Friday, June 22, 2018

Down and Up


Down there's steep woods not strolled often through,
for right of entry's exceeding footfalls
and lunging weight of self, and vacillation:
to meander higher trails or plumb the hill's bottom,
course dead tree horns, creek trickle, mud-hovering
mosquito knot; skunk flame in the shade's green paddles,
whence the turn-back clambering, weight of self.

A spawning of rotting stumps and the down-thrust paths
diminish, then find themselves again
over barring, long-fallen trees and muck
and face-found webs in the thickening heat.
More rotting stumps and lean-to trees; one-man
passages and some half-a-man-without-a-head.

Sometimes an opening along the slope
there's a lifting of the quandary midst its ropes,
both hugely secretive and busily
pitching voices from end to end. An old car is down there
thicketed near occasional drip drip
down from a level wide way that once was a backroad
or driveway - for what and to where, swallowed.

Burnt trees like steeples of charcoal
are down there. The splintered, over-toppled cropping
of stricken boles are down there - and birds
like water-skipped stones, recklessly over
the down there under-story,
singing, shooting, stone-and-tree clear,
chip, chip, chip. And a boulder that can have
a dozen people on top, limply hidden,
wearing moss; posited from what age ago.

In the evaporated swamp, gathering sump,
pocked pinnacles of termite sponge
engulfed in leaf recesses; many homes
where they keep and eat their towers;
and the standing figure not trunk
between two trunks: broad-shouldered, dun,
housed in matted growth, begins loping
on long legs, thrice man-pace, steadily toward you
from below, robe burning dark with living animal,

revealing unreal teeth, the guttural grunting growl:
man of the bears and wolves,
feral and stinking where you just stood,
out from the growing, rotting lairs;
rife, odiferous wild man of the woods;
batting hour nears, and evening light is out of the woods.

Up there's out of: lifted mounds of gentle fires wait
like airy, fulsome sunsets:
trees that gather sunset light like fruit;
and out past them, naked sunset, drunk like blood
in the unequal weight of self. Up there's
out of: green walnut's skin, dragonflies and swallows;
dusk-downed llamas, cattle in the lidless fields.

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