Song from a poem I sent through dozens of rewrites. It became my most published poem, maybe; I stopped making notes on publications when it hit 600. I love poetry. When I move it to music the same thing comes out, my voice.
Now, this is a rebellious song, sick of the moments that pretend to be, the people behind those moments, so the soul of Coyote prince runs deeper into hiding to be spirit guide for those driven to extinction.
The headstone is a six foot tall granite piece, smooth as can be. My dearest friend Dan had died when his twin engine beechcraft exploded on takeoff, mere seconds in the air. I waited for hours at the air port but rules are rules so that could not tell me. I found out the next day. So, they asked me to write a headstone poem, and donated a bench overlooking one of the Delaware battlefields with a two line part from another poem on brotherhood. Dan was like a brother to me. They keep dying a lot lately. It has me scared.
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 back roads, my heart, all red clay, pines and spring fed
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 bell ropes and finally begs for mercy.