The original poem was written in 2004… I was in my last program for my long-fought bachelors degree attending Evergreen State College out of Olympia Washington (keep in mind, it took 17 years and four or five colleges)… my final course was a multi-day retreat called “poets and philosophers discuss love and war“ held at Lake Crescent on the Olympic Peninsula. Sounds idyllic, and for the most part it was… Was a group of mostly diligent students but a few goofballs as well including a fella who brought his speed boat, and several firearms to the workshop, inexplicably. Turns out this was the third time he’s taking this program, Sort of like the Matthew McConaughey character in Dazed and Confused I suppose.
Anyway, one night i boarded his boat with a few other drunken carousers, and in the middle of the glacier lake, stripped down and dove into the cool water, over and over again. I suppose while I was pleased to be graduating, I also realized it didn’t really mean *anything*, just that I had to do something else now. So, I tried to shake the blues by diving as deep into the endless lake as I could.
Back on the boat, the little gang headed for the far rocky shore, cold from the lake water in a bout of stupidity, decided to try to light a fire with some assembled sticks of driftwood. Alas, without proper technique/supplies, this is nigh impossible so the chief knucklehead was determined to take apart a bullet to remove the gunpowder to act as “tinder“ to start the fire. I realized this was a ridiculous proposition but it’s hard to work forward momentum of fools.
I did my best to explain this while I was shivering and my mind was elsewhere, but I realized it was a useless task.
They eventually realized this as well avoiding potential calamity. So piled back on the boat, back to “camp“ with significant reprimand the next day from the operators of the usually quiet and serene retreat.
As an aside, during this program, I wrote a work of epistolary literature called “Letters from Russia“… Each “letter“ was written by hand, most accompanied by some sort of sketch or drawing, all in the character of a cobbler with Napoleon’s army on the ill-fated march into Russia and 1812. (I’ll share this work with you forthwith to assuage your possible curiosity).
As it goes, this original poem “fermented” in a notebook until around 2008 but it was quickly transcribed and stuck up on a blog, which was eventually migrated to a new fancier blog, and then typed out in Sri Lanka last year (2017) on a battered machine picked up and abandoned.