Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"Beyond the Bridge" by David Pring-Mill, Frequent Contributor

Beyond the Bridge
David Pring-Mill

The grander the bridge,
Capilano Suspension Bridge Near Vancouver, British Columbia
the smaller seem those people
who are passing.

But there is greatness
in our shores, connected.

Lions roar, like
security guards
of cast concrete,

With Stanley's trees
positioning themselves
like an army, waiting
for the people to go away,
in their ships of passengers
and tragic pulp.
Waiting, to regain the land,
To infiltrate
with lurking seeds and cones.

They stand a damp, dark regiment,
where cedar poles and slabs once structured 
A different kind
of less demanding people.

We
Roar right back at the lions,
with our car windows rolled down.
The air is rushing in,
which is good;
someone once told me
that God can only hear you
when no one else can.

We shout out, "What is life?"
And then we laugh and know.

When I am alone I walk among
the condo towers,
made of glass,
all bluish-green,
futuristic,
in some fragile way.

But enough of that,
I leave it all!
To hell with it!

It does not take long
to return to wilderness,
from here.

Birds nest in hawthorn thickets,
White flowers and blackish fruits
grow and wither.

Bark is scaly and thin.
Little fruits are tart,
then brown and soft
after a frost.

In autumn,
the bright-red and orange
of a Douglas maple
allows the forest to play
with the fire color
it dreads.

What is natural, anyway?
Isn't love supposed to be
some combination of art and biology?

We chase and try to catch
the ephemeral what-ness
of Watts:
smoky riots and warped wire mesh,
Towering into ceramic tiled, sea shelled, gathered beauty.
We are destructive and inventive, always.

Make the most
of your garbage, they say.

I look and see
an owl perched on a slumping black wire,
so still until the moments
when he twists his head around
like some ungodly thing.

I analyze my surroundings, because
Science is a way of studying
the mechanics of God:
an engine sputtering
through smoky mouths and minds.

Headed north now, spirits lightheaded, exhausted,
I somehow figure it all out and cook
and am glad I brought this little lighter.
To maintain with snails and everything,
thrown onto fire and all, it's taxing
This way we strive for happiness and
Forget its body.

I tell the river of my restaurant.
There is fire for fish,
We serve fire to fish.

Is this me now, or for forever?
If Confucius had taught confusion
We would all be his disciples,
with most recruited by Love.

There is no such thing as calm.
There is no such thing as stillness.
We are all turning,
and we move on top of the movement.

I don't know.

I leave and twenty hours later
I head back into the city.
Is downtown stacked spaces,
Or an attempt to be like the trees?
Sometimes, a rock is a rock
is a thought.
Ideas are natural objects
and we sort of stumble into them.

And if you listen,
closely,
there are layers in the sound where our souls
must vibrate to an unknown chord.

I can close my eyes out here
And be with you…
I touch the wild ways of you
And know those open sounds of you
The broken-boned
displays you do.
And gentle as your eyes once were
These 
noises
are
our ways of words,
But we're not saying anything.

Sometimes I wonder
If it would have been better if nothing had learned to speak,
If we could not communicate with one another,
If we could only see and sense and feel,
never able to confirm
what something else felt…

But knowing and sensing,
we would be trapped
as some empathetic animal
with a vision of things
flashing before our eyes
and our mouths
would only know consumption,
and kisses.

Our society
damaged that instrumentation,
and this is the electric neglect! I say,
and they say:
this IV will rehydrate you.

Poet's Notes:  "Beyond the Bridge" is set in British Columbia. The poem owes a significant and obvious debt to Henry David Thoreau.

Editor's Note:  Thoreau, for sure, but I hear echoes of Whitman also.  Regardless, this poem is pure Pring-Mill.

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