The flight of birds, one bird of one species crossing a flock swirling, breathing together with their wings, a musical instrument of movement based on air—what does that mean to have a bird perched, watching you with little flickers, flinches, do you understand? and beyond, some impossible wings in the distance, some impossible migration on the edge of something—colors traveling out and catching the night on a string, turning it inside out, bringing up the bottom, making space. Every night I travel further south. I found a rhythm. The Migrations crossing stars, moment to moment new constellations. And seeing them you know things. Somebody knows. Somebody has found something on some shore and they hold it. They may even make a sculpture from it. My scales, the mountains of my spine, drink the moonlight. The wet breath of night. Further and further into something. Speaking beneath the speaking with my feet. Molecules creating themselves. And here I am pretending I moved them. And to fall asleep as the sun rises, sleep through the height of day, opening my eyes again as the sun is leaving, as if the sunlight drove me deeper, beneath a sheaf of rock or fallen tree, within the vibration of a stand of lichen, blinking my eyes as I travel crusted with dust, further south out of the desert to where there were more and more humans, more and more trees, more lichens, and that beautiful shimmer above them as if it is raining silver, as if the moon is laughing and shedding. Closer and closer to the ocean as if passing through layers. I look out of a rock escarpment. I’m on a slope. Grass flowing down to an enormous spiral of lichens that have grown from elevated earth. An ancient earth spiral. But the humans must’ve died upon it for the lichens to grow on it. I’ve seen other mounds like this while flying in my dreams. Panthers. Snakes. Bears. The sun is setting. Golden-green dust shimmers up from the lichens into nothing and returns. Beautiful highways into the evening sky. Then a Migration, a Sky-Design, comes. It is different than this spiral. Yet the birds in their density reform, adjust, and descend. They perch on the lichens, bathing themselves in the dust, preening each other, then lift, reforming into a new Design, one different than the one they came with, different than the spiral, yet retaining its simultaneous internalization and expression, and continuing on. Evening lifts me out from beneath the rock. It’s time to head for the ocean again.
John Rock grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan in the United States and attended University of Wisconsin and San Francisco Art Institute for Art/Literature/Anthropology. He spent many years in San Francisco and Amsterdam making and presenting experimental films and is the author of two novellas Returning To The Waves and To The Well of Earth, and the novel Report The Earth. He presently lives in New Mexico. More writings at johnrockpoetry.com