(untitled)

(untitled)

A Poem by Ookpik
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Another exercise

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Stretched canvas beat against the poles as another sudden gust drilled against the triangular opening of my tent.
The loose bungee hung wearily - as if having surrendered to the task of securing, gripping and finally failing to hold the fabric in place against the assault made by the wind. It hung there lifelessly - the broken body of Hector, limp and lolling behind the rolling violence of the flap. 
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The knot had failed, and rather than attempt to re-hook it, I had chosen instead to watch - to be transfixed by the mesmerism of the wind, animating itself into the repetitive opening and closing of the tent's mouth. It appeared almost as if the gusts were attempting to speak through it - that the gale, after being so long without a tongue, had dived toward the newly discovered fabric in a desperate attempt to express itself, to convey to some audience all of what it meant to be wind. And only now, upon giving the mouth life, realized that though it had acquired the lips, it still lacked the essential knowledge to mouth and form the words. How angry it must have felt just then, to coil and twist within the sky for eons, for millennia, for as long as the sky itself had existed, only to be now, suddenly thwarted out of its opportunity for self expression by the accidental oversight of forgetting to teach itself how. 
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The wicked beating of the flap seemed to emphasize its anger - as if, out of sheer frustration, the fabric had opted to perform the duty of a flag, pounding its tattoo for the eyes of lookers on, rather than dexterously forming the hungry sentences of a tongue that had spent too long an eternity as an involuntary mute. 
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But such a thing wasn't true - the flap was no more the wind's tongue than it was the bespoken object of my projections. 
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I had always known the sky to be capable of speech - the wind was its tongue, and this flap here was just an obstacle caught by the force and power of the sky's oration.  
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For on such nights, when the sky chose voice and the whole of the earth resounded in prophetic echo, it would have been a foolish thing to mistake the noise for anything other than an exposition of power. 
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Even now, I could hear the stretched cord from outside - the lines securing corners to the lichen pocked stones rolled into a protective circle - waver and bend as guitar strings resonating beneath the plucking thumb of the ether. 
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This tent, and this tent's mouth, were no more than the hollow of the instrument - the soundhole, a cave-catch to the deep outside.
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Beyond the mouth lay the great expanse of the northern tundra. The deep plain that froze annually into sheet ice and melted in a cyclic, binary revolution into the spring of a hyperborean steppe. 
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It smelled this time of year as heavy loam, it smelled of coarse flora and distant sea salt. Little flowers peered from beneath the blanket of morass and moss - tufts of cotton clung to recently revived twigs, and sparse grass reached high for the soft vitality of the sun.     
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Everything that grew, that breathed its newly restored and semi annual life, did so atop a buried plate of ice. The freezing never left here - it remained always, laying dormant beneath the ground in a perpetual permafrost and waking in the fall to manifest again as the dead pale of frozen barrens. 
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The freeze here was perpetual, it only slept in the summers - as a refrigerated bear, snoring in hibernation through seasonal heat and awaiting the call to creep back from its barrow and answer with a soft crackle of immediate, unrelenting cold.
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The ice here was as constant as the wind - and as I watch the flap beat its fold against the side of my tent, I sense with dread imagination the sleeping storm as the object of the sky's call, and the flap of my tent as the simple witness, the bystander to both the mustering song and the patiently resting auditor of the impending and inevitable blizzard. 
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I knew the feeling well. 
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Dread - that Heideggerian reflex, the angst against the falling curtain, and the being before the blowing of snow. 
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When one knows a thing is coming, and yet knows not what can be done to prepare for it, the best salve is often a strong cup of tea - and with tea in mind, I turned my face from the gape of the tent's mouth and affixed my attention instead to the Coleman stove, resting upon a loose sheet of plywood and insulated by a pillow of moss beneath. 
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There were loose caribou hairs scattered about the bottom of the steel box, and I pinch enough for tinder into the shallow basin of the burner. Upon upturning the dial, the waft of sour naphtha proceeded the low rasp of the fuel outtake and I watched as the thin strands of white shivered in frigid anticipation. 
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They reminded me of insects - as if, though they had fallen from the backs of their original host, they yet still had enough life to be aware of their new role as camp-stove kindling. It would have been a morbid thought, except such was the way here. Life always gave way to new life, or to the sustained life of another - there was no morbidity attached to death, only the resolute passing of one force to the next, and the shivering hairs were no more than the instrument in the trade from fuel, to fire, to my boiling teapot.
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As I dropped a match, the burner exploded and the low rasp became a hiss beneath the flickering ring of high, yellow flame. Quickly, so as not to waste fuel, I twisted the dial down and the ring settled into a gentle, grazing blue. 
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I always liked the look of that low burn - there was something magic about the way the color played against the shadows inside the tent.
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Absentmindedly, or at least more fixated on the thought of falling snow than I had been on the burner, I lazily drew a leather bag filled with river water and began filling the copper teapot. The imprint of the blue flame had left its tonguing mark against the metal, and the oxidized rump of the rounded kettle showed the polarized, blackened green of constant use.
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It was like a brand that had been burned into the a*s of my teapot, and I loved it, because no two brands ever looked the same and the identifiable watermark made this kettle all the more mine.
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As I waited for the kettle to boil, foregoing the tent flap and its desolate vision of snows to come, I pulled my tobacco pouch from it's snug, carefully protected pocket and began the thoughtless process of assembling a cigarette. 
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For it was indeed, a thoughtless thing - to pinch paper and douse the plywood beneath the Coleman stove with a scattered peppering of shredded leaf - and it was exactly the comfort of such thoughtlessness that I required to prevent the recurrence of brooding ever longer upon tomorrow. 
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(break)
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© 2020 Ookpik


Author's Note

Ookpik
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCCXq9QB-dQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQYsGWh_vpE

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Reviews

It occurred to me that this would be so powerful as spoken word/slam poetry. I don't known if that's anything you've ever tried.

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


Ookpik

3 Weeks Ago

I disagree (I'm prone to unsolicited criticism). And prose is a different monster - that's part of w.. read more
likesgreeneggsandham

3 Weeks Ago

Good man. A lot take it to mean something mundane about what they’ve written. Prose is indeed a di.. read more
Ookpik

3 Weeks Ago

As do we all
[send message][befriend] Subscribe
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Wanna collaborate? I know what you're trying to do. You're actually more... way more, dark than me. But I can see what you are doing. If you're game I think we can make something.

Let me know.

Posted 1 Month Ago


Ookpik

1 Month Ago

I would try, though it would be the first time - what did you have in mind?

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102 Views
2 Reviews
Added on May 9, 2020
Last Updated on June 24, 2020

Author

Ookpik
Ookpik

Vancouver Island, British Columbia , Canada



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A Poem by Ookpik


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A Poem by Ookpik


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A Poem by Ookpik