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KEEPING STILL, MOUNTAIN / John Engman Looking through ads for drill-press operators, caretakers, inventory analysts, beauticians and ware house helpers, I remembered what my father said about Puritan ethics, and my heritage, the American dream. Although I've since forgotten what he said I know I spent hours in a local cafeteria, paging through ads and throwing I-Ching. Pennies clattered on the cold formica as my hexagrams predicted full-time unemployment, fulltime meditaiton in the cafeteria: smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee, firm and central in my own immense fog area. The hexagrams knew all about my job hysteria, and each hexagram contained some landscape with a missing person, and a window with an ad for "help wanted." I remember what my father said when I told him Td been advised against pursuing a careerby a book of ancient Chinese wisdom, he was silent. Keeping still, mountain had advised me to remain detached from real life, sitting in the local cafeteria and keeping still, in meditation, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee, trying hard to understand the mountain. It was my father who explained the mountain, purchased in the late thirties when real estate was cheap he brought me to my grave, a small plot in south Minneapolis. We stood in the mud by my grave. Uphill, near the mausoleum, drill-press operators, caretakers, inventory analysts, beauticians and warehouse helpers slumbered under granite and riderless horses reared back from eternal torches sunk in yellow grass. My grave was surrounded by white stones like a small crowd of mourners whose faces had been worn off 26 · The Missouri Review by the long wait, my father said, "If you dare knock the granite statues down and pile these white stones high, dismantle the mausoleum and unearth these rock-plaques, it could take you many long years to work the whole earth bare, and still you'd never understand, butifyou did, the moment you finish, the mountain will be there." John Engman THE MISSOURI REVIEW · 27 ...


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