Going Away Party

Originally composed for a Creative Non Fiction Final Assignment, Thanks to Brad Monsma.

“In the Right Place the Trees, at the Right Time Time Time the Stars”

Sputnik – Roky Erickson 

You’d be hard up for a reason as to why Pumpernickel Valley has a reputation for missing persons or UFO sightings other than it being two hundred miles northeast of Reno Nevada, and a working definition for the middle of nowhere. Day three of driving the mind bends in consideration of catastrophic outcomes provoked by the sheer destitution, if something were to go wrong. Entertainment procured to lighten the mood, an Audible app opened, thumbing up Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, hoping the information dense volume I’d been nibbling at for years would fill the empty space. From the road, distance is measured in mining operations, turn offs for Iron Canyon or Copper Basin with big red ice cream scoops taken from passing hillsides. A polished London accent is quick onto the Great Oxidation Event; an epoch of earth where single celled life forms released an abundance of oxygen into the atmosphere. A transformation necessary to arrive at the world as we know it, evidence of such mass oxidation is rusted rock, million year old banded iron formations, staggered red streaks the nectar of buzzing operations. Both rich for reason complements of scope and scape as though Bryson’s words were pregnant with impeccable timing. 

Other cars involved in the migration would pass with, “solar eclipse 2017” written on one or more windows, some detailing their final viewing destination. The shared enthusiasm was comforting, witnessing the flock to totality a shadow predicted to swoop from Oregon to South Carolina. I’d planned to be in its path in Mackay Idaho, a tiny box town on the Western most valley of a series of basins and ranges, formed just north of Craters of the Moon National Monument; a geological headache, a volcanic wasteland home to such places as the Great Rift, Devil’s Cauldron, and Hell’s Half Acre. After turning up the basin many of the locals along the road displayed signs offering camping on their property. Circles and rows of tents and trailers occupied most of the well spaced yards as I drove deeper into the valley. 

In Mackay a street fair for the eclipse had closed the main road through town. A bosomy old woman sitting behind a display of artwork greets me as I graze over the pieces. I paused on a recreation of a painting called, “When the Land Belonged to God,” buffalo top a golden ridge, distant hills of pink, sensing the rumble of the herd, I thought it was an appropriate title.

“So what is it you do?” she asked. 

“I’m a writer.” 

“Follow that, just let the words take you, with hardwork in between.” 

“I’ll do that, thank you.” 

Further up the street I consulted the BLM booth about a place to camp. I’m handed a map and pointed toward the hills rising behind town. Main street becomes the mountain road as you head west, but due to the street fair everyone was forced up and over a block becoming knights aboard a game of chess. Polaris and quads crowd the flatland with masked campers on dusty supply runs. I’m tailing a row of trucks heading up the hills on winding dirt roads and craning at abandoned mines. Rotted skeletal structures of an industry a hundred years past its boom litter the landscape. Operations were suspended in 1980, the ruins are now relabeled part of a self guided tour, decrepit history with the appeal of a ghost town. A tight pine lined trail cuts North mid ridge before swinging down to a finger of land covered in summer grass, providing a clear view over the valley for the solar spectacle. At night the flicker of campfires scattered over the 10,000 feet of Mackey Peak reassured me of why I’d come to the grand stands. 

Eclipse day had risen set to go dark at 11:33am, priming myself with Modest Mouse’s “Night on the Sun” while preparing breakfast. My eclipse glasses resembled the 3D paper cutout ones you’d find in magazines despite the official ISO stamp ensuring the UV wouldn’t fry my eyeballs; putting them on every 5 minutes to check for the moon entering the solar disk. A subtle shade sneaks up on perception, dimming details of the valley floor, its’ begun. Celestial coordination, alignment inevitable, we gather to witness something greater than ourselves. Twilight descends upon the mountains the valley haze clears, stars much further than our own, out shine the corona spilling over the moon. Peaking, the shades come off, a rustic orange coats simmers on the horizon, as if the sun was setting in every direction. As everything always seems still it is not, the moon continued its path letting light escape from where it had first entered, it was over. Cheers echoed up and down the mountain, we’d gained a perspective of totality then things returned as if it never happened.  

The Following Summer

 —

One night while scrolling through Instagram I came across a post from an old friend about a trip to Glacier National Park planned for later that summer. The idea had stuck with me and in a months time I was packed for a trip North. The morning of my departure I stopped at the local Starbucks for a road brew; the line was to the door, a man of many years sat at the first table typing on a laptop, a stack of books on the edge.

 “Are these for sale?”. 

“Donation based”

I picked up a copy from the stack, Open Spaces My Life With Leonard J. Mountain Chief Blackfeet Elder, Northwest Montana, by Jay North.

 “I’ll take one, I’m on my way to Glacier,” handing over a twenty. Taking one off the top, 

“Who do I make this out to”? 

Thanking me and wishing me luck, I set off with coffee and a skeleton key.  

Zig zagging North to Tahoe night as falls I’m in eye shot of a forest meadow where cattle graze, at Crater Lake I watch haggard PCT hikers crowd the ranger station for mail and chocolate. An unexpected sight stands in Maryhill Washington, a replica Stonehenge nestled on a lump in the Columbia River Gorge. A vision of Sam Hill built in dedication to the soldiers of Klickitat County who gave their lives in World War I. Since 1929 it has baffled the ribbed hills with the charm of an English countryside. 

A bookstore in Spokane displays Lonely Planet guide to Glacier National Park, and The Best American Travel Writing of 2017, edited by Lauren Collins, I return with the titles to a text from Mom, a link to a National Park Service website evacuations for all of West Glacier due to fire. If I had rushed I would’ve been right in the middle of it; I’d come too far to be turned back now. That night at the Missoula Club which has been serving beer and burgers since 1890, the interior was lined with framed team photos of every sport played in Missoula over the past century. 

At East Glacier it was getting late and the sole campground was full, I was directed North to Saint Mary. The sun dipped below the mountains when I’m still twenty miles away. Turning around to inspect a turn out with a trail leading up the mountain, a sign demarcating Blackfeet Reservation, vowing respect I carry on with belief that it’d be too remote for anyone to enforce anything. Not far in the trail leads to a field of gravel pitched at forty five degrees, evidence of the hillside unbuttoning its pants. Imagining my truck rolling down the mountain coming to a rest wrapped around a pine in a steaming twist. I crossed on foot to ensure it was even worth attempting, as luck would have on the other side a flat spot lay just off the road with a view West into the mountains. Trusting the tire track barely distinguishable in the gravel I slide in a gear and crept over bumps and dips at times the angle so acute the ground seemed to be in the passenger seat. Exhaling, the dice had stayed on the table, now there was just getting back. 

In the morning the crunch of a mama elk on the gravel draws my groggy head out the window, pleased to find her two calves in pursuit.   

The road into Glacier from Saint Mary is called Going to the Sun, which takes its name after a mountain on the way to Logan pass. I met a guy from Texas, he said it was the road featured in the opening scene of the movie The Shining, 

“it’s the road they take to the hotel you know”

 I didn’t. 

“I even put on the song from the movie as we were going,” his excitement left me wondering just how far the recreation would go. He was there with his family, after listening to the song during the entire drive in they might be ready for some redrum.   

I snagged a campsite before leaving to find some water to swim in, just before sun down one of the park rangers came around to inform everyone of the nightly program at the campfire that evening. Before heading down I made the rare choice of wearing socks with my Rainbow sandals, because why not it’s a campground full of people I don’t know. A minute into my walk I hear,

“Tyler?”

 Looking to my right, I see Brendan with his camera, sitting out the back of an SUV. 

“What are you doing here?”

I explained to him and his girlfriend Michelle that it was his Instagram post months ago that inspired my trip. With half the park closed due to fire, they had been redirected leaving Banff as I had been in Spokane, still neither of us had any clue our trips would overlap. Even better Michelle had just been teasing Brendan about wearing socks and sandals.  

“See Michelle I’m not the only one, thank you for showing up on my side” Brendan applauded. 

“You guys are ridiculous,” she declared.  

Promising to stop in for a beer on my way back, I made my way to the little amphitheater of log benches fanning out from the fire pit filing in with others as the program was already underway. 

A night of storytelling and song from “Montana’s Troubadour,” Jack Gladstone. A citizen of the Blackfeet nation who knew the families in West Glacier whose multigenerational cabins along Lake McDonald that were lost to the fire. Each song he played on guitar came with a backstory or hand gestures that he taught the audience to accompany certain verses. Each time he said “The Bear Who Stole The Chinook,” we’d mime a bear pawing a wispy breeze, waving in unison on “our hero’s journey to release the wind turned west to the mountain bear’s den.” In conclusion he performed his own mash up of “Over The Rainbow,” and “Let It Be” as a feel good send off. My arms full of goosebumps a shiver down my spine, eyes melt with ambience. The gathering dissolves, parents retreat into the night with sleeping children in their arms, I return for a warm beer, cheersing life. 

Sometimes things just align.  

Columbia GorgeHedge
Overlooking Mackey ID
Down the hill from Mackey camp
Blackfeet Res. near East Glacier
Had some pancakes the next morning
Jumping into the scene

Something to Spare

Big Sur 2015

We walked into a social experiment analyzing things as they unfolded. 

The asphalt was cold under my feet as Emmie and I scurried across Highway 1.  We found our path in the shade of the trees, avoiding little acorns that had fallen. Two women were on the bench near the pay phone as we approached.  

Me: “Hey, are you guys waiting to use the phone?”  

She: “No, we’re just waiting for a friend.”

Looking her dead on she had a striking resemblance to Rachel McAdams, her equally beautiful brunette friend looked happy to have the company while waiting.  They were in their mid to early 20s and were dressed in casual camp comforts.   

Brunette: I like your hat, it’s really cool.   

Emmie: Thanks

She must have tossed out the complement as a way to make Emmie feel comfortable as women sometimes do, or perhaps it was just a nice hat.  McAdams began to explain that the young couple using the phone had suffered a flat tire on their Prius and were without a spare.  At this point, appearing on the scene was the friend of the girls. Scraggly, fluttering about in a bright orange puff blazer, as though he belonged under a tree at some park in Boulder, Colorado.  After being filled in on the situation, he went on to express his plan of action as if it was him in this predicament. 

Mr.CO: “Yea, I would just post up on one these benches, light up a couple fatties and wait for the tow truck that’d be pretty rad.”  

All of us thinking we could do better than that, the brunette took a crack at it. 

Brunette: “Maybe they could find someone to bring them a spare from Monterey.”  

All five of us diving deep into the counterfactuals to figure out the best way to resolve their abandoned situation. Over at the payphone things were heating up, a few steps away the boyfriend saw she becoming increasingly flustered decided to come join us, and was quick to fill  us in on their misfortune.  

BF: “Yea the rock just came off the mountain and landed right in the middle of the road.”  

Making a sphere with his hands the size of a bowling ball.  

BF: “Just smashed into the tire and broke the whole wheel of the car”  

Mr.CO: “Wwwoooooo so it hit you guys while you were going?” 

BF: “No, she ran it over and it wrecked the whole wheel.”

Suddenly, I didn’t feel so bad for them, the boyfriend did make it a point to say that his girlfriend was Asian and a very good driver.  We offered up our conspiracies as hopes of goodwill and sincerity.  

Emmie: “Hitch a ride South to Cambria, and pick a spare then come back.”  

None of our propositions made much sense, or perhaps the circumstances were undeniable and called for hours, perhaps days of waiting in anguish.  Just then, an idea planted itself in my head.    

Me: “Maybe you could find someone with a prius and buy their spare tire off them. They’re plenty of priuses around someone is ought to help out.”  

The boyfriend and the rest of our little group standing around the bench took a moment to play the events through their minds, resulting in a faint nod of agreement.  

BF: “Yea, that could work, but who is gunna give up their spare up here.”  

Me: “I don’t know, you only need that one.”

Mr.CO: “Yea dude, just imagine the white prius all sick coming around the bend, it’s got divine light all shooting out from the inside, fucking glowing right.  Just pulls up next to you guys on the side of the road, and fuckin Ram Dass gets out of the car.  He is wearing a dhoti, with his beard down to the ground and shit. Ram Dass just smiles, and, BAM! your tire is fixed.”

Emmie and I turned to face each other, locking eyes through her sunglasses both taken aback by a stranger bringing up Ram Dass, knowing we weren’t about to get into any family ties. Playing it off we offered up some new outrageous unnecessary act to be performed by Ram Dass.,”Or a flock of birds erupt from his car as he drives off into a mountain of light.” Mr. Colorado righteous banter n all, had touch on something worthy of pause, and what else is there to do other than admire such perplexities of our world.   

The young couple disappeared into a car, and Emmie and I went to make our phone call, not getting through.

Nice TA Nice

Nice TA Nice

By Tyler Mobley

Saturday Shrimpy gets it, “nice TA nice,” 

an easy Lords of Dogtown refrain

warms my heart in playful Pitas waves.

Rex soul arches his carver all the way to the boys,

“you guys didn’t call yours in?” 

Rowdy skaters, cigs and burritos,

classic products of our environment, on the curb making a scene.

From Thompson and Ash a blue out field to 

America’s pastime runs south past the train tracks. 

Cement becomes slalom track trading carvers, tracing eights style, get low, flow.

Sun soaking burrito lizards waiting to be unwrapped 

the slow count to 40 reverses order and

begins counting down. 

Tribute to Rocket Power more personal than NASA

we all grew up watching. 

They had Squid, we have Shrimpy in his

navy blue Zephyr team competition shirt, 

“where did you get that?”   

Cameron, an onion if you ever knew one.  

Roommates Spring 2014

Christening events of Hale Alahonua

Roommates Spring 2014

By Tyler Mobley

Out of a driftless area the 

lanky midwester calls Dubuque home  

what is he doing here?

Standing in the sun for no particular reason 

just distance breathing on our skin

tropical warmth, a religious experience 

dilated to euphoria. 

High noon grazes over lawn, 

we watch the grass grow greener.

Watch ants march

disappear then reappear 

in our beds. 

Billiards chalk lines 

our entrance

a scent defense   

against a million leg march. 

Days rot bye talking toils

life’s manic moments

calling to Shiva, hold up these caving walls   

we help each other along. 

The World knows Crimea, 

we’ll all cry me a 

story for 

tomorrow. 

When We Were Inseparable

To a certain tigger, who always puts a smile on my face. A Forever Blossom.

When We Were Inseparable

By Tyler Mobley 

When we were inseparable 

things lost their reason. 

mouths moved but nothing spoke    

louder than those color pencil 

sketches on my high school schedule. 

Cookie Monster, rainbows, and 

ribbon bows, heart ignition

sailing through clouds on a hot air

Balloon.

Little things, like when you hid

in the parking lot surprising me 

after class. Crawling over the 

middle seat to use the driver side 

step. Still remember those 

mixed tape tracks, telling the 

story of our lives.  Are you Down 

I was a teenage Anarchist

Welcome to the Family.  

Sharing French toast, your Biscuits I’m 

gravy. Lying to parents about a

UCLA night, then coming clean on Venice beach. 

Jalapeno heat transfers between body parts

cooling lips in pairs. When things

heat up, 180 South could play all night,

till Jeff makes it atop Corcovado 

still I was at a loss. 

Every once in a good while 

a groundswell runs through, 

long after internal waters have 

settled into their normal affairs, 

the excitement of swell 

keeps our eyes on the horizon

Mauna Kea

By Tyler Mobley 

Rising from red shale   

Golf ball esque structures the  

Size of houses, scattered among

A remote volcanic remnant in absolute Pacific isolation. 

Those of the method make 

Pilgrimages past planetariums, Alpine lakes, 14,000 feet well 

Above clouds. To gaze with The widest eyes the world 

Has seen. Harsh winds 

Thin air, a surrealness 

In the presences of 

Cathedrals of science. 

Over there the Subaru scope of Japan, yonder 

Gemini North seeks 

Infrared, all the while

The eye of Sauron itself, Kea’s sugar plum, the 

Aperture of the East, big daddy glass, the 

Keck Observatory,

Sits as one of the many 

Snow topped cinder cones

For the ancients named it

White mountain.  

A waist

high circular    

Stack of stones designates 

A sacred past, today’s 

Worship requires funding, 

Less atmosphere, Less light  

Brings the beyond ever closer, 

A milky galactic plane 

Up here, we are not alone.

Checks and Balances

My poem is a response to each line of Bertolt Brecht’s poem. A reinterpretation, remake, using a model and making it my own, originally written for Claudia Reder’s English class.

Checks and Balances

By Tyler Mobley 

In circles of squares 

often they forgets to look beyond,

to lines that bend for food or 

a vote. 

Those scraping by taste more hope 

than sugar in their lives,

not always wanting more.   

The day’s demands leave out 

questions of how we ended up 

like this. 

Table manners have us at each 

other’s throats, no chance 

away from home. 

Keep talking about 

America’s gilded age, 

and you’ll never get it.  

Milk has spoiled  

meat left for the beyond 

and fast food wants to be slow.

Moving in different directions

ushering a world to it’s grave,

we were friends, then facebook

friends, now I don’t know 

where to find you.   

The Apprentice speaks of 

A return to greatness,

it was on vacation 

in Russia I suppose. 

He who blesses a nation 

hears the stampede of buffalo, chased by arrowheads 

on horseback, and vibrating houseboats

blasting Ted Nugent  

coast to coast.   

Sundays begin the calendar week

but ends the misery of those who live it. 

Tracking our days around the sun 

Not one left open to

have some fun.  

Teachers hold signs for more pay,

factory workers buy the goods 

they use to produce.

It will take more than a 

promise, to heal this

American scar. 

Mr. Mesquite watches his face bob 

on signs spread over a crowd of angry lettuce.

We called your siphon on trickle down,

and went months without work,     

you speak of prosperous times nearing. 

all the while clearing trees

for mass graves. 

We’ve let our trust out on a line 

and can’t get it back again.

Believing in a TV show host, 

we lose track of the producers. 

now it’s the democrats calling for

a national roast, no longer 

Comedy Central.

We say elites of D.C. 

Does the 1% mean anything to you?

Special interest groups 

for those who get to have 

special interest, or is a lunch break enough 

to make another Hilary documentary. 

Please cut your food, not me 

in this line for work to be of service

at Gala’d events, filling those 

Who lobby against us, preserve a laid

back lifer in the highest tax bracket.

We got you cover in the back

Next to stoves, and heat lamps 

for the overnight, 

some don’t get to go home.   

There, written in a populist play,

give them what they want,

and all power shall be yours. 

Your name forever next to all others,

as if we needed more it.

Why not, give the people what they’ve

wanted like never before. 

Try with your torches, 

try with a crowd, 

bring up a fixer, and

down goes a wall. 

Crisis are happening, small ones 

all over, that deserve what they deserve 

though we deserve better, to be held accountable for 

our enemies, and our friends. 

To embrace the good, and not give in to the unraveling 

of the west, for all it has taken, 

it has sure given back, 

to a few, but to most when it mattered. 

So let us accept a way forward with respects to the past 

and not begin from ashes to rebuild what was.  

If an original thought could save a nation, 

what does it take to think for yourself? 

All influence has spoiled, 

been dragged into the fight. 

Your power is lied beyond your means

so kiss my feet in reparations, 

and I’ll think twice about another lick,

at the backs of those who built the Pyramids, as

the dollar holds it’s appropriated value,

we watch, unsettled, for what the future 

holds.   

From a German War Primer

By Bertolt Brecht 

Amongst The Highly Placed 

It is considered low to talk about food.

The fact is: they 

Already eaten. 

The lowly must leave this earth 

Without having tasted

Any good meat. 

For wondering where they come from and 

Where they are going

The fine evenings find them

Too exhausted. 

They have not yet seen 

The mountains and the great sea

When their time is already up.

If the lowly do not 

Think about what’s low 

They will never rise.  

The bread of the hungry has 

All been eaten 

Meat has become unknown. Useless 

The pouring out of the people’s sweat. 

The laurel groves have been 

Lopped down. 

From the chimneys of the arms factories 

Rises smoke. 

The house-painter speaks of 

Great times to come 

The forest still grow.

The fields still bear

The cities still stand.

The people still breathe.

On the calendar the day is not 

Yet shown

Every month, every day 

Lies open still. One of those days 

Is going to be marked with a cross.

The workers cry out for bread

The merchants cry out for markets. 

The unemployed were hungry. The employed 

Are hungry now. 

The hands that lay folded are busy again. 

They making shells. 

Those who take the mart from the table 

Teach contentment. 

Those for whom the contribution is destined

Demand sacrifice. 

Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry

Of wonderful time to come. 

Those who lead the country into the abyss 

Call ruling too difficult

For ordinary men. 

When the leaders speak of peace 

The common folk know

That war is coming.

When the leaders curse war 

The mobilisation order is already written out. 

Those at the top: peace 

And war 

Are of different substance. 

But their peace and their war 

Are like wind and storm. 

War grows from their peace

Like son from his mother 

He bears

Her frightful features. 

Their war kills 

Whatever their peace 

Has left over. 

On the wall was chalked:

They want war. 

The man who wrote it

Has already fallen. 

Those at the top say:

This way to glory. 

Those down below say:

This way to the grave.  

The war which is coming 

Is not the first one. There were 

Others wars before it. 

When the last one came to an end

There were conquerors and conquered. 

Among the conquered the common people 

Starved. Among the conquerors 

The common people starved too.  

Those at the top say comadreship 

Reigns in the army.

The truth of this is seen 

In the cookhouse.

In their hearts should be 

The selfsame courage. But 

On their plates

Are two kinds of rations. 

When it comes to marching many do not 

Know 

That their enemy is marching at their head. 

The voice which gives them their orders. 

Is their enemy’s voice and 

The man who speaks of the enemy

Is the enemy himself.  

It is night 

The married couples

Lie in their beds. The young women 

Will bear orphans. 

General, you is a powerful vehicle 

It smashes down forest and crushes a hundred men. 

But it has one defect: 

It needs a driver. 

General, your bomber is powerful. 

It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant. 

But it has one defect:

It needs a mechanic. 

General, man is very useful. 

He can fly and he can kill.

But he has one defect: 

He can think.  

T.R. John Wright, Ralph Manheim, and Erich Fried (pg.213)

Forche, Carolyn. Against Forgetting: 20th Century Poetry of Witness. New York: W.w. norton, 2009. Print.

To The Enemies

My poem is a response to each line of Vladimir Holan’s poem. A reinterpretation, remake, using a model and making it my own, originally written for Claudia Reder’s English class.

To The Enemies 

By Tyler Mobley 

I’ve been too young to understand why those

Towers crumbled, and watch what becomes

Of the world, less look for love, as tho

Spoiled on Jersey Shore or Next, still

I love somebody because I love myself, go ahead 

Laugh, raise all you will against me, for you’ll have to 

Aim for the stars, as I become home. 

To be is not easy… World beneath our feet

At any moment on top, while still under it’s weight.

From these eyes… A suspicious observer.

A mystery passes for truth, each person 

A foraging tool, some prefer wings

On their cake, simple one day   

Mind and moment purr together 

Broad as the horizon, somewhere 

Horses jostle in race gates, but that’s a different story.

She wears only night, lunar arousal she

Carves brilliant ice sculptures with her nipples, 

Only to melt by morning. 

Frame a ship on a frozen sea, bow

Pickled with caged crab, another story to tell. 

Cast into water, catch yourself on a line

leading to something greater, a tall redwood

Birds peck a trunk, squirrels hide nuts in my midst. 

Wispy clouds offer a dance in the sky, and 

Somewhere an answering machine is taking message. 

Be slow… slower, there

Ending up a letter in a bottle,

What God conceived, he wants to be felt, 

As an opium epidemic numbs a nation

They do not ask, it doesn’t even occur 

To suppose why the moon scales to the sun,

As angels in the outfield walk the foul line, 

Sobriety caught a fly. 

So don’t mope your peejays, clearing a path behind 

An erased memory of a world

You couldn’t embrace.

Step out of your dream, pretend 

A galaxy knocked on Plato’s study, 

And went on as nothing happened.

What God conceived, he wants to be felt, 

As the Earth feels the moon, you catch 

My gaze, and beg we aren’t the same, 

We all enter the world in similar fashion, 

And exit with personal flare, so when your 

Tummy rumbles so does mine, still 

I don’t believe what you think I should.

In order to be, you would have to have lived. 

End efforts to end me pick up harmony

Sing a golden sun elaborate on a 

Rainbow, and kiss your toad goodnight. 

For one can’t know life, if they haven’t lived, 

Or know love, if they never love themselves. 

So release those shoulders, and know

I love somebody, because I love myself, go ahead 

Laugh, raise all you will against me, for you’ll have to 

Aim for the stars, as I become home. 

To be is not easy… Only death is easy… 

To The Enemies 

By Vladimir Holan 

I’ve had enough of your baseness, and I haven’t killed myself

Only because I didn’t give myself a life

And I still love somebody because I love myself. 

You may laugh, but only an eagle can attack an eagle 

And only Achilles can pity the wounded Hector. 

To be is not easy… To be a poet and a man

Means to be forest without trees

And to see… A scientist observes.  

Science can only forage for truth:

Forage yes, take wings no! Why? 

It’s so simple, and I’ve said it before 

Science is in probability, poetry is in parables, 

The large cerebral hemisphere 

Refuses the most exquisite poem by clamoring for sugar… 

A rooster finds rain repulsive, but that’s another story,

It is night, your might say: sexually mature, 

And he young lady’s breast are so firm 

You could easily break

Two glasses of schnapps on them, but that’s another story. 

And imagine a ship’s beacon, 

A sailing beacon: but that’s an entirely different story.

And your whole development from the stele for man

To the stele of a lichen: but that’s an entirely different story!

A cloud is going to vomit, but there’s not even a gas leak at your 

Place, 

You cannot be, you can’t even be 

Strangled by snakes scales, 

What God conceived, he wants to be felt, 

Children and drunkards know this, 

But they aren’t brazen enough to ak 

Why a mirror fogs when a menstruating woman looks into it,

And poets, from love of life, do not ask 

Why wine moves in barrels 

when she passes by… 

And I’ve had enough of your impudence

That permeates everything it wanted to contain 

But couldn’t embrace, 

But a holocaust will come 

That you couldn’t have dreamed of 

Having no dreams, 

What God conceived, he wants to be felt, 

A holocaust will come, children and drunkards know it, 

Joy could come about only through love, 

If love were not passion, 

Happiness could come about only through love, 

If happiness were not passion, 

Children and drunkards know it… 

In order to be, you would have to live, 

But you won’t because you don’t live, 

And you don’t live because you don’t love, 

Because you don’t even love yourself, let alone your neighbor.

And I’ve had enough of your vularity, 

And I haven’t killed myself only because 

I didn’t give myself life

And I still love somebody because I love myself… 

You may laugh, but only the female eagle can attack the male eagle 

And only Briseis the wounded Achilles. 

To be is not easy… Only shitting is easy… 

TR. C.G. Hanzlick and Dana Habova (pg.424)

Forche, Carolyn. Against Forgetting: 20th Century Poetry of Witness. New York: W.w. norton, 2009. Print.

Observer

My poem is a response to each line of Czesław Miłosz’s poem. A reinterpretation, remake, using a model and making it my own, originally written for Mrs. Reder’s English class.

Observer 

By Tyler Mobley 

You looking on

Observer. 

For I will be short in relating what it is I wish to say, to do otherwise is unjust to the matter. 

My heart and hands bring you these words, nothing else. 

I speak as ocean waves, you catch my rise n fall. 

There’s no grappling with the mystery, you must let it run through you.

Everything you assumed was an end, was just another beginning.  

Able to capture light from darkness, relatable and sweet, 

Just a reckon on behalf of Mona Lisa with a knowing smile. 

We channel our beauty to islands out at sea, an arch over water 

Goes deeper than we like to think, the mainland lies behind smog.  

Here, brake dust steals life before it is known, and miniums wages 

Drown out the silence of your grave. 

What is poetry which does not save

Some shred of humanity? 

Just bubbles rising in a bath,

As someone who boast without jest

Looking dearly for the glasses on their head.

I will not blame you, as I hope you do for me 

When I say, understanding came a moment too late, 

As fools before salvation, my word implies time. 

I paid twelve hundred for five hundred copies, 

Do the math or listen to your heart, I’m not here to sell something.

I’ll leave this here for you on the other side 

So you may rest knowing, you still rest with us.  

Dedication

By Czesław Miłosz 

You whom I could not save  

Listen to me.

Try to understand this simple speech as i would be ashamed of

 another. 

I swear, there is in me no wizardry of words.

I speak to you with silence like a cloud or a tree. 

What strengthened me, for you was lethal.

You mixed up farewell to an epoch with the beginning of a new one,

Inspiration of hatred with lyrical beauty, 

Blind force with accomplished shape.  

Here is the valley of shallow Polish rivers. And an immense bridge 

Going into white fog. Here is a broken city,

And the wind throws screams of gulls on your grave 

When I am talking with you. 

What is poetry which does not save

Nations or people? 

A connivance with official lies, 

A song of drunkards whose throats will be cut in a moment. 

Readings for sophomore girls. 

That I wanted good poetry without knowing, 

That I discovered, late, its salutary aim,

In this and only this I find salvation. 

They used to pour on graves millet or poppy seeds 

To feed the dead who would come disguised as birds. 

I put this book here for you, who once lived

So that you should visit us no more.  

T.R. Czesław Miłosz (pg.437)

Forche, Carolyn. Against Forgetting: 20th Century Poetry of Witness. New York: W.w. norton, 2009. Print.