By Robert Ronnow
Wherever peaches grow I go and pick ‘em. When they get ripe I try and swipe ‘em. The farmer runs out with a shotgun and wonders where’s the varmint gone? I’m hiding by the railroad tracks stacking the peaches I’ve found. Then a freight train about a mile long rolls by hauling a bucket of rain. I hop aboard while beautiful clouds gather to the north. I put my peaches in the bucket and lug it to a hidden part of the train. The rain begins, the night looms in, it’s summer and it’s thoughts and warm. To the clacking rumble and the patter I close my eyes and dream. An earthquake swallows up the people who wear horrible masks of fright as their daily tasks are trampled. In a favorite movie theater an illumined lady puts her hand in mine, warm mouths, breath, skin, hair wing-soft, whole bodies, wind, bare. I open my eyes at sunrise there’s a steady glow of light around. If you can believe in God, you can believe the mountains go from purple to green. While the last partier meanders home to bed the first farmer is up to milk his bread. Fruit of the world ripens audibly and cities make a silent, distant sound. Kind of a lonely guy stretches, rubs his eyes, pees out a passing train, has a breakfast of peaches and rainwater.
Penetrating the Unknown
While waiting but not watching for the sun to set, perhaps the bullfrogs are creating the shadows with their croaks, my friend screams out because he has been bitten by a fly. He is not quiet enough so the flies obtain special pleasure from teasing him. Meanwhile bluebirds skirt the lake surface like the most perfectly designed fighter planes in twos or threes and argue rising up on their tails into the air. While insects prey upon and tease the bare flesh and blood of we humans, they fear the silent violence, the sudden huge presences of these family birds. A larva with a leaf tip for a cocoon descends a white birch by a long thread. We free ourselves from our writings to observe phenomenon. Then thinking about dinner. The flight of J. Krishnamurti, the eagle guru says even artists (after physicists and mathematicians) may penetrate the unknown if not too absorbed in their own emotions and imaginations. We common people too who loving our wives can love everyone. What eyesight the bluebirds have to swoop the lake from shore for a flying insect or descend from fifty feet on a thin straw grass and return to chew absent-mindedly! Just fun having song sung among men. As for the syntax, a daisy could swing it unthinking and coast. Along the beehive rocks ants crawl on connecting interlacing instructions. All around us and inside too as if stars were unseen but present it’s true. So a man desires breakfast with his lady; could it be more amusing, material or smell? As the eyesun descends below spun clouds, spirit or the eagle or the drum? Round. The dialectic obscure couldn’t be more better said. So round and serious. To love everyone with clearer vision than a bluebird or a lake is to transcend the innocence of insect and take flight action and feed the babies of fate. Phew! Dinner outside the cocoon. I brought myself a student upon the hill or mountain and said to myself I said Obo rebop in summer sweater and what less overweight can carry test uphill so slow? Presently, reformed, informed by the bluebird’s eagle spirit, clear cleanhead, I return coagulating mightily ideas the bites of insects ow! to breakfast home and everywhere unknown. Hearing bird with clear conscience echo make.
Five days of steady rain. A hurricane approaches the city. The streets are flooding but the wildlife is thriving. Every person wears a raincoat or carries an umbrella. Indoors is cozy. Movie theaters are crowded in the early afternoon. We who live alone are more isolated; those who live together are more aggravated. The heavens are having a fine time belting it out. A fly is swept from a windowpane in early August but men’s machines are almost oblivious to the storm. Except the wires in Mr. Glyckman’s Volvo are wet. People’s dreams begin to take place in the water. When they awake their thoughts are floating in the puddle of night. Raindrops slap the leaves and splash the ground. Travel is not advised, wherever you are it seems like home. Next month dirt on the shingles of the house will remind the painter of the great rain. Even the rain no longer makes an impression on the earth, only a ripple in the rain. If there are mountains or the sea they seem more like brother and sister than father and mother these days. Summer feels like winter. Children are less visible and mothers are women who were once girls. Nightclubs are full and the listeners listen more seriously. Music continues but the rain muse has her say. Lovers are less joyous and more happy. The full moon’s influence is muted by clouds, the blood between people is thicker. The Himalayas come to the Rockies and the Rockies reach for the Alps. The imagination comes to the market. The roads leading down to the river are empty and wet and the bright painted houses along them are quiet. A dog and a cat under a porch patient and unperturbed. A love-gnarled man with a brown beard and walking stick walks in the middle of the street. If a curtain moves, a woman wonders how many days he’s been out in the rain like a child. But only the water winding back to the sea, a mad naked saint at the Last Judgement, welcomes him home.
Robert Ronnow’s most recent poetry collections are New & Selected Poems: 1975-2005 and Communicating the Bird. Visit his web site at www.ronnowpoetry.com.