Lying in bed with the sound of rain on a tin rooftop,
space heater churning blue flame and little heat,
the sour smell of night sweats on a paisley bathrobe,
Chopin nocturnes escorting Night into her bedchamber.
Dawn sleepily moves across the landscape, and with this
the day breaks upon the city, day breaks upon the already
melting snows. Blue sky and cardinals, green pines shrugging
the cracked ice off, and bend, bend, bend, creaking,
seems it’s me not the trees creaking, leaning towards
the kitchen and all the ways of waking that are waiting there.
Funny, the way the voice shakes in a hushed stage whisper
as it moves in pitch towards the bellow and shout,
towards the un-muffled, the hallelujah yeah that says
this is the moment: a place I’d like to stay.
Step outside on the warped pine front porch, well, well,
the eyes start to focus through espresso steam and Camel smoke,
and it seems out here all the roads connect
on a downtown trek that’s ever and always leading somewhere,
and I look and look and look at the streak of wires
suspended and swaying beneath the weight of winter winds,
they too are going and they’re not coming here…
And for this minute the dawn tastes good, it tastes like life.
Yellow sun rests on the wet roofs and lawns, gleaming, awake.
A car door slams, a car shifts gears and slides to a stop,
a car rushes round the curve and hill, sounds a whole lot
like late for work and I’m glad I’m not, then a truck rumbles,
a train howls and grinds, screams through birdsong
and soft morning thought, and reawakens the knowing
that commerce has no home or heart, it just roars,
tears down wall and reconstructs, full throttle, full throated.
These are the sounds when the city wakes up, with sounds
like this, with iron gates crashing. Sleeping,
the beast is beautiful with it’s neon crown,
it’s candent towers, fuzzy halo and steady hum. And then,
the city wakes up with all the subtlety,
vulgarity and calm of Moloch rising after the feast.
Yeah, and the night limped around like it was trying to go somewhere,
like out of Carrol County, but it didn’t and neither did I…
so it’s just me and the street lamps downtown cowtown 1 a.m.
Not a star in sight and nothing’s open all night but there’s some
eggs at Casa Huddle, been waiting all day by the week-old bacon
by the grease geyser and a tarnished Maxwell pump.
Home is sounding better by the minute, out there, self bound,
out there by the pines where the stars always shine
and the insects call and chant to the night.
Yeah, like this never happened before and the phone rings on time.
Let the darkness rain down on the rascals and rogues, on the land,
on the caverns of the coyote prince; I have tasted the clay,
chewed upon the sunrise in a dozen cities and found nothing
so sweet as the southern summer moon.
As though baptisms were not pure ritual,
as though I’ve lived this course in southern mysticism past,
yet past the prime of indecision into action and desire.
Me, alone with my solipsism and a thousand constellations,
where animal heart is an echo growing stronger in my lungs,
growing out of the chronic dreams of misalliance and master races,
seeds sown in the groves of neophytes and fisher kings, suicide kings
where the world is nothing but reflections and fear…fear…
yeah, fear keep’em all from climbing.
In the black hour those owl wise swoop down on the bell ropes
and burn in the light of the dying mirror sun. Better to burn on
the wing than stooped upon the ladder with some Moloch prince
in a three piece suit, better to screech in the storms
with a new vision of life, alive with all that lives in the treetops
and shadows, in gulf stream and prairie, forest and hill, yeah,
dreams of the beasts on the edge of extinction, they come.
They cry. Dreams of the coyote prince seconds before the snare snaps.
Naturalist, rattling the cages of a language that’s forgotten salvation,
when animal rhythm passes so shall we,
asphalt concrete glass and steel…poof! memories of the land…
a getaway from the lights, from engines’ rhythms, blood in the sand
for a moment before the buildings rise and it’s all just city,
but never open all night. And the dirt roads shine.
Well, the night limps around kinda faded and gone,
bird calls in the dawn and the distant combustion howls,
cities rise and fall in the dust, but out here,
out here in the backroads, my heart, all red clay, pines and springfed
really is open all night, is the one direction unadorned with death.
Loving the land and the hammer that nails it down.
Loving the Rising when our own mortality strains,
pulls upon the bellropes and begs for mercy.
window shakes as the front door slams,
covers pull up against the coming light,
then a sweet voice flows across the dust…
and in your little room you squint and shake,
see a world alive with breath and whispers,
there’s a woman there you know you love…
yeah, she’s the spice of life.
Like a tickle in your ear:
And she says:
No lucky charm bounces on my chest,
no crucifix, no ankh or star,
just a flash of red, a hearts fire contained.