i. beltane season
breathe the lilacs in the vase.
crumble ashes into the warm soil,
nourishing roots of apple trees and wild leeks.
yesterday's fires have yielded new growth.
symbols dance on fingertips -
time stamps and petroglyphs, voiceless incantations.
i dream restlessly towards a place i have imagined.
graven stone and echoes in lichen,
wandering bard song among the larches.
a field of horsetails underfoot.
ii. chimerical land
i pass through the site of a visitation -
graven monolith, chamber of stone.
the opening greets the sun.
another world brushes against our own,
sending ripples across the surface,
sprouting tangled passageways between.
something walks through the parallax of the trees.
the ground shifts underfoot, growing and changing.
the swamp travels slowly through chimerical land.
iii. peekskill, 8th of may
brick walls in the downwash -
overhanging the cascades
where people throw car tires and broken televisions
rain slicks the pavement between warehouses.
i wander the drifting of futures, leylines old and new,
where fissures split time into possibility.
joints bend and crack the patina.
i follow the glimmer of fire,
thin trails of ash, skirting the edges of shame.
no, the depths.
rain comes like a quiet tempest,
but barely wets the soil.
one day will never be enough.
always running out, running in place.
take the weight from me.
i imagine, and my body interrupts.
i hide behind strange prisms, behind layers of stillness.
v. stone chambers
tuned to an empty channel,
follow carvings in the static.
i reach towards a glimmer on the ground.
these structures were never built,
but grown a long time ago. they still grow slowly.
a spiral cuts through the subsoil,
flirting with tree roots and hyphae.
i feel the earth dance under my feet.
even in the verdigris gloom,
the overcast and the reliquary,
jewelweed rises like spurts of water from the streambed.
vi. traces of a life forgotten
past the cliffs and the underpass,
past the horsetail ditches,
through the scorched slopes of the third mountain.
i wander through precarious lowlands,
warded by black-footed tulip trees.
steadfast and tall, nurturing mycelium.
curious fruits emerge from the ash-kissed soil.
i find the ruins of something -
a grid of concrete plinths,
rusted machinery, fragments of porcelain.
was this someone's home?
once there were walls here to lean on
while watching glimpses of the river through the window,
and tacky floral wallpaper soaked with cigarette smoke.
a dusty radio and dishes in the sink.
i wonder who it was that lived here,
far from the roads, where nobody else would know.
i wonder if they were alone.
vii. after the fire
we walk a knot through the woods.
dogwoods and tulip trees, burnt pillars standing testament to the reviving fire.
there is language in the scorch marks.
bright sun pours down through the creek valley,
filling the shallow pools with broken and scattered images.
refraction gestures toward other worlds.
circles through the forest pass through different places,
different versions of the same landmarks,
unchanged except in the smallest but most fundamental details -
the shape of the cracks in the bark,
and the arrangement of leaves on the branches.
viii. drifting revisited
a lull in the static -
all that's left are half-remembered dreams,
wistful movements through the rain.
the rootspan carries me.
water collects in the channels between cobblestones,
forming a web of rivulets, moving nowhere at first.
as the water rises, it finds its way downhill.
it collects the glimmer of streetlamps.
i wrap the drifting around me, to keep my body warm,
passing the green-gray wisps of plantlife
spilling from the cracks around doors and windows.
the street becomes a canal. constellations gather in the black river,
dividing and coalescing.
stones under my feet like an open palm.
ix. swallowing cloud
the glow of sunken windows,
sanctifying the rain. water rushes along the curb,
down the hillside, into the storm drain.
even the asphalt becomes a canyon.
water rises to meet the grates,
churning and glimmering.
the mountain swallows cloud.
inside, the smell of ink and paper keeps me warm.
a reunion of old friends, if only in the form of a dream.
cold summer brings its own music.
even in feeble motions,
i draw some kind of forward path.
the past iterates into the future.
i collect the broken pieces at the end.
i spit on my palm and wipe the stone clean,
revealing the pattern of hairline cracks.
i lay down by the stream and try to forget about my body.
in the shade of hemlocks,
a stone chamber germinates slowly from the ground,
slab by slab. emanations of spirit escape the entrance.
anomalies of magnetism, footpaths and leylines.
i breathe in deep to clear my head of static.