Posted in Death


John was different from other backpackers
older by a decade
or more
the longitude of his face
mapped much experience.
The eyes of a soldier
returned from war …. but not to peace.

Alaska was home
unspoken, but understood not to always have been.
Work summer
travel winter
the state which displaced Texas
was that kind of place.

Coincidence can randomly tumble combination
opening the vault.
A casual conversation
about significant mountaineering landmark
a first ascent of North America’s highest peak.
Cobalt bleached eyes gaze through the pause
stepping into the silence
a low hypnotic recitation
the voice of God.

The mountaineer had come into his workplace
for late, fine tuning purchases
just in case fuel
extra food
transactions settled by a pretty Japanese assistant.
The climber turned to leave….. then back to the woman
speaking their native tongue.
softly asking if she will …
The request shifts to spiritual
a salesman’s plausibility
“it could be the last time.”

The ascent was bold and direct
archaeology confirmed the summit
a telephoto lens
anticipated glory’s eve.
He is never seen again.

For the back story click Backstage
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Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.