Saturday, July 11, 2020

My Trip To Bountiful

I could write how I strap on my backpack two or three times a 
week and set out past the last row of homes, with their well-behaved beds of roses, into the wild communing with red deer under a cacophony of crows circling a bee-loud glen. Over there is Robert Frost’s bending tree and his not-taken path beside the rubble of an unloved wall.   

In fact none of this happens but I do take out the garbage every few days with due diligence. There are two rubbish bins; one west, down the hill on Raymond and around the corner and the other up the incline and headed south on Highland. I’m still looking for a route that is downhill both ways.

As I recall I’ve never encountered deer of any color but I do pass a commotion of crows reminding me whose woods these used to be. I hear that goats have reclaimed Main Street in some towns and penguins are stopping traffic in Capetown, South Africa.

My plastic rubbish bag is exhibit-one filled with evidence of our consumption or rather the leftovers of our lives. Pits and peels, bones and rind along with tissues, tea bags and yesterday’s flamboyant bouquets make for a rich mulch. The dump is full of ripe gone to rot. I am pallbearer in the grand cycle. This is where it is always winter where withered Christmas trees mingle with the excess of our celebrated civilization. Where putrefaction reeks against the promise of renewal.

In his poem, Man On the Dump, Wallace Stevens suggests this is also where poets live beating their tin cans, stubbornly, as if to answer the grackles of peevish birds. How do we converse with the decay of rancid voices? Forty percent, plus or minus, speak in fluent vitriol contaminating our common air.  Hurry, November 3rd. There is poison in our midst to be dumped.

Over three years of spewed hatred plus six months of virus hankering to multiply even as we are hunkered down and I walk to the dumpster writing this page out of my head in the silence of exhausted words. Rising from of our decline and fall a nascent poem takes shape, paragraph to stanza, stanza to music. A limp stalk stiffens as reed to the mortal coil of a bluesy sax.  

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