WALKING THE MOON
THE MOUNTAIN IS OUT, CHOOSE YOUR OWN TABLE
And would I leave for the rivers this morning,
if we were ready. I don’t know.
I’m still in the space
from the walk on the moon
with my brother two days ago.
Dry your eyes for Madame George.
I’ve been listening to that song now
so many years, but it’s only recently
that it’s become a sort of Requiem.
Dry your eyes.
We were walking between the Burroughs,
my brother and I,
we were putting everything on the table.
My brother didn’t tell me,
Put away the camera,
he just said the camera could never do it justice.
Some kind of table, Chuck.
Some kind of table.
Go see for yourself.
As he walked ahead reaching the skyline
the Robinson poem came into his head.
Where was he going that man against the sky?
That line that arrives every time I step on a trail.
This time the poem arriving
with a complete history of the dream
interspersed with the biography.
Truly, this is the tundra.
This is the moon.
Three Rivers—Klamath, Trident, Eel,
along with their tributaries. OK, a fourth,
the Kern, you knew from the Merle Haggard song.
Swimming Kern River. Maybe you couldn’t reach
that one, this time. The stones. Just to know
where the ones practicing,
the ones walking the way, where they had been called to,
and where they found the stones.
To put one’s hands in those rivers.
Glio Blastoma. So that its spelling is not in doubt.
Getting perspective when the mountain is out,
isn’t that it. The perspective of the moon.
The helicopters carrying water into Sherman and Muir.
This unmaintained trail where forgetting was encouraged.
It’s a long way to Buffalo.
It’s a long way to Belfast, too.
Landscape stones. Miniature landscape stones.
That’s what you’re after.
The stone waiting for you.
The Japanese art,
by flame-lit height made higher,
with nothing on it for the flame to kill
to loom before the chaos and the glare,
as if, oh my, the next part
is too beautiful to steal. Just keep walking.
Better that way. Better. Yes. Better and not better.
That part didn’t matter.
Someone brought me here first.
My brother’s right about pictures
not doing this justice,
but is it justice we’re after? Is it?
Or, are they, these light flashes
on paper, ephemeral as they are,
the only true cairns we’re looking for,
marking memory trails if not the map,
the geography of the poem.
Magic mind accompanies the trail too.
It’s not only healing those river rocks.
That old Jewish Prayer, Un’taneh Tokef,
through the voice of Leonard Cohen dispensing
with Jabberwocky once and for all.
The way you discovered the one leg to be
longer than the other, the discovery—
you’d been on the mountain that long,
how good that made you feel.
The little epiphany.
Patina in the stone.
This prayer of awe.
I don’t care if there are professional collars or not.
The empire of careerist religiosities.
The collars claiming their Lord,
recusing themselves from the poem.
They had to get rid of the poet.
Home free, easy enough.
This is an unmaintained trail.
Better stay on it, for stone’s sake.
Stay on the unmaintained trail or lose your storythread.
O smoothly textured waterfall.
Water way and water fall.
Heavy and light. Wabi-Sabi.
Joy to touch. Cuentocamino.
Who by fire, who by water.
Who rest, who wander.
This is the Burroughs. Yes.
Taken off the map because of overuse.
Thank the Rangers on the way out.
Thank your brother, caminante.