The gravestones, in random shapes line the hill the morning chill creeps between them and onto the runway until washed away by the spring sun slowly pushing upward as the jet noise washes the hill unheard
He passed away quietly in his bed ending his dread of the cancer slowly engulfing him his vision dimmed by the morphine that pulsed through his veins. He paused to remember the first spring rains.
She selected the plot on the hillside she would confide to friends, so that he might see the valley at long last free, to see the flowers bloom in early spring, the land that was his home and he its king.
One summer the caskets were carried out while the devout cursed the sacrilege of the master plan of the madman who decided that the airport must sit on the hill, his valley forever split.
The jets rush over the cemetery February snows blown across the gravestones in their wake as one snowflake melts slowly on the ground, a falling tear which, unheard, marks another passing year.
First Appeared in Candelabrum Poetry Magazine (UK), April 2002.
Life should be a like a mountain although truth be told, we prefer it more like a prairie or at best a gentle, rolling hill.
There is a challenge to climbing, hell maintaining a grip halfway up most mountains, and there are no maps, no well worn paths, you just go up until you cannot go up higher then you figure out how to come down.
Down is the hard part, and you don’t want it to go quickly for that is a prescription for the undertaker, and when you do finally get down, you want to say I did it all, there is nothig left that I still need to do.
Last night the actors trod the boards carrying us on their backs. This wasn’t Pittsburgh but we believed it so. We’ve never been to the Hill but we walked its blighted streets. In the mirror we are white, but not last evening. He is five years dead but last night August Wilson escorted us to a place we had never imagined, and we were all too glad to visit.
Coyote no longer inhabits the hill south of our city. Yet we know he is there, staring down at the lake, watching the grape clusters fatten on the vines. We cannot see the orange-red orbs of his eyes on a still winter night. We know he sees us. Coyote cannot be found, no carcasses attest to his presence. Coyote is everywhere, walking among us, living in parks, living in plain sight, knowing he is invisible. We see his tricks, know we were once again outsmarted, know we can outsmart him. Coyote no longer inhabits the hills here, for he has morphed, and we are coyote.
In the hills that rise gently from the concrete valley two hawks play childlike, rising, falling in gentle circles, grazing the redwoods that reach up to stroke their breasts. To a visitor from the East New York, Tokyo there is awe at the hawks’ grace, slicing the sky into cloudy ribbons but there is no wonder in the eyes of the field mouse and squirrel, only the flapping of the executioner’s blade and the deep eyes of death.
Consider, for a moment he said the absurdity of it all a guy with brains enough to shape universes who can flick on stars with a thought faster than you or I can throw a switch who, worst case gives a lizard a kick in the ass and ends up with man that a guy
with this kind of power is going to write his story down on a bunch of tablets or have an old coot wander the desert endlessly pen and parchment in hand taking dictation and then leave the scrolls scattered in caves it makes no freakin’ sense.
If it was me he said standing on a hill watching some scrub pine slowly burn onward no ashes, no embers just keeps on burning and if I heard a voice giving me orders when I couldn’t see anyone to go and slap
some soldier upside the head or march into a river hoping to find the stones followed by miles of lemmings lined up behind me not this kid me, I’d look for a screen and some short professor from somewhere in Kansas.
Do you buy for a minute he said that he would wander sucking sand from his navel and getting called to haul his ass up a mountain for a crisis meeting and then have to schlep tablets down the hill eating hardtack and pretending to like it then telling his wife he knew where he was he wasn’t lost so what if it was forty years Miriam was really going to buy that and Aaron had to be thrilled dragging the damn ark like a bloody albatross then looking down into the valley he’s gonna say okay, that’s it go on without me I just got word I gotta croak here but keep a kind thought, fat chance of that ever happening.
Good night, Sisyphus try to get some sleep. It’s been a long day and you already know the rock will await you when you arise in the morning. I suppose by now you’ve come to realize there is no percentage in pissing off the Gods. Think of this as a personal re-education center where right thinking is the lesson of this and every other day. Did you really think they would let you stand in the middle of the Square openly mocking all of their edicts. Sleep old fellow, we have all the time in the world, it is one of the benefits of immortality.