Book of Rural Legends
In the Departure Gate of the Denver airport
I heard the blonde headed boy say,I don’t want to get on the plane.
And now as the plane shimmies down the runway
The boy sits in his father’s lap
In the window seat across the aisle from me.
The father cups his son’s head to chest
And the boy is silent,
Watching out the window from his human cradle.
In fact nobody on the plane makes a sound;
This is one of the quiet
collective moments of modern time—
Humans gathering themselves
Each in their unknowable way
To shuttle skyward.
I shift my gaze out my own window
From my own window seat
For my own contemplation of take off
The ground leaves us,
With a shuddering heave,
And we are flying somehow.
No matter how old I get,
Or how many times I take to the air in a plane,
I will always be amazed by this feat
Nothing short of marvelous.
And as I ascend now,
Settling finally and fully into my seat,
Other thoughts have room to come forward:
I am going home—
My home in the west—
From my other home—
The home in the middle—
And I am very glad to be returning to Los Angeles.
Lindsay reads seven year old Seymour’s
Letter home from camp,
As I implored her do,
And she laughs,
Which pleases me greatly.
There is in my lap
A page no longer blank
And the same can be said of my mind.
I am smitten with flight
And the in-between states.
The understudy bursts stage center
In the middle of production
And he cries,That was
He had given away a great secret
One night after too much to drink
And the lead,
So enraptured is he of self,
And so in the habit of taking,
Has no idea what these words tumbling
From the understudy’s mouth mean.
This is a terrible moment,
But with a laugh and gesture
Our lead so trained and comfortable
Again has the crowd in his belt
And we laugh.
The understudy collapses into the orchestra
And we laugh harder
As the woodwinds peak.
But it is hard to tell in a Theater of Delusion
Who is who is lusion.
Bad Medicine is rampant,
The show is a masquerade.
We went to the river
In ones, couples and groups
The all of us
Smiling inward or outward
Rich and purposeful
The river speaks grateful
We ease in
The things we drop are picked up by the Earth
To be buried, recycled or rejected,
Left to pile in unsightly messes.
It will only get “easier”.
The things we say are picked up by the ears
To be forgotten, confused or cherished
Held in wonder by the mind.
Once upon a time we hurried out of trees
And across savannah under night.
Our religion then was running as such,
And making wide eyed, crazy faces,
Though we did not know them to be crazy at the time.
Something holds tight tonight;
Something is not right.
I am always coming to see you at four or five in the morning,
My mind sullied,
My head in the little hands of my chest again.
There is nothing here,
But this is
A good thing,
If nothing too were
When we open ourselves
We open opportunity.
You want to write about a thing
Before it is gone.
The jewels on Andy Kaufman’s face,
And his staring softly down the long end of it—
Hope and hope and one travels as far as need be forYou want to live.
And the rest of it
Can best be described
To the ear and
To the chest!
There is a place in Sweat Lodge
You may at first think you do not want to go,
But once there,
Once you find a center
And give yourself to it
You realize you have found a very special place;
Not unlike a long deep stretch
Your body at first fights,
But once there you may experience yourself anew.
We fought birth too,
We shook and cried and held to a place so dark
But there was a new place to go.
Coming out of the Sweat Lodge I circled the hut
Once to the right
Barely able to stand
And I lay face down onto the soft cool Earth
Into the One,
It is always there once you can feel it.
Old Patience says, “I ain’t seen you since you squandered your guts over there on Temecula’s Last Ride...!”
“That was a Flare Up.”
“Yes it was. How are the kids?”
“Dazzled, really. Jefferson got himself twisted up over the Brown Car Derby and Maribeth’s up to her neck in Collation. Same Old Same Old.”
“You ever get over there to Horsehair Junction?”
“Oh, man. No. Never. Not since the Outbreak.”
“You’ll want to keep your Rudder in the Water.”
“Other than that, just let yourself go.”
“Don’t mind if I do.”
“The Old Man’s got a Soft Spot in his skull.”
“Dang. Breedle Bank’s giving out Loan.”
“I heard that. I been thinking about planting a Bone Garden.”
“House of Last Rides.”
“Oh, you bet!”
“The Book of Rural Legends.”