In the middle of a dream I walked to an old woman who cried flower petals as tears.
I asked why she was so eternally sad?
She said her life was shuttered by the loss of her child.
Of how a young boy was taken at night by the spirit of the lake.
Oh, no, no, no...oh, no, no... I spoke to my sleep Oh, no, no, no...oh, no, no...please, I want to be awake
I awoke, awash in flower petals across my face.
I called my mother and said I was OK.
She said it was 2a.m. and she had the strangest dream...she wept on the phone, and I did the same. Then I learned of a brother I never knew...and how he too was taken by the spirit of the lake.
Under a red autumn sky I saw my reflection in a river named after a mystic and for the
first time I reveled in the mystery that was me. I felt its icy
reverence and affirmed its coldness. This worship. This joy. For
fifty years I lived as a human puzzle. My mortal self always anxious as I pushed away what I should have known. On
this day I learned soon I would die. Perhaps it would be in ten years,
or twenty years, or thirty years or more. But soon my passing would
come as it does to us all. Like a lion with a grey main...or like the
great bird who can no longer soar—I would succumb and draw my
final living breath. Their journey was my journey. Their mystic was
my mystic. We would now drink from the same river’s shore. And
together we would no longer fear. I would celebrate our reflection
not with loudness or libation, but with the liberty of the ancient
hawk who lastly glides and accepts wings that will beat nevermore.
‘Afoot and light-hearted’ I sang harmony with the mystic and the grey
lion. I kept pace and then bowed to the great bird as he floated
peacefully under the red shimmer of our welcoming sky.
Once I was a 'prudent man of discretion' my lawyer friends often said. But hidden from the effete was the distemper of my soul. So I discredited their lies and stepped on their white shoes--hand stitched I assume. Like Walt Whitman admonished, I took to the Open Road.
I'm sure their heads turn, and their eyes roll when they are reminded of what I have become: a wayfarer, a wanderer, a traitor to their white shoes. They'd sue me for malpractice; indict me for malfeasance if they could. But I'm hidden on the open road.
Everyday I walk one thousand miles.
This morn' I visited me as a child.
I returned to:
The freedom of the games we played
The Julys of our dreams
The happiness and the heartache
The joy and loss of boyhood dreams
The hikes we took through summer forests
And our trundled steps through December snow
As a 'prudent man of discretion,' I must say. I chose wisely to come this way. I've got a suitcase in my calloused hand. A heavy pack that knots my shoulder blades. My boots are resoled. My feet give me some pain. But not as much if I wore white shoes. Their leather is too thin, the treads too soft for the Open Road.
I swam beneath a back alley and dived through a bar’s open door. I saw a drunkard’s face—his unkempt brows as wisps of grey; his eyes blackened and forlorn. Another lain on a hard floor. A boozy bile drowns a mouth—I hear a crazy silence mutter. I see a life as empty as a bottle; a life peeled like a jagged label. It’s pieces swept by a whetted broom along the feet of old whores. I see their fishnet stockings…torn up the back of their failing thighs. I see their caked red lipstick; the desperate plea of falling eyes…their sagging spirits like sagging breasts…I see a woman's sorrow when marked men say no; and others offer the poverty of lies. The poet writes on a yellow pad. He is toothless and old…the pencil is dull; the eraser is worn. He watches drunken men and the aging of human wares. He is anonymous—his verse unread. At night sometimes he too mutters a crazy silence. On other nights he comforts a crying whore.
I live with wildness,
like I was born inside a storm
as if I was raised by howling winds that bound me to wanting shores
I hear the call of those mother winds, her native son must return
With frost beneath my feet,
I walk carefully as if I was newly born, wailing to a storm;
They may tell stories about my return--or lie about my demise;
But I am home-- never to leave these wanting shores