Thirty-Eight.

7/2/14

Izzy circle

izzy

it’s funny how they call it ‘flying’
when you’re actually just pelting along on solid earth
you could not be more tied to the ground
this is perpendicular warfare,
this is the surface you are moving over,
owning, reinventing, destroying

cheeks like razors clanging against steel air
eyes watering and sparkling with piss-weak sun
snot pouring down face, whipped away or plastered down slick

your lungs are screaming, ‘YEAH AIR,
YEAH AIR, GET IN ME’
your legs are burning, ‘ROAD,
I OWN YOU, I OWN YOU ROAD’

and the hills bow down
and the trees shower confetti leaves
and you arrive as a pile of quivering flesh
triumphant

*

Sarah circle

sarah

There is a story in my family
Told to me my by father
Which goes: there was once a man
Who was your great-grandfather
Who lived in Lithuania.
And one day, he was told
That the Tsar in Russia needed troops
To help fight the revolution
Lithuania sent its sons
Victory was expected
And so your great-grandfather
Kissed his wife and children
And marched off to battle.
The revolution went badly
And after a confused sortie or two
The Lithuanian men were dismissed
And that was that.
So your great-grandfather
Was left to walk his way home
With not a penny to his name
And not a thing on his back
But his army clothes
And army boots
And army pack.
And he trudged
Through winter snows
And summer storms
For two whole years
At which point he arrived back home
Right on dinner time
And he burst right in
Without so much as a hello
His wife and children
(Presuming him dead)
Stared in terror
As this bear of a man
Grizzled and bearded and grime-smeared
Strode into their kitchen
Heaved the just-roasted chicken from the table
And ate it, right there
With his paws and his teeth
Their father the beast
Returned from the war.

In hindsight, I think:
It’s only 750 km
From St Petersburg to Lithuania
And Google Maps reckons
That I could do it on foot
In 150 hours
(and that’s not even power walking).
So I imagine the things he did for those years.
The stables he slept in
The drunkards who cheated him
The whores who consoled him
The fingers after fingers
Who pointed him astray
The wheeling, wide foosteps
Of his leathered, lost feet.
The crack in the rock face he found
Somewhere in Latvia
That lead him to a land
That was ruled by wild beasts
Dancing on their hind legs
And crowned with sweet flowers
Who taught him to waltz
To the tune of the bees
And who taught him to hunt
With his nails and his teeth
They teased out his hair
So it covered him in fur
And when he was ready
They sent him back home
Made as holy as morning
And as sacred as dew
And he spent all his days
As his children watched, wide-eyed
Enchanting the saplings
To sway as he sang.

*

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