for/by Phillip Bimstein
while the story
of songs is
turned into song
like you like to do it
take the wheat down
the way we did it
about as much out
as it is in
the voice of one man
selling beer for forty
in the tick
spruce top maple
sides & back
her words his
two young girls
back & forth
kill on a busted swing
---that deserves a song
history into story
the cows won't speak
have plenty to
spinning on track four
called the sheriff
red lights flashing down
at the junction all
I want is my
meanwhile, back in
town, after the first
hard frost, the leaves
in mounds on the
no place for trees
slowed way down
echo imitate bow
No sentences make the mountain. Only sweat. Or windy silence.
A bird---probably with a name---but for now, small---and blue.
Then voice leading past powerful secrets, towards an
ancient word that wants to be heard again without speaking.
All this---bee buzz---flies---bristlecone pine.
Today, no movement, nor waiting. Instead, open to rock,
to the fly rubbing its forearms together, to the cawing crow.
Birds---long, throaty descending whistle---chirps---a cackle---
while a butterfly flaps its wings without making a sound.
A kind of forgetting to get there---not to be practiced
on the trail. The beginning took place when the waning crescent
moon---just a sliver---proceeded the sun. Once risen, casting
long shadows over Confusion Range---west, towards Wheeler Peak
on the horizon.
Closer at hand, Notch south, Swasey north,
Pine & Howell between. A mutual respect for solitude
rather than "go there". To be here without leaving.
A kind of 2nd existence closer to the cliffs that seem
somehow opposed to life. Peeing on dirt---digging the dung hole.
Jets pass overhead. Their absence signifies unknown news.
Rocks exist side-by-side, touching, unconcerned with
each other. Even when gone they're here---snow, rain, sun---
as far as the eye can see.
At night, our galaxy rising like clouds over the east horizon.
The steam from the tea kettle---coyote's flaming tail.
Back to rock---time in three dimensions. Or the night
sky---all time at once. Galaxies like grains of sand in the
empty form of a very large number.
A coincidence between place & attention. Again, back
to the equality of rock---the absence of a center---roots splitting
even the hardest in two, or four, or more---still equal to itself & all.
Blooming yarrow whose stalks portend the beginning of an
endless past. What response to the tail-less lizard
or the endless sun but the dry lakebeds in the
desert below or snowtipped peaks at points on the
circle of the horizon---only blocked, to the south, by the
sheer cliff face of Notch Peak. Breathing confirms it
is there, just as, earlier, sweat & strong heartbeats say this
is no illusion surpassed by itself. The presence of this place
even when gone. No need for a word to be here.
Vast is a word. Empty another. An emptiness filled with
motionless motion. Starlings surf the ridge---crows soar
up & down the cliffs forgetting eternity. It started in
the east and moved through the blue---heating rock with its silent
motion. Cars moving slowly on the highway below, jets far
overhead, and near at hand, an ant carries off a speck of lunch
larger than itself.
Clouds & contrails break the blue. Jets
break the silence of the buzzing flies. Gaze glances off
bristlecone pine into words that have never met them.
In other words, the high cirrus dimming the strength of the sun
as it descends to the west---the west only in the abstract poverty
of words. Still it continues down toward Mt. Morain.
The difference between memory & mountain. The temperature
changes from moment-to-moment within an overall expected
trajectory. Shadows forming of the eastern slopes. Granite, Limestone.
Somewhere an ocean once here. The visible trace left is
the face of Notch Peak. A visible absence. The presence of
something long gone---or not so long ago---and, perhaps, again.
Each layer an indifferent difference forgetting the life
that gives it life now.
The attraction of expanse---a kind of gravity
of mountains or vertigo of cliffs---beckons a presence
it does not need nor know. The road here to where
the road comes before it existed. The way here is also
the way home---but not yet---another night approaches
with all the time in the world. Distances disappear.
The portion of space causing time to reappear---suspended
between then & now---occupying all distance present everywhere.
A beetle crossing the same ground as the earlier ant casting
a long shadow in the late afternoon sun. A moth on a rock
vibrating its horizontal wings---then gone in a moment of
Four fragments further along a future far from here---a place
different but no less identical. And, like last night,
mosquitoes in the last hour of sun.
Slowly the desert disappears
in darkness---finally only lit by stars turning overhead.
Later, contrail shadow touching ground.