Saturday, September 19, 2015

O’ Little town (Not Bethlehem)

Oh little town
I’ve known you long.
So small a place housing so much.

The railroad,
on which trains chug past
a dozen a day at times.
What ruckus and clamor they bring.
They shake you like a maraca.

The highway.
So thin, so small. So dangerous
and untamed.
With traffic lights
that change but once a day
prompting red, red runs of impatience.

The river.
Which swells and bloats
and floods the businesses
when the winter rains
pelt endlessly.
Thus why you smell like moldy socks.

The forests;
a lumberjack’s wonderland.
Now sliced and diced
down, dragged away.
Logging trucks still fly down the roads
their compression brakes
hammering away like machine guns.

post office,
convenience stores,
gas stations;
I know them all, and
equally well.
Like the trees that
line the center divider
of your main street which
so big and green and bold.

I’ve grown to loath you,
wicked city.
Your filthy, red-necked,
foolish drunkards.
Your homeless drug lords and
their sapphire tarp palaces.
Your aimless youth who despise
a future to be proud of.
I’ll never have a place with them,
not any.
And for that I am proud.

a part of me is still deposited in you.
As I prepare to leave
I find myself sorry to go.
I loved you even as I detested you;
you were my home.

Be good to yourself,
oh little town.
And when I visit
I’ll maybe hate you even less.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Mountain Hike

“We’ll hike the day,”
we told each other,
“and stay the night
atop the peak.”

And so,
with laden packs,
we set out to conquer
the Vesper Peak.

First trees reached out
with helping limbs,
to make our process swift
and ease us on our way.

But soon we left their rank
and found ourselves
by stone slabs and
by tendril vines of thorns
and leaves.

On we trekked,
stopping now and again
to catch our breath
and drain a bottle
of clear, cool water.

Then rocks,
so many rocks and stones
of rust, and slate, and white.
Some smooth, some sharp,
but always so many.
My fellows scampered among them
as I dragged behind.

My pack felt
as if it was weighing me down.
And my shoulders
complained of the burden.

On we climbed.
Up, up, up
the steps hewn into stone
whether natural or artificial
we took them one at a time.

Finally the lake we reached
the water calm and frigid.
I plunged my face into the glacier
And felt my naked shoulders
cooled by the droplets
of chilling water.

At lakeside we filled our bellies
eating chillie from the can
never heated.
And coffee from packets
too many years old.

Full on foodstuffs
and contented
we headed again for the trail.
To reach the peak
in time to watch the sun
as it set.

The face of the mountain
as we climbed.
Sometimes all four limbs
were required
to reach the next ledge.

The slick rock surfaces
made going slow
and my legs angry
at the ascent.

Flat walls of rock
gave way to grassy ledges
and more slabs of stone giants.
And finally,
the peak was reached.

Exhales of pride we breathed,
victory yells we cried,
as we experienced
a view to slay most others.

A camp was struck,
a fire lit,
and snacks were eaten readily.
Then tales and laughter
and memories shared
as into the heavens we stared.

Comets with tails of fire,
danced across the abyss
dodging constellations
as they flew.

And as we stared into the dark,
dark sky. We each fell prey
to sleep’s convincing spell.
Waking only
to the chill of the 6,100 foot climate
and the breezes
that would cut 
through our layers.

Morning found us 
rising to catch the sunrise
and a quick
before we tore down our camp 
and began our descent.

                     down we climbed.
Until our legs felt like jello
and shook with fatigue.

Our breaks for breath
and water
our strides
long and determined.
And when we finally reached
the trailhead
we nearly collapsed.

Enough energy remained in
our bodies
to hoist our packs
into the truck
and hoist ourselves
into our seats
for the drive