Saturday, March 3, 2012

John Steinbeck’s Flight

“About fifteen miles below Monterey, on the wild coast, the Torres family had their farm, a few sloping acres above a cliff that dropped to the brown reefs and to the hissing white waters of the ocean.” -Steinbeck

Hit Gaw Daw Palin...the one they call... "The Beautiful Temple," walking around in the fading sunlight.
“Behind the farm the stone mountains stood up against the sky.” -Steinbeck

I was thinking about Steinbeck today... about all these characters who leave what they love...
“Pepe had sharp Indian cheekbones and an eagle nose, but his mouth was as sweet and shapely as a girls…” -Steinbeck

In Steinbeck's Flight, this young boy Pepe sitting listlessly holding that knife...
“Some lazy cow must have got into thy father’s family, else how could I have a song like thee.” -Steinbeck

Then leaping to action and throwing it into the tree... while his younger brother and sister watched...
“Pepe’s wrist flicked like the head of a snake. The blade seemed to fly open in mid-air, and with a thump the point dug into the redwood post.” -Steinbeck

And you know he's going to kill a man when he goes to town...
“The heavy knife lanced out and sunk into the post again. Mama moved forward like a ship and scattered the play.” -Steinbeck

You just know it... that he's doomed.
“A boy gets to be a man when a man is needed.” -Steinbeck

Sometimes when I wander these temples I feel that way, the sun fading againt these ancient walls and stepping away...
“Look, my son! Do not stop until it is dark again. Do not sleep until it is dark again. Do not sleep even though you are tired… remember to be careful with the bullets, there are only ten.” -Steinbeck

Stopping to sit under the shade of a tree and just watch the day end.
“It was the first dawn when he rode up the hill toward the little canyon which let a trail into the mountains. Moonlight and daylight fought with each other… Emilio and Rosy stood wondering in the dawn. They heard Mama whimpering…” -Steinbeck

Old rotting stone... and old stories in books I still keep alive in my class.
“Is he dead? Do you think he is dead?”
Rosy looked back at the ocean again. A little steamer, drawing a line of smoke, sat on the edge of the horizon. “He is not dead,” Rosy explained. “Not yet…” -Steinbeck

Time for sunset, time to climb the rocks and find a place to sit. Somewhere high up where it feels like I am flying away.

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