35TH REUNION OF TABLE MOUNTAIN RANCH COMMUNE
I didn’t think I’d go to the communal reunion
with all my illnesses pouncing on my life at once.
and this insomnia ruminating through the depths of night.
I lived there in Albion in a dome and a tepee
beneath the redwoods from 1968 to 75
with 15 or 20 other communards and our children.
Now we are all aging – hair gray, wrinkled
our souls leaning closer to death.
The woman still with the beauty
of reflected, remembered youth.
The men like back country geezers,
wizened with worn bodies and much warmer hearts.
Together they recall the grand experiment
we threw our youth into.
A tepee is set up,
tents like mushrooms
bulging from the meadows.
Pizza is being baked in outdoor
wood fire clay oven.
Laurie speaks of her battles with self-doubt
as she masters hatha yoga
trying to emulate the most difficult postures.
She still, as always, drives herself toward god.
Marshall relates his trip to Egypt
taking acid on sacred mountain near Luxor
and on a boat on the Nile imaging
the cascade of time and cultures
backward and forward and eternal.
Bill fighting the lumber companies
forest by forest gaining more knowledge
with each loss or victory.
Now trying to save thousands of acres
along Salmon Creek forming a group
to buy and maintain and conserve it,
and organizing to defeat a corporation
that wanted to suck and bag the water
in the Albion River to sell to San Diego.
Walter writing a 400 page poem rant
against American corporate dominance
and esoteric books on Ancient Egypt
pre-dynastic and pre-ice age
when Aliens from Sirius colonized
and mated with earthlings – all revealed
in the mythologies that survive.
Vennie who never gave up
on making the land into
a true cooperative.
She is retired and still
tall and beautiful with
the grace of a young Madrone.
Pamela her hair gray and crew cut
her health recovering from
mysterious illness, still
queenly and arrogant
with an intelligence that
cracks the atom of self doubt.
All of us learning to let go of time
and the fear of mortality
as the generations surrounds the future
making their own mark on the everlasting earth.
The children, now young men and women
have become independent and self made
with talents and skills and careers
still living close to the land and forests
with families and their own children.
My insomnia keeps me awake
outlasting the coastal fog bank
moving back out to the Pacific
revealing a sky full of stars.
The Catholic Church taught
that stars were the light of heaven
seeping through holes in a cover
thrown over a fallen planet.
The stars are revealed to me
flinging me into the grand cosmos,
an opera of births and deaths
ascendancies and descents.
I see four meteors flashing
like fireworks through the stars
and I make a wish that
I live to see many more.
This is the goal of all
the gallant insomniacs -
to be alone at four
in the morning
in the cradle of night
witnessing the entire universe
unfold and embrace the earth.
The shadowy outlines
of the giant redwoods
bolting upwards block
parts of the starry night,
eminences of the earth,
and the silence surrounds me.
© Allen Cohen