The logger

When I was ten, I wanted
to be a lumberjack.
There was a I picture
I saw in a book —  2 guys
on a two man cross cut-saw,
cutting  down a tree bigger
than the business district
of Champaign, Illinois.
God give me a saw, and give me
the woods, I said.

The woods
live forever.  There is no end to
the trees.
They’ve been growing for
6 billion years.
Saw them down.
All of them.
Take me with you
if you can.
Take me out west.
To big tree country.
Fuck the plains
and North Dakota, there’s
too much dirt.
And screw Long Beach,
there’s too much water.
I’ve no fear of flying, or trains.
Drop me off in Kalispell.
Lend me a hundred
dollars, old pal,  so I can
live off the land.


Oregon —
is the promised land —
I’ll take a bus
to Bend.
I’ll wait tables
and take hotel
I will wait for the last of them
to leave town.
I’ll keep a bag packed, for I
pack like a prophet.
I read the Bible
and the Book of Mormon.
I’m a Buddhist by faith.


In time,
I will take my axe deep into the
woods and chop until
I am blind. Until I find nirvana
or Jesus or the Saints.

Or until I cross the river
into Portland.
I’ll see my day’s work loaded onto
flatbed trailers. Pulled by
Peterbilt and Kenworth
tractors and
Trucked down icy
mountain roads.

A lumberjack am I.

I want to watch the timber
disappear south toward
Klamath Falls.

By aunt Lana’s husband,
Gideon, was a lumberjack.
and part time preacher.

 He drove
cable cars in San Francisco
in the 1950s, then one day
he quit his job and
drove up to Washington State
in an Edsall car and got a job
as a logger. He must have
cut a million trees
and became a world
class logger.
He bought a house in Enumclaw
and he died there in 1971
a happy man


When I was 25, they told me I was
Killing trees.
Back away from that copier
young man.
Your 440-page document
does not need to be copied in triplicate
— think of the planet. Tree killer, you
need to find a job that fits you.