Where do your nightmares come from?
One turn of the great wheel I sat and watched the willows that leaned over the slough of my thoughts. It was dry that day, for my mind was barren.
Then the eyes of the eaters glinted behind the willow brake. They were waiting for the flowers to grow so they could devour them while they were still sweet, still young.
So I stood guard with my Long Stick, the one my Hero-Father gave me before he went to find his mythos, never to return. But there were no thoughts running today, to feed the slough and make it green and living. Soon the hungry eyes began to look at me.
Whatever. I looked back at them and licked my own lips. I have fought them many times.
My mind. My rules.
The hands of the clock, the tick of the tock, bludgeons her with reminders of duty and deeds. The list is so long that she must only attempt to consider small portions of it, lest she seize, and spill her coffee.
When she finally sets to it, most of her energy is spent mitigating the bewilderment that rises like fog each time she looks at the clock. She checks it every ten minutes, and every time it says an hour has passed. She hasn’t even finished her coffee, the first thing on her list.
She battens down her anxiety by “planning her day” and briefs her assault strategy to herself, making sure she understands her intent. She is confused, so she does it again.
She checks the clock.
She takes a sip.
The coffee is cold.
If you risk nothing you gain nothing. If you risk everything…
I took a chance, hoping those words would coagulate. But they cheated me this time. I wanted to grow my beautiful life. When the smoke cleared, the lies still hung in the air encouraging me to do it again.
Now she’s gone, and I don’t quite have enough to buy a cigarette from the tweaker on the other side of the park. Actually. I’m afraid he’ll beat me up and take my change, so I’m not even going to ask.
My drink has gone dry as my wife the day she left me here in the park. The day she made me reap what I had sown. I look at the sunrise through the distorted glass pretending I made it. Pretending all that gorgeous refracted light is mine now.
My coin tinkles in the bottle. I chuck the whole truth into the river’s arms. In a moment, I’ll chase after my fortune there.
They lost their rhythm
not their love
of the beat
that connects their feet
to the turning of the spheres.
Trying to find the time
the time of the music
the time of the music that
into the ear and the feet
spoke clearly in response.
The talent took a turn
toward couples coupling couplets
toward symbols of love and marriage
of promises kept.
The tribe was forgotten
but still its voice pleads
pleads in the memory of eons
pleads to bequeath
the beat back to the feet.
the lovely rhythm pours
back into the heart that beats
that beats as one.
One tribe under the great Wheel of Heaven.
Standing over this barren land, my pen heels to me, panting. I survey the vastness of the place and pay honor to the sterile vista. How clean. How virgin. There is a part of me that is afraid to set my pen’s stroke to the smooth placid ground. To stain the purity of it with my dream-marking.
I toe the dirt,longing for a little more time. I close my eyes and ask for forgiveness, and a blessing. I breath once.
At last, I call my pen to attention. “Away to me!” I snap and my pen bounds off across the empty plain, careening toward the end of the story.
Her makin’ space would be mocked today. Would be reviled like a slaver’s block. Would be the chain that boundeth her treasures to the patriarch’s greed. Well, I don’t know about that. I know that the smokes that emanated from her cauldrons and ovens twisted and billowed and journeyed to my nose and spoke of her love, her care. The smokes became holloways we all followed to find home.
And we would sup there, and we would laugh. and we would be filled.
Those smokes are gone now. Gone when her mind took the dark road, through the haunts of unknown terrors she makes up about a future she knows nothing about. But I remember the love they wrapped me in and the fullness of my belly. I learned the way of smoke, and now I create my own holloways of love for my people to follow home.
He watches the others climb aboard the soul-train looking for meaning, looking for a vacation from the petit-bourgeois flock. Some are pretty convincing, like hobo cosplay. Some don’t even try, showing up in their whitewashed Adidas and clean, holeless blue jeans.
“It’s all good,” he thinks. Let them have their fun. There’s some as like to play. There’s some as needs to follow the surge in their veins. “Not that addict shit,” he murmurs to himself. If drugs are calling you to roadward, you’re a slave, not a wayfarer.
He developed a litmus test for the more convincing ones to see if they were brothers born of the wanderlusting womb. He uses his “crazy homeless guy” speak when he says the following words:
“I seen the doorway. The one what hangs on harmony hinges, what opens onto the fields of unrest. The wind that blows there courses through my veins from my daddy’s seed cooking in momma’s womb, an’ I follered it! Ya’ kin me?”
After he asks the question he looks to see if their eyes are glazed over, or if they’re bright, or if they answer him with, “Yep. Reckon that’s how I came to be,” or some such. That’s how he knows who is road brothers are, who came from the seed of the wind.
Sweet is the air when the lights flow across the serpent-time sky, when my mother’s womb is finally quietened and she no longer demands her children return to her laborwaters, her ocean.
My sighs in the morning, like dandelion seeds on summer zephyrs, call my evangelist’s heart awake to the good news, good news that blows the horns of the morning soft into the dawn-gate.
The air. My breath. Gifts that lie on the thin threads. The thin threads that reach. The thin threads that reach to my ear and whisper life and joy and wonder, my catharthsis, my apotheosis, when all darkness has fled from the marching sun.
When Rome came north into the gray, the seat of the West was lost for awhile in the mist where time counts days by crows. I fear that old bridge where they live, crossing the midland waters gathered for the sea.
The indigenous all tried to beat back the Italian menace, who left eventually. But their middens had a life of its own. It took a while, a long while. And one day the sun never set on the West, and the city by the river had its fingers curled about the whole of history.
When I think about it I don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed. I am a child of this city, distantly related, like the son of one of its favorite whores who got a mind of her own and decided she didn’t need a pimp.
The crows caw the hour on the bridge over the northman-road. The Queen’s time piece calls for prayers. But I am speechless