An old man once told me about the American dream. He was barefoot and shucking white corn. His back was bent from years of hard work, and his fingers read of routine and war.
He told me about borders and bridges, cultures crossing over one another. He told me about jungles and judges – the only difference between the two was one was of God and one wasn’t. He told me about loss and of love, and planting seeds that you may never see grow. He told me about investments in self, and investments in what will come long after you’re gone. He told me to search for my purpose with my fingers and with my heart. “The first step,” he said, “is to be courageous and just. That is the only way to start.” This man, he shared with me a dream deferred, as he looked me in my eyes. He told me, “Take action, dear child, and arrive at these things you have heard.”
I’ve grown attached to this good old tree This was a good summer you see We spent many warm days with the sun so high And stunning nights under a starlit sky I was very green when I was not so old And now I wear my fall colors of gold With a cool breeze I make a rustling sound And soon I will make my fall to the ground I will have to say good-bye to this good old tree He was very attached to me So now I will let go and fly with the wind Like a sail that catches a swift breeze within Suddenly the wind changes in all kinds of directions I was tumbling and twirling and trying to make my corrections Just then the winds finally stop Which left me floating down in a gentile rock Out of the blue a swift breeze flew by That powers me around the sky I circle around and have the ground in my sight As I prepare to land from this leafs flight As I prepare to land from this leafs fight Unforeseen I fell into the hands of a little child’s leap Daddy this one I want to keep
she talks of losing her hair once the treatments begin, the inevitability of it maybe, she says, it won’t be too bad, but neither of us really believe that’s how it’s going to be and we say so immediately. I try to reassure her that it will grow back, even more beautiful than it is now. then, remembering some years ago, of being at our old cabin in the highlands on a late afternoon as summer was slipping away, and how in the waning light that filtered through the leaves the argent streaks in her natural golden waves were more pronounced. it made me think of Frost’s ‘November Guest’, of simple worsted grey turning to silver. I gazed at how kind time had been to her and was fain to tell her how pretty she looked in that light. there was a breeze that gently played on her face and those tresses, subtle hints of autumn. but there was nothing that day, or that night
I met him high in the Santa Rosas At his backcountry camp Bringing living water. He was parched, and does not remember Thinks it was an Agua Caliente angel— What happens below 7000 feet In the warm haciendas with the lights Does not concern us. Here, where there Is nothing but sky and rock, desert lavender And creosote bush, we meet each other Where the only law is the law of touch Where the yearning of the soul guides Where the fingers go. We are not free to offer this drink— Cold, clear, almost frozen in the bota, To anyone else: not a housebroken margarita But straight from the barrel cactus, we drench Our throats in the unfermented juice— What is quenched is more than thirst What is sealed is a bond between us As we drown deep in the others’ starlit eyes As I huddle under his shoulder and he leans As a single being, we prop our pinons up—
I met him high in the Santa Rosas At his backcountry camp
I sleep on the back porch, seeking the breeze in the summer heat – stifling on the second story. I let the fresh air’s ebb and flow, and the cricket cellists of August’s nighttime symphony, lull me to sleep – Suddenly, sheepish sirens give quick bleats, disrupting the melody. Then, they are silent and whirling emergency lights from the safe, suburban street startle me awake. My father is already up and rushing down the stairs as I dash inside to answer the insistent knocks at our family door – time swirls. . A fire truck. My father mutters apologies to his lifelong neighbor, the first responder – and the origins of the invisible flames become known. My grandfather, protecting us, as ever,
from his own demons and big, bad wolves – on unfaltering patrol, with the effective but
broad-blasting broadcasting, bombshell-dropping, explosive actions of an artillery man.
He calls for help, accurately voicing imagined worries when often, these days, he can no longer find the right words. Now, he yells fire with soldierly diligence – neurons and memories misfiring into the still-cool night air. I move inside – sleep in the heat.
Oh— If someone would just come for me Someone kind And ever caring
I never give up Staring out Into the ashes Looking for signs of hope Rising Past my disappointments And compromises
This is the ritual I’ve devised To keep me believing I’m wiser Than those fools Whose tears fall Like a million jewels— The million diamonds they have mined From the deep veins of loss Where they will always find Themselves Waiting there With all the memories they have tossed Into the flames
And nobody blames them Most of all me Least of all me Last of all me
But— If someone would please Just come for me
Someone so real And so forgiving That I could just live without The need to hope for it
That is the power I invoke
But the hands of the clock Continue stroking the hours That have passed
With the words That I spoke And the one heart I broke
Purse Woman Strolling Current As cement Crushes My ears On One side Spells Madness But Heart Strings The whole Sequence Clangs Melody In The invisible Spray Of molecules Broken Into By past Challenges The dust Triumphs The other Ear Blends To hear The bland Trumpets Muting Desire Choirs Of nothing Choirs Of everything Simple Pastures Riding Ponies Of light Hooves Of your febrile Tangents To smash Tonight The other ear Will drop Drop Drop Into silent Vestibules