Postcard from Blood Mountain (#28 NaPoWriMo prompt: prose poem)

Blood Mountain

It’s not what you think. Carrying everything between your shoulders up a violent mountain. Beginning the ascent thinking will I be able to? and taking another step. One woodpecker drills a rhythm. The creek straining out of ice bonds, pehlunking and bloop bloop blooping before running away as I switch back. My fingers peeled free, now cradling bamboo-topped sticks, warm where just hours ago were only frozen stubs. The sun arcs up over blood. Filtering light. Slumbering trees. My breath deep and quick and strong. Almost at the top and the rhododendrons intertwine glossy, cold-curved leaves until I’m cocooned in gold-green. My steps stir  faint must of awakening earth. Emerging into voices, a dog barking, and an improbably solid stone shelter. I scramble up giant boulders, witness the smoky vista, see the world. Blood Mountain: most likely named for a battle between Native American tribes. Or the reddish lichen. Not for killing thru hikers.

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Following the suggestion of our craft resource, we challenge you today to draft a prose poem in the form/style of a postcard. If you need some inspiration, why not check out some images of vintage postcards? I’m particularly fond of this one.

Appalachian Commute (#12 Na/GloPoWriMo)


Dropping into the traffic flow,
I’m a traveler amid the rush,
120 of 2181 Appalachian miles .

Vibrant moments, giddy start.
That mile fades as a fraction
1/120 for me or 1/2181 for my brother

So much dirt and rocks,
Roots and stones,

Simply one foot follows the other.
Toiling up a mountain to
Pick my way back down.

My brain, unleashed and free,
Turns repetitive mill horse, circling,
One song bomb after another:

“Hey now, you’re an Allstar…”
“You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone”
“Hey Hey Hey Bobby McGeeeeeeee.”

Maple, Oak, Sweetgum
Poplar, Hickory,
Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel.

Like so many commuters, tunnels,
Passing my repeating feet.
Me as if still and they in their rush.

And each step careful
Placed just so
Negotiating the stone under my step.

Limping and blistered,
Driving away,
I long for the commute again.

And then there were Eight

October 4, 1968
Mom counting one two . . .
Ten perfect toenails.

Chasing my brother
49 years, 5 months, 7 days later
On the Appalachian Trail.

Going up so we can go down,
Over hill and dale,
As they say.

Lifetime memories of
Snow, sleet, rain, wind,

A long section hike,
Well short of my goal.
I want more.

10 perfect Colorado toenails
In two slightly tight shoes,
And then there were eight.

(update, and now there are seven…)


Insides howling,
I’m a Grandfather clock
Wound too tight.

Checklist ticking.
Minutes ticking.
Bomb ticking.

One week, 7 days,
168 hours, 10,080 minutes.
A kid’s night before Christmas.

Phone off. Nature on.
Birds, wind, sun, rain,
Footsteps and breath.

Ready it not,
Here I come.

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