Great Camp Sagamore, and other Visitations of the Past

In the morning, in Prozac dreams, I have known myself to go to war. The fields of battle used to move and speak to me. I knew them as friends, from when I was younger than I am now. At the end of our time together, none of them ever said goodbye, even though I wasn’t planning on doing it myself. It still hurt. I am still a child, and a bitter one at that.

I’m back at Great Camp Sagamore, where I started my college days years ago. It is an almost untarnished, well-polished, and immaculately maintained memory. But there too- is the salt of my old forms of warfare. I have held many grudges since then. It is seeping through bulkheads. At night, the rivets begin to loosen, and the outer hull ripples with the passing of undetected icebergs.
You will never get your revenge, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting it. Scratches and scrapes against the bottom paint. I’m waiting for the boiler room to flood, ear against the floor where below the ice echoes like sonar into the deep. I like to imagine the reverberation of my calamity can be heard for miles around, though I am sure it is nothing more than the blip of a plane splashing down into the Pacific, and the victor makes a token of rocking the wings, before turning into the sun.

We wore sneakers in the long dew-covered grass at the beginning. Remembering my former self from those early college days is like stepping into the dawn. Like the faithful old mornings here at Sagamore. Step outside, and you are in it- you re filled with a strange sort of hope. But then, where to now Sir? Calls the mate. You can do anything but you could also do nothing, so sayith the Lord, or something to that degree. I was never one for scripture, though it has been filling my uncertainties like caulk in a rotten bilge for some time now.
We used to lay on the stained old pool table in the basement of the dorm hall, talking of nothing, and flirting of even less. But in the years that followed, happy college days became a curdled memory and coagulated with a great deal of mutual rage.
I wish we’d known it sooner, before I waltzed over to her house four years later, and divided I wanted to incite the truth out of her. I was not to be disappointed of what followed. And I was no longer alone in my tarnished memory of myself, though I think it had been that way for a long while before then.

The sky turns a more pleasant shade of blue over the great camp, as the true morning comes on. The sky is free of planes, the lakes free of ocean liners and icebergs. Only the black flies encircle my head like dive-bombers. A quaint reminder of the cost of the war I’ve been waging, and the strain on the economy of my being I have wrought in myself.

 

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Ironwoods

10382302_10204384985254981_8932963122963137300_oMy name, like courage, held in the drifting lights
that faded away from the kitchen as we woke up.
Backseat, waiting for your train.
Strong aversions to how things had gone sour
held out like pockets on the eastern front.

I’d been here before, retracing felled ground, examining foothills and farmhouse nests, reclaiming my own life.
The one that had proven its foundation and faith.
A vaulted ceiling gathers soot like a well loved collection
of coffee mugs in the cupboard
and socks in the drawer.

Where the floor rattles a little with the switching on of the air conditioning, and where shadows and cracked pavement climb steep up Ironwood,
Is where summer peace grew like sea grass
holding in the shoreline, like you held me
On foggy nights,
Soft by the seaside,
For years of green.
Waves like the wild
You motioned to show me,
the courage in the calm of your mists.

I Waterlogged the Electric Kettle

Board games on the coffee table with the dual innocence where we once were as children,

but now soiled skin.

There’s too much baggage in our collective bedrooms. So start anew at six and seven. Benefits of skipping the younger years, maybe fashion someone that will share in your condition.

Throw open the sash after Christmas, a spring cleaning of sons. I should have noticed sooner,

but you covered your bases, assured me of the unchanging nature of things. I remember your embrace when I left for Ireland at the airport.

But of course it’s changing. And you knew that even then, since November or before. You delayed me- got to me first. Before I was standing at the sink, holding the electric kettle under the tap, when I noticed and forgot the water running cool over my hands.

The thought came then.

Replaced.

Replaced.

Replaced.

Ode to Steadman

In beeswax leather, and in morning frost, I can find you still. Here, in the garden, beside the snow drifts that look like the sight of some ancient avalanche, where we lost three skiers last winter. I am waiting with a steaming mug of something alcoholic.

In Woods Hole, by the bakery that my grandmother used to frequent when she lived on island, I am watching with a puzzled look and a borrowed cap. I am watching a man smoking a long cigarette and dressed in overalls shovel snow away from the door. The smell drifted in over the thin air, and it reminded me of bonfires. There was a blizzard bearing down, and it was an hour and a half before the driving ban was to be imposed. I’d made that venture to see a friend I no longer see any more.

-Casual sex will do that to you.

Like my hands on your skin, my writing these days is often lost and aimless, as if I were looking through the dark for something. As if I were stumbling over forgotten affects, looking for the path that leads down to the water’s edge, and the pond where we used to sit in pine trees and smoke cigarettes.

Feels more and more like I’m wandering the projector night- calling out a rainstorm of idioms and eccentricities, having taken in herbal entropy. More and more I feel we’re losing touch with the selves we were beginning to know, back when growing up only went in one direction. Feels more and more like seeing from the eyes of some brilliant madman in sneakers, armed with an IBM Selectric and a train ticket to the campaign trail in the 70’s.

Maybe I’ll see you around sometime, though I can’t remember the historical precedent. You’re standing near an infinity of shorelines- lighthouses are a common thing in a land of bonfires. I aimed a twin lens reflex I had in my bag and you smiled. But I can’t be sure of who you are. I have too many friends I don’t see any more.

-This is not necessarily because of causal sex.

Cape Cod is a maelstrom of everything I used to be- a landfill of old tapes and old manuscripts. Antiquated selves are collecting like nets on the docks, left to dry by fishermen with heroin problems with cracked hands that have felt more than their fare share.

I want to ask their story. We’re sitting in the air that smells sweetly of diesel with a puzzled look and borrowed boots of beeswax leather.

So I’ve begun to evoke the madman himself, to find some answer as to how to continue. I can’t see out the windows, but I know that the train is still moving, the carriage shudders along with the keys, lurching forward and back-

Don’t I know I want to be home? Don’t I know a little corner in the garden, where we christened a place of bonfires, drinking Rosé with poison ivy grafted to my forearm, left from the time Brendan pushed me into the brambles, running to the rhythm of crickets, and laughing through fields of gnat flies.

To a Man With a Pipe, Unused for Years

From this vantage, I see you of so missed childhoods, of the white canvas sails of Wild Harbor’s rocking vessels. 

You would have painted her with watercolor on thick paper, and I with my pencil.

Where the Knob extends out onto the sea, it is covered only by the sky and the flickering trail of loosely held flashlights.

How I have wanted to gaze on my back at that endless pool, thinking of coffee dates, of teenage girlfriends, and of winter-locked walks. 

How friendships rift, and the view of their ever-changing play in the tides is mesmerizing. 

I painted us watercolor, and it rain together. I cried in the arms of a grandfather clock. 

When rummaging through the draws in the empty bedroom, I found a pipe next to your Colt .45, and a sketchbook you once kept.

The safety catch is broken, the pencil lines are smudged, and now my house smells of tobacco. 

If only I could tell you of my life, beyond what little you knew. 

From this vantage, I can feel your voice in watercolors,

And from this vantage, 

the view is breathtaking. 

Untitled from the Notebook

I can’t say I’m one for a rainy Tuesday. There”s the smell of coffee and the sound of drums in the distance. I can see shreds of the long winter resting on the ground. 

I can remember your run down little kitchen, when snow fell and the radio hummed a warm heatless sound. Electricity that pulsed in winter, and we danced and the faucet leaked and I was content. 

Days like today remind me of you, though I can’t quite remember why. Maybe it was all the hurt on both sides, yet I felt nothing but the October air blow in through my open window. 

But that was years ago, and I still can’t remember why.