My stepfather, a figure who has been in my life for many years, passed away several nights ago.
He has been on and off my mind consistently since, and I finally spent some time channeling those thoughts into poetry today. Below you will find a reading by me of the poem, “The Volcano,” which I have written for him. The text is below as well.
Upon the clear day the volcano rises above. And those who know it know.
And those who do not: they see it. The smolder or memory through ash.
Thorough brilliance, a flash exquisite. Volcanic: even the sound of it ripe
with a sheen, and that light is brilliant, and that permanence is affective.
Mimic of the memories of age and still flashes and the throb of time.
I can hear splashing in the distance: the distance of right here and now.
Waves, those of the landscapes or those of the buried beneath, aqua:
we hear the waves in their mysteries, we hear the waves in their movement.
The volcano submerged or rising high above to oversee the change of sea,
mountain of earth and fire and air to nod to the bodies of liquid memory.
Take in and embrace the echo of the production of the creativity of light.
Let go and allow the escape of sound from your deepest furrows, gut, eyes,
the hymn of cries that represent the unleashing of years upon years and
all we have known are the smiles that have been provided for us, for all,
the world looking upward and seeing a mountain of flames sleeping, still.
Don hip and shoulder and bosom and throat and nose and reflective head.
Don fingers and wrists and palms and cheeks and elbows and ankles.
The way we jagged create the horizon: poses in motion or in stillness.
Call it home or call it journeying to know that these patterns of positions
call ourselves owners and how we dance trying to match vibrating landscapes.
See the towers of metal and wood as they rise and fall before thee, Volcano.
Choose to embrace or choose to turn and embrace that other you have found.
Choose as in choice, as in the crash of pebbles upon the floor, spinning wheels,
the sound of a sawblade in the distance, or perhaps the crackle upon maple,
pinecones or a rotting stump, or perhaps even the sound of recycled metals.
You erupt and roar and your momentum will represent a new form of fury,
and when it does the people will believe you in ways new and old: a reaction,
an enlightenment, bound form of positive and negative harmony: strength.
The force to move the world around you, to send the pyroclastic and the molten,
to receive the cool of the air upon the tip of your brow, arched toward moonlight.
The memory of dancing, the memory of stomping in joy through celebrations,
harmonies of the fire of the soul and the earth of time: progress, revisions,
belief systems formed and melted and reformed upon summits, ridges, peaks.
Piqued interests in valleys, along streams glacial and flowing, effervescence.
Volcano holds the awe in place before the spinning globe begins to sing.
There will be growth and there will be destruction in the spaces of rejuvenation.
We learn what it is to be stone, what it is to be forest, harmonized pastorals.
This is the face of existence, the cap of the oldest foundations a shifting portal,
mirror to past and future over eons, indescribable periods of fireballs sizzling
into depths of obsidian, vulcanized perspectives matching night before day.
Of course there will be the uncertainty and mindfulness will be startling,
through courses of the buried and the challenged as storms howl and breeze coos,
a mesmerized utterance of how we got here, there, where: the staging of questions
as old as space and time, as old as the idea of change could be conceived,
the memories before the eras of seeds and sprouts, of small, silent campfires.
Before the clouds cast their shadows of rain and blazing blasts of sunshine,
underneath web of birch leaf and alongside deer track and moose grip,
the glyph of the Volcano carves its way across the people’s staggered terrain.
Eruptions or memories of eruptions are collaged through perceptions of mirage.
Gentle singing is cast along the trails to and from our Volcano’s peripheries.