Friday, November 18, 2016

two poems from Moab

Election Day 2016

I’m sitting in front of a t.v.
waiting to hear Hillary’s concession speech

I’m in shock
it feels like I’m living
in an alternative universe
that I accidentally entered
through a wrong door
and I can’t find my way back

Everyday when I wake up
in the morning and I struggle
to get out of bed
I know that this is my reality
and there is no way out
except to be strong and positive
and to surround myself with people
I love and enjoy
focus on fun and  joy
love and laughter
and beauty

Two months ago I was diagnosed with ALS
it started as weakness in my right hand
and then weakness in my legs
I can still use my hands
I can still walk
but now use walking poles

Jackie and I spent election day
in Canyonlands National Park
in beautiful southern Utah
we drove around
and took a couple of short hikes

The longest hike of the day
was 1 kilometer to Pothole Point
it was like walking on the moon
little craters on a rock surface
I stumbled and fell twice
tripping over the potholes
but I got up both times
with Jackie’s help
bruised and sore, but still walking
we sat and picnicked
in front of a massive majestic expansive view
two ravens joined us
squawking, kissing, grooming, hovering by us
only a few feet away
we enjoyed our lunch
and took in the beauty

we hiked the one kilometer back to the car
slowly and carefully, arm in arm
mindful of every step
those two falls were new to us
and scared us
but we carried on

we drove around the park
and stopped at another short hike
this one  1 kilometer round trip
mostly on a dirt trail
to an ancient Native American granary
a store house for corn

the sun set in the distance
behind the red rock walls of Canyonlands

we drove back to Moab
an hour or so away
back to cell service and radio
to slowly find out
that Hillary was not winning
and as the night progressed
that Trump had won in a stunning upset

and so my alternative universe
marked with tears and fatigue
will continue on

but I will prevail

I will be strong
I will have fun
and I know that despite all this craziness

I will always be surrounded by love

My First Visit to a Bookstore

I’m out on a walk
in downtown Moab
with my walking sticks
I adjust my backpack on my shoulder
my water bottle falls out
and rolls away on the sidewalk
towards the street curb
a young man passing by grabs it for me
I stop and lean against a wall and
put it back in my pack
half a block later it crashes to the ground again
this time I somehow pick it up myself
lean against a picket fence and put it inside my pack

I continue on to the bookstore
I drop my backpack near the door
and wander around
without a wall to lean on
I struggle to look through a book
without falling
I lean on my sticks, but I really need a hand to do that
and its hard to look through a book with only one hand

in front of the Western section
there is the back of a couch
that I lean on while I look
Bass, Doig, Harrison, but I still can’t reach
down to the bottom shelf
without risk of cramps or falling
or the inability to get back up
so no Stegner for me

I look at a book by Thich Nhat Hanh
“How to Walk”
the entry I read is about being mindful of every step
I put it back before I stumble and fall
I pick up my backpack by the door
thank the bookseller
and wander back onto the sidewalk
where I find a bench to sit and rest


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  2. I love this. The Stegner line made me laugh, and also wish I could be there to get all the books from the high and low shelves for you. Love you, Mark <3