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Fall 1996, Volume 13.3

Poetry

 

Art Goodtimes


Art Goodtimes, a performance poet, writer, and journalist, is currently poetry co-editor of
Wild Earth. He has published six chapbooks of poems and was recipient of Colorado Arts Council's Creative Writing Fellowship in 1989.

 

Wild Raspberries

Fireweed • Tansy • Solidago odora
beside the bituminous asphalt's edge

where the wild things grow lush
a hand searches for hues • is it

necessary to know the name of things
to set stems in water? • to make

colors leap like salmon from a fountain
of white porcelain? • the map-followers

whiz by on their wheels • they have no
time for tints & shades • enough

the pleasant blur of forms • dutchbarn
billboard • deer in the pines

rare to find some seeker of line
who interrupts the smooth cut of the roadway

a silhouette against the horizon • stopped
on a shoulder for a look at the moon

to separate from the mainstream•
to pull over on a side road• lingering

beside clear spring pools that are the eyes
of a lover• of a friend seen once again

then how easy it is to let go
the engines idling in the heart

even for just a few moments to have
no thought other than wildflowers

the couple out jogging along the gravel road
stop together beside a barb-studded bush

& pick wild raspberries• that red taste,
sweet on the breath•leads them astray

must tempt us into fields of summer grass
where names like rattlers shed their skins 

 

Desolation Wilderness

—for Steve Clark

end of July * hiking the familiar interior
of the Sierra Nevadas * up canyon we see pockets

of ice still glistening * in spite of morning sun
cold persists * snowmelt dissolves slowly

leaps downed cedars * hopping one-legged
past scree chutes & mica outcrops

gathering strength * pebbles * poise * until
tumbling it pools at last in the cupped blue

palms of a tarn * granite banks studded
with talus & yellowleg pine * where later

the cold burrows back * settles in for the night
campfire dusk dimming * evening's icy gusts

scaring up shadows * uprooting the light
we camp by the lake whose clear upturned eye

mirrors all the bruised illogical shapes
the mind takes * craggy ridges * steep slopes

the sheer cliffs of what began as innocence
forsaken * in pain * naturally deformed

like krummholz spruce dwarfed & supplicant
we find our solutions of harmony * laying low

insomniac * in starry awe of gorge & chasm
swordfern & impenetrable brush * this place

brimming with the agony implicit in growth &
the soaring transcendence of errors absorbed

mooning us with its wilding dark beauty * when
glaciers roll back * they leave magnificent scars 

 

The Art of Getting Lost

heh, man, get lost

losing it
look closely

it's not so much you
losing it
but the place
that takes you away

it's slickrock slope dangerous with piñon
that takes you away
it's Mancos shale wild strawberry avalanche chute
that takes you away

& suddenly olla kala panta rhei
you're just another
neopagan zenmother Buddhada
learning pandemonium
toking pure chaos

it's cougar in the headlights
takes you away
it's some Venus waitron Kali clone
takes you away

take Luna in the mushrooms & quackgrass
rolling in it on Sheep Mountain
that first green-eyed summer

or take that infamous hike we took
to the San Miguel Canyon petroglyph
that scribed a hoop in the earth
& led us back to our beginnings

crouching for shelter from Shandoka's lightning & ice
takes you away
clambering hands & knees up Lone Cone scree
takes you away

getting so lost,
you find yourself

Canyonland cliff shelf narrowing to goat hold
takes you away
Uncompahgre's Tabeguache pine scratched by bear 
takes you away

one minute next-to-death & then
born again & again & again

toad kachina grotto vision on Nuvatikyaovi
the San Francisco Peaks
takes you away
Big Sur hot spring crotch-of-the redwood full moon pool
takes you away
Pacific Rim combers in a Salt Point storm slamming down fists
takes you away

letting go
enough not to panic
but to play it like a tune
whistled & hummed
as a hymn to the Mother

Easy bro, Haleakala's charm
takes you away
yo, eating mangoes & making love
in the sea cave at Kalalau
takes you away

this is my religion
I believe in being lost

& everything I find on the way
is true miracle
& what finds me
I try to field

adventure not predicament
chasing chaos as much as calm

the only straight line in nature
is the bomb's trajectory
the bullet's compass

so, scram pathfinders surveyors engineers
gimme the loon's zigzag walk

let me lose it
I know how to use it

 

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