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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The Summer Triangle and a Land of Abandoned Lake Houses

I saw a photo of you in an ocean-going canoe. Not so much one designed for it, rather, the old beat up one that you kept among the brush and the sand dunes. The one meant for a pond, made of cherished and dented aluminum. I saw you amongst the floating bits of ice in the ocean. It’s been a long time since the oceans frozen over. I’m not there to see it.

In this winter, I’ve been experiencing a nasty case of cabin fever. From inside the dust is falling like snow into drifts in the corners of the trim board. I can see it in the sunlight of halogen lamps. Up here, where the mountains rest and the air smells sweetly of abandoned campgrounds on the banks of Lake George, I will follow 9North till I run out of gas or the engine seizes. Which ever comes first. There are signs of scenic overlooks, and from them, I could observe that mountains on the far bank. It would not be long before I hit the pass.

Where you are, in a little ocean-going canoe, I hope you check the charts for rocks and the stores stowaways. Hastily made liberty ships sailed these waters once, and met the torpedo and the iron hull of the submariner. In silent ice water rust the wrecks of Nantucket Sound.

Write soon then, and write often from your arctic expedition amongst the icebergs and the fjords in that winter landscape I left behind. Trespass on the yards of great manor houses and wander the streets of the home country while you can. For there will come a day when you too will find yourself in a tiny apartment up north, looking for the sea on which you might launch from a beachhead of frozen sand and snow, a vessel without sail and a cherished hull. Navigate by the winter sun and the remnants of the summer triangle, and for a time amongst the icebergs, we might never grow old.

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.