Last night dinner
with four other couples
and a drunken single girl
points out the difficulties in living together
and apart. One woman, just married,
is clearly a lesbian.
son of a wealthy doctor, disdainful of
inebriates more artificial than the moon,
full, full of joy for humanity
suffers deepening depressions
like the dark outside a lamplight.
It was a good restaurant
expensive but comfortable
in the alternate life-style way
the cook was a hairy
and we clowned though beneath each
was turmoil and decay.
beside each other like bones
in a boneyard
and find joy (I do anyway)
in the bone dance
to bone music.
How I love bone music!
the freedom within communality
comrades in our individual weaknesses
but powerful with the totemic voice.
I cannot make order of it
I care not to
Without a thought for slash fuel
or deer, the mist
deepens and deteriorates upon
the mountain. The mountain
of its greenness. The ice
is centuries old.
A red-tailed hawk
floats above the unit
observes what small mammals, birds
are in the clear-cut
or fades away almost
silent as the mist. I dream
of it, though I am awake
among my co-workers, the bullet
system zinging cut logs down
to the road, firewood.
me you mountains
for coming to the edge
without mystical knowledge
or belief, only love and wrinkled
eyes for the women and men who
light the fires and wield the chain saws,
drive the cat, swing the ax, I
completely laugh among them like a god
yes, although my face is a mask of hate
and pain, what god does not come to this field
of flowers out of fear and confusion and chains
product of the hot anvil and hot engine
of human history
this duality, these arm-breaking dualities
this volcanic eruption erupting from some
confluence of beheaded forces, one
powerful with eternity, one
blinding with intensity, meet
and in the middle is me.
You mountains, you dinners
tear me apart with the pleasures of living
like a husband and wife fighting
like two dogs fighting but not biting
hard, like my old poems (a pleasurable
conceit), life (something serious?)
bests my best synthesis of it, and
I begin to pray, hard to believe
I begin to pray in my poems, I
smile but I begin to pray, for
this prayer gives no hope, no belief,
no past. I begin to pray
and say nothing but the same words
repeatedly I begin to pray, amazed
for the red brick houses, for the dinner couples
for a happy combination of sun and mist
I begin to pray for nothing I begin to pray
for long life in the lean years I begin
to pray for none of these things
instead I pray without words,
I begin to pray without words.
Copyright 2001 & 2007 by Robert Ronnow.