The Great Escape – Part Ten

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The Great Escape – Part Ten

……..and then there was that time, it was in the spring I believe. You know how undependable memory is. How time changes everything. There were still patches of snow on the ground and the old mining and logging road was muddy in places.

It was still kind of cold, but seemed gloriously warm after what we were coming out of. Winter that is. The pipes had unfrozen. It was morning, I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, it was a sunny day. A beautiful sunny day. We were in the Siskiyou Mountains on Althouse Creek, walking. Just walking. That’s all, just walking. Not talking at all.

We didn’t have any idea what was going to happen next, all the changes we would be going through. Permanence was not something we had sought or thought about yet. We were still so very young. We didn’t know that a year later bulldozers would come and obliterate any trace of our existence there, or our tenuous, experimental family would tear asunder, divided from within, or that it would reform into smaller circles, because love never dies. It just sleeps sometimes.

But the old ghost mining town of Browntown, once called Tigertown, was still standing and very much alive. It had no electricity, but it was electrified.

Anyways, I remember we were walking up the windy road and it was such a beautiful day, full of newness and beginnings. We had just spent our first winter in the mountians and we were feeling good. We would soon be living the summer of our lives. Later we would discover that it was henseforth, from that point, that all our lives would flow. At least it was that way for me. You’d have to ask the others to be sure. It was for Chuck too. We’ve talked about it many times. Chuck called it a school, and we learned more about life in that one year than all our years in public school. It felt like a lifetime.

We were walking, just walking, neither slow nor fast, up to where the bridge crossed the creek, up through the dark, wet, dripping fir and pine and madrone and oak trees. I don’t know who I was walking with but it was someone.. Funny that that fact, not knowing, doesn’t discomfort me at all, that it actually echos our state of mind at the time because we were so OPEN. We didn’t know anything then either. We were all so full of possibilies, and we were oblivious to any kind of suffering or loss.

We just stopped there and looked down into that springtime, roiling, tumult of rushing water. I can still feel water spray on my face and hear the thunder of it echoing in my ears, and I just stood there looking into it. Just looking into it. IN TO IT! I felt so incredibly high and I wasn’t stoned, not stoned at all. It was so beautiful. So wonderous. So so awsome, I felt as if I had stepped into some alternate universe, but it was still this one all right. It was just this amazing, totally unexplicable thing!

I don’t remember walking back or even if we did walk back. Maybe we just floated through the air, and then I was up in my funky little attic room above the double barrel woodstove, cozy and warm again and I wrote this poem. I’m sorry if it doesn’t quite catch it, that experience, but it is what it is, and here it is, resurected after all thse years:

Snow that cannot say they,

water that cannot say we

flowing together

as changes come,

always!

Come down to the river,

come down too!

It’s going so fast,

no one can see where it’s going.

SO FAST!

Someone says:

“He’s trying to damn it up,

but it still flows.”

The big stones never move,

could never confine a river,

it just flows through, around,

always,

Endless; Endless;

Endless.

Browntown, 1971

To be continued………..

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Empty Chair (Some poem from between about 1971 and 1980)

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To the Longstreet family with love;

 

Empty Chair

 

A moth fluttering in the room.

 

The unseen observer

waits for the moon.

 

The table,

the chair,

 

holding the sun and the moon

and the stars

 

from falling.

 

………..

 

Poems from the Browntown Cafe

Quietly;  near dawn,

four souls,   half asleep,

 

fire rumbling,  fire consciousness,

rumbling in two drums.

 

Sound of the creek;

wallpaper clinging to the walls,

 

two roosters crowed in the dead

of night,

perhaps these chickens parallel us,

 

simultaneously,

breath, breath, breath, breath,

taps the universe.

 

The dogs pounce on the door,

 

A baby cries.

 

Cats in the kitchen

stealing bread.

 

my cup is on the bookshelf.

 

…………

 

Cats and people

crounched in the Browntown Café,

waiting for dawn to be served,

some dreaming,  some awake.

 

…………

 

When the big changes come…

waiting;

leave the mind to itself,

be here now,

don´t expect me to say

or do anything,

laughing,    laughing,

even when the tears come – laughing!

Leaves on the ground,  snow,

It feels like spring,

buds in the winter sun,

 

Browntown  1972

 

………..

 

View From The Mountain

 

We pick and choose

our way

down the mountainside,

down into the chaos,

 

Our words

and what we see

and feel,

caught in the swirl,

and composed

into what we are,

 

sunlight glinting off

the clouds shrouding the mountain,

 

the grain which runs

through everything,

 

all creation,

in the heart of

a single rose.

 

………

 

Hot Night Itch

 

There are people

and things

I have known

and do not know

tossing together

in the hot night itch.

 

 

Three Rivers, California

1971

 

……

 

Past Lives

If our past lives

are revealed in our fantasies

and dreams,

 

If reincarnation is a reality,

 

we´ve met each other before

so many times on the other shore.

 

Once I was a cruel soldier

and ran you through

with a sword of hate,

 

Another time,

I was a stone,

and you were a tree

and you embraced me

for a lifetime.

 

Our lives are parallel,

 

We´ve come down the same

stream together.

 

You don´t know

who I am,

 

And I don´t know

who you are,

 

Now

Trying so desperately

to find one another.

 

……….

 

To Dylan (the day of his birth)

The unborn child,

the unborn self.

Did it ever exist?

 

Lying there, in the cradle,

so helpless, so perfect.

 

What do you know?

Absolutely nothing;

no concepts,

no words,

no thoughts.

Will you ever be the same?

 

On the journey

from light into darkness,

darkness into light,

 

Spurts of energy,

Love and

Joy,

 

Everything in a swirl,

As the moon

came over the mountain.

 

 

10:11:76

Full moon

 

……..

 

Peeling Off

She twisted

her way

down

 

Blue

 

A bird flying by

 

The old railroad

brown shacks

with silent stovepipes

across the creek

 

Steel

and sooty, red-grey gravel

 

but what matters is

 

this cloud floating by

without a trace

 

of peeling paint.

 

8:76 Sandpoint, Idaho

 

……..

 

Sky Blue Sky

Quartz veins running through shale meat,

shattered and tumbled down, patches of skin, swirls of grass and moss, dry brown clusters of Great Bull Pine needles strewn about,  A winged seed, (seventeenth or eighteenth century) fell into a crevice where it sprouted, took hold, and grew for two or three hundred years, the sun rose and set a few thousand times, clouds passed, snow and rain, the moon circled the earth a couple of thousand times, there were several droughts and hard winters, a great fire swept over the mountain and burned the tree, gnarls grew around the scars, a man came and girded the tree with an axe,  the tree died hard and died painfully,  the bark fell off and turned the grain grey, when most of the twisted limbs had fallen off and lay scattered on the rocks, a pair of osprey wove a nest in the trees arms, they raised their young and taught them to fly, screeching in the sky blue sky.

 

Eagen Mt.

 

………

 

Hobo Creek

The flow of the water

 

around and beyond our bodies,

 

up through the shale

peeling off the mountainside,

 

across our hips

and breasts,

 

running through our hair,

 

You can feel it in everything,

 

In the sunshine,

In the water,

 

In the cool breeze

blowing through the cottonwoods,

 

These naked children,

squirming specs of light,

 

dancing

in the eyes

of God.

 

……

 

After Christmas Poem

So it´s over now

and we´ve seen it,

 

The lights and

the feast and

the gift giving,

 

The misty glow we put on

when it peaks out,

is consumed like booze,

 

The trimmings and

trappings are still

lying about,

 

It´s raining

and the snow is going fast,

 

The next day

I´m alone for a while,

And feeling low,

 

But it´s alright,

 

It´s always like that

when you´ve been high,

 

Then I think about my friends

and how good they´ve been to me,

and how much love I´ve seen in them,

and it´s beautiful,

 

and it´s alright.

 

 

12:26:76

Eagen Mt.