Tuesday, April 20, 2010


We sit on the edge of a cliff, watching the storm drift past. Once again I find myself atop a mesa on sacred native land, just out of reach of rain and lightning and thunder. Three of the four of us share Irish blood, so naturally our conversation leads us to that Emerald Isle, moving from there to Tibet, from the Bronx to Piedmont, CA. Across the ravine are the concrete towers of Los Alamos labs, birthplace of the bomb that flattened the city where my wife's people come from. I follow her eye line over there. Someday, we'll need to bridge this gap and complete the pilgrimage.

I later find myself alone, off-trail across this mesa topped out with scrub. It narrows to a dull, rounded edge, like the prow of a ship cutting across this ancient seabed. I sit awhile on a disembodied boulder, wondering what to call those peaks over there, still snow-capped this late in Spring. Brother raven flies over to check me out, squawking a greeting. The rain eventually drives me from this aerie, and I scramble down the rock face, leaping the last few feet onto the next shelf. There's far less wind on this eastern face. I follow a narrow white band as trail, passing beneath petroglyphs and yellow splashes of lichen. I find a cave and climb in, to meditate on the crystaline sand floor and dip into Nanao. I come across this:

Underground deep
fossil cave dark

you sit down
might be midday

someone comes in
you can't see him, hear him, touch him

still someone with you for sure;
is he friend or devil?

you don't care
all the same

you smile
he looks blank
I burst into laughter

no body
wave after wave

On the turntable: Julian Cope, "Rite Now"

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