tree limbs

So light, they remind me of bones.

 

Whitened and greyed by summer

I imagine them becoming a form

A collage of life, blood, and image

Uneven substance, knees, elbows, heart

 

I feel a sprinkle. It passes quickly.

Once, I believed your hands were so soft

I thought they were made of petals.

Now, I know that I was right.

 

For, I’m the one who made you.

 

Forced to walk close to the highway

I pass a row of old houses

Where the highway bends between bluffs

Carrying an assortment of sticks, limbs, knots

 

The dogs bark at everyone.

 

 

Summer Forest

Summer plays with you in the forest, running mad in a meadow, hide and seek with a creek, foot race with a river. There are times when you’ll lose the summer’s sun, under deciduous and evergreens. But you will turn a corner, run into a bunch of arguing flowers who point the way back to a blaze of daylight or a ray of heat, the sun laughing its way through the canopy.  

Summer places the forest in a still quietude, no rain tapping upon fallen flora, no snow who corners all sound and makes it its own. In this solitude, your memories lie the shade. All you believe and don’t want to believe surrounds you. You will turn a corner, look at the flowers. And they are always, pointing.

Alice

She sets a folded towel upon cool sheets, her ass makes a depression on the mattress.

Silence is never a full-proof method of understanding each other, even if hands are involved.

They touch, then they talk. Talking is never a full-proof method of…

His leg dangles off her bed. She gets up, opens the closet door.

There’s a mirror attached to the back of the closet door. She sees my reflection and doesn’t know it’s her. She touches the mirror, thinking, as she always has, that it will lead somewhere.

She leaves fingerprints.

 

 

 

Dust And Water

Clackamas River, August 2019

 

 

 

Witches

Along the upper stream, in the summer mountains, the witches watch.

Back in the city, they call them old growth.

Each one has their own assortment of spells.

Once you learn that fact, you realize why the forest looks as it does

And if you dance upon a carpeted trail, it may sound hollow beneath your feet.

You must know that it’s not an emptiness.

 

The witches invented graveyards.

For old wisdom knows that bones carry power, giving life to whoever lives within them.

And when you see a dead witch, you will not wonder why it’s still alive.

The bones resonate, hum a deafening song, cast deep spells.

Along the upper stream, in the summer mountains

Life gives death a living name.

 

 

 

 

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