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In the Sierra, older rocks show signs of being metamorphosed two or three times. Magma that solidifies beneath the surface forms plutonic rock, and a body of this rock is called a pluton. In Sierra Nevada lands, most of this rock is light-gray granitic rock.
—-Yosemite National Park: A Complete Hiker’s Guide, by Jeffrey P. Schaefer
The great granite domes, peaks, cliff faces, crags and points jutting above us on the north and south sides of the canyon of the Tuolumne River, scored and cracked with folds and jointed lines, streaked black with weeping oxides, lightened and hued by gray and lime green lichen, stained with black lichen. Every crack and crevice holding or providing footholds for more life, mosses or tufts of grass, sand and sediments collecting there for Jeffrey pines, lodgepole, white pines and Douglas fir. Some die smaller than your hand, tiny dead trees or plants stuck remnant still in the crack of the rock, tufted by grasses, sprouting small beady succulents like scattered necklaces with small five pointed yellow flowers like perfect stars with a red stigma like a corona inside vibrating in a stiff wind, or a blooming penstemon—small delicate pinkish magenta fluted trumpets blooming from the tiny shrub with gnarled roots gripping granite—as ants, black and large or black and small, scurry over the whole face of the rock, the bare sun-warmed slabs all day, where the black fence lizard with the blue belly suns himself, the black stink bug determinedly goes east, a gray spider with the black cross on abdomen I only noticed as he moved when I pissed on him, the vast granite mountains live and crawl with lichen, insects and little plants of all kinds, every wind-scoured, sun-blasted and winterized feature, immense or microscopic, folds in half-hidden life—Stellar jays flying from tree to tree, the male and female woodpecker following each other around the base of a tree, the hummingbird which flew up to check on us daily, the cloud of gnats spinning around each other in and out of sunshine and shadow, mosquitoes hovering sometimes at your face, a mayfly that rested, clutching her knee—there’s nothing, not the wind, the sunlight or the great rock faces of all the mountains that is not moving and alive, but something in my spirit and one of my eyes is dirty and tired and cannot feel any of it really—something in one eye looks on it all shining in the glaring sunlight on the Tuolumne River as if from that tiny jet plane flying south, silent over the far canyon ridge—and cannot feel any real connection to all the summer life—motes, dust and pollen streaming on the breeze, another summer has come and I want it—California Falls roaring and the breeze kicked up by the waterfall into a cold pool causes a couple strands of spiderweb to scintillate on the air.
the sudden pain, momentary big jolt through my foot and my ankle suddenly made me wince: happily going up the steps to the target store parking lot—something to do with steel and the screws in that ankle that i got in 2006, like hiking down into the grand canyon and back to the south rim from the colorado river last april: i love how i could feel everything—it was stainless steel attached to the bone by armenian american surgeon probably immigrant son, survivor of a persecuted people, who flayed the shattered joint from a hike in north cascades national park, he reconstructed it at verdugo hills hospital (i’ve never been there before or since), sometimes i get unknown sensations shooting through those nerves, striding happily through them; i love how this body and its happiness is reconstructed, industrial and alive, this happiness feels and works and moves between parked cars and vehicles searching for parking, shoppers strolling through the terrific afternoon in the san gabriel valley—i have left behind my own vehicle where french money from a translation of a novel will pay for new tires, crossed the bustling parking lot, strolling out on main street: thinking my happiness itself is made of stainless steel and industrial—it is manufactured from a bar of steel and steel screws drilled into living bone, bloody happiness inside ligament, tissue and skin, happiness of cars and streets, of the dusty display of lighting fixtures in the electrical parts plateglass storefront, of the corroded metal door the worker slides down closing for the day, of the vehicles dismantled in the open bays of the brake repair garage, of the quiet grounds of the convalescent facility next to the jehovah witness church, i crossed elm street where diana once lived (the young mother killed in an SUV roll-over in texas), crossing fremont by yum yum donuts by the former popeye’s chicken that is vacant and empty, (another business killed by the ruined economy), the pain totally gone from my foot and ankle, my happiness steel manufactured in the industrial afternoon.
on a card on the grounds of the school yard
on the bottom of my shoes
on the label inside my shirts in the washing machine
in chinese signage on restaurants and stores
in korean on storefront churches
in spanish on flyers from the market stuck on my door
under somebody’s breath
on the radio
under the bridge by the debris of the encampment
on the fleeting mind
in my name, scattered
over the PA into the afternoon
under the styrofoam cup
garbled on the garage door
floating across screens
mixed in music
away from things
Arts Lives – Flann O’Brien: The Lives of Brian.
Best Single Documentary 2007 Irish Film & Television Awards
Mint Productions for RTÉ
Maurice Sweeney: Director & Voice of Flann O’Brien
Brendan Gleeson: Narrator
Tom Hickey: Myles na gCopaleen
Dermot O’Hara: Flann O’Brien
Two shiny crows fly off—ahead of my windshield as I drive down the street into morning—they veer over rooftops below.
Crows flap ragged windy-wings like the well-used books of the mountains and the books of gray clouds massed over the mountains.
My books are dusty, sullen, furtive with wind-blown ideas and damp glories like the black twig claws of crows’ feet, flashing perfect little eyes.
I like how what the crow does next or says roils the lives indexed in the texts—their flying makes the books shuffle, lean away. As I go to work.
Ambled into Starbucks to buy a square soylent Mocha fraudulent iced Nissan, scooted to Costco to jump the coprophagous line feeling for my plastic, holding essential items supposedly—driving, driving toward vast Calif. from Los Angeles, emerging inside Pico Union nascent tissue growth of micro-coastal swarming, these dental cities approach intersections of eye trees with green cars—wrongly convicted, wrongly imprisoned, wrongly deported in the backseat, licking all my envelopes stamped once and forever with underwater numbers. Cold fire of everything from the inside, of music and of going forth. Shoes and lives, worlds and skin—My Index of Slightly Horrifying Knowledge by Paul Guest.