Posts Tagged ‘man


walk and talk


on yesterday’s long walk with joey, i noticed that nature consistently ignored man’s warnings.  thumbing its nose at, turning its back on, basically flipping man the proverbial bird (a bird may have done a flip, idk.)  no matter where i looked nature was doing the opposite of man.  where man was all yellow and black sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong, nature was deep blue and wispy clouds in complete counterpoint to man’s prevailing nonsense (at this juncture, it’s fairly obvious that a street dead ends into another street, making the sign a redundancy, is what nature appeared to be saying–if you were paying attention, and i know how hard that can be, you know, paying attention to the obvious.)

many years ago, a friend of mine whose opinion i valued (and likewise, i believe) would call me up and say, “let’s go for a walk and talk.”  so ‘walk and talk’ became shorthand for sorting out life’s mysteries, stupidities and complications.   i recommend it (even if your companion has four legs.)


sunrise, saturday, august 27, 2011 (one of those inspirational hallmark® moments that we all wonder “who buys this stuff”, like we’d never, but still can’t help ourselves when it’s actually happening in front of us, and can’t help but admire and stand in awe of it anyway)

it starts innocently enough.  you set out in the morning with the intent to capture the sunrise, not only from your usual vantage point but also from the other side (eastern) of the hill you live on.

you’ve (wisely) put billy in his stroller and with joey on leash you make that first curve and see the far hills start to shimmer with the golden light of dawn (i am not guaranteeing that i will not resort to the occasional usage of well-worn descriptives, so hold on, dear reader — or look away if you must, i care not, for as long as man has watched the eastern sun bring the day to his world, he has thought these thoughts, my only hope as i type is that i will come upon some new way of expressing this moment.)

and then old sol starts to push up above the horizon, rays of light the burst of horns announcing his arrival (i often think of those rays at this very moment as the horses pulling apollo’s chariot, do you not?)

this is the way you make an entrance should anyone ever ask you:  tease your audience (think gypsy rose lee) with just enough of what will be to stop them from chattering, clearing their throats, and blowing their noses, so that all of their attention is focused on you, and then i recommend taking a deep breath, all the while resisting the urge to pop through the curtain in all of your liquid, molten pour of yellow, gold, ochre,  and hot white splendor and then just when you think they might be turning blue from holding their breath, you step through the curtain and stun them with your diamond brilliance.  the shock of which…

…forces them to avert their eyes–even for the briefest of seconds so that they may try (failing, of course) to regain some sense of decorum and perhaps stand a little straighter, adjust their bow-tie, brush off their lapel in a gesture designed to hide the fact that they are actually wiping the drool off their chin.

you see, once you’ve made that entrance, all eyes will be on you, people jostling for position to capture a moment of your brilliance so that later that day (minutes, hours, maybe even tomorrow) they will say, “i was there when the sun rose.  i saw its magnificence.  you would not believe what a singular moment it was, i wish you had been there to share it with me, because words fail.”

and now, as you stand there, mouth agape, you realize that the crowd has regained its voice and a tumultuous song of praise (this then, that hallmark® moment) has burst forth from the very essence of their being (you would not recognize the language, for it is the language of the soul.)

and you know that for at least one tenth of a second or perhaps one heartbeat, you had witnessed a miracle (the one everyone is always nattering on about.)


winter light (notes on snow)

it’s not that i’m not used to it.  i’ve spent more of my life with it than without it, & since it’s been out of my life, i haven’t ever given it much thought.  it’s as if it may have never existed except as an alternate life, it is that far away in my memory.  but even those memories that do linger are not weighted with adverse meaning.   when i do think of it, or encounter it, what i remember is the crunch, the sparkle, the light & the many shades of white, how subtle its color tone is, how varied its texture, the making of hard candy:  poured onto a linoleum-topped kitchen table to cool, before cracking with a hammer & put into multi-colored tins, a gift.

the way i t changes the landscape & changes the way the landscape is used.  you walk up to the tree a man, & leave a rabbit.  you burrow into it, a rabbit, & leave a man.  when i was younger, the first deep fall, the first significant accumulation was a call to play; forts were made, blocks of it were shaped from a cardboard box (until it became too soggy to hold its rectangle) & stacked one upon the other, igloos without roofs (or perhaps covered with the occasional blanket removed from the linen closet on the sly) or the drifts of it would be deep enough to carve out a cave, the dog following behind you as you perspired in your fleece lined eared cap, scarf, one-piece suit that repelled moisture, gloves linked to the sleeve end with metal clips & springy elastic (snap!), boots laced up or galoshes locked with their clasps pulled tight across your ankles; long underwear.  how long you could stay outside, with it, time did stop as there was no sense of reality, it was a winter wonderland (i can think of no better words & feel no shame in using such a trite phrase.)

much work is associated with it too.  the heft & weight of it different each time it made its appearance; those big soft flakes or the hard horizontal pellets, the dusting, an amount that was still acceptably navigable, the scrape of shovels, plows, the “hellos” from neighbor to neighbor as each worked their way from the stoop to the street & you’d meet at each others driveway to discuss anything but the work, not wanting to show how hard this part of life really was to each other (each of you panting, puff clouds escaping with every word, every breath.)   & standing on the shoveled (or plowed) accumulation, surveying your domain, the shovel, a flag, with its inelegant scraped & dented end planted atilt next to you as you caught your breath, claiming this work for your world, the king of it for that moment.

& the sleep that come with it.  those drifts of cotton, the winter morning peeking through the curtains, it’s sharp light bouncing up off it, a kid on a trampoline flipping through the glass, head over teacup, & landing, warmly deceitful, it could not be that cold.  you lay in it, stretched out, an angel in the moment of waking, quick to jump up and spell your name before the day starts.  snow.


black adonis

The black Adonis stands in the
Golden doorway awaiting his lover.
Impatience flickers, a rose petal
Tongue flutters in a velvet sigh.

An apparition melting into the colossal darkness
Bathed in auroreal amber incandescence
Silhouetted/the mythic shades of desire,
Details a blur of incomprehension as the light
Within pinks a palm, flashed this way
Flat ivory tusked nails flip a light,
Exhalation, smoke wraps its gray silken
Hair around his Taurean neck and dissipates.

Impatient and needful, the murmur of
Ancient chants, the psalms of his demands,

His death, his birth are waves breaking against the shore, water tongues ululating against the hardness of the land.

Marmoreal musculature/neck/shoulders/arms/fingers/
Torso/waist/thighs/feet fell those who honor him.
He walks in the heat of the moonless night
Current coursing through the skeleton, the muscle,
The sinew; sparks radiate from his smile, his glistening hair,
The sweat sheen of his skin details a crown of


a whitman sampler

(Author’s note: With the recent shootings at Ft. Hood and the memories of Veteran’s Day just passed, I turned to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, whose view of humanity, the soul and the barbarity of war offer some solace.   Herewith a sampling.)

american legion cemetery blog

Cemetery, Moorhead, Minnesota--1973

I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.

Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?

The expression of the face balks account,
But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face,
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips
and wrists,
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and
knees, dress does not hide him,
The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and broad-
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more,
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-

I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly
round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.

Do you know so much yourself that you call the meanest ignorant?
Do you suppose you have a right to a good sight, and he or she has
no right to a sight?
Do you think matter has cohered together from its diffuse float, and
the soil is on the surface, and water runs and vegetation
For you only, and not for him or her?

If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred,
And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of manhood un-
And in man or woman a clean, strong, firm-fibred body, is more
beautiful than the most beautiful face.

Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body? or the fool
that corrupted her own live body?
For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot conceal themselves.



Twitter Updates

Copyright notice

© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

%d bloggers like this: