Rodney Nelson


No One Other

They needed not call you Ishmael
unblest unburdened with fame or money
no one on way with no one other
you slipped the country drunk at night
and you can see it ever now
this very movement
             achy John Steinbeck as Don Quixote did not want to be alone or go
                          nameless, friendless, without any of the safety one gets from family,
                          friends, and accomplices. There is no reality in the danger. It's just
                          a very lonely, helpless feeling—a kind of desolate feeling. For this
                          reason I took one companion on my journey
             brought him a Sancho in that mutt but think of Modestine Platero, ridden and
             talked to as well, the pickup Rocinante made it three, he had been
                          rather seriously ill with one of those carefully named difficulties which
                          are the whispers of approaching age
             not in some while
                          heard the speech of America, smelled the grass and trees and sewage,
                          seen its hills and water, its color and quality of light
             drove into it so too late, Steinbeck got hell off the road hurried home to die in
             ease, Larry McMurtry wanted at millennium turn
                          to look
                          merely to roll along the great roads, the major migration routes that carry
                          Americans long distances quickly, east-west or north-south
             more like me my hardy Crown Vic and not much later, around their age but
             nondomestic a native man to the trek resuming it
they needed not call you Henry David
who had not built a chicken coop in
San Francisco Flagstaff Fargo
if I went eighty-five would die
you thought but did so any way
y no volveráááás
                          as age approaches, the appetite for long drives may leave me, which is
                          why I want to get rolling now
             McMurtry wrote, a traveler without
                          Mister Charlie
                          Victor Charlie
             while I had been on them during all that approach, had stayed worked written
             here and yon, meant not now to seek America my vanished prime restore an
             appetite, only get to Western Slope from North Dakota, a narrow agendum
they needed not call you John Crowe Ransom
the many ties you had not been wearing
psych-tech poet in old Crown Vic
you slipped the country drunk at night
a trail had ever been for you
some red arroyo
             thick heat the eve of August one, I was at a farm in North Dakota intended to
             leave next morning but would have to write in logbook that a woman had
                          turned up unannounced for supper. I decided to take off right then. (She
                          had diddled what I let her put on her website.) Even though Sister had
                          made a special dish, I did not sit to table. All night across lonely central
                          S.D. on hwy. 212; a nap in car at rest area near Sundance; woke to clear
                          predawn in coolth and dryness, a Black Hill there at hand. Now I'm in
                          Pathfinder Dam rec. area. Talkative birds (unseen). To die of drink
             had nodded toward the south on night run where I had one time visited writing
             ranching woman friend whose name meant pretty, was building a home with her
             mountain man on the Hills' flank
they needed not call you Jedediah
her pretty mouth so full of chew
             the man long dead her writing turned to periodismo, would not have remembered
             me, I had had no thought of stopping wanted to be in west Colorado get off the
             road to
             now but afoot in national monument or on Grand Mesa, find psych-tech job,
             maybe park Crown Vic and stay
y no volveráááás
you heard it texmex radio
another leg the same great trek
midnight vibrato
                          the monument. Written in Saddlehorn Campground at last light. Ranger
                          happens to be an expert on strange John Otto, who created this park and
                          of whom I've been thinking since ninety-seven. Drank a jug of my
                          favorite, Little Kings ale. I look down on Grand Valley, over to misty
                          Grand Mesa. Should thither tomorrow. The wind has come and gone.
                          It's starting up again. May have to batten tent
             I resumed my lifelong hike next morning, Black Ridge, young rattler told me
             walk but not on him, the moment I went into now was dry at reddish piñon
             height, or came into, I knew the moment many a day had reached thorn cliff
             gold sand or prairie of it any a when or where the same, was home in that
             moment, the reason to hike, then ducking back to time I rented a room in Grand
             Junction on way up Mesa, did not
                          mean to do the entire Crag Crest, but what a fine route. Dizzy-blooming
                          mountain flora. Eleven miles of doug fir and engelmann spruce.
                          Unhazed view from crest itself, over eleven thousand feet: distant
                          higher barren reaches. They thought I was dead
they needed not call you Lazarus
unblest unburdened with some one other
to want you to stay or return
you might retire to Boca Linda
             the habitanos of the moment who had ever waited on the trail, I might have
             carried someone with me, entered it not alone, might not
no good to snook at her like that
             when a man that don't need drink to loosen the tongue gets drunk and talks,
             oh my
                          I took the short John Otto trail. It ended very near Independence
                          Monument. I'd seen a photo of him climbing it to raise Old Glory at
                          the top
             he needed nothing was drunk on America had wrought the trails with a pick, even
             a road or two, I liked the
                          Serpent's, undriven since nineteen fifty
             the one in
                          Monument Canyon
             made for mule and man maybe another, did lead to red wedding rock, the
             woman arrived was not a dream but seemed to want Otto's who tried to carry her
             with him into the moment, at each side of rock
                          written out with pieces of quartz
             a shibboleth he and woman agreed on
             they lasted eight weeks, he had been in Napa State Hospital like me where I had
             done training, not Otto, but the woman did not make it or was it he that failed to
             get her in, would moment have opened to two in any kind of love
they needed not call you Cyrano
lover on road with loved one other
the moment seemed to be for two
at Bodega Head or Mazatlán
or Mendocino the both of you there
ocean long away
                          early to Kannah Creek and tried the Spring Camp Trail. A no-nonsense
                          unremitting climb. I hiked a distance before reaching Indian Point cutoff;
                          I was in aspens then. Am savoring every Augenblick like a Nietzschean.
                          Against the Truth, Justice, Love, Honor of Otto and the woman I am
                          tempted to put N's fire, defiance, self-disregard, and love
             were no psych-tech jobs on whole Western Slope so I got part-time lowgrade
             work at an unlocked unit, kept on the trails but had to use Crown Vic to reach
             them, drive to go afoot reach job site too, the road meant lowgrade alertness to
             moment and I drove for the heightening that waited, sometimes a long way,
             even to
                          Chaco Canyon. After an almost too scenic drive thru San Juans (hip
                          Ouray). Did a five-mile loop hike to Pueblo Alto in perfect warmth.
                          Others have come to seek equinox. Do I know this place
             a woman I had use to love maintained that she and I had run here mid nineteenth
             century, been Navajo
                          I was a healer
             she said, a heliometric slot in rock and infinite unseen avenues returned nothing
             that I knew to me now, the canyon wide dry quiet alone
                          the Navajo hadn't clocked the sun either, had ranged in empty Chaco and
                          out. The ruins would have been as odd to them as everything is to me
they needed not call you Everyman
who only anywhere just arrived
no one on way with no one other
you might have been a chaparral cock
and you can see it ever now
this very movement
             a ride too
                          to Arches. An RV queue at entrance, but I did get a campsite. Many
                          Germans here and on the ill-marked Devil's Garden Trail. Went astray
                          and had to boulder. At sundown I looked out east over the evening ruby
                          rock that Ed Abbey had loved. An a.m. visit to his old trailer site. I
                          think I found the right juniper
             had seen a hundred vehicles at that trailhead, what would he have thought of
             Arches now, the horniest man in American writing next to Jim Harrison, did what
             he could for the land as well
they needed not call you Edward Abbey
             a man that cannot forget will thrive, it happened on Puget Sound, many a dank
             month of her, Sinclair Inlet
the wend of the road was maritime
you fucked a mermaid in the water
             had swum onto me, the best I would have
and slipped the country drunk at night
running to mountain desert plain
y no volveráááás
             in the moment's ambit
                          Black Ridge Canyon
                          Dolores River
             over them all the mesa that I did on a
                          long hard trek. Coal Creek Trail, bear sign at its foot. Aspens moving
                          into full gold at eighty-five hundred feet. The way became vague on
                          bench under the rim, where cattle ruled; one cowpath among many. No
                          hikers. I did see lug prints. Wind on edge of mesa was hefty and a bit
                          chill. Sixteen miles, too much for a day climb. A jug of Arches water
                          fueled me
             returning as ever none too willing to time, myopic Grand Junction and world,
             noting its history the news
                          nuclear bombs used to be exploded underground a few miles north of
                          GJ. People building homes were offered uranium tailings to mix with
                          their concrete. No charge. Bomb in Bali. Your monotheism at work
             the unit where I had a job closed down
they needed not call you San Francesco
a bird is meant to be watched oh my
eat of the tree like no one other
                          which had been no threat to my poverty, I had wanted to stay at it, to earn
                          more would have robbed the heathen in me of the now
you slipped the garden drunk at night
and on thy belly shalt thou go
in la povertàààà
                          I have hiked everywhere it seems but Indian Point. With leaves down
                          I can see it from east window, high, far, retiring. Ice on windshield at
                          dawn yet large black flies in motion where I parked. Land's End Road.
                          I thought, an animal is watching me. Claro: one old mare. Ravens, piñon
                          jays. Minnesota cornography on NPR. Shan't get to Indian Point this
             monotheism evades the moment in boilerplate, while
                          sherpas and Tibetans avoid eating fish partly because they lay so many
                          eggs, each one with the potential to beget another living being
             in Utah Israel Iran o gawd, I was moving none too quick on end of Devil's
             Canyon loop and met two cowboy horsemen, middle aged, their salutatory
                          how yew doin oldtimer
             aposiopetic, have to get rid of this white beard I did not croak in reply, to leave
             Grand Junction, a onetime landlord in Yuma was preparing a way for my next
they needed not call you Wendell Berry
to cover the ground is to love it
             he wrote of stewardship the earth the virtue in
                          a local economy
             no poem but the agripoem
             right for them all not me
there will never be another
like your everlovin mother
             I wanted to see the earth to farm the moment in migration, wished I could do
             midnight vibrato on one acre with Shelli a cute too-young thing
if you went eighty-five would die
did so anyway
             whom I worked with, she told me in a dream that
                          two of my published narratives contained an orgasm. Near the end—you
                          ejaculated both times, she said. A mild reproof
             but had to get up Mount Garfield, an ugly dried-mud presence, been looking at
             me and I at it too long, so
                          climbed via the short route, two thousand feet in two miles. Nicer
                          than I had thought, esp. at first bench and higher, with young
                          ponderosas in the cold. A danger trail. Flagpole at summit with shreds
                          of Old Glory attached, erected 1988 in memory of the fallen here
             not Garfield John Otto
                          on Everest Nick Estcourt during a solo ascent saw a figure behind him
                          in dim light. Would die on K2. On Kanchenjunga Pete Boardman was so
                          sure others were following the party that he looked back. Died on
                          Everest. No one/Nothing shadowed me today
             no dearth of sun, but I felt night reclaiming the rocks, to eliminate time from life
             and work ignore it
                          I toddle into the shed, I turn thirty, I retire to Boca Linda
they needed not call you Fridjof Nansen
neither a Japanese man nor a cat
             ignore the place you leave for the movement you are in
                          den resignierten Glanz
             of what is running out, one valediction a walk by the Colorado, I
                          met a small whirlwind on the Corn Lake river trail. It spun ahead of me,
                          a leaf whisk. Come here, I said. It did. No other wind
no one on way with no one other
you slipped the winter right at dawn
and you could see it ever now
on Indian Point


Note to Miami Beach

I did not win my spurs on Collins Avenue
now you see me as a cowboy language poet
to try to hoot along with missa cantata
at a fire you have made of palo verde
when all you expect me to do is nonrefer
                                         oh I
am just a rhinestone saddle bum like you
lopin high from one performance gig to the next
havin so many a lingo in the conk case
dont make me no Cimmerian book boyero
de Cimarrón
                        let my range word on that be sung



are you Syria's

we have rum for all


Yellow Springs

They saw me but did not know who I was
or knew who I was but did not see me
they let me be until it was too late
so that they had to laisser faire for good
I lived on what I did not have to do
and had no reason to go on running
in flight or was it pursuit but it took
me to Oregon Guanajuato Mu-
nich the edge of Toroweap overlook
not that anything cracked my solitude
the more I moved the whollier it got
which contradicted the notion of who
had seen me and not known that I would need
one place to squat if I wanted alone
I do not aim to slow my moving on
unless I get to Yellow Springs tonight


Love in Colón

kiss me Isthmian

if you wont let me in your pants
what or whom do I default to

kiss me Isthmian