Visiting Alaska, 2015
The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle      December 11, 2020

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Photos courtesy of Philip Daughtry
In Case Alaska Dies Before I Do (for Ulli Steltzer*) I wake in a hunter’s dream swimming against it until resistance surrenders to some undersea kinship in the deeps of sleep where human faces grow a seal’s whiskers. Higher in the Chugash wolves howl a slice off the moon before carnivorous silence devours the world its wintery ghost of translated entrails Earth’s final warming revelations of mammoth tusks fossil snowmobiles oil slicks from melting permafrost. Fresh ice skitches the lake each rush fleet as a hummingbird dart whispers man brush your teeth. Pawing another face in the toothpaste mirror I see a piano vulture hunched over dead keys mutter to a cannibal fire peel redeye spuds hard as halibut sinkers. a life’s mad flickering dance in the arms of alder logs. Why Poetry? Poetic language carries unmediated energy directly into the soul awakening us, sometimes with startling wildness. There are truths seeking expression only found in the arts. Without a living poetry, language decays. Because humans think in language, (even describing ourselves to ourselves in words), we need an enriched speech to grow consciousness. Poetry reminds me,say, when a loved one meets my eyes, how so much gathers to every instant. * Ulli Steltzer was a prominent Canadian photographer who lived among various Inuit communities and captured their way of life. She befriended me during a difficult time.The Chugash refers to a mountain range in western Alaska.
The Canyon Chronicle
      December 11, 2020

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