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Climbing Poems

GROWING – by Jesse James

I battled through the crux, breathing
Pressed against the rock, heaving
Longing for pro, hoping
Feeling for crimps – groping.

Slithering up the slab, praying
My foot will not blow, spraying
Beta to my partner, reaching
For the final jug – screeching.

Hallelujah! The chains! Gleaming
Bright in the sunlight, beaming
The final high-step, moving
Up to the anchor, proving
I climbed that shit, knowing
It’s all part of life – growing.

———————————–
The Classic – by Jesse James

The guidebook marked it ‘classic’
The FA called it ‘boss’
Above me on the starting pitch –
One hundred feet of choss.

My parter froze with mouth agape
The looseness gave him pause
Handing him the rack I grinned
‘Ain’t nothing but some moss.’

Halfway up that awful pitch
He pulled a piece of choss
Tumbling down the rotten face
His words were at a loss.

The guidebook marked it ‘classic’
The FA called it ‘boss’
Above me on the second pitch –
One hundred feet of choss.

I grabbed the rack and charged that crack
And hollared down to Ross
‘Watch me, dude, this block moves’ Then BAM!
Down went man and rope and choss.

We talked about retreating as our hearts were wildly beating
Bad luck is one of Murphy’s laws.
I thought ‘maybe it gets better’ as I crawled up to the station
with trembling hands and chattering jaws.

The guidebook marked it ‘classic’
The FA called it ‘boss’
Above me on the final pitch –
Two hundred feet of choss.

Suddenly I felt a shaking as of something smartly breaking
Pulling on a flake nearly fifteen feet across
Flying backwards in the air I screamed
‘This route has been my albatross.’

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  1. In these poems, the poets are metaphor­i­cal moun­taineers, grap­pling with the incon­ceiv­able power of moun­tains, attempt­ing to achieve the sum­mit of understanding.

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