WILLIAM DORESKI : The Landfill Conference
CHARLES P. RIES : Los Huesos
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Gems of the Sea IV
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Vision Studio
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The Landfill Conference Los Huesos The Hammer

The Landfill Conference
At the landfill conference I learn to recycle metal, paper, glass for profit. Debates on plastics trigger quarrels that often end with fist fights in the parking lot. Organic polymers confuse dump attendants who prefer bundled newspaper, broken- down cardboard boxes, and glass smashed in giant dumpsters. Sorting aluminum and steel cans tests their intellectual ardor for their job. Polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, poly- tetrafluoroethylene test their patience and tempt them to strike innocent family members after a couple of beers at home. Lacking organic chemistry, I can't follow the discussions about breaking down polymers with starch, bacteria, sunlight, so I leave the room to get some air. But outside the conference hall black smoke fills the streets. A fire in a transformer sickens the view. Police and fire crews herd people indoors to escape the foul odor. Back in the conference hall power is out, the crowd has dispersed. I recycle myself to my room by climbing twelve flights of stairs. I haven't learned to distinguish thermoplastics from thermosetting polymers, and what about bioplastics and acrylics? The black smoke curls at my window but can't get in. Dozing off, I murmur Bakelite, parkesine, nylon; and with a shift of mood I dream I'm wearing my favorite sea-blue Orlon sweater, indifferent to its synthetic feel yet braced by its chemical color.
I have many things to write unto you but I will not write with pen and ink
--JOHN the theologian

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Ete Hiver Chamonix Mont-Blanc
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Henry Reb
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The Landfill Conference Los Huesos The Hammer

Los Huesos
(the bones)
I sit with the dead tonight. I have brought my father's tobacco and my grandfather's beer. Between their tombstones, I light a sparkler and (with eyes open) imagine them standing and dancing before me. So I get up and dance with them, turning, spinning, and falling to the ground. As I catch my breath, I look up to see their smiles shine down like porcelain stars. They point at me "There's our boy, he's come to drink and smoke with us. He loves the lost ones with a heart as big as heaven and inhales our graves as if they were fields of red roses." The beer widens my eyes, makes the deep night opaque. Revealing a tribe of dead lovers who protect us from devils and demons, insuring our first communions and last rites, ready to welcome us back home with cold soft hands. The graveyard is full. The living and their dearly departed sit in tight family circles telling old stories that recall ancestors whose names have now been given to babies. We pass funeral cards, rosaries, and wedding rings among us - tiny monuments to people whose portraits hang along the stairs leading to the cellar where we make our candles, crush hot peppers, and shed our tears. We slice lemon cake, eat chicken breasts, and drink tequila in the Cemeterio de Santa Rosa. The ghosts are all brown, except mine. Pale faces who've passed over - German, pot bellied, serious white people, who, in life, had things to accomplish. We sing and dance to all the dead gone. Mock death and remember a cast of bit players who slip into our dreams with whispers just before dawn. As I pour my tequila into the earth I see their spirit mouths open and skeletons rise to dance three feet above the ground. White vapor swirling like clouds. Sweet misty blankets that embrace the tombs of my family.
Poetry endangers the established order  of the soul - Plato

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Absinthe Bourgeois, c.1900

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The Landfill Conference Los Huesos The Hammer

The Hammer 
There is a hammer lying on the floor of my bedroom I want to pick it up but I don't pick it up because that would be a digression. If I pick up the hammer, it will leave an impression, hammer-shaped, in the rug because it is heavy and has lain there all night. it will look as if the hammer is still there even after I have walked out of the room and put it away in the toolbox. The carpet will not let go of its hammer-shape; it is not grass that will gradually lift itself after a night of heavy sleep. It will only stand up if I run my fingers through the fibers or vacuum; and if I vacuum, I will not stop with the foot-square shape of hammer, but will run through the house vacuuming carpets and no one will remember there was a hammer. Last night I brought the hammer into the bedroom to unstick the window swollen with winter because I was beginning to suffocate as the barometer dropped toward rain. Even now, though I am in the kitchen and it is raining at last, I am thinking about the hammer and what it is doing alone in the bedroom pressing carpet fibers to the floor. It presses silently and does not move in any direction except down. It does not inch toward home but plows through my thoughts with the claw end made for prying and getting things unstuck. And what will I discover inside but another toolbox full of anxious hardware: the screwdrivers, the pliers and directress and an empty space at the back for the hammer.
Alaska Range, Denali National Park, Alaska, USA
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WILLIAM DORESKI : The Landfill Conference
CHARLES P. RIES : Los Huesos

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