Mountain (day 2718)

When the leaves began to fall
You looked away again
Turned your head and said out loud
Mountain, why you growing so tall
But in the Autumn air
You blew the wild rivers afar
Into the foggy glens
Where the wild things went to sleep
But your so gentle feet
Touched not a rock upon the steep
Calling out to soothe each leaf
Cresting at the moon
For your harvest basket took you
From the meadow to the birch copse
To the little brook to cross
Where your harvest basket grew
But silently up so high
Mountain sighed and sighed
Why do you stay so far
Maiden from afar.

Silence in the Morning (day 2610)

Please take the silence out of my morning
Take me towards what I’ve dreamt
For the sand in my eyes reminds me every day
That the cold season is rapidly approaching.
But if the day hasn’t come and darkness still rides
Let me sleep here a little while longer
While the wind isn’t blowing so dangerously
While the pain doesn’t hurt so tremendously
For my senses haven’t yet taken over
In a long line of tin cups and fevers
That keep me hoping the silence stays a moment or two
For me to have a chance to be soothed.

The Neighbourhood (day 2569)

Gone to sleep again with extra dollars to my name
Which have left me with a memory that cannot escape recollect
But what if I could just leave it in a bucket by the door
Would the regular pauper find just what he wanted, what he was looking for?
Could then my neighbours sleep come easier than before?

Black (day 2324)

I want a house designed all in black
I want to cover any colors, exposed
With ash, stain, darkness,
Shou Sugi Ban
– A blackness that cannot be rubbed off –
I will tint the windows
And dim the lights,
Burning only black candles.
Nothing new will enter this house
Nothing fresh or alive
Nothing that will shed light
On the depth of this hallow
Forever written in black ink
Upon black dyed paper.
I will eat only black beans
That will sit upon a black plate
Of black rice beside black olives,
Occasionally a loaf of pumpernickel
Will be permitted within.
I will wash with black soap
In a tub of black pearl
Dried by a black towel,
And my sheets of black cotton
Will rest quietly below
My duvet of black duck feathers
For my black soul
To sleep, evermore.

Moon at Midnight – Part XV (day 1989)

part XIV

I woke up to two angry voices outside my tent
Slowly my eyes adjusted to where I was
And what I was in
I noticed there was a second bed spread inside my teepee
That looked like it had been slept in
In the center, a small fire was burning
With a wrought iron pot starting to steam
I had hoped that tea was on to boil
I reached my bag and pulled out a piece of jerky
And snacked on that as I watched the fire jump.

Shortly after the voices died down
Moon Cow came inside and smiled at me
Saying: “Man Who Sleeps Long”
I smiled, offered him some jerky, and said it had been a long night
He agreed
He asked me if I had understood the conversation last night
And I told him that for the most part it was lost to me
I remembered that every so often
During the evening
Moon Cow had nicely leaned in to describe just enough
For me to understand what the conversation was about.

I stepped outside to relieve myself
And sitting cross-legged just outside the door
Was a young girl with long braids
Who had been waiting for me to come out
Since before daybreak
I could see all of this in her eyes
As they danced when I appeared
I didn’t quite know what to do
Or how to communicate with this cute little creature
So I grabbed a little scrap of leather
Clarinet had shaped into a heart
And gave me as we said our goodbyes,
And handed it to her,
When she understood what she had
She immediately ran away.

I watched as Moon Cow carefully dried his hands
In the fire that was burning
I can only guess he had already refreshed himself
In the creek that rolled close by
He said I was in luck
Handing me an egg and an ear of corn
“Not quite like Amy’s kitchen, is it?”
I tried to balance the hot egg in my hands
While pealing it.

Now the little girl reappeared
Looking into the teepee cautiously
Then taking three quick steps to me
With something in her hand
That she laid beside me on the bed I sat on
And quickly running back out the door,
Moon Cow told me it was his sister’s daughter
And it was his sister who he was arguing with this morning
Who was trying to tell her daughter
Not to sit outside and that I was danger.

“What now?” I asked Mountain Chief
After he summoned me into his teepee
“You run.” He said matter-of-factly
Looking very sternly at me
I stood there, not really understanding what he meant
Still with Moon Cow’s niece’s little arrow
She had given me in my hand,
Trying not to recall some horror stories
That had circulated far and wide
Of some Blackfoot torture methods.

After what seemed like a very intense two minutes
Mountain Chief broke into hysterical laughter
Along with everybody else that had gathered
Inside of the teepee
I didn’t quite understand
But he put his arm around my shoulder
And walked me a few steps away
Seated me on a mount of skins
And passing me a pipe to smoke
And a bowl of burdock tea,
I had been judged and passed.

part XVI

Moon at Midnight – Part IX (day 1983)

(part VIII)

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.

part X