Thursday, May 22, 2014


A work in progress poem to share with y'all. This town is not a cyclist's dream lately. Wildfires have made it difficult to breathe. The mornings are haunting. It's not like being foggy, this smoke world. 

A pearl-silver blanket. 
Smoke from fires
reeks the air, fouls the lungs. 
Is this the end?
Wind birthing itself
in the heat of burning, packing  sinuses 
with the scent of camp fire -
so comforting and nostalgic initially,
blooming painful as it scours 
all other scents from the world.

Sunrise is beautiful
through the particulate. 

Everything tastes like fire.
Everything is gray.
Every breath painful.

Miles away, this is just a taste. 
This obscuring of the world. 
My eyes bleed from this.
My heart aches, 
stutter-steps through the day
so worried about the conflagration, 
the making of
plans gone up with the tongues of flame
that proclaim to the sky and the sea that
man's plans mean nothing,
we are prisoners of nature.

I cough out another chunk, lungs black
like a Virginia miner's; all my years of hard living
didn't inoculate cells to withstand this.

If the sun went out I'd see 
the hell glow to the south, would see 
the flames swim like
salmon up the valleys and coulees.
Could watch from afar and wonder
at the restoration of destruction,
the myriad ways the phoenix rises.

Flame is a universal sign of rebirth?

I want to watch it all burn away, burn to 
the ground, burn out
not fade away.

It's not that easy. 
The burning is difficult.
Even on the periphery 
it hurts.

Bit by bit the ash forms and falls,
compounds convert to carbon, 
atoms fall away
leaving black sooty residue.
Every memory tainted, 
painted in watercolor
washed away, ghost images of the past,
maps of a life drawn years ago,
the roads have somehow 
in this place, 
this land on fire.

Is this everything we ever wanted,
this land so willing to crush its inhabitants,

after the embrace of false comfort? 

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