Reflecting about the last moments of the 15 year celebration that unfolded in Tlalpujahua with Diego, Bronwyn, Andrea, RLE, Doug, Christopher, Jose, Gama, Melissa, Karina, Antonio, Rosamaria, Alma and of course, Lucy: I see promise and heart and revelation that I will live for you and you will live for me…
Weaving my body through the thicket, we are a pack of grunting animals as we ply the bramble of South Rainier Training area. Here I was a soldier. How did I get here? Dark, wet chill saturates my fatigues, Matt to my front, Jim behind, the cold everywhere, seeping in, penetrating skin and flesh and bone…and yet I am warm from moving, sweat creeping up a stiff band of cotton on my back, rifle cramping my right arm, weighted by the heft of a full magazine. And yet I am warm in closeness to the brothers behind and in front, in our togetherness the snappy chill does not penetrate so deeply.
Eugene and I outsmart the cold ground by gathering fern leaves, piles of them. Another night after a day of rain, wet fatigues now freezing like cardboard as the night sky opens to the stars. It’s too cold to pretend. Scattering in a cushion shaped bed, we stretch the military poncho over the ferns and stake it down for the most warmest sleep in the coldest cold I have ever had–This beats the spooning we did in Yakima, where we borrowed each other’s warmth to survive in forced intimacy.
In the eternity of memory that makes up my army, sometimes just the electricity of a wet clothed shoulder touching shoulder filled me with such promise and hope and warmth that made the all of my short life tolerable. Or an imploring whisper, urgent hushed tones or a searching gaze, in all its excruciating tenderness. And all our shared impulse and drive subverted and sublimated toward the enterprise of killing, toward the arrival of our fine selves to the point of delivering automatic gunfire and triggering shrapnel hurling munitions toward the other…
And now some are dead, put in the ground to where they came from, surrendered to the earth, no longer a narrative but the flash of moments, shared touches and suffering and the quiet amidst the concussions–their fear in proximity to my fear:
And there was a time we were all together
When the sun rose or stars fell
we had nothing but each other
Deafening silence, hush-quiet surrounded us
In one moment, not a collection
But one everlasting moment
I felt the fire in my blood
In my guts
But the flames were shared—the searing heat
Oscillating cellular excites the cooling stopped movement
The unaware setting
of the infinite metal
In this Tlalpujahua time we join like open hearted soldiers, bared to our tender core we go into the mine. We stumble, the group of us groping, grasping for external purchase, and physical knowing, assurance of proximity—the utterance, gasped awe of water splash, stone under arch cutting the toe pad, brutalizing the tender foot. Limping in feigned sensitive high ground searching feet walking under ground into the mine. Hand on shuddering shoulder, penetrating the fear of mind in the mine—afraid of breath come close, intimate mirror of self with others in darkness, penetrating the earth one more time, going to ground. The one in front of me, communicating through the lightest finger squeeze a slight warning.
And there in the mine, every part of me open, vulnerable, fearless in a surrender to going further in, I heard the cries of those collapses, I felt those hurts and heartbeats and wishes for this to be over, to get the gold and leave. But it is never enough, always for the more, the enterprise of extracting the medium for others to avoid the collapsing closeness of breath of mirror of self of privation. I witness the past in the blasted residue of the mine, the infinite metal of our shared experience, our shared heart, bleeding on the rock of the mine floor, mingling with the blood of the miners, who created the path.
And I felt the grief of the earth cloven, driven, drilled, consumed, and digested alive, the screams of the miners, too dark to dream, the light extinguished and out of heat, the holding tension of the bodies of those miners, the organized fear to exploit—uncovering the vulnerable to center the unbound and surrender the shaft of lightless night—stars extinguished in blackness of black hole earth bound warmth of womb, mother’s amniotic leaking sack like sheets of wetness coating the walls…
Uncovering and oscillating cellular excitation creates matter shining buzzed to gold to golden hearth to heat to home, penetrating further inwardly, going like a ghost chasing it’s memory we dig deeper into the pit of pity, the mine of mine to objectify the realization of gold, of oro, of two stars together making one…
We travelers unbound take a left up the ever diminishing shaft and sit in breath and silence and like a birth, it rises in me the putrid guts of the grief of the walls and the emptiness of a gold lost in the industry to capture it. I discover my animal next to me breathing in front and behind, a fearful laugh. I find the gold in me forever fluid and connected to the brother and sister behind and in front. I discover the gold that could never be found any other way, blind, in darkness, in collapsing physical space in proximity to the brother and sister to my side, a warmth in absence of the need for it.
The mine, the gold. All mine, all gold.