Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Along the High Line: A Contact Sheet

A Collaboration By Elizabeth Guthrie and Andy Peterson

Subtle as a butterfly
pendulum thumps my forehead
autumn’s fruited bark
sweeps desolate ridge
passes in cloudshadow
I want to fly like
Bird Woman Falls

Should have noted the fresh
time but was busy getting zonked
along the high line

on wild onion burnt hibiscus
noting animals seen:
rotund casual rams
panting mother mountain
goat standing near
her kid

what phrased over sunlight
gee I don’t remember


chipmunk yellow caterpillar
Bright yellow fuzzy in tope
dirt two hawks blue jay

woefully out of shape
but carrying hopeful expectation

add several wizened
humans coming or going

we pass the pass to pass

“like it was the team to beat”

you follow ahead
earrings approximate
bear-bells my red one
jumbles along a samba
to all that blue
we the possibility of
hurtling into


that’s a timbre to reckon
writing in the slate
with sometimes marbled
unknown the slate
to the unknown lake

I thought it was a web at
first now I see it’s seed

makes me salivate desire
to increase every sense
to dig it all at once

the red yellow green purple
purple blue leap
one pine tip to next

my little brown bear
would line the shimmer
on winded grasses to
glaciers belly bubble melt



ahead two ruddy
plateau knees

“now we are going to see
“what belongs
to the knees”

maybe the one
of three
Sisters of the
Fairy Forest

when you were once eight
as I was once eight
& waiting

across this continental
divide pass dark tall & solid
we bend our ears to
rock & this

is what said:


it’s that old September wind
with visions of time
cold linoleum beneath childfeet

what is else & other

shall we go on long winded
To smart ass Westerner
“So, what, are
even Rocks alive?”

The native teacher mused
“Well, some of ‘um”

& if it is September wind
it has to be September blue
straps itself to belly

upper orange rocks
lower blue, still higher
purple bands above


And Now for some of That
Westurn Philosophy:

“When you’re on The Trail
F U C K I T.”

and watch your relief (pee)
slide down the divide

We think Indian

& Its Getting
Better All the Time
(beetle sound)

& rock white & soft
as chalk
we write with our feet


then drop a granola
bar, eat it anyway
lest in shame acclimate grizzly
ones to people food

“then all hell’ll
bust loose”

(Thus no one wants that)


After awful renditions

the answer”

“A little help
from my friends”

the imagined stoned bear
emerges from shrub
waving a ballad lighter
who would “totally
take us back to its’
den smoke us out
& feed us venison”

(Isn’t that a knee

Har har har
Burroughs’ non-laugh laugh

pass the bee’s knees)


fighting boredom of the
trail & strange
but true


maybe it’s just
the amphetamines

I mean
made me said that

kicking in contrast
is the answer

Look! A bright purple rock!

(What looks surreal
really is real...)

“Wouldn’t you agree?”

“Wouldn’t I?”

Having loved on the lip
of Reality – –

Hello, other self


Panoramic (Exquisite Corpse)

with a gesture not of a
hard place but an inaudible
quick flip & a wink
before we lose the pink purple light

baby got to come
home to your outstretched between
two mountain arm

but nor could they make out last
straggled figure
under pine-shadow

Can you see it from here?
That wavy pine or light
near your face from center

She forgave him when he’d
forgotten the batteries, they skipped
A question, simply, this
timbre? Do we have it?

Bent straight through each
other inside the stolen mirrors
up into the blue


good morning deer outside our door

“Looks a little thin”
– camping biologist

Last night’s sparking sleeping bag
gives way to morning simple

pleasure: fruit leather
instant watered caffeine

“You’re scarin’ the deer”

“It’s your face that’s scarin’ her!”


Photograph # 25

We kissing is
corner of the peak
& Andrew’s ear!


Let’s call it a contact sheet

weeping wall runoff

morning trail muddy boots

falling off further

into the swoop

(misheard as soup)


Life goes on as usual
way up there
living on a slant

could the bear mind any mind
“undo” gravity
to see this as its plain?
Plane overhead overheard
through this red fall shunt
canyon dreamed surface
on the moon


I dreamt I was friends with Slash
visited him lonely apartment
where he sprawled out
watching monster trucks
might have been the only one
to’ve seen his eyes in years
handed me his guitar, showed him
a thing or two
“Thanks” he said “Can I
use it?” Went off shredding
the day as I left it
you sleeping quietly above


all I know is I felt
on the edge of the planet

All I know is

I enjoyed them
about giving & receiving
when sleep seems a gift

through all this space
& gravity

a composition like wind
feeling out of it


thin walls’ illusion
of privacy
next cabin’s

seems half of hiking
is discussing hiking

i.e. “I think I’ll fill my bottle”


“Do you think this is
enough sun lotion
for John?”


a desire for push hands

Lesson 1: You have to
do it.
Lesson 2: No one’s winning
or losing.
Lesson 3: We are both involved.
Lesson 4:
Barbaric Yawp
wakes the birds
hurts & feels good tho

still the grasshoppers go on
clicking through morning

answers: How loud could
yell if there was no
body there to tell me not to?

But your own voice
rims around
the rock wall, returns

a creature-less comfort
in the customary freak-out


drawing in bittersweet
with a deep long breath
hawk sun though hovering flowers

oops I mean feathers

ah well all the same
good morning HUSKS too


Is that Bear Scat on trail
red berries in there
three hawk swirl
near rock counter

“Doesn’t that look like it
‘cause I’ve never seen before”

That’s not bear scat
this is:



easterners: “It’s 1 o’clock
our time
... so it must be

by glowing bright purple poop


Rounding corner
scaring nearby hikers with
horrifying Bear Propellant Song
dirt on ass & pack

sharing water & proposal
for huge copper Sculpture of the Moment

“Apple Core with Dirt”

symbolizing hope
the hiker’s will positivity
in the face of all cosmic
like something in the shoe


We encounter the ruffian at about 2.5 out

Out, out, brief rock

& a hawk for punctuation mark

In, in, stinky foot

Stranger, passing
notices this scrawl
“What’re you measuring
there, seismic waves”


Back off, lady
we’re linguistic scientists
& damn good hikers too

We know what halfway is
We know it’s all downhill from here
We got bear-scat so obvious &
good like footloose
We’re the Uphill Doldrums Hikers
We know time, that they make some
real good socks nowadays”
We don’t step on black fuzzy caterpillars
We like our eyes for we believe
what we see we would slide down
in slate shadow water-slide
We want to take our seats with us
We hang with the drift of black to yellow
leaving shadow from an ocean
dropping out butterflies in spiral
Rise out of endless spheres
dropping out
so on our way, places to be
We see goats & pretend when we don’t
We recognize yesterday’s goats
& tomorrow’s yesterday


We ably amble & gobble
this good up till

we fill ourselves for silence

& silence fills us up

with pure land


purring spiral iris in pooled rock
this whole smells medicinal
bitter in full truth’s
beautiful day & passing
recognized & new
strangers measuring radio
waves seismic waves in human
boulder’s haystack


doesn’t matter where we’re going
every one time or other always red
contemplating the
precipice of our fiery dooms


Glacier Haiku

that’s life bears
like things —
tuna oil finds soil


No bears today no care

no mind if I do

bony ass, rocky butte stoops
receives small winds that come
to every swirl like wild
marmots to our meal-scent

(ant on me too)

we shdn’t feed them but we do
with sympathy for the smaller creatures
in vast touch of this touch-less
place they lick the rocks
wait for us to leave
melting glacier to what form

thank you for carrying that
no problem it gets easier
all the time a red bell
rises within to meet the cool
switchback blue

or maybe I’m just tripping
& without a single fall,

kiss this sun in to the rock face