Sea Level Our ears yawn to a paranormal din which too soon becomes mundane Eyes register purple swirling lights deep inside the gong deep inside ourselves – Amorphous colored satori – you’ve always been there haven’t you? And down from the mountain tumble millions of potential works of art the pinheads of dancing scrambling angels and underpaid demons These notes and rhythms that roll down from the summit are merely vibrations and the to and fro of gushing air without our ears to arrange and compose the melodies Reach into my eardrums and play them directly tap them gently like bongos or tear them to shreds with distorted furry let me feel the event we call music as it sounds to plants and polished stones The guitarist’s strings contort the atmosphere The yogini’s voice box vibrates our Atman The mountain wind weaves through the leaves of early summer These are the crests of waves The misty spray we are allowed to know Doing Nothing I could scale the Himalayas with nothing but the kink in my back but lying on the floor is just as good I could watch the world begin and end explode and resume on television but doing nothing is more remarkable I could treat my tongue to warm molasses and my hands to supple flesh but my inhalations are just as sweet I could solve all the equations move beyond physics make a real effort to know but the back of my eyelids make me just as wise I could get down on my knees and pray for a pile of blessings but the view from here offers genuine Immortality I could smile about this or that or the other Thing but this smile I smile is only just the joy of the ages – I breathe in Himalayas and Angry Vengeful Gods and swirl them into pudding I beam for past and future mountains in my mind for the winter sunlight on my eyelids for the scripture on the ceiling The gospel says Don’t follow Don’t lead Just go. These strange hieroglyphs Shout Remain Don’t capitulate to movement Don’t embrace this happiness too hard Don’t let your ego write a poem you fool. Left Field it spins in sapphire sixty feet seventy feet a million miles above my mitt detached from my drifting body from my obligations my mortality I step out of time and know Zen. it resides there for centuries or seconds in the azure firmament of summer myth soundless still yet faster than sunlight – perhaps microbes ride its rotations like night and day taking railroad stitches to the opposite side of nowhere – as it begins its inevitable careless descent I call adulthood apparition and scamper through the freshly mown scent of Little League left field. Unknown Legends The strikeout the strikeout the strikeout and finally the crack of a bat the first week of June that no one heard but me the season he almost quit but scored two runs and even legged one out in the championship game in the AAA division of a little league on the outskirts of a dying city in a microscopic corner of the eternal social media feed – he wears the jersey from that legendary season every chance he gets and would expect you to know about his feats if you met him on the street this summer Lakes and large ponds after long days of driving in which we leaned back to where the water and clouds become one are just ordinary pics on the old Facebook feed to the rest of the mammals on planet earth The fire that took all night to build and the one that blazed all day which we carefully fed and then fed from and practically worshiped what with its power to transform hotdogs into memories and smores into wisdom Playing keep away with a pine cone in waist deep water like The World Series was at stake we were just the millionth visitor to that state park in the mountains The high peaks we conquered and the ones that made us cry – the poop a little boy left out in the leaves that didn’t make my twitter feed The day we discovered that hitting a tree trunk with pebbles is not available for PlayStation The afternoon we were attacked by 200 hornets but eventually wore those stings like badges The night in Indiana when the rain came through the tent so hard we had to sleep in the car and drive 10 hours home as soon as it was light The goos and gaas of each child who has worn the title of baby will probably not make the Sunday paper The lullabies unavailable on iTunes The dinning room dances you won’t find on You Tube and the emergency room visits you might The whole laundry list we never read anymore the budding imaginations we ignore as background noise are nothing short of lore to those who matter. Not My Place At the end of a dead end road there is another road, unmaintained except by wildflowers and abandoned snow tires an unrepentant work of art an eroding canvas. We used to celebrate adolescence at the abandoned quarry at the summit of this crumbing message board – the graffiti cocks and badly drawn balls have been washed the girls you could call for a goodtime are now far too busy dropping their kids at soccer all the narcs have been exonerated by twenty northeast winters when we all thought their shame would be eternal Nirvana has been replaced by names that I don’t know nor the couples inside the hearts freshly painted. The sun still shines though, the clouds still crisp, perfectly outlined wisps that I’m sure have passed over these ruins before and will again. The trail to where it becomes wooded tricks me into thinking that this is the same place I explored at 17 with a head full of ideas from the sunshine on my tongue, as if the trees and thorny bushes have not been busy narrowing the trail as if there’ll be girls for us tonight in that uncomfortable place behind the boulder at the cost of a beer or two. The rusted out car has turned to ash while the ashes from that bomb we barely finished must have incited the weeds making war on the loose gravel under my feet. And I’ll never know for sure who walked off with my lighter. Let the past be gone – I am light years away from pornography, paperwork and other unwholesome breezes here the wild, wind nudged grasses adorning the landfill still loom pretty an idyllic picnic spot behind a barbed wire fence – makes me wonder if the legend of Birdman still circulates in the halls of the local high school or perhaps he goes by a different name these days. Pretty sure this puddle has been here since ‘93 although I know it has dried and been reborn a thousand times or more. Now I hike back the way I came because I cannot stay I have deadlines to dread and children to feed back down the asphalt hill that used to be a road seeing the spray paint of young egos already beginning to fade and the lovers inside the hearts for ever ever ever. Two kids are coming up the hill as I am coming down – I reflexively conclude that the unusual landscape they’re entering cannot mean as much to them as it does to me but then again it’s not my place to say.
Copyright © 2014 Nick Petrone
Nicholas Petrone's poems can be found in many places, including The View From Here, Willows Wept Review, The Ranfurly Review, Poetry Superhighway, Word Salad, # Elements Review, Everyday Poets, Weird Cookies, Straight Forward Poetry and in overflowing boxes in his attic. You can also read his poems at http://winkingattheapocalypse.blogspot.com/. He teaches American history in Syracuse, NY.