Week 4 – Cartography

Cartography by John Wentworth Chapin

A Mountain So Lost by Sheldon Lee Compton

Maps are everywhere. On the palm of your hand, across the terrain of your heart. These are maps of hope and magic, emotion and muscle.

But these are not real maps, not those of a drafts man. Not the cartographic maps I make, the general progression from the cave wall to my fingers. The others, the tracks and cuts left on the heart, the spill of superstition poured over the heads of the desperate. These maps are not science. They have no more direction to offer than a wind-beaten cloud.

They call what I did a deliberate error, cartographic graffiti. I like that. It’s better than saying it was a prank or joke. It paints me less like a clown and more as a mischievous eccentric. Being different and clever is how I will be remembered.

In my design for the Rocky Mountains’ continental divide I added a fictitious peak called Mount Richard. It took two years before anyone realized there was no such peak, no mountain bearing my namesake. Two years I spent pointing out me, the mountain, to Heather in the diner in Niwot, to Jill at a bar in Arvada, Kim in Broomfield, Teresa in Wheat Ridge, at least four dozen or more across Colorado.

I should have just kept quiet, stood in silence against the skyline and let the majesty do the talking. I should have learned to be patient in my loneliness, still enough to watch a rosebud bloom.

Partly Revealed by Linda Simoni-Wastila

If you look close enough
in the mirror
soft creases trample
from your eyes,
so many tired circuits
relaying books read,
poems written,
tears shed.

Closer still, lines
surround your lips
carved canyons of past belly
laughs, false and true,
of smiles held too long,
of child’s play, of day lilies
before they spend themselves
in summer’s swelter.

If you dropped your robe
I could touch the crescent
under the clavicle
left from dog’s teeth;
the roughened skin
that failed to take
after the burn ran us
from the farm; the

indent too small to see
by the aureole but
certain to touch, souvenir
of the biopsy; the cleft
beneath once linked
to your mother,
where son, then daughter
bellowed forth.

The mirror reveals all,
map of your life, meager, full.

Space by Damian Pullen

Didn’t even know she had a son, says Mum. Dad goes upstairs and looks through the binoculars. Says he looks a bit of a hobo, and not surprising really, given the mother.

He doesn’t do much, mostly just sits under a tree, and sleeps outside, in a tent with a little porch. His mother’s dying of cancer. Everyone knows. We hear her moaning and crying sometimes. He keeps a fire going day and night, and sometimes the smoke blows across the street and stinks us out.

Our dog Milly runs over to their place and Dad sends me to get her. She’s lying on her back while he rubs her tummy. He’s made some damper dough and we cook it on sticks, then dip it in honey, delicious. Milly sniffs around their place.

He’s never been to school or anything. He says he’s an explorer. He lives in a tent ‘cos he doesn’t like houses, they can’t come with you. Dad calls me back after a while. Place is a bloody mess, he says.

Mum thinks the old lady ought to go back to the hospice but the community nurse reckons they can’t force her. Some days she lies in the sun, wrapped in an old blanket. One night we saw them doing a dance round the fire. It can’t be much longer, Mum says.

He’s started building a raft out of bamboo. He’s going to take it down the river, all the way to the sea, when she’s gone.

Back to Wk #3 – Little Worlds

Forward to Wk #5 – Lovelies on the Beach


One Response to “Week 4 – Cartography”

  1. “WOW” … Admittedly I came ’round this Week 4 of grand offerings to check out one of my fave authors, Linda Simoni-Wastilla when she pearled out poetry. Softly, I whispered her words three times — lovely, introspective, telling, tale-ing.

    AHHH, but then … how could one not browse around and read what the tableau has all served up — so deliciously? THE ART — John Wentworth Chapin – indeed you blew me away. I’ve recently returned from Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir and I felt a mosque or palace beckoning my barefeet once again. Splendour be You!

    Sheldon Lee Compton ~ cartographic graffiti be You – Loved the pique of the extra peak and how its topography flowed into flirtatious finery … but “I should have learned to be patient in my loneliness, still enough to watch a rosebud bloom.” softened oh so much more of my eye and inner places. Magnificent in its own “mischevious eccentric”, “wind-beaten cloud” of a way. Bravo sir.

    Which brings me to the heart tuggin’ from the Pullen, Damien Pullen and the tent man and the fire dance and the raft to go, to go, to go. Why’d the gypsy in my soul, in anyone’s soul – feel the kinship beat the drums on this one. Stunning, soft, gut-stuff. Cool! (I just effused there – it was worth it)

    ~ Absolutely*Kate
    AT THE BIJOU
    and HARBINGER*33

    writing, designing, promoting-publishing
    Believing in Believers above all else

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