Plants will hold up cups above their heads to catch bees in but bury their roots beneath the soil so that half the rain runs off before it soaks in. Trees will grow up tall and huge and heavy and spread out thick green sails from their oaken masts and dare the wind the topple them: perhaps they push the continent, perhaps it is why we still sail across the Atlantic, why California continues to be nibbled by the Pacific. If a human were a tree it would grow wide and flat close to the earth where no wind could tickle it. If a human were a plant, they’d put their bright colors beneath the ground in fear for anyone finding them. Lift their roots up to the elements so they can feed freely and never learn why their seeds bear no germ.
First light. First coffee. First music. Is something reset overnight while we sleep. When did eight hours later suddenly become tomorrow. First rain in three weeks. The wetted lips of clover speak, the beaded blades of grass are weak, they curtsy with tear drops on point. First gardens. As if winter was asleep. The world wakes spring. Wishy-washy. Watch birds to tell the weather and soak every last drip of cold. Summer is coming. Like never seen before. First summer. All other summers were sleep. This summer will wake, break, make, remake, spade, spate and stake us up like tomato vines. Next fall, we won’t be the same. We’ll be new ones.
It is snowing in April. Last time I saw snow this late in the season I was a teenager. Hiking across Roan Mountain. We woke up in an old fire-watch cabin converted into a simple shelter. With a loft. It was the last weekend in April. Of course we had to sleep up top, and woke to snow on our sleeping bags. This time is a little different. I’m currently in my early thirties, toe rocking my two month old son, a sort of mountain all on his own, watching flurries of snow descend like white hot hornets in waves breaking before a double layered windowpane.
I’m not going to lie, I still woke up excited. Every time. I wake up and the world is clothed by the crusty white eyelid of winter. Whole great lakes lie like frozen teardrops, wind lashes dark tree filtered horizon. All that milk chocolate churned up by cream lipped waves, all along the shore like lips. Something about this temperamental weather lends itself to similes. Pardon me for not holding back. But the whole scene is like being inside a marble looking out.
And we were going to hike in it. Through it. Wind building its own structures out of snow, men and boys stomping over drifts three feet between trees in places. We climbed down onto the road in Carver’s Gap, which was completely frozen, and I ate it. All of it. Bit off so hard I actually cracked my Nalgene water bottle. You can ask anyone who was there. I was finished. In the moment, and for good, even though I hiked the next fifteen miles, I really didn’t. I was drug along in a sort of social stretcher formed of positive reinforcement and statement of base facts. I was rocked into stasis, and sustainable forward movement, by people who, in that moment, were far far more put together than I was.
It went from novelty to reality on that trip. Snow. Between here and there. Where I’m sitting now, under siege by an army of angry water in varying forms. Navy archers behind a cavalry of seething aqua and a tooth bearing beige wearing infantry up front, eating the shoreline foot by foot, entrenching and digging their way into this place. Where I am. Toe-rocking my own little Roan Mountain to sleep watching it snow this far into spring. Typing. Drinking black coffee.
Not as much as you might think has changed between then and now.
Mostly. I’m just not so surprised when a scene I was happy to wake up and see first thing eventually also makes me slip and fall.
There are a lot of experiences that are really quite dangerous.
That are also inexplicably, breathtakingly, treacherously.
Now take your breath back. And brace yourself.
Marbles weren’t made just to be beautiful.
What do we believe? So we’ve skipped right past knowing, have we.
To have faith. Or be had by one. Buyer’s choice.
To the chagrin of mainstream religion.
God gave dominion broken up equally among all the living.
And doesn’t much care who wears white collars.
It isn’t likely to care too much about any one us at all.
Just lucky to be lumped in with the rest of the universe.
If language fails to articulate the relationship we have with our creator.
The flaw is in language.
We are here. We exist.
Some thing. Some it.
Some process led to all this.
God is the three-lettered word we use to discuss whatever that is.
Whatever It it turns out to be. Or doesn’t.
Even if It only happened once.
And now It isn’t in existence.
There will be a tomorrow.
The sun doesn’t rise to convince me.
I can see it in the stars.
The entire earth is turning.
Even your blood tries to leave you.
Whether reddening the heel of a sock
or that pinprick of a little red dot
or pouring out wholesale
staining whatever it touches.
A fine line of skin and fat-wrapped veins
hold back the plaque banks
of the river running through us.
Peeking through our cuts
raining purple where it should be clean water.
But this blood is brackish,
thick and salted.
Let it go when it wants to go.
Because try as you may,
you’ll die before you stop it.
A different time of night.
Smelly dog mouth yawning beside my nose.
Her head lays down closed.
I can’t go wrong. Do not worry.
Blue dog orange knife laid forgotten, or maybe misplaced.
There is a carved wood case holder, a sheath,
a vagina, a portal, shaped, etched, cut to fit
that shape and that shape and that shape.
She enjoyed herself in those caloric, ceramic, educational years.
We all participate tonight, and tomorrow, renew interest in tears,
while where did the hours go becomes what happened to all these years?
A poem about longing. And I forgot I asked a question,
so I take time to write out the words, out loud, on paper, out.
No saying no this evening. Or yes. No saying goes either.
But writing is a loophole. A carved wood case holder,
a sheath, a vagina, a portal, shaped, etched, cut to fit that shape.
The alphabet is misleading. But necessary.
Like a yardstick. In taking measurement.
But my mama also whooped me with it.
Everything is different, not so forced,
moment to moment, instants like chain links
past and present pulling both sides.
We’ve become so singular.
Specialization, we call it.
It is a most superior sort of crippled.
We have stacked cities on it. Ancestries.
Like who we are is who all was
and what they did to play their part
should pave some way in determining ours.
All lawyers and wood workers and writers and thieves.
Pretending we’re not all just hungry.
So focused on our focus we forgot
if we chose it or it chose us.
Only know it is now and all we know,
and that no one ever thought to put
just human on the curriculum.