F. PAUL MARKIN ≈ Three Poems

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Dan and I

My Pop was a man we’d hardly ever see –
he spent his time building roads
way out in the Bush, his second home
(a place that held no quarter
for my twin brother Dan and I)

Endless serpentine roads
of dirt, gravel and abandon
cut their way past the edges of the world
and into mountain forests
that bore cruel and bold names
like “Porcupine” and “Darkwood”

Once we were settled
in the dusty seat of his truck
Dan and I would plead in earnest
for the reasons behind this exodus,
and in a voice that resembled his salt and pepper stubble
our Pop said again and once more
“Those mountains hold fish, and you boys gotta learn…”

He’d take the two of us
deep into a world without boundaries,
his truck careening around the corners
and skirting cliff shoulders – I couldn’t help
but shut my eyes

Once outside of the truck
Dan and I would hold our eyes in the branches,
watching Pop’s leather boots
take lengthy strides through the sunflecked canopy,
a hard voice pushing back the boughs
of the tall, thin pines

Soon the toes in our shoes
would be wet and bloodless,
the two of us up to our shins
in the creek’s challenge and roar
but over those stony beds we’d stumble, staying close by
for we knew we’d seen
with our own seven-and-a-half year old eyes
the thick green surf of the forest
wrestle the dirt road trailing behind the truck
and slam it kicking below the earth
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Through The Eyes of Mountains

 

Through the eyes of mountains
drag a pitch-cracked boot through forest loam
heave loaded rucksacks further afield
lean back and wail

three thousand paces later
glint of pressure in the eye
back hewn from starry granite
the echoing bootfall that laughs aloud
cracks rain from hobo clouds
stirred southwesterly
carves the body
makes ancillary angiosperms of spring

by parted lips, drink
the cavorting stream
of peeling sun

stamen and stigma push up
warp and weft combed through,
intelligent wind
with a hundred sibilant fingers
unwinds Gregorian knots
nay slake again the old lords of life
just reach for the whirling place
where memories of home
cannot bear to go

Pull the arc of the high arete
past teetering stacks of rock
paint you orange by lichen blaze
the break and boom of rockfall – emptiness this ocean
beseeching audience, exploding orchestra
the inchoate lyric

New fires kindle the eye
rediscovered topography
glowing golden in the sun
boil you down to sugary nectar, the reductive taste
which pooled in cranial substrata
when first you raised a battered eyelid
through the last horizon of loam
and gazed upon the lonely mountain, the holy mountain
the salient exponent in a long line of numbers
calculating peace, apathy, wide eyes
distilling a humanity that somehow is much
much greater than the bag of its mumbling, disconnected parts

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Dmitri

Dmitri’s eyes filled up with wilderness
when he saw the dark-feathered bird of a girl
grow weary of flying
and fall to the ground in the melting snow
he knew then in his heart he was homeless.

He’s going to find a home he can love
and if its not love in that home,
then he’ll wander blankly
through the hills in his heart
like unseeing pines shifting senseless in wind
shouting hoarse to a mind
that doesn’t care at all.
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