In Memory of

David Haslebacher (1951-2009)

This isn't exactly the '57 GMC Suburban from David's college years,
but this model pickup has the correct body style and the '57 GMC grill.

'57 GMC pickup '57 GMC pickup

Dolly Sods -- Rite of Passage

I first saw Bear Rocks while dragging myself
From my sleeping bag into the gray dawn,
My modest hangover equal parts cool air, beer, and campfire smoke,
My body shivering in the chill prevailing wind.

The brittle red-leafed bushes, the lop-sided pines,
And the lichen scarred white rocks
Were the stuff of a different universe,
Not my home of soft, green hills.

Just a camping trip --- the first of many;
The one with Roy laying in the back of David's green 1957 Suburban
Chugging beer, then falling face-first into the firewood,
A saving foot behind the stroke of David's axe.

And David backing his truck into the rocks
Jutting from the mountainside, smashing his left taillight,
Before we reached Bear Rocks past twilight, lit our cooking fire,
And killed it with spilled water -- cooking spaghetti on a mountaintop.

Roy lay in the truck, passed out,
While Jim explained the virtues of "Sacco-Vanzetti"
-- "Anarchist Spaghetti" -- spaghetti with catsup
Which he and Houch professed to love.

Lying awake in my sleeping bag in the clear air of the mountains,
I saw more stars than I had dreamed visible from Earth.
Then came clouds and sleep
And the shock of morning in the wispy mountain fog.

David and I hiked idly to the edge of the plateau, gazed east,
Touching distant horizons; avoiding the breakfast fare (more "Sacco-Vanzetti").
Roy awoke, green as David's truck, vomited,
And chameleon-like, took on the gray hue of the dawn.

There's little more to tell: just David cursing himself
For the dent in his Suburban; and me somehow mistaking
The music of the spheres and the misty gray of dawn
For something within my mundane grasp.