AMONG THE MYSTIC MOUNTAIN MEN
I’m an urban fighter once skilled
with hard-edged things, wired
to the paychecks of accountants and
used to sending men into the ground
for precious metal or food grains or
permanently if the need is there
without raising my voice or doing
anything but pressing digits on a phone.
I was a thing of bricks in a mahogany
office of books and desks and sweat
with no windows except for those
looking out on other windows and
other men sweating animal fear behind
mahogany brick walls where women are
paychecks distributed by wire, but
I have been going west for thirty years
and earth has swelled from the heartland
as I have followed the setting sun, and as
the sun sets we become eagles and stolid
mountain peaks are more a home to us…
Ex- urban fighter, I now look out at land which
overlooks the ambitions and offices of warriors,
seeing the weak institutions we create among fields:
small against the plains and smaller against mountains.
Men give degrees for this and speak of dreams.
I do not have to take to be alive. I do not have to take
because I am an urban warrior, now in a pastoral land
and the sharp edges of mountains now cross my soul,
and drawing the mountains into oneself is understanding
and that is power over any man who speaks with threats
whether he comes with fighter planes or paper ballots
or with lies to buy food for a family’s future. I, a
one-time urban fighter, know the weakness of my knives
and now the indomitable strength of lives.
A man who speaks
these languages speaks no words to anyone, is a tree
in a clearing growing old as the green foliage drops away.
© JARED SMITH
IBBETSON STREET PRESS 25 School Street, Somerville, MA 02143