Hour 14: “Those who take care of us”

The Mother and her songs
rise through the dirt
red heads who light the way

The Mother and her songs
collaborate on a garden
and a deep drumming heartbeat

The Mother and her songs
talk to the sky and stars
roots ripening feed even those undeserved

The Mother and her songs
can only give
can only give

Hour 13: All the gifts in the trees

Each time I pace this route
I see new offerings
3 doves, the gloss of the holly
if there is a time to feel mortal, it is now.

all the plums are forming, an altar under a tree
a bottle hangs on a branch
We better pray, better pray
for a bubble of fresh air

turn their up golden faces and hands
stretch their pale fingers
looking for leaf skeletons under
a tree with no name

see the tracks of animals
the knot protrudes and encircles itself
nameless, dropping fruit
a succulent pricks up like a hedgehog

2 finches on a wire, one red, one brown
I’m reminded the female is plainer
the man who makes the music is moving on
his talents are wasted here

do you know about eucalyptus flowers
or the stones tiny hands are painting?
fungus like oysters on a tree stump?
and the moss that hangs from a stale pine

Each time I pace this route,
I see new offerings

Hour 12: Steel, As You Probably Know

I am made of steel
made of nails and invincible.
Keep going.

Stop and I will find
as you probably know
I am an alloy based in iron

Prone to rust and decay
I don’t want to be reminded

Hour 11: Hollywood

Hey Hollywood, way out west
golden highway, you hot mess
have I missed your glam, your impersonators?
glitter like a tranny golden apple?

I want to know your drag, your yellow bricks
I want to know your bowl, your bright sequins
tassels and tiny light bulbs
cowboy hats and dirty diners
I want to sit in your greasy spoon.

Have I missed the neon letters stacked
the search lights holding up the sky?
The river of street light on the wet boulevard
Cinerama and celluloid?
Is there an old movie for us to hide in all afternoon?

Tell me, Hollywood, is it too late, baby?

Hour 10: Followed

I’m being followed.
look behind me and I hear
a voice in the dark,
“Take it easy, girl.”

I’m being followed.
look under the bed and I see
two gentle eyes,
“I see you.  Take it easy.”

I’m being followed.
empty my pockets and I find
a note on folded paper,
“When you going to take it easy
on yourself?”

Hour 9: Fireflies

Each morning in Thomasville, the air smelled of varnish from the furniture factory
Sun like I’d never seen woke me, warming the air, begging me to go outside
The heat meant I could smell every tree, every blade of grass
At night the air rang with the chirping of crickets, like a Hollywood film, I thought
And then out came the fireflies, sparking in strange yellow-green
Stalking from the screened porch,  with its faded green paint
We ran to the treeline to bottle them – easy to do, it turned out
But they couldn’t stay in the jar for long – they’d lose their glow
At night, back in my bed, I’d watch them bumble past my window

Hour 8: Life as a Sheep

You make rude gestures, like a sheep.
It’s a sign.
My family and their family are
unhappy about blonde people explaining things
More happy about boredom
I will give water to this sheep because
it’s a sign black holes are coming
and black holes are for you,
Mr. Sheep.

Hour 7: Season of the Huntsman

A queen sends him on his way
with an empty box and a mission,
Under the orders of the magic glass
he is recast as the assassin.

In soft shoes he beckons a girl,
into the depths of a mossy wood,
over root and worm, acorn and leaf,
to do what no other could, or would.

The huntsman’s knife is at the ready,
he walks behind her, holding a breath,
but when the time comes, his strike is halted-
the young girl pleads to stay her death.

The ferns that dress the twisted trees,
the mosses that whisper a sigh,
The oak that bends its heavy branches,
all of them, too, ask the huntsman, “Why?”

As she runs into the distance,
the air thunders with the creaking of wood,
as the forest turns its branches to him,
for doing what no man would, or should.

Hour 6: Meeting by Chance

Bus stop, 180 degrees from the box office
glass and steel framed a waving, a smile.

Why not a sunset on an out-cropping
of eroded brown clay and gravel?
Nothing in the way of the Pacific,
the horizon fades to black.

We fade to gold in tequila
Lime green, glass frost
cracked in a blender
a skillet of biscuits
that wouldn’t rise

Hour 5: The Loop

I haven’t been out of this valley in 16 days.
There’s a loop that I walk,
it whips away from the ocean.
Two green thighs with
one way in, one way out.
You could die here.
Do you want to die here?

In this theatre of mountains and river,
eucalyptus ushers,
people and their dogs, their fruit punch, their Christmases.
Cloud descends to abate the heat of that
despicable star,
To cool me and my fire.

A leaf ballet, a red-hot fungus.
It’s all there in the creek:
A gift from the cyprus and a bird without a nest.
Coy are glinting in a dam.
It’s true, I may be out of my tree,
but I don’t want to die here.