Coyote

You know how headlights,
when you’re near a desert highway,
pan across material like a searchlight,
casting incoherent shadows
past whatever they happen to catch –

sage, cactus green and praying to the rain,
hitchhiker’s drugstore cowpuncher boots,
corrugated lean-to slumped up against the wire?

Well that isn’t happening just yet.

Coyote isn’t on the wander right now.

The sun is still walking, heading west,
knowing exactly where to go.

Daylight melts over dust and hardpan,
yellow, umber, ochre, neon hot pink.

Memory melts like daylight.

Those clouds, see. That’s what I mean.
Cirro… cumulo… cirronimbulus?

It rises, dark and thick in the gloaming.
It drinks the melted daylight.

A rush of cool air. Scattering of sand.
Silent stab of arced lightning.
One million volts in a terawatt cycle.

Thunderstorms drink memory like daylight.
They amplify.
They make ready for the night.

You should come tell me what you think.

Silence. Rumbling over the distance of the earth.

Silence.

Cumulonimbus. That’s it.

You’d have gotten that quicker.

Silence.

Scent of the dry before the wet.

Burning gold at the end of the sunwalk
underneath the dark tower.

There. Coyote’s on the wander. Hungry.

The semi-truck moves past
and headlights cast no shadows beyond a ghost.

Thirst.

Thunder.

Hunger.

Arclight.

Silence.

Sometimes,

when driving with old music under slated smoke
against the brushstroked horizon
fading along mountains to the west
as the sun-heat of the high desert
reflecting off the scent of sagebrush
gives way to a chill mist
collecting on burnished sandstone and granite
with small patches of veridian moss and lichen
in the wild geometry of a late afternoon
as amber light stretches out into a blanket
under which nothing can harm us

(not even the future
not even the past

[this is a good place to stop
and get out the cameras] ),

our gaze sweeps
the scattered domains of the earth,
of the coyote and the elk
and a railroad track not used in years;

soon,
we will start thinking of good food
and something cool to drink.

Shell Canyon | Wyoming | USA

An Elegy of Leaves

Hours and hours,
and hours
into the woods-

through the rainfall,
the sunpierce,
the pine and spruce;
off the trail
of the acorn and ash,
of the prairie lily,
of light and water dancing
on needles and leaves;
past the hidden spring,
yawning cavern,
past limestone spires
and granite punctured
up from the heart of the earth;
in the forest and veldt
of the snake and the lark,
and the ram and the elk.

Your lungs are thirsty,
your heart, hungry,
your mind, tired- no?

And so we pass
into the land of the gods
of life and death.

But what else to be said?
What else,
as we tread perdition
through our doctrine of the night,
seeking a horizon reckoning?
What verdict given?

Shall I say,
“hold your sins & dreams
as you would your breath,
hold them now
until the coming dawn!”

?

No.
It is all ashen
and ground to dust.

Even if you cannot see
that the flame
I carry in my heart
could burn this place clear,
I still must lay it
before this living altar.

Listen.
Birds are singing in the thicket.

There is more music,
deeper in,
deeper still.
There hums a resonation.

What else, then?
What else to offer beyond this-
this sad
and staggering presumption
that I can somehow relay
this sanctification
to you
in words,
as though I have the skill,
and the right?

For I am no priest
and this place
has no need of one.

Here then-
let me lay down a permanence
for you,
and in full artistic grace,
describe instead
the peace
and eternity of this place:

I wish you were here.

1.618034

I have offered up my lamentations
out of the dust of Eden
and painted them into the night.

I have trodden stars underfoot
and crushed them
into the wine of singularities.

(so my younger self told me in a dream,
reaching forward in the temporal
as I now enter the embrace of the world
and age into my slavery)
I’d pay good money to hear what yours told you.

Shall we build a fire then, in this desolation,
and brand me with the aspect of shadow?
How shall we brand you?

If Pride were ground into powder,
I suspect it could then be an anointing
upon this corruption;
perhaps even an atonement-
simple enough, yes?

Enough.

Show me then-
come, show me,
while there is still some serenity;
let us examine your engines of the dark
and the nightmare-fuel within
(are you watching closely?
energy equals matter
times the speed of light squared).

Drift you now to the far shores,
sleep, and dream,
drift with your own permission-
for a song of this magnitude radiant
shall fly only to constellations;
was meant only for the season of sowing.

Do you not see how alive you are?
And do we have an according then, you & I?

For as I see all hands open
in these songs of light and dark,
and music woven out of silence cleansed
in the cloudwalk ascendant,
purified in the cosmotic night,
washed in the blood of the earth;
so do I see you dare to direct your gaze
up.

Now
take my lantern
and I’ll hold your hymns-

say it’s a good trade.
(it’s a good trade)

Behold then:
the field opening verdant in its laughter,
bathed in blossomscent,
how even the black dirt and red clay
sing under the sun
in their rushing to meet the mountains;

for winter will come again,
and still all will sing,
still all will sing.
Come,
for the river is deep, and wide;
the water clear, and cool.
I tell you my grace and yours was bartered between us
in these bending waves of wildwheat.

Have you forgotten?
This is an accord, in fact,
with the song aureate in all things.

I know you can hear it.

The dark washes off so easily,
so easily, my love,
so easily.

There was an old father in the desert,
a long time ago,
(have you heard this one?)
who stretched his hands toward heaven,
and told his disciple
as his fingers turned to dancing fire,

If you will,
you can become all flame.

Inheritance

If you go out into the land,
towards the wild, into the realm of no realm
with nothing but your own gospel,
as a disciple would:

First, unplug your devices. Shut them off.
I’m serious- put all that shit in your desk.
It’ll make you deaf and I’m, unfortunately,
speaking from experience.

Because then, if you’re careful,
if you’re quiet,
you have at least a chance to recover
what you’ve lost.

(if you’re alone, good
if you’re not, so be it
if you have a little one with you, hold their hand)

-listen-

Green things are sprouting from the ground in song
and voices of thunder gather on the horizon.

now this is where you say

Shhh.
Close your eyes.
Can you hear them?
Can you hear them?

What are they saying?
Can you hear them?

Dearly Beloved

We are gathered here today
to mark the passing of death;

Death-of-the-Inside,
the clinging fear
and the dénsed darkening,
nurtured since birth
that says

“No.
Not good enough.”

Mark well what you’ve missed
and what remains,
what you thirst for
and even what’s flayed your soul at night.
For this is all a kind of prayer.

So then stay with me awhile
after these words,
and we’ll lay our flowers and shadows
under the arms of the earth.

The tears of the air
tamp the ground,
erasing even our footprints,
and there will be no markers or epitaphs.

Say it now, and say you all so.

This dawn I sense beating draws close;
so I’ll join you at the wake,
when the clock strikes sunlight.

Leaf on the Wind

[I]

Could be my heart’s a heavy idol
slowly tearing out of my body,
to be placed at the altar of Shadow.
Maybe not.
In time, then,
I will make pilgrimages and offerings.

So we pass into the unwritten season.

But wind it back if you like,
the clock,
if only to hear me say

I would help you walk, someday.

[II]

Would you gather my bones
in your embrace,
one last time?

Then lay them to nourish the earth.

If you can hear them sing,
then come to me;
come sit, and listen with me.

If the songs I’ve given in this life
haven’t been enough,
come listen then to the song of my bones,
that you may see cleared a path
to the cliffs of your heart
and dive headfirst into the maelstrom of grace
that awaits you.

I would see you untense your shoulders again,
and laugh until your face rains
before you leave the living of the earth.

Is this like drinking darkness?
You must do that sometimes.
We all must.

If you will it,
this becomes fuel for the light.

[III]

Come, then.
Sit.
Listen.

The secret:
the whole cosmos
is made of music,
and you & I
are fleeting consonant harmonics,
waves embracing in the echo-

watch how we soar.