Jumpin juniper berries
Did I ever tell you about the
Hot rocks in the Devil’s Pass
Down South along Whiskey Gorge?
Oh boy oh boy those rocks
I tell ya
Had me jumping half way down that gorge
Didn’t miss a jump
But sure did scare ol Franny
Boy oh boy
She was hollering after me
And the echo of her hollerin’
Had the whole gorge a’shakin’
And me a jumpin
Oh boy oh boy
Those hot rocks down South!
Jumpin juniper berries
When did we lose the underground
The deep devils that wrecked things
That spray painted innocence away
And held up dirty slogans
On hand written signs
That didn’t follow general consensus.
I don’t understand you anymore
I hear words that make sense
But it doesn’t help me understand you any more
And like my shoes I found in a department store
That squeak like the others
I’m floating down easy street
With intention on my mind.
Am I this made up?
I’m growing angry at the devil’s draft
The experience I’ve left behind
Dry and balding, a sour glass
Chew me up and spit me out
Slap me with some beaver fat
I’m growing old and losing time
And I’m putting each sequence on a list
To burn up in tomorrow’s fire.
That first night Amy put an extra serving
Of stew on for me
With the most delicious dumplings I’ve had
This side of the Mississippi
And a most rare treat of cookies
I couldn’t say no to
As we ate, Clarinet’s big eyes
Kept finding me and we’d laugh and giggle
For I wasn’t used to strangers, either!
I did not have any of Frank’s ferments
That he had made himself
And was quite proud of
I had sworn off any alcohol
Since the devil had taken Emma, my sister,
Off with her and a shotgun
But this I didn’t tell ol Frank
Too kind of a man he was.
As dawn broke, I was already awake
I had elected to sleep outside
Beside their fire pit
Keeping a low fire going for most of the night
That affording me some enjoyable heat
And kept the dogs close
I was eager to see more of their spread
Which I think Frank picked up on,
Showed me his garden,
They had two sheep and one goat
The goat they said was a wedding present
From Amy’s parents
And two good looking quarter horses
He was very proud of.
We decided that the best thing I could help them with
Was to help fall two cedars
And buck and chop for the oncoming winter
They were already quite prepared
But I could see that Frank was a smart man
And knew what needed to be done
When somebody was asking what could be done.
At first we used his two-man saw
That must have been two meters long
To cut down the carefully selected trees
You don’t really know the sound of a falling tree
Until you’ve stood on the ground that shakes
When one of those silent giants falls
The two that we picked were about
Sixty cm in diameter
And with Frank’s well kept saws
We had the both of them on their sides
Within half an hour
For the rest of the first two days we made our way
Up and down the trees
First cutting off all the branches
Then bucking everything into
Thirty cm rounds
It took the better part of the next three days
To chop the rounds into
What could then be used in Amy’s warm oven.
As my footsteps changed slope from uphill to downhill
I crested into a new valley
It was a particularly notable valley cresting
For the view I was afforded stretched from tip to bow
At the far end I could see a tail of smoke rising steady
Hovering for some time at the cloud line
Making its ever looming presence felt
As I looked down and stepped between the pebbles
Dodging in and out of the single-path trail I had been following.
My memory floated back to a woman I once had known
A woman whose smile touched the very essence of a man
Changing him instantly to a friend, forever
I had last seen her walking out of the tack store
In preparation to depart with a fresh pack of jerky
And enough rice to keep me a while,
She had asked where I was off to
And I told her what had honestly come to mind
I shared with her my dream of this land
With leaves the size of a horses head
With trees that bled sugar and turned as red as wine
She looked at me and shaked her head
Scolding that all us men ever want is our devil juice
I explained to her it wasn’t so,
She smiled and knew she was scolding the wrong man
I asked her if she would like to join me
An honest man on an honest journey
To a land beyond, to the East
But she had only replied in jest
Saying: “Honey, I’ve got too many mouths to feed.”
I started at a cracking branch
To my left, not 7 meters away,
I looked and staring back at me
Was a moose, hovering way above my head
He was looking straight at me
Antlers standing so tall and proud
Chewing on a tuft of a shrub
That hung down from the left side of his mouth
He snorted softly as he stared at me
Demanding I respect his space
I nodded back, gave a grunt
And quickly scanned the nearby forest
For any signs of a calf around.
My footstep didn’t stop
Rather, they kept along the trail I went
My heart beating loudly in my cool breath
The words of many an elder echoed in my mind:
“Moose are more aggressive then bears.”
I instinctively touched the blade
That rested at my hip
Foolish to think that such a weapon
Could disengage such a large beast so strong
I couldn’t feel the beast charging
Though I looked to check just in case.
I didn’t relax until I was over the next bend
Which didn’t take long to get
The familiar sound of a creek returned to my ears
No longer wise words warning and uncontrolled heartbeat
Echoing through my every breath
I softly observed the old man’s beard
Growing thicker as I descended into the valley below
Moss crawling higher up trunks of the silent giants
Experienced woods folk always say
That the birds will all be silent when there’s a predator around
So the light whistling of the forest’s inhabitants
The unique call of a raven
Calmed my senses once again.
When I reached a small opening
I dipped my hands in and splashed the fresh creek’s water
To my face, to wash the cold sweat that had gathered
I recognized bear droppings
A short distance from where I sat to rest
Looking at least a week old now
No danger for me, at least for the present
But a sign that they are around
And perhaps some tasty berries, too.
I’m turning outlaw again,
My stinging words will pierce thy soul
And my fists will bleed my wicked ways,
I’ll drink my beer warmer then
My women have ever been.
I’m turning down the next dusty road
Handing over my soft spoken ways
For rowdy bars and snake tattoos
I’ll start to hiss with the devils drink.
I’m turning outlaw again,
My gang will be 20 strong
On an open road,
Our clubhouse filled with naked women
Who have signed their posters on the walls.
Saw toothed barbed wire
Will be our backup guard dog
And strapped in a leather sheath to my hip
Will be the deadliest blade known to man.
I’ll shoot my shotgun out the back door
At empty beer cans from the night before,
And all my cigarette smoke
Will lead me to toke,
Cause baby, I’m turning outlaw again.
Lay your ready state upon my heart
Grip so tight I’ll slowly die
Aggressive on my mind tonight
Don’t dare to let it go.
For in the moonlight
In our eyes firelight
A dancing devil bangs his gong
Sin seeps in again, again.
Ready hold your hands to mine
Testify my heart your thigh
Regain composure and remember
Devil dances again tonight.
I remember when a crow flew
Into my eyes of fear
Leaving behind a little ghost
Who spoke words I did not want to hear.
But as I sat and steeped my tea
I could not gain my truth,
So little by little
An angry cry
Was heard above the rumble.
A cry that was not for pure peace,
A cry not from a babe,
My cry was loud and deliberate
My beak’d been getting black.
For when the grace of tempest’s blast
Ceased all ’round my hearth,
I whipped into such fury as
A devil burning brightly at my feet
Two eyes locked on mine, forevermore.
I want to make this angle
My devil’s heart.
I want to hold it so close
It juts deep inside
And nicks all sinew
Related to nonsense
And the abysmal relief
Of suspended theory.