August 2013

Sugar Loaf Mountain

Everything I know of this upthrust rock
is oral, or out of the eyes, or out of the true
movement of shoulders, out of a hole
in a fence, out of the lack of no trespassing
signs, out of a dirt road winding, out of the
thick faces of trees like crowds filling
a square, out of the air, out of the wet
sweet wind, out of the lichen, out of
the nothing that I know. The mouths say
the Tonkawa came here, the mouths say
that ceremonies were performed. It’s
possible. The Tonkawa don’t answer
the emails I throw at them in Oklahoma.
The view from the top will impress if
you’re a flat lander, fields of sorghum below
green by irrigation out of the Brazos,
some brown below with the coming
summer drought, old beer cans light our
way through the brush up to the summit.
I tell my friend from Spain that over this
cliff I can see the faces of gods and we
stand for the moment free of the perpetual
dust our species loves to churn to obliterate
the stars. He has nothing of that inside
and wonders if we get it from the Indians
or from Emerson and I say old E may have
gotten it from the Germans, and over here
was the land, of slaves I say, the fecund
bottoms where they could grow crop after
crop of cotton to float down river or put
on trains to Galveston to be compressed
and shipped to Britain for the mills that made
Britannia empire clothes, small children’s
hands tending the bobbins. Muddy brown
the Brazos below us near we can’t see
here in the winds. Our day is light,
insubstantial, and weightless, bending
perhaps around important planets
while spiriting away. Does the light make
music out of …? Who has ears to hear?
The swallows down under the new bridge
across the Brazos believe concrete to be
a limestone ledge–they feast on bugs
and build their nests happy in biological
rhythm oblivion, and yes, like I, like you,
they know they fall in their going to die.

—Chuck Taylor

3 thoughts on “August 2013

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