Saturday, June 28, 2008

The New Old Way

This is the way,
this is how we go.
It's not different
and it makes sense of the cold.

I'll hold your hand
as the moon makes us tired.
I won't let go as the sun
starts us over.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Of Course

I have a friend,
a good friend,
who told me recently that the
show doesn't have to go on.
But he knows, the way language is known,
that that's not true.
The way R. Davies words said what we couldn't say,
to a father and a girl
from the friend that will do anything for all
if his excitement doesn't best him.

I got the message today
and I say, "Of course, of course, I'll do this show, how could I not?"

I do it Because my heart goes out to you and your wife.
Because I could never stop screaming if my baby let go of this world.

I'm sorry,
I'm sorry.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Whenever you're ready.

Heat has a smell.
The turning over from dawn to day
like workers changing shifts.

How was the night shift?

Have you ever smelled manure
from a freeway in the parched southern
portion of Idaho? At 6:30 in the morning?
With weak filling station coffee?
In the middle of August?
While rewinding (until it eventually breaks) over and over,
Need Retrograde Orbit.

Have you ever eaten at Cowboy Oil?

Even in a high mountain desert
the eerie calm before a
heavy heat tells
you that this day belongs
to the air
and the brown hills
and the irrigation ditches
and sideways looks from
heat stricken Overland

Friday, June 13, 2008

Here you Go

I want to leave this week with a piece I love by Anne Sexton-

The Starry Night

That does not keep me from having a terrible need of—shall I say the word—religion. Then I go out at night to paint the stars.
Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother

The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die.

It moves. They are all alive.
Even the moon bulges in its orange irons
to push children, like a god, from its eye.
The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die:

into that rushing beast of the night,
sucked up by that great dragon, to split
from my life with no flag,
no belly,
no cry.

The Over Under

You glass eyed
backyard bandit,
patrolling the fence line with
awkward ease.

I can't go where you go and
the history I have with the
tree is an uneasy one.

You are a restless watcher and
a live ghost at best.

Should I see you close to me
or mine, remember this:

I see the ancient moving film rolls
in your eyes (replaying treaty battles, reflecting the half lights of a cold summer day) and I can study
the pace you keep, but I will never
forget that you hold the deed to my back yard.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The 45th Parallel

We used to make our way
in the great December
across the Blues,
through Powder,
sleeping in Pendleton,
and aiming ourselves at
a sideways horizon.

The rumbling truck lulled us
both in to thinking you were here

You were the victor of the north slope,
an Alaskan bar room magician
and the envy of all western men.

To say you choked
in your sleep in Montana
defies what I know about night
and sunrises.

But here it is
and what's left
is this:

Falling asleep
in the truck in La Grande
and needing Idaho after so many
snowstorms, I realized the whole
of what I could learn by staring in to
your hazel iris.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

1994 Idaho Library Doors

There are days
when light makes chaos
around rooms and buildings
and the sky, flickering
like christmas lights
outlining the incoming storm.

It was 1994.
What a brave year to have your
light burn out on us.
(I smashed my head on the
punk rock. I thought i wanted
to join team dresch. )

When the call came in and your
brother told me you were gone, i fell down.
See, I worked at the library.
Mostly I would hide in the
stacks rereading passages.

When one light burns out
the other ones get brighter.
Wind felt hard that day in October.
Shadows went the wrong way.
I wanted to call you and tell you exactly how
I missed you.

See, you were wrong! I do miss you!
OK, now come home. It's alright and we can
get this shit straight.

But you were gone
to a place with no
t-cell counts
or AZT or soma dreams
in an apartment with no windows cracked.

While i waited for my uncle to pick
me up from the university steps, i began
realizing that it wasn't your dark
hair disappearing around corners
darting behind cars
escaping the Indian summer
in to a dark lecture hall
in the plain liberal arts building.

i didn't dream of you that night
because i know you sat on my bed.
you were pretty and you loved me and you were elated with
the lack of pain.

i came to on the bathroom floor and
screamed your name at the towels.

Fourteen years later i wish i could
tell you to hold out your hands for my
friends mom. I want you to gather the
dead troops of my family to welcome
the new friend who turned out the lights
in their brave year of summer/winter
and Indian summers.