Friday, August 3, 2018

Like a Downhill Brake-Burned Freight Train Full of Pig-Iron

Earthgirl climbing Mt Monadnock in sw New Hampshire. Tough but fun but plagued by summer campers, as in kids and early teens, all screaming at top of voices. Recommended hike is up the White Dot trail and down the White Cross, but White Dot full of said campers so we went up the White Cross and down the White Dot and learned why the recommendation is up the White Dot, down the White Cross. I can go up steep all freaking day long - I like uphill, lots - but down the White Dot, ouchy. My knees are old.

Typing now (7am Friday) in Lincoln New Hampshire in middle of White Mountains. This is true - I thought the hotel was in Littleton NH, twenty miles to north, and overshot Lincoln, luckily - we drove I-93 first north then south through Franconia Notch, best stretch of interstate I've ever driven. We're here and staying here until we head for Acadia tomorrow afternoon.

Today, Cannon Mountain loop then Flume Gorge. I would like to climb a Presidential, I don't think my knees can take descending a Presidential. I can go uphill all day, it's down that's hard.

Songs from yesterday's drive.


Thomas Lux

like a downhill brakes-burned freight train
full of pig iron ingots, full of lead
life-size statues of Richard Nixon,
like an avalanche of smoke and black fog
lashed by bent pins, the broken-off tips
of switchblade knives, the dust of dried offal,
remorseless, it comes, faster when you turn your back,
faster when you turn to face it,
like a fine rain, then colder showers,
then downpour to razor sleet, then egg-size hail,
fist-size, then jagged
laser, shrapnel hail
thudding and tearing like footsteps
of drunk gods or fathers; it comes
polite, loutish, assured, suave,
breathing through its mouth
(which is a hole eaten by a cave),
it comes like an elephant annoyed,
like a black mamba terrified, it slides
down the valley, grease on grease,
like fire eating birds’ nests,
like fire melting the fuzz
off a baby’s skull, still it comes: mute
and gorging, never
to cease, insatiable, gorging
and mute.


  1. Every downhill step you're applying the brakes on your bodily, free-falling momentum. Knees take it.