Working at midnight
Laughing for free
Of too much a good thing
Highways and sidestreets
Rebels and cowboys
Louder than me
There ain’t an ounce of goodness
Let over from sin
Lovers and earthquakes
Diamonds and greed.
I want to find more in my laugh
Than I’ve been taught
– No Bukowsky or Kerouac tonight,
My dreams becometh my own
My mind a white hempcloth
And one single candle
That screams out to loneliness
“Come again soon sometime.”
My holy water pleasuring
Ghosts of this symphony
Who shall sit down to dine,
Reading my scriptures
Taken from an unmarked shelf
In penmanship so crafted
To remind my found girth
I have slept here before.
In the morning
After Sara had fed us all we could eat
We were again on our way home
With slightly lighter packs on our backs
Leaving such a warm and friendly place
Always makes one feel a bit homesick
For their own special people
Their own family
I knew that both Moon Cow and I
Had home on our mind
We had a happy jump in our step
As we made our way through the forest.
That morning when we were stopped by the creek for a drink
We saw two Elk come up and have a drink, too
We knew that there must be more around
But neither of us could handle carrying any more on our backs
So we just sat and watched them drink water
Saw them communicating with themselves
It’s hard not to project human emotions and feelings
Onto animals that you see
Are they in love? Are they romancing?
They are probably just thirsty
And their instinct led them to water…
Peaceful animals and very quiet.
When we started to recognize our home trials
Our spirits became much lighter
And we were practically skipping along carelessly
When out popped one of the young scouts
Right in front of us and scared the willies out of us!
Moon Cow started playing around as if he was shot
And the young scout named Beaver Slap
Accompanied us home as Moon Cow shared stories with him
About how we had come by the meat we carried on our backs.
Willow and Lily were expecting us
And as we came into the village
They came over to us and gave us hugs
It felt so good, even after just a short time
To hug Mercy and Lily again
It is hard to explain the goodness one feels inside
When such a thing is experienced
I guess all I could do was squeeze extra hard
Like a giant bear
And hold them extra long
And laugh extra deep.
Every day I would wake to Moon Cow
Cooking eggs he had found
The air outside was still holding on to summer
But one knew it was going to be changing soon
And the comfort of the heat was welcome
Moon Cow would always smile
And comment on my inability to get alerted
By sounds in the night
He’d say: “Did you hear the wolves last night?”
Or something similar
And of course I hadn’t heard a thing
Comfortable as I was.
I learned Moon Cow’s niece
Was named Lily River
But I affectionately called her Little Arrow
One day I was sitting cross legged on the ground
And she pulled Moon Cow over to me
They both sat down joining me by the brook
And asked him to ask me for her
“What is this name you call me?”
I explained what Little Arrow was
Pulling out the little arrow I now kept in my breastpocket
She smiled and blushed
And I pulled at a tuft of grass
Tossing it playfully at her
Moon Cow just laughed.
The day after I had the meeting with Mountain Chief
He left with seven men riding with him
To where, I could not know
And Moon Cow just shrugged his shoulders
So I didn’t pry too much
I asked Moon Cow if he thought
We could take two horses and give
Amy, Frank and Clarinet a visit
I suggested we take Lily River with us
To meet Clarinet, and he agreed
So we set off for a full day of touring
Bareback, on three horses.
Frank met us at the front door
Amy in the kitchen busy with bread
And Clarinet always close beside her
I don’t think Frank recognized me
But he knew the horses and looked a bit worried
Once he saw me his furrowed brow
Turned into the widest grin
And he laughed his friendly and warm laugh:
“Amy, guess who just rode up?!”
We dismounted and gave our greetings and gifts
And introduced Clarinet to Lily River.
Neither could talk to each other much
But I knew Clarinet had respect for the Native child
As I had hoped, knowing Amy and Frank,
And that made me smile
For the Native folks of this land
Sometimes didn’t get the respect they deserved
As humans sharing the land
With Europeans and their firesticks
Clarinet wasn’t a shy kid
And a bit to my surprise
Lily enjoyed some of the little games
Clarinet made her play around the house.
We enjoyed fresh bread
As I told Frank and Amy about my story
Of first meeting Mountain Chief
And everybody laughed when I told them
How he had known their jerky by smell!
With this, Frank pulled a few sticks for us
And we sat their drinking tea and nibbling on jerky
Enjoying each other’s company.
I asked Frank if he needed any help
While he had two extra men around
And he put us to work for a few hours
Lifting bales of hay up into his hay loft
And walking a few of his ditches with him
Clearing branches that had fallen
We enjoyed the light work and helping.
Amy made us an early meal
Of boiled potatoes, carrots, saurkraut
And a few more preserves
I kept almost laughing looking at Lily
Who was looking at the food
And not really knowing what to do with it
Never having eaten with utensils before
But she was a quick learner
And she copied us quickly.
We made it home by dusk
Lily’s mother, Wild Willow, was happy to see her home
She was beautiful,
And I could only smile when I saw her
I could tell she had been a bit worried
But Moon Cow just laughed it off
I’m not sure why I didn’t take Frank
Up on his offer again
For me to stay with them
Except that I liked learning the way of life
The Blackfoot kept,
They were also family now
But I did promise to return
Before the Winter came.
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.
There has been granted
Two leaves into my life:
One has been a jewel
One has been a cause.
And as it speaks its soul out loud
The vision becomes clear
And so does all the madness lay
Into a pit: despair.
But who should laugh?
Who should lament?
Who should run along the car?
Leave so slow, alone.
Who should drink the coldest drops
From deepest drop of well?
I am a poplar set in dirt
I am the fraying skin
But as my heart becomes again
I becometh leaf of spring.
She curled her tail
About my chest
And laughed a learned snarl.
As grandmother saw,
She knew it all;
I was left to dig the rest.
But even with such torrents stumbled
I walked away on solid ground;
Lost and found,
Cured and spoiled.
Left and forgotten.
Whispered to in silent nods
I needed no affirmation,
No restless waiting line
For I was united,
I was mind and body
And had drank the medicine
Though needing nothing in return.
I know that I didn’t lose my answers
When I stepped off late at night.
When I closed the door and shifted sheets.
When I spoke my prayer dance to the moon.
When I laughed heartily
Allowing my soul to saturate
Every breath you exude.
Because this is my intake
And answers don’t get lost here
Where answers don’t get forgotten.
I do not know where the rose petals fell;
Floating from my conscience as I lost sight of all.
Leaving an impression, like tail winds trickling
Into the evanescence of my breath.
But you who art sight! What cometh of thy history,
Lost into thy pool of still waters shaking.
I fell one warm, kind day – a moon’s length away,
Into the feelings of a warm blooded kiss.
My littered floorboards of mother natures spoil
Tickled my memory while I shook out my whiskers.
I laid there and laughed for the whiskey surged my sour,
And love settled down beside me, for I was delirious.