Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Insomnia and Rachel Carson

I feel like this one requires some explanation. It’s an idea I’ve been thinking about for as long as I can remember, influenced by my recent reading of Rachel Carson, and composed at 3:30 in the morning. I’ve noticed before that late at night my writing changes, this is probably the best example of that phenomenon; I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know where it’s going, It’s just an image - don’t read into it.

The Cavern of the Ocean Tree

He looked out over the blue black flickering sea.
The grey roof above it. The rolling sand. The heartbeat of the waves.
Knelt and unlaced his shoes, placed them on a drift-log.
His socks. His shirt.
The sand was cool. Fine. Dry.
He walked toward the surf, the beach grew firm, ridged.
Moisture pressed out from around his feet.
The foam on his ankles. The eel grass strands pulled along, unwinding.
He submersed and swam. The water cold in its deeps, thickening under the pressure of its vast weight.
And swam. Beyond cresting waves and the reaching headland.
Dove and surfaced.
Dove and did not rise, rip tide drawing him under, far down into the cold.
He reached out, flailing, gripped some tuberous passing mass and was jerked below the current.
Floating before the ancient lord of the ocean.
Tentacles splayed, great body still, eyes meeting his in inhuman focus.
Otherness and strength, beast unmet. Awareness like none else in that place.
Ropey limbs en-twisting him, the behemoth dived.
He did not fight the powerful drag down, his mind numbed by depth and cold and water.
Salt burned his eyes. The mirrored undersurface dim. He could not close them for the gazing. Above him, silhouetted, in the currents and undercurrents, schools of fish racing along invisible pathways to all corners of the ocean.
Dived and turned, arc into a rocky shelf. Last light disappeared.
Then air and dripping and thrashing and the ocean’s blood pressed from him to flow down the stone. Released and collapsed.
Light. Glowing rind of life, blue and white. Flowering polyps and skittering shelled things.
Mussels, shining in the phosphoresce their curious mirrored being, hanging from the notched stone above him as he stood.
Stepped with care, cave floor grooved but slick. Waters filled with some lit creature flowing from within.
Chamber narrowed, shortened.
He crouched and slid, facing the myriad fauna of the vault wall.
Walls opened and dropped away, he tumbled and slid.
A basin pulsing with the same light, shallow and wide.
At the center rising a low isle, on it an arbor of the sea.
Kelp rooted to the stone, reaching up, fronds held aloft, barnacles, sea moss, driftwood and starfish, green mottled crabs.
A hundred denizens of the tide.
All alit. All dripping from some crevice far above. All growing, wild with life.
Across the pool a dwelling in the cavern wall.
A being. Calm, pale as the moon. Young as he and small, standing lightly beneath the luminescent branching leaves of the ocean tree.
Her hair dark, long and haggard, cut against dull stone and washed in diatomaceous water. Gown worn, once white.
He waded into the pool, immersed to his knees, stepped on to the isle. She before him in radiance.
Her eyes afire with the violet crystalline fractaling of the eternal sky.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Yesterday’s Cascadian

What is tomorrow
What is today
What is my dreams in the night

What is the gritty wet sand
on the lines of the road
What a place I am not to be

Low in the realm of the
great vehicles of steel and fume,
passing this way to the narrowing dark.

Lying as crucified on the cooling tar
No star-eyed beams come past

No merciful lights to speak my name
No tomorrow promised today

Wrath of Your God

I am a conscript in the host of the Pharaoh.
I am a child of Canaan.
I am a slave in Gomorrah.
And I have felt the wrath of your god.

Content to tend my fields in the turning of the sun
and the flooding of the Nile’s everspring
I was taken to watch over the slave nation of my king,
watch them toil with brick and mortar until their lost son came out of the desert;
and then saw their god bring low my people without mercy.
In mourning we commanded them to depart
but in vengeance pursued
and died when the waters of the treasonous sea came crashing about us.
Yes, I have felt the wrath of your god.

A child, I played among the cedars of my home on the mountain
and ate from the wealth of my inheritance.
My father was summoned to arms against a marauding people
and fought them at Jericho and Ai and Lachish;
aaw our brother’s walls fall before the feet and the swords of a nation of slaves,
returned to my mother no flesh but the brace from his wrist.
Then unto us they came,
ordered by a deity without name to kill our every lamb and child,
to slaughter for the promise of paradise.
Yes, I have felt the wrath of your god.

Burdened and beset, my life burning hell.
I have been imprisoned the entirety of my years in groveling bondage.
I have been raped each night until I bleed unceasingly and no man will touch me.
Beaten and whipped so that I lay in the street for days,
crawling to hide each night from the languid pillagers.
And this day a foreign man came and all left me to demand his new flesh.
In the early morning I saw him flee the city without backward glance
and behind him came a firestorm to consume this wretched place.
Yes, I have felt the wrath of your god.

I am Dresden, Verdun and Nanjing
I am the whore and the fetus
And I have felt the wrath of your god