Poem: The Uncorrected Flare

Poem for Joan Laage, on Her 75th Birthday, July 26, 2023


Bent knees back-filled with an open mouth the mountains pop,
and each crease is a cairn high functioning still and the cirrus
inviting us, patterns masking dusk, then ours are the limbs
like wings, bats, like knobs of larch and high country wildflower,
unnameable, small scents merged, dry heat meets mild humidity
and the glacial drag, snowfield breeze, rocks like tea bags,
the gold of the weeds, purples, reds, and agreements,
mouthfuls of roots and innumerable deer with night vision eyes
headlamp makes bulbous in red, stop motion, stop, dash, swirl,
and remember: the clamor of the marmots, piping pika peeps,
and the dustiness, fire pits in wilderness, high fire danger,
sparks before dead out, moments of a stillness in the deep,
arms are long, stretched and thin or heavy and broad,
darkness is imagination’s cradle in the Milky Way’s milky sway,
gentle illumine, flow of shadow, noticing each moment in a vague light,
the moment of immensity, like on this day and in this age,
or like every year the nights stretch, perception’s loop, laughter,
realization, no dark sky in these valleys, not yet, still roused,
the full darkness is beyond us, we’re alive, we’re flipping, rolling,
getting dirtier with each passing moment, creek clear invisible,
roaring, imagined bent knees cooled with the crystalline flow,
and the body aches but it is good, and the mind is heavy but it is good,
heart’s center is Doppler, what goes by passes with alarming warmth.
We are noticeable in this pure existence, noticeable and honorable,
and the knees extend: reveal the valley, gigantic, creature of breath.


Denny sends the group thread a .AMR file of the Discovery Park Lighthouse
bell being tapped in the wind and the wind doesn’t sound like wind
but like the rattling of a microphone the tearing of paper the tearing up
amidst the Salish and I can feel the rain or the sun, either way Puget maritime
epic recording condensed on nonsensical cell phone speaker box
and last night the Snoqualmie Tunnel was near and far we stood in the segments
like worms like slime molds belting off the ceiling droplets of punk water
dashing on the cheek, down the back, along trousers and jackets, the chill
I thought, lives within me at this moment, and it followed me for 2.2 or 2.3 miles,
lots of recordings lots of resonance and the darkness always contained a light,
high summer center, end of day horizon, against the periphery, always on, all
ways turned on as we put foot over foot and I make small clapping sounds
and the tunnel was reformatted over a decade ago now crumbles with each step,
walls like ghouls the bulging and the silence as we move swiftly avoiding puddles,
my fixation on the slime mold that move between each bob of the headlamp,
molded to the ceiling like the smiles of court jesters following joke slice.
Each clap and each holler is another beginning, another opening, another tearing
of normie fabric, pedestrians, cyclists, rough wheel sounds, boot sounds, expulsed in a damp dust.
It is the eve of the birthday of Joan and I am thinking of the beauty of Butoh distortion.


Distillation. Stretch for Joan. Reach for sunlight. Reach for clear skies across spruce, cedar,
whatever and then some, open some, pass some, be some, be somebody, we are some bodies,
collective coronation, to coronate, and concatenate, con-sat-en-ate, flourish with language,
whittled twigs, mostly murmurs, bodies of flutters, moments as utterances, as slick,
across city, crossing inner hills and the middle highlands of the metro, just above, beyond,
still and present, innards of structure, built through breath, landscapes, stacking and plots,
where we be, become, breathe, beckon beckon, where our teeth chatter, arrive.


”Wish I could splice and be there too.” A dream of ultimatum, one of many pillows
perhaps filled with down, and I get confused in these streets, I stand in perplexity.
For not far from here the ducks that were held and bled ring true, image of presence,
their lives designed, and cruelty is a subtle gesture, shadow realm conversational,
these things bruise the perfection and the placement of knowing of peace, these things,
objects, strange boxes that get filled and emptied, stored to be forgotten to be discovered,
longingly staring at the skin of dust and cobweb, obscurities and the passing of time,
tale end of a long fire, when the flames have finally fluttered to ashen end, and what is left is burn.
Smothered brightness, before everything is manifested: age is real, life is real, life is awake.
Treading lightly awakens the sliced skin on the foot, tent stake injury with serious wound,
in comfort I do weep, but the fascist sneakers were on sale, necessity of one pain for another,
equal trade, soothingly it may be called balance, retroactively it may be called nightmarish but true.


Today’s phone photos only offered with corrections, no complaining. Algo god
meets a complacent perfectionism meets convenience meets smooth image.
Our life as offering to the future without blemish, without full attention,
galleries upon galleries, collections and messes, robot curation, the heap of glimmer.
Daydreaming it could be, if the bruises, and dirt grime dust, mote of error,
ecstatic errors to bring us along, with a sense of home, sense of comfort,
warmth of good or upset, it is all here, utopian distribution of selves.
It was all a not-dream: the algorithmic upset: the corner of technology praised:
the flares of the sun arcing like the cast of the pole, slash of the sword,
flash of the flag between a perfect grip of hands, wash away the fiction.
Each flare greater than the last, blinding, disrupting, positing, oh glorious propulsion.
The best, oh harmony, is when the screen grin grows tired, when I look up,
and there you are, living in bliss of sun, reflected or head on, I stare, am blinded,
shocked, nestled, bountiful distortion, burgeoning realization, the real, the growth,
the presence, the crawl or hop, the dance or skitter, the flight from and to ecstasy,
world made perfect by shattered mirror, a mirror replaced with a band of razor light.