I could sell you an old map
Of my own handwriting
With stars on every place
We should learn to call our home.
I’d carve into every signpost
Where we’d walk up and down Broadway
Our names forever
And our old hands together.
I’d sail away on every sea
With wind of your full soul
And plunge right in I’d dive again
To find the pearl of your heart.
I could sell you an old map
Sara and Bill were happy to see me
They said they hadn’t had any visitors yet this summer
And had none to expect
They confessed they had been watching a while for me now
Thinking it was about that time
That I’d be showing up,
If I were to be showing up at all
They had news of a few U.S. Army parties
Heading through these parts
Looking for some rogue bandits of some sort
Miners, they said, that had caused quite a stir
In a town about five days ride South East
Early in the Spring
We said we hadn’t seen or heard either of them
It wasn’t the group that Tall Pine and I
Had tracked the year prior that ransacked our home,
It is always a bit unsettling
Knowing that people like that are out there
Maybe watching us as we go about our day
Who knows what they’d do if they stumbled upon our home
Most likely they’d stay right clear
If they know what was best for them
We have a good number of scouts
Always roaming the valley who wouldn’t be
Too friendly to them, also.
We showed Sara the gift of our deer
And she was very happy to accept it
She immediately went to work preparing it
And Moon Cow asked her if she’d like us to set up
A smoke house for them to smoke it with
She said that she had heard of such things
But never seen one set up
And she’d be much obliged if we could show her
That was, of course, if we could put one together
With the little pieces
Of leftover wood that we could find around
We told her that wouldn’t be an issue
That all we needed was a few axes
And we’d be able to make it from a few fresh logs.
We spent the night listening to Bill’s stories
Moon Cow fit in just fine
Being a man of words, too
I think Johnny-Boy enjoyed hearing the stories
Moon Cow shared,
A culture I don’t think he has yet had
Much exposure to,
His life mostly living off the land
As they were now
And in mining towns
Like the one he was born in.
Moon Cow and I slept outside
We made a small fire
To keep ourselves warm through the night
I liked sleeping under the stars most of the time
It’s something that you get used to
And if you have just a few small luxuries
It really can become quite liberating
Traveling so lightly and freely
Especially when you’re carrying
Everything on your back.
This was my new family
My life became so entwined with them
Every day for me was filled
With compassion I had never experienced before
Not even living at home with my Irish parents
Who set the fire at 4:15 every night
There were other people that involved themselves in our life
But they had their own things
And I had for the most part
Already been completely welcomed into the family.
I took Willow and Lily with me to see Amy, Frank, and Clarinet
Who were at first beside themselves with joy
That I had found myself a wife
And then flustered with how to celebrate
The special event with us,
Because of the communication we had developed
They were able to talk with us
And only some of the time Willow would lean on me
Asking what they had just meant
But she was never-the-less shy
About meeting White people
And didn’t quite know how to act
Or what to do in a social setting like this with them.
When we were on our way home
Winding through a path that was now familiar
I asked Willow how she had liked Amy & Frank
She said: “Amy very beautiful, Frank very clean.”
I laughed a good long time
After hearing this
In spite her questioning: “What? What?”
I couldn’t stop my laughter
And couldn’t get enough of this woman who loved me
I asked her how she liked their home
Wooden walls, and rocking chairs
And a steel fireplace to burn wood in
She looked at me and said straight:
“Joe, not us.”
At that moment
My passion for her blossomed
Into a thousand year old tree
Her honesty and immediate awareness of it
Made me understand one of her truest qualities
Willow looked at me
And I looked at her
And Lily, behind Willow, looked at me
And for nearly the whole ride home
I could hardly contain myself
From devouring with passion
The entire essence of Willow
Her full beauty as a strong Woman
Who had chosen to share space
With me, a dusty traveler,
And every time I looked at Lily
Bundled in tightly behind Willow with sleepy eyes
I burst into laughter I never knew I had.
When we arrived home
And put Lily to sleep
We walked down to the river’s edge
Where we had first kissed
And sat for a long time
Together, under blankets
Watching as the moon slowly made its arch
High up into the Autumn sky,
There were no words that needed to be said
Because we spoke so fluently in silence
And we leaned backwards
Falling into the web above
Twinkling back at us in dreams,
Sharing every secret we ever had.
I don’t want a perfect you.
I don’t want an imagination
Resting on commercialized ideals
And mis-spent laments.
I want your messiness and chaos
And moments that urk me,
And crazy eyes and silent times
And hugs that will never end
Because forever is a time
I will be left thinking of you.
And just maybe,
If I count my lucky stars enough,
I will be right there
Next to you,
Winding my clock backwards
Elongating time to expand
These moments that make up you.
Rain has been falling a thousand ways today,
From every angle and darkened cloud one could ever find up high.
As I lie here attempting sleep,
Rain continues to dance around.
It is here I think to myself:
“Sounds of music
In my ears
Can always carry me,
But this pitter patter
Could never replace
My moon that shines so bright.”
Who roameth among the curly haired
That lay about the shores,
Shall forever wear a lily placed
Carefully about their hair.
And if a suitor shall come upon
A maiden basking there
(Be it lost, be it strove,
Be it guided by knowing stars
Alight – bright! in the sky)
Lucky shall friends of friends
Who knew one once a while,
Whenceforth shall say,
Amidst pure joy,
Lucky’s in a heart so full.
I woke up one morning
And all I could see was stars and flickering lights and little bits of human nature fluttering about the place,
Which is when I said to myself:
“Ned, you’ve made quite delight of this so far, you’ve had your way with a lot of things that have always kept your legs moving forward.
Do you know what time it is?”
Upon this thought I was forced to think for quite some time.
You see, I didn’t have a watch, and on account of the stars in the morning, I was already quite perplexed.
But someone came around at this time and motioned to the wall where there rested a round clock.
To which I was once again delighted in for I could tell time on these funny machines.
But my morning walk, which stretched on for a good number of hours, brought me to one sudden stop as I stared face to face with an angel who had come to hold my hand.
We didn’t dance, but we waltzed through the streets as we discussed what was on both our minds.
One thought after the other. One question after the other.
I returned home, but the lights had all been turned low. There were candles all around showing me peace and I stepped in.
And as I stepped in to a dream I knew and loved and had pushed away, I also stepped out of a unconsciousness I had been living under.
For today was no ordinary day,
Today is the day it all began.
– I swear –
I’ll be milking the stars,
And dusting roses
With all of
You’re not a hero until you’ve carried, tall,
Souls of motherless children upon a back so bent;
Until weather pulls your burning heart,
And swarthes upon unkempt stars.
It’s here that builds a hero’s heart,
To link a master with learning’s start.
For now and then we think we are
Beyond the truth; not quite so far.
Take your truth and run it far,
Relive a thousand lives astart!
But don’t mistake a hero’s heart
For social injustice, as gone so far.
Take your ends and tie them tight!
The ride is long and plenty steep,
And all great wisdom is buried deep.