Tuesday, March 09, 2010

letnen journal: survey

In order to survey, Kit said, you always have to have two points. In a photo, he leans over his tripod looking through the scope, high above Otowi Bridge in northern New Mexico, sighting a distant point on the other side of the river . . . I thought of him as making sense of geography. (Nora Gallagher, Practicing Resurrection 27)

I learned Kit’s lesson from my friend,
Doug, who was a surveyor until
he looked through the scope
and saw he was a painter.
On more than one occasion,
we held the pole for one another,
usually over Indian food,
mapping our hearts’ desires,
scoping to make some sense of
the geography of middle age,
a landscape littered with enough
forks in the road to supply silverware
for anyone hungry to know where
they were, or what lay across the
ridge of reason, beyond the forest of
failure, and under the sheltering sky.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reference to my brother and Practicing Resurrection but especially for the poem and the line about forks in the road being enough to supply silverware. Wonderful
Nora Gallagher

covert said...

Milton: Can you believe that Nora Gallagher read yer post? How cool is that?

AND she read yer poem. . . and commented on yer imagery!

My jealousy is palpable. . . you could use my envy as a demi-glace. . .

So: I'm going to post a poem up here, just for kicks. Sort of an homage, as it were, in the hopes that yer readin' & writin' will, coupled with yer friendship, spur me on to some readin' & writin' of my own. Gonna start by dusting off an old one, with some revisions.
"on a man ray kind of afternoon"

on a man ray kind of afternoon
stomach turning knots
the phone slices through
the pregnant silence --
your voice
through the wires:
the crew of my soul
mans the deck of my body.

you led me through
holds i had only heard of;
we sailed here to this land
in a fish-boat of tree-paper.
why did i never suspect
that these galleys & sails
held secret dangerous things,
instruments of torture &
terrifying devices of iron?

in a van gogh kind of day,
heart on my sleeve
gouged by toothpicks
picked by vile birds
'he wore his soul
on his face'
the dockworkers
whisper behind me.

maybe the whisperers know
maybe edvard munch knew
leonard cohen might know

i'm sure
that i don't know
don't understand how
in the toss of a coin
& the loss of a moment
i chained myself
to something i invented.

hippy peacenik chick said...

as one also struggling to make sense of the geography of middle age, i offer thanks....