The four of us ate shrooms and wandered out
into the moonlit desert, the canyon and cacti
in blue-silver light. And when the saguaro
began to mambo no one got unchill
or freaked out. John found a cottonwood
that had been hollowed by lightning strike:
we each took turns standing inside the tree,
surrounded by wood, enveloped by living wood,
cells swooshing like rainstorm in our ears.
I thought I understood entombed.
Hours later, coming down, drinking our
raspberry/hibiscus tea, we sat on a picnic
table and watched a helicopter shine a spotlight on the cliff face.
The light played back and forth across the rock
for long minutes, a brilliant white luminescent beetle
crawling along the wall, before it was switched off
and the helicopter flew back to wherever
it came from. We didn’t know then what we learned later,
that a climber hadn’t returned home as scheduled.
Father of two, about our age. Search and rescue
would return again in the morning, find his body
on the desert floor where it grows so bitter cold at night.
We’re fully down now, raw-nerved and famished,
so we trudge back to the car, back to our terribly poetic lives.
A little worse for wear, but what can you say,
The title is very apropos. The memory feels generational and kind of seminal. The desert setting really comes alive. The sense of irony is so well expressed. You are an archive of great material!
Thanks, Linda. Using Lexpomo as an excuse to mine some old memories.
Great description of the experience
I’ve never taken shrooms but you make it sound attractive. I’d probably end up like that missing climber.
You don’t have to do shrooms as long as you can read a Bill Brymer rendition. I did them once and went to a Woody Allen movie and it was a bit of a nightmare. Ha!
Don’t think I’d try them again. Afraid I wouldn’t come all the way back!
It contains the title
and surrounds us
The rhyme at the end helps us
” we survived.”
Thanks for the tea.
Great poem-loved its gravity.
Nice juxtaposition of the spiritual journey and the very animalistic death nearby.