One-Fingered Man Fails in Everest Bid
(from an RSS feed)
Who wakes up knowing what news they’ll become by afternoon?
Some, I’m sure, strive for the odd combination
to capture the world’s fascination if only for the time
to click to link and blink a moment in wonder. But imagine
the plain, turning days rolling this man forward without knowledge
of the music drafted in his tracks. One day buying airfare
on a touchscreen. Another folding clothes. Then one afternoon
he’s approaching the stratosphere, feeling drunk and alone,
remembering clearly each finger’s small but tremendous
death as if they happened in someone else’s hands
but had been transposed to his by the same cruel magic
that led him to love this mountain, to come apart in its cold mouth.
This love ascends his bid to its surreal crescendo, raising
his one digit again and again. Always there on the mountain,
yet, in light blotches behind his eyes and in his air-starved
mind, for fractions of moments passed, the idea of “bid”
places him in an auction house. All around him a market—
fine art, cultured desires—exists in a flash of luxury.
Wounded and in his gear and filth he outbids the few
who still care to purchase this dead craft, this climbing of Everest.
Bidding with nothing but breath in a life where this climb is nothing
until a man who seemed so like us loses everything for his art.
It is only a blip between all this pressing through screens,
during which we wonder at what he remembered.
Steven Breyak is an American poet living in Japan. His work can be found on some other great websites like this (he is very Google friendly) and in the pages of Gargoyle, and other literary journals. He's currently attempting to revitalize his blog, so have a look there as well: stevenbreyak.blogspot.com. And as of February 19, 2019 he is very happily a father.