A few memories of living in New Zealand: this photo, being bathed in a kitchen sink, my cousins showing me turds in a toilet that allegedly swirled in the opposite direction than in the States (though I had zero hemisphere/equator frame of reference).

Dry grasses; wild lavender;
three picked-bare, sun bleached bones;
long-ago dried stems
scratch my legs
as we attempt to forge a path
that already exists further ahead.

I move breathlessly
beyond the group because
I imagine that you are
next to me. A rock shaped
like a seat tempts me.
Branches striking and creaking against
each other sound like
countless fairy families
on creaky porch swings.
Rocks heavily hang from
cliff faces, spotted with
almost florescent green
lichen. Winding paths
green and narrow, look anew.

I stop.
The landscape is vast. Tall, craggy, dense
mountains from north to south
extremes. I forge breathlessly to
the top. Although alone
I imagine you there
in the lookout tower.
Hat-donned head, waiting for me.
So many sensations:
cold, fierce wind,
heat, burning muscle,
curiosity, freedom from worry.
Pyramid Lake shows three gentle
slopes,
a sharp outcropping
a wide arching inlet
then freedom to wind-ridged dark blue.
On the other mountain range:
rock-cropped ranges, evergreen topped heights
stretching as far as
sight allows to
a bright, eye-narrowing
bleak of light that is
Castaic Lake.

I descend.
Every sensation expansive.
Especially the wish that you could be
next to me
witnessing
and appreciating
and soaking in
the absolute wonderment
that is this earth, that is as
delicate
vital
sensual
ever-evolving
fleeting, yet long-lasting

as the joy I experience when I see you.




1-24-15 Slide Mountain Lookout. 1st draft

The sun fluttered
a sliver of an eye
over the dark brown-gray
cliffs.
I struggle to take in
two counts
and exhale two counts.
At this realization an
infant yucca, with undamaged
brown red spikes atop
powdery blue-gray takes
my breath away.
My footing on snow
unstable until I think of
you with me and take
nimble, balanced steps.
Until I spell out your
name with each five steps.
Even when reflection off
snow burns my face and eyes,
lungs cease, mind rages
against me, cliff faces narrow
to terrifying extents.

Every part of it
breath
view
lashing cold
chest-crushing heat
ache
near fall
graceful jump
narrow
wide never-ending expanse
manzanita
rock face
yucca.

I imagined you
being there with me
holding me steady
so I could make it back to you.



1-18-15 Mt. Baldy Hike

Silentium Amoris

As often-times the too resplendent sun
   Hurries the pallid and reluctant moon
Back to her sombre cave, ere she hath won
   A single ballad from the nightingale,
   So doth thy Beauty make my lips to fail,
And all my sweetest singing out of tune.

And as at dawn across the level mead
   On wings impetuous some wind will come,
And with its too harsh kisses break the reed
   Which was its only instrument of song,
   So my too stormy passions work me wrong,
And for excess of Love my Love is dumb.

But surely unto Thee mine eyes did show
   Why I am silent, and my lute unstrung;
Else it were better we should part, and go,
   Thou to some lips of sweeter melody,
   And I to nurse the barren memory
Of unkissed kisses, and songs never sung.