I just received an original copy of Life Magazine from August 8th, 1949 featuring Jackson Pollock in the article “Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?” Happy days!
Through the forest
with only my thoughts
and the morning sun
reflecting off ice and snow.
Through the forest
the sky moves and
the cold wind shuffles
The previous days fall away,
my mind begins to empty
and the wind carries away
Free of what is no longer needed
the feelings of loss and being alone
are replaced with content and comfort
as that wind is you beyond memory.
At the top of the mountain
beyond the pass
I stopped and looked back
at the path I wandered
and there were no footsteps
in the powdered snow.
Further beyond the talus and scree
the empty field burns
and I watch with waning
fear as I let go of that
previous version of me
burning beneath the tree of life.
A sincere post for my friends that own and operate Exposure Alaska. They have been in business since 1999 offering true Alaska adventure tours. New this year is the Chugach Challenge offering: Fast paced and fueled by adrenaline and coffee. You’ll raft Class V rapids, ice climb on a glacier, ride the fastest zipline in Alaska and backpack in the wilderness.
Here is a review I wrote in 2013 after the last expedition I took with them (first was in 2007).
Standing on the edge
of the mountains I have built
I am alone and yet my content
fills the valley.
Shadows cross my eyes
and in the that moment
waves of snow and ice
fall upon me from the heavens.
I slept that night on the peak
as the sky cleared and the crystal
horizon morphed into a canvas
filled with stars and the cosmos.
I woke days later beside myself
Upon the arctic winds
I let go and fell
into and out of each
deep crevasses until
I stopped, standing upon
the shoreline of an ancient sea.
A Winter Light, by John Haines
We still go about our lives
in shadow, pouring the white cup full
with a hand half in darkness.
Paring potatoes, our heads
vent over a dream—
glazed window through which
the long, yellow sundown looks.
By candle or firelight
your face still holds
a mystery that once
filled caves with the color
of unforgettable beasts.
Photo below shared from Alaska Dispatch News which features a piece about writer/musician John Luther Adams and being influenced by John Haines.
From TWENTY POEMS, Unicorn Press, 1973
As I watch the April sunrise across
the turbulent waters I am reminded again
of my place beneath cedar and pine
while sitting on the rocks with two puppies.
To Jackson Pollock
Last night somebody murdered a young tree on Seventh Avenue
between 18th and 19th—only two in that block,
and just days ago we’d taken refreshment in the crisp and particular shade
of that young ginkgo’s tight leaves, its beauty and optimism,
though I didn’t think of that word until the snapped trunk this morning,
a broken broomstick discarded, and tell me what pleasure
could you take from that? Maybe I understand it,
the sudden surge of rage and the requirement of a gesture,
but this hour I place myself firmly on the side of thirst,
the sapling’s ambition to draw from the secret streams
beneath this city, to lift up our subterranean waters.
Power in a pointless scrawl now on the pavement.
Pollock, when he swung his wild arcs in the barn-air
by Accabonac, stripped away incident and detail till all
that was left was swing and fall and return,
austere rhythm deep down things, beautiful
because he’s subtracted the specific stub and pith,
this wreck on the too-hot pavement where scavengers
spread their secondhand books in the scalding sunlight.
Or maybe he didn’t. Erase it I mean: look into the fierce ellipse
of his preserved gesture, and hasn’t he swept up every bit,
all the busted and incomplete, half-finished and lost?
Alone in the grand rooms of last century’s heroic painters
—granted entrance, on an off day, to a museum
with nobody, thank you, this once nobody talking—
and for the first time I understood his huge canvases
were prayers. No matter to what. And silent as hell;
he rode the huge engine of his attention toward silence,
and silence emanated from them, and they would not take no
for an answer, though there is no other. Forget supplication,
beseechment, praise. Look down
into it, the smash-up swirl, oil and pigment and tree-shatter:
tumult in equilibrium.
When the nearest stars are observed
and the furthest ancient light is discovered
we see what became the past far removed
from the beginning.
If we remove ourselves from physical bonds
and trivial thoughts, what used to be feeling
transforms into knowing that what is felt and tasted
is no different than the first particle sent into the void.
If we allow the light and dark matter
to return back to us, to remind us
of our own beginning we see and
hear the music of energy and motion.
If we extend our imagination
and slow the waves of energy
we see infinite colors and
and the building blocks
of a concept still mystifying
the child standing in awe in the empty fields.