Sunday, February 28, 2016

City of Cups

Lichen Patterns, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
—Anonymous Photo

—Lew Welch (1926-1971)

All these years I overlooked them in the
racket of the rest, this
symbiotic splash of plant and fungus feeding
on rock, on sun, a little moisture, air—
tiny acid-factories dissolving
salt from living rocks and
eating them.

Here they are, blooming!
Trail rock, talus and scree, all dusted with it:
rust, ivory, brilliant yellow-green, and
cliffs like murals!
Huge panels streaked and patched, quietly
with shooting-stars and lupine at the base.

Closer, with the glass, a city of cups!
Clumps of mushrooms and where do the
plants begin? Why are they doing this?
In this big sky and all around me peaks &
the melting glaciers, why am I made to
kneel and peer at Tiny?

These are the stamps of the final envelope.

How can the poisons reach them?
In such thin air, how can they care for the
loss of a million breaths?
What, possibly, could make their ground more bare?

Let it all die.

The hushed globe will wait and wait for
what is now so small and slow to
open it again.

As now, indeed, it opens it again, this
scentless velvet,

this Lichen!


—Medusa, noting that somehow the last verse of D.R. Wagner’s poem, "A Poetry Reading", got cut off in yesterday Medusa post, so be sure to check back into the Kitchen to see it. And also be sure to see Medusa's Facebook page for pix of his reading last Monday night with Pat Grizzell!

Today (Sun., 2/28) at 12noon, Emmanuel Sigauke, Lawrence Dinkins, Anna Marie Sprowls will speak at the Central Library in Sacramento about African American literature, plus an open mic featuring African American poems. 828 I St., Sac. Free. 

 Lew Welch
For more about Lew Welch, see