Putin on a Show

Oh my favorite pair, don’t be fooled again.

Putin on a Show

By Tyler Lucas Mobley 

As heat falls on Ukraine it is easy to forget the long build up to the Russian invasion, for weeks troops amassed on the border and fighter jets streaked the skies. It would’ve been in bad taste to invade during the Olympics, the athletes have enough pressure on them. Putin waited a whole four days after the wrap of the world games to drop bombs on Ukraine; perhaps using that time to polish up his address where he laid out the thought process behind his bold action. Neo-Nazis in Ukraine was an issue raised, guess Putin and the American left have something in common after all. When Russia invades we are told its regime change, when America invades it’s to topple dictators, we’ve never had anything to do with imploding democracies. Putin’s problem is with Ukraine jumping in bed with NATO, it’s widely understood that Ukraine would’ve succumbed much sooner if not for western support, the flood of weapons and aid plays right into Putin’s hand. Ukraine was as much a democracy as it was a globalist stash house, even Biden’s son got a piece of the action. The world gets whipped up into frothin frenzy because we’re all plugged to the same source, all seeing the same images, all mobilized toward the same feelings, Facebook is even allowing death threats toward Putin, and it all appears justified. 

In the Putin Interviews by Oliver Stone, Putin reiterates how his thought process is heavily influenced by not just immediate outcomes, but by forecasting five, ten years into the future. Engaging this perspective it is easier to understand why Putin would seize Ukraine now, rather than allow the threat to come to a boil in the future, trading the short term loss for the long gain. In the meantime the world will continue to malign an entire country they don’t care to understand. Putin has too much pride in the history of his country, and is no doubt enjoying giving the finger to NATO, raising the nuclear threat as to say, “nobody try anything foolish now, I’m a madman remember.” While the threat is real, and times are tense I see nuclear readiness as part of the posture of the invasion, putting the world on notice that he meant business, and to think twice about any direct involvement. For easy as it would be to write of Putin as a 19th century dictator let us remember he waited till after the Olympics to begin dropping bombs, he may be cold and calculated, but he’s not a monster. Another boogeyman just as the CDC eased mask mandates, as a horse grows callus to its bit.   

The Uncompromised Few of New Rochelle 

I met a guy from Brockton Mass. he showed me a trailer for a show called Wayne that is set in the same town. This is what it inspired in me.

The Uncompromised Few of New Rochelle 

By Tyler Lucas Mobley 

“He was supposed to be here an hour ago,” Nezbit said, turning to his friends.

“What makes you think he’s coming back?” replied Bennet. 

“Because he said he would, alright,” Nezbit returned with more force than his small body could conjure. 

The gang of teenagers at the base of the dock looked at Nez staring into the water, lost in his own reflection. 

“Poor kid, thinks he’s still better than us,” Rags muttered into a close ear. “Hey don’t sweat it Nezbit, I remember the last time my Pops said he would pick me up, now he’s doing 7 to 10 for aggravated assault.” 

The hard truth was some of his friends had envious thoughts about Rags for knowing what had happened to his father, while they were left with questions that left burning holes in them only to be forgotten with violence and drugs, but no one spoke up. Rags recognized a worry in Nezbit that he’d once had, it frightened him, he didn’t like to see it in his friend, even if it was the needy little brat Nezbit, he too deserved a father. 

Off in the distance came the rattle of a can being kicked in stride down a street.  “Ahh Christ, here come those 31st punks,” Rutherford said, alerting his crew. It was true the other neighborhoodlums had gone out looking for old troubles in familiar places. 

“Look what we have here, if it ain’t a buncha stinkin 12thers’ any of youz sisters’ get pregnant yet, I’ll be jumping all over those tax credits just you wait,” Livermore smacked. 

“Piss off Livermore, we don’t want any of your shit today,” Rutherford repiled. 

“Pardon me, did I interrupt the next thumb going up your butt?” Livermore returned.

Truth is if these kids didn’t have trouble they wouldn’t have anything at all. 

“I rectum you think you’re pretty cool huh, Livermore?” Rutherford asked. 

“Sure, not like any youz gunna tell me I’m not,” Livermore said, opening his jacket with his hands in the pockets the way a cat ruffs it’s furr. 

“Hey who all thinks Livermore has the dull side of an ill mind?” announced Raymond. 

All the hands on the dock went up in snickers. “Vote is in Liv, looks like a punch in your mug amounts to community service,” Raymond remarked. 

“I dare you to say that again,” Livermore said, toughening up. 

“Okay, what I said was Livermore has the dull side of an ill…” A brick careened off Raymond’s face before he could finish.

Fists and elbows careen off bone, the skirmish escalated into a cartoonish dust cloud of blood and bruises; it didn’t matter who started the fight, no one had anything better to do. They fought and fought until anger turned into exhaustion providing a moment of clarity as tensions settled. 

“Where did you learn that combo?” asked Rutherford, “I’ve only seen my big bro use that one on me. What was that, cross circle hook?”

Livermore stopped smacking the face of an unconscious companion to wake him, “when you’re on the receiving end it makes you want to serve it up too,” he said then loaded up for another smack which did not come, noticing a drop of blood freshly fallen on the friend’s face that hadn’t been there before, then whipped his chin with the back of his sleeve.

“That must be why you flinched a little before you threw it,” said Rutherford. “Some reverse muscle memory.” 

“Whatever, just remember how it felt when it landed, would you like a refresher?” Livermore called over his shoulder.

The unconscious boy awoke in a strained groan of alarm, “I told you I wanted lucky charms in my waffles.” 

“Ahh Christ, he’s back in junior high again, brush him with daisy and you’ll scramble his wits,” Livermore remarked. “Pinky, why you such a worthless filthy lump?” still patting his face. 

Nezbit watched from behind a stack of pallets, not wanting to sacrifice himself for the honor of peers he didn’t even like. He held no affinity for their doings, they were just the one’s around and everyone knew it was dangerous to be a loner. 

“Where’s that lil Bit?” asked Livermoore, “this day won’t be done till that lil snot has a bloody nose.” 

“Yea I heard some chirps during the royal, he’s still around,” Rutherford said, “Hey Nezzy come on out, we know you’re out there.” 

Nezbit felt his breath grow short, he wanted to disappear, teleport away to a far away place, a different scene with different problems, but nothing happened. He rattled the stack of pallets in hope the noise would be attributed to some scavenging creature that would be more entertaining to torment than he. 

“What’s the deal Nez, if you watched the fight come and get your ticket punched?” Rutherford quipped. 

“Yea what’s your Mother gunna say when you come home without any bruises? She’ll think you’ve been playing with the girls again,” Livermore teased. 

His mother had given him a talk about associating with the opposite sex, “they’ll be looking for alamoney before there’s any fruit to bear.” Nezbit stepped out from behind the stack and was met with a brick in the face. A direct hit as soon as his mug was visible made clear his position was no secret; they were toying with him. 

“That’s for being a scaredy cat,” called Rutherford, “now give Liverbutt a taste of his own medicine.” 

Picking himself off the ground, Nezbit felt as though he were walking into the middle of the Coliseum, eyes anticipating his demise. 

“Step two Nezzy, I ain’t got all day,” Livermore remarked, then turning to Rutherford, “Don’t think Imma let that slide, as soon as I’m through with lil Bit here, you got more coming,” he said shaking a fist. Rutherford waited till Livermore turned away then stuck his tongue out at him which let in a taste of blood to his mouth. 

Nezbit and Livermore squared up and prepared for battle. Nezbit could hardly breathe, nerves constricted his throat, choking what little confidence he had to come away from this alive. Livermore threw a faint teasing his out matched opponent, followed by more till one punch got close enough that forced a reaction from Nezbit who returned an instinctual kick landing in Livermore’s shin. 

“Ahhhhh, what kinda shit was that,” Livermore cried, holding his leg in both hands.  

Nezbit realized this was his one shot and landed a fist right between the eyes of Livermore, drawing his hands back up to his face, Nezbit swung again to the gut, doubling him over to the ground. Nezbit turned to Rutherford with a look of relief, who shook his head in return, “you’re gunna wish you hadn’t done that.” Before the excitement could fall from Nezbit’s face his legs were swept out from under him and fell on his back, knocking the wind from him. Livermore jumped up and began dragging a weezing Nezbit by a foot toward the waterline, feeling the asphalt turn to cold mud beneath him. Livermore, embarrassed, cursed through a clenched jaw, “think you can pull that shit with me huh?” he said looking back at the Nezbit then continued with unarticulate gripes. 

“Send ‘em down the river like the baby Jesus!” called a lowly goon from the crowd. 

Livermore drew up, and both he and Nezbit looked back in the direction of the call with confused concern. “Can it Denunzio no one asked you,” Livermore shouted back. Nezbit added a “yeah,” to second to the motion, then received a firm kick to his ribs, “shut it, you’re in no place to be making requests lil Bit,” Livermore said leaning over Nezbit. Livermore reached down and picked up Nezbit his belt and jacket collar and tossed him in the shallow muck. Nezbit landed with a viscous splash, Livermore kneeled over him and repeatedly thrusting Nezbit’s face into the sludge. 

“Yeah, give it to him Liv,” came one bloodthirsty cry. 

“Get ’em with that big stick,” said another. 

Livermore looked up from the stream of bubbles coming from Nezzy’s half submerged head to consider the possibilities a stick would provide, perhaps making a flag pole which he could mount Nezbit on with his feet dangling over the water, liking the idea he surveyed for the potential weapon. However, what caught his eye was no stick, Livermore rose slowly and approached the dark mass caught in some reeds a couple meters away. Nezbit pushed himself up through the mess cold and coughing, Livermore still in reach kicked him back down once more without taking his eyes off the mysterious object. “Hey fellas, that’s no stick, it’s a corpse!” Livermore cried with surprise. 

Nezbit cleared his faculties once more, sensing the attention lift from him; he looked to Livermore standing motionless in the mud a few feet away. 

“No way, my first dead body, let me see,” said Denunzio running toward the dock. 

Rutherford grabbed Denunzio by the collar and pulled him back, “you go touchin it and they’ll pin the loss on you Dunzo.” 

Denunzio looked back with salivating dog eyes, collecting himself before calling out to Livermore, “check it’s pockets.” 

Livermore did spot a lump near the tush and carefully bent to retrieve it with practiced efficacy. He opened it and after a quick look, “no cash,” Livermore lied, “for one Mr. Franklin Barthalmule Nunenbaum, hey Nezzy isn’t that your name?” 

“Ahh Christ did he just say Nunenbaum?” Rutherford said, taking off toward the dock. 

“Nezbit Nunenbaum that’s you ain’t it?” Livermore asked without remorse. 

Nezbit understood the question, but his mind wouldn’t allow the conclusion to surface, the silt in the water settled around his feet. Rutherford wrapped an arm around Nezbit, turning him away, “go home, you were never here.” Nezbit left with squishy steps, he didn’t dare look back. 

“Well he did say his dad would be here to pick him up,” Raymound said. 

A well measured complement directed at any of them had the potential to induce adequate reflection, squelching the hunger of sorrow. Their hearts lumps of coal forever whittled down, feeding the propulsive fire on the locomotive-sized pain of their lives. Insurmountable momentum down circle tracks they’d do anything to derail.  

THE END

Luminous Drops

A series of thoughts while surfing the morning of 10/29/21.

Luminous Drops

By Tyler Mobley

In a world of reminders, reflections of life’s unknowable center pass with utmost familiarity. It may seem obvious after the fact, self aware creatures are bound by the light they see, yet being of light their understanding of its spectrum is only limited by the spectrum itself. A Dude Where’s my Car’s “continuum transfunctioner, its mystery is exceeded only by its power.” Everywhere there is light there is a rainbow, put another way a rainbow exists in all the light we see. When the sun reflects off your phone and casts an iridescence on your hand grasping the wheel while you drive. The Dark Side of the Moon album put it right under our noses, but we only see so much with our ears. A lone beam passing through a prism becomes many as constituents are displayed. There we are, “the all singing, all dancing crap of the world,” pulling out our phones to capture through the clouds what we’d find if we’d look inside (Fight Club). 

A surf of revelation sets my receptors open to basement dwellings, a rainbow in the spray off the back of a passing wave shone in the low morning light. Thoughts come knocking, not one to wait is the self referential check in all things, the seed within the fruit. Arriving at Stan Tenen of Meru Foundation, “light in the meeting tent” occurs to relieve some insight. We are no different, take the formless, light, fire, soul, and pass it through the form, prism, water, body, and what appears? A rainbow. 

Soren Kierkegaard in The Sickness unto Death frames our condition as a relation to the relation. The central relation between formless and the form, the self is what becomes of the relation to the central relation, thus the self is inherently self referential. To become oneself, find you’re light among the rainbow. 

Links to

https://meru.org/

https://antilogicalism.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/thesicknessuntodeath.pdf

Absence Eternal

Started from a thought jotted down while driving to work, like those shoulder advisors we’ve seen repeated.

Absence Eternal 

By Tyler Lucas Mobley 

“You’re here again?” 

A demon of ember skin sits gargoyle on the lunch table cover watching Timmy Schwartz walk to chemistry class. 

“What do you want?” 

Sparks fly off the grin that displays a set of charcoal teeth, “I’m here to show you your future.” 

Timmy stops and looks up at the domon, “why don’t you just go away my future is fine without you,” stomping off backpack bouncing. 

“When will one turn out? They don’t know the privilege they’re missing, somehow I’m only visible to the shy ones. 

“The chemical chain of atoms is made up from a series of bonds; the placement of these bonds determine the type of the element,” says the teacher. Timmy looks around, did he hear her right, did she just say bomb? 

“Boo!” 

Timmy jumps in his seat knocking his binder to the floor, he can hear the crackle and pop of the demon behind him, but all the eyes in the classroom are on him. 

“Is everything alright Mr. Schwartz?” asked the teacher, seeing a distraught little Timmy. 

“Tell her nothing is alright, it’s all going to hell.”

The class became more confused when Timmy “shhh’d” the air behind him.

“I’m alright,” said Timmy, “actually could I step out for some air?” 

“That would be fine Timmothy.”  

His chest tightened, air seemed to be pressed out of him as though the Empire State Building were on his chest. The ground around him turned into a molten rock shaking with steam. Timmy tried to jump free though every leap landed him in a thermal glow, and the ground grows more brittle with each lingering second. 

“Had enough?” says the demon, startling Timmy who was planning his next move, “stay away,” Timmy cries and attempts to jump. The cement crumbles under Timmy unloading his springs, a fail characteristic of when people slip while jumping off boat railings, or flimsy outdoor furniture. A static extension causing an off balance landing, Timmy stumbles, trips himself and falls head first into a nearby planter. He pulls his head out of a cherimoya and pats dirt from his shirt, eyeing around he sees no sign of the demon. 

“Brother, it is I, creator of all that is and will be.” 

Timmy looked at the janitor with his bucket on wheels and mop stick in both hands. 

“Yeah, would you mind telling me what is going on here, Mr. … umm ahh Creator.” 

The janitor throws back his head in laughter, a crack of thunder, echoes run between the buildings.  “What did you do to him?” asked the janitor of the demon, who was crouched above Timmy, embers sprinkling down. 

“He did it to himself, the kid is a box of tissues, you’re choosing him,” the demon asked then snapped his fingers and a cigar appeared in them, “audacious is all.” Biting off one end of the wrap and spitting it out, and then lit the other on himself and blew smoke in God’s face. 

“Do you mind stepping aside, Crusty and I need to have a talk,” the janitor said to Timmy. 

“Alright? You can wait back in class, Timmy?” 

Timmy began to redden. 

“Ohh release him would you!” 

The demon unclenches a fist that wasn’t around Timmy’s neck, but inflicting force all the same. 

“I think I will go back to class, I’ll just be here if…” 

“Hey knock that off.” 

The demon puts Timmy back on the ground. 

“Ask me, the boy can hear, he’s going to have to learn eventually, right?” 

The janitor looks at Timmy. 

“Right, then how do you expect me to believe your party will end when you won’t even let me have my witness?” 

“Witness,” the demon said with a laugh. “Is that what we’re calling it now, and we agree unangeled? 

“That’s why we’re here aren’t we?” 

Timmy fell into glazed bewilderment not sure if he believed any of this. What would he witness? Angels? 

“Timmy,” the Creator said with a sigh. “The world, Earth, goes through phases.”  

The demon chuckles, the Creator shoots him a look. 

“See the things that bring life also require death.” 

“My department,” the demon interrupts with a puff of smoke. 

Timmy gulps. 

“And you know what the source of all life is, don’t you?” 

Timmy looks directly at the sun, not quite at noon. The janitor quickly covers Timmy’s eyes with his hand, and bites a smile over his shoulder. 

“That’s right Timmy, the sun is the provider of all life and thus, can take it away.” 

“Take away all life? Could it be true? 

“Our demon angels descend in hell fire to clean house, just wait and see kid.”  

Timmy took another gulp. 

“We’re meeting with you so you may ready yourself for the task humanity requires of you. Have you heard of Herodotus? Like him for the next age.” 

“A new age?” 

“Even the Earth must be reborn, my son.” 

“You come with us now and in 30 years time, Earth will go a-rockin, as I’ll be a knocking,” said the demon.

“Ok let me get my bookbag and I’ll be ready to go.”

“That won’t be necessary, just follow us and you’ll have everything you need to know.” 

Timmy watched the janitor and demon banter through campus, his pride swelled as he felt his life’s calling agree with every step. Timmy glanced at the sun, and thought how precious a star it was. Timmy steps off the curb.

 His shoes landed on the ceramics and woodshop buildings respectively. Since the bus was on the smaller side, it had a normal car hood which Timmy rolled onto up the windshield, and received an extra kick from the raised roof leaving his limp body with considerable amplitude to fall in a fit of acrobatic twist and tumbles, that would’ve been the envy of Biles and Lee until landing face first on the pavement. 

The creator and the demon stop and turn to look at what’s the matter. The janitor shakes his head in his hands. The demon says, “guess you should’ve started with how to look both ways.” 

More Than a Moment

A free write on 2/15/21 revised and stanza-tized into this, enjoy.

More Than a Moment

By Tyler Mobley

More than a moment, 

Count Cristo starship manor. 

More than a moment,

singing circles of soul sayers 

let loose from an environ plane.

Gingerbread men praising a recipe,

some frost lost, now scowling the baker.  

Street carts sell heart of the city 

big lights shine on trying faces,

the weak force as Metallica notes

“Nothing else matters.”

Faint morrow oh sung,

the Sun dropped by for tea,

twinkling mist escapes 

mother’s eye. For what, 

a dash of guilt produced a

criminal record, says the judge

to Soundcloud. 

Quake hath waltz feet

a measure of empire,

felt rumbles of toeing masses

clocked on a standard of living.

Forbear hollow remarks

as wood knocks back 

dulled by your patience. 

Smash hit vibrations 

like the warm beat of 

reporters who step 

into the world, my office. 

Unwrung words told

of stealing the fun. 

Heels thrown up 

bang bang against 

a neighborly wall, the 

sound circumnavigates 

to find the needle was 

never dropped. 

Listening for Ray Charles’ 

The Spirit of Christmas. 

So repetitious the world rewinds

through generations, 

a slideshow of history.  

Explosions tidy up into their 

shells, apes devolve to 

sleestacks, to a few ameba 

vibing over a volcanic vent 

on oceans’ dance floor. 

“What are you doing down here

James Cameroon? 

Titanic is that way. “

Who’s to say it hasn’t 

happened already? 

A moment imposed like 

a waiter who begs for an order. 

“Is the shoelace on special tonight?”

Oh how awful knowing

you’ve ate something sickening,

civilization in a nutshell. 

Advancements worn backwards,

grown into two left feet. 

As miles poo poo

the metric, all lesser 

measures charged with 

their distinction. 

Can’t help but feel it’s 

all going the way of 

the carriage. 

Cobblers out to offend,

I reclaim my time 

to when only birds 

could tweet. 

Hosting The Bachelor 

a so called working life,

standing on loose ground 

where comparisons vanish 

with employment. 

Kindness ushered out with starvation, 

in the name of progress.

Bow to the mob before the 

pot boils over.   

Aboard Nimbus Nine

Most falls in during morning flows. Pen & Page be-pressed for days. Welcome to the Xander Zone!

Aboard Nimbus Nine

By Tyler Mobley

Does the world speak through your eyes? To know is to know anything at all. No fantastic beast, a spice caught mid drizzle down forearm scruff posing to the onion if the slice was worth the cry hoping the answer may remain to remind of what is present, like shower confidence carried into the world, a Sesame Street stride “a good day to garbage grins, bird, thank you for your song, Tree wood you settle your branch brood and leaf yourself blown, any stranger can tell you’re a bit knotted up.” Is that enough? Ok one more, “I went for pizza last time Mr. Tree, leaving your wallet in your trunk is no excuse.” If only money grew on … our backs. 

For the love of God traffic lights have more personality than some elected officials. Respect the runway’s duty, a performance demanding stage. Floor is yours, the lights hot, dance as if you’ve practiced all your life, no doubt you have. Imagine every word spoken by a congressional member must include a jig or dance at a minimum of eight counts, carried out before or after the statement being left to the members discretion. Not a thought mind a movement goes unweighted in expression, art or ability the absolute passion for life shines under recognition in unbearable fashion, if one were to gaze directly at this primordial flare the result would imprint itself onto all seen thereafter for embracing our undeniable order, complexity maintained under elegant guise, meditating bottoms know to sink to rise, morphing bubbles on surface ascents, a dance perhaps, prescribed to those who’ve not thought through the depths from which they’ve sprung.

That ought to sort things out a bit. Dance if a lash bash is all you can manage, propel your mind with Saturn sneeze rockets any less is just another dance, pads of melting butter for skates, we must roll, a days roll presents no choice and every option each time time time time time time time.  

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.

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.