Camping

I spent the weekend camping at Redfeather. On Dead Man’s Creek, to be exact, which is in the area of Redfeather Lakes in Northern Colorado. That is where I go. I have been there almost every year of my life. There are pictures of me there as a baby. When I was a kid we used to go there four or five times a summer. It was my father’s spot too; he went there as a boy. It’s a family spot, is what it comes down to. The Magill side’s. The Coloradoan side. Yep.

I love it there. It’s so beautiful and serene. And then we make fires and eat steak and ride the ATV. Which I admit, fucks the serene part all up. But it’s a blast, and besides, my dad works hard; ain’t he got a right to use our National Forests too? 😉

My favorite thing about camping is the nights. Sleeping out under the stars. It’s kind of my private time. My time with the Cosmos. I always try to Ponder when I’m staring out into bejeweled infinity, and boy, sometimes I do get to thinking! As I was sitting on the porch at my Uncle’s cabin last Saturday I was thinking this:

To learn about the world is to live in it more fully. To learn is to experience meaning and beauty where there was none.

I was sitting on the porch thinking about all those stars hurtling towards me or away from me at terrific speeds, millions of kilometers per hour this way and that. I thought to myself: Because the universe is expanding, most of those stars are moving away from us. Isn’t that sad? What if we never catch up? As I thought about the stars running from us I was filled with a sense of urgency that I knew to be my humanity rising up from that deep place where it lurks. It–that is, my own humanity–seethed up when I least wanted it. Even as I was trying to feel my connection to the whole universe, I was overcome by the urge to acquire the whole universe, to posess each thing by knowing it, and let nothing get away. Curious monkeys we.

When I look out at the stars I do not try to ponder. I do what I have done ever since I read Ender’s Game. I pretend that I am looking down, instead of up. I pretend that I am stuck to a rock with some kind of glue, like gravity, floating upside-down through space. Sometimes I imagine the rock is as small as the planet of the Little Prince, and sometimes I try to imagine the immensity of the Earth above me. I’m always grateful that I don’t fall off.

On Saturday, in between looking down at the stars and feeling grateful, I was thinking about all these things that I didn’t always know and feeling that my world is richer because I took a couple classes and learned them. It’s just a small thing, you know? So what if I can use the word “gibbous” in a sentence? Doesn’t make me Einstein, but it is nice. Some of you also have this knowledge. Some of you can use the word “gibbous.” Go ahead, use it if you can. Wasn’t that nice? Some of you can look at the moon and point to the Sun with confidence that you are pointing in the right direction, although it is night. Or whatever it is you have learned to do (and there are zillions of perfectly good things to know), isn’t it nice to be able to do that?

8/2005

Anatomy

At first I did not know how to walk at all.
Many animals are born with locomotion in mind.
But what use are comparisons?
I had the knack by the time I was knee-high
To a human:

Swing one arm wildly,
Place the opposite fingers in the mouth or pocket,
Gauge the rate of steps according to the local gravity.
This method has served well, with only occasional refinements.
Today, for example, I discovered my psoas muscles,
Which are as thick as my wrists-
Secret bridges from my center to the compass rose.

I have a new concept for my body.
It will be arranged in two tubes,
Visceral and nervous,
Plus the kidneys,
And the bits I use to dance and sing.

Does my heart still beat?
Can my diaphragm still effect pressures
Sufficiently different from one atmosphere?

Thus does my practice develop.
Overwhelmingly exuberant at first, then
Slowing to a rhythm
I can really enjoy,
And then not stopping, not stopping until
Long after I’ve wished it would stop.

It will end with a belly ache.

Laughing yoga.

6/2005

head

I’ve grass stains on my shirt

We squirmed like worms in dirt

I love the way you curl

You’re like a flag unfurled

Snapping in the wind

To call the troops back in

But before I march back North

I’ll have my dollar’s worth

You take me in like breath

Your little gasping death

I like it in the South

I love you with my mouth

8/2003

On kissing.

I remember the first time.
Not knowing how it was done,
The heart-racing, dry-mouthed
Anticipation.

And I remember before that.
When young people gave advice
And demonstrated with a pillow
or a doorknob.

But it isn’t done in those
doorknob ways, young friend.

Listen to wisdom:

Kissing is just people
bumping mouths.

There are numberless ways
to do it, and they’re all
(except, perhaps, the occasional
tooth-bashing-oh-so-sorry ones)
a pure delight.

Slurpuly bumpulies,
open-mouthed snogs,
butterfly brushes,
lip-hickeys,
peckorinos.

You can suck her toungue.
Or she can suck yours.
Or you can work together,
to invent the Simultaneous
Toungue-Sucking Method.

If you want, you can place
your mouth over her nose,
and blow air out through
her mouth.

Chances are, after kissing
long enough, you’ll try it.
She will not like it.
At all.

So for now, stick to the
basics, and don’t worry about
doing it wrong.

It’s like sex.
Even grown-ups forget that sex
is just people bumping bodies.

There aren’t any rules.

 

Mark Strand poem

Visions of the end may secretly seduce

our thoughts like water sinking

into water, air drifting into air;

clouds may form, when least expected,

darkening the glass of self

cancelling resemblances to what we are.

Even here, while summer sunlight

falling through the golden

folds of afternoon

brightens up the air, we mark

our progress by how much

we leave behind.  And yet,

this vanishing is burnished

by a slow melodious light

as if our passage here

were beautiful because

no turning back is possible.

It is our knowledge of the end

that speaks for us, that has us weave,

as slowly as we can, an elegy

to all our walks.  It is our way

of bending the world’s will

and giving thanks.

-Mark Strand

heart

I had a heart, that now has gone from me

 

Into a world,

and across a sea.

 

A newborn heart,

who slept upon my breast

 

As unpracticed breath

pulsed his tiny chest

 

I had a heart which,

too briefly I called mine

 

And now am left heart-begging:

Please, Mnemosyne!

 

I had a father’s heart,

that filled to see him so

 

And stopped, and burst, and died

to see him go.

10/2004

Amy Ross

To feel love without falling
this is where I hold you for awhile

Rolling around in the grass
you stain my memory
like mulberries on my grandparents’ farm

summertime
a mutual charge
Magnetic pull
Sweet kisses
giggle to the point of exhilaration

kolsch and kind
Quirky and mischievous
chopstick love-

————

 

thoughts of you splash forward

in my ocean of calamity

whirling leaves of memories past

butterflies fluttering through my hair

blinding colors rush past my eyes

sensational, wonderful, lovely you

 

-Amy Ross, 2003

poem

two fine, golden chains

dangling from the moon

nearly to our reaching fingers

nearly

 

only touched, and moved

by miles of sun-warmed

air, and their own in-built

tension

 

twisting so, the one

around the other

and it around the first

forever

 

away upward, far past

seeing that quiet future

moment, suddenly we’re

undone

-2003

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

BY E. E. CUMMINGS

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)