Glacier View

We came from huckleberry slopes:
    Purple berries full of sun.
    Grizzly and other bears follow but do not come close.
    Clear streams disappear underground, form caves, reappear.
    A cow moose towing calf walks into camp at breakfast.
    Very thick rainbows bend below us in the valley before
        Glacier’s mountains.

Our clothing smells of Menziesia and woodsmoke:
    No shower, we jump into the North Fork.
    We see tourists and hundreds of bald eagles at Fish Creek.

Suddenly we realize that the paved road we had come to could take us to
New York or Los Angeles without touching the

                                Ken Rothman 1982

Above Mussleshell Creek

2 oil lamps and 1 candle in my yurt,
    warm glow from the woodstove.
The radio brings in the world.
A mouse sneaks through the straw,
    (by the food.)

2 miles from a neighbor,
    the stars are close at hand.
Coyotes sing in chorus.
    Moonrise pours over the cedars.
I dance and sing and scream,
    (no humans to care.)

                                Ken Rothman 1983


Dumbo’s Flight

The newspapers called it “The Miracle Bus Wreck.”
    The Hoedad crummy, Dumbo, plunged 150’
        Tumbling end over end at Drain.

I guess you could call the brake failure
 a result of democratic self management:
The Natural Wonders crew owned Dumbo,
    voted  how to pay ourselves,
        and to do our own brake work.

Our proud experiment: empowered worker owners,
    A secret Marxist’s dream: the Hoedads.
When  St. Helen’s blew in May of ’80
    we had a million in unfinished contracts under ash.

Eric pushed the brake pedal to the floor.
    It must have been a steep, muddy,
logging road winding through patchwork clearcuts.
(They all were.)
    It was probably raining. It usually did in February.
        (I wasn’t there.)

He rubbed the rig against the cut bank,
    hoping to slow it by friction,
    hoping for a flat place to turn it over on its side.

It didn’t work:

Dumbo sailed over the edge,
    Snapping three Douglas firs 20 feet up where they were twleve inches thick.

The impact started the twenty passenger bus
 tumbling end over end.
It also ripped off the engine and front wheels.

Eric and the steering wheel somehow flew in front,
    He landed 150’ below the road against an old growth snag.
    Dumbo, with the rest of my crew inside landed on his lap.
    (No one was killed or badly injured.)

As I said, I wasn’t there. I was burned out, off the scene, taking a contract away from the responsibility and the backaches, working as a night janitor at a college bar.

                                    Ken Rothman 1982 (draft)