Thursday, April 30, 2020

Dark Mountain 17 Available Now



I'm very pleased to announce that Issue 17 of Dark Mountain is available now.

I worked as a prose editor on this issue, as well as contributing a short piece of fiction and an interview with artist and author Obi Kaufmann (The California Field Atlas). You can read my piece, Inauguration Day, here.

May we each find work ~ real, good, regenerative ~ to do in these trying times.

My best always.

~Neale

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Manifesto on Deep Adaptation




The children will play games with balls of tanned hide and sticks they carved themselves, on fields mown with a scythe. They will run along cliffs over ocean coves. Their schooling will be listening to acorns to know when they are ready to fall. Their work will be to pry mussels from the rocks, and to roll up plastic turf to reveal the soil beneath.

Our work will be breaking up the stone streets with rusted pick-axes. We will build the rubble into dry-stone shrines, beside the oak and laurel saplings we plant. We will imagine the trees aged to one hundred years and more. We will measure our age by the number of times our hearts have been broken.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Recent Work



I was very happy to be invited to contribute to the tenth anniversary edition of Dark Mountain, Issue 16: Refuge.

Also, a collaboration between myself and artist Robin V. Robinson can be found in the online edition of Dark Mountain here.

Many thanks for reading.


Monday, January 28, 2019

The Things You Name




You say ocean. You say rock and you say tree. You point to these things, and the birds flying or diving in the surf; you make their cries. Your face shows worthy amazement, brilliant recognition.

You are the things you name.

You reach your arm, your hand stretching, effort to connect; the rock and ocean reach out by the reflected rays of the setting winter sun. The tree reaches out by its branching shadow, the wave by its spume and thunder. You are breathing them in, speaking the names breathing out. The waves speak your name as they break apart upon the worn stones of your coast.

Tonight the sea mist will come in and blanket you while you sleep.



Sunday, September 2, 2018

Letters to California: Holy Fire



My daughter, this land you were named for is ablaze. The maps on the weather report are red. The satellite images of the smoke show it blanketing the continent.

Here at the coast we are somewhat sheltered. The heat inland draws the onshore breeze from the vast Pacific, her fog muffling us in the damp. It burns away by midday, and on the horizon I can see the sickly haze.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Peaks of La Sen



She stood looking down into the expanse of the valley, hazed a sick gray by the sacrificial fires. The mountains on either side blank and flat, jagged lines against a yellow sky. The pyramids led off until they disappeared into the smoke, a staggered line, white clouds billowing from their peaks and trailing west. Stones in a silty pond. She made the sign safety, three times. I am safe, I am safe, I am safe. Then she adjusted the mullein leaf mask around her nose, and started down.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dandelions


Write as if you were dying... This is, after all, the case... What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?

-Annie Dillard

I ride through the coastal morning. The sea mist is in, the palms and hotels inchoate. This coast encrusted with asphalt and buildings like blocks of mineral.

I ride the river path where the mugwort grows, where herons row the air. People lined up on their cardboard beds under the bridges, colored by shadow and dust. Three men pass a forty, frothy as urine. The growl of traffic. Cigarette smoke and sea salt.

Cali is eleven months old. A few days ago she took eight steps on her own. Of the light on the walls in the morning, of the nylon straps of her high chair, of the many blooms of the rose bush, of the ringing wind chimes, she repeats the phrase again and again, so pretty, so pretty.