Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shadow Walker

Oh slippery shadow where are you now?
Where do you go when the clouds part?
Where do you go when the lights turn off?
Where do you go when my eyes are shut?
Where do you go when the sun comes up?
Yes you, oh Shadow Walker, yes you?

You couldn’t have left, disappeared in a flash?
You couldn’t have left, disappeared in a dash?
You couldn’t have gone, run away so fast?
You couldn’t have gone, run away my friend?
You couldn’t have risen, blown away with the wind?
Not you, oh Shadow Walker, not you?

So how did you leave your dance on the road?
How did you leave your essence in the snow?
How did you leave your body on the plateau?
How did you leave your self in my way?
How did you leave your brethren 'neath a moon ray?
How did you leave your smile on the wall?
How did you leave these places at all?
Yes you, oh Shadow Walker, yes you?

Maybe you’re more than I see?
Maybe you’re more like the dreams I'm dreamin'?
Maybe you’re more like the devil I’m afraid I'll see?
Maybe you’re more like the person I’ll never set free?
Maybe you’re more like me, than I'm like you?
Maybe I'm not so different, not so different from you?
Yes you, oh Shadow Walker, yes you?

And wherever you travel, tell me of your journey.
Wherever you go from the stars to moon.
Wherever you go from the streets to saloon.
Wherever you go from the deserts to oceans.
Wherever you go you’re always in motion.
Yes you, oh Shadow Walker, yes you?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The undiscovered land

Maybe I am not what I was? Maybe I am more than that?
Even in this future that comes crawling back
telling me in a premonition that I am nothing more than what I was.
But hell if that’s the pace I’ll run through this life before I'm done.
God ain’t so cruel as to watch me wither when so young and full of vinegar,
he ain't so cruel as to let me wrinkle up like an old man,
to lose my memories into a desert of blowing sand.
He wouldn't let me be sent off into a blind-filled ether
cause that’s no FUTURE, man!

Got to give me some hope, a tiny light to show me a way through future’s blight,
a way in which I can cope with today shot forward like a cursed, flying arrow.
A way to come to grips with the inevitable future blooming into a present not so dark and LOOMING.
So tell me life's not a curse of pain and suffering,
not roads littered with man's endless failings?
Tell me this lonely fear ahead is warranted?
That I should not close my eyes and give up, leave all these days behind
and drop my beggar’s cup.
That instead I should keep on going as fast as I can,
keep on running into the dark and just stop trying to understand
the FUTURE, man!

But the future is here to stay. It comes no matter how you go, which way you look.
It's an old, weathered book with pages turning swiftly by.
It's stories being told of fortunes won and lost.
It's every possibility spun from the dark and cold from which we hide, from which we run.
It's everything that could be that comes out from the fold.
It's everything that has been, which fills my heart with spirit, bold.
It's everything I've gained when I didn't give in and fear it.
It's this feeling that spurs in me something more than magicians smoke.
It's no longer me on a mountain unclimbable.
Instead it's me atop this day's slippery slope.
It's me yearning for life and my days ahead, the ones I dream about.
It's me with memories held closely,
ones for when they attempt to swindle me, they'll get a SHOUT,
"The time ahead is mine, it's my FUTURE, man!"

Some fools tell me, "You can be anything you want to be."
Even if they know those things people want come and go.
So you'd better let me tell you what I've learned in my life.
A man's quest is to find something honest and true,
something not in disguise, put together with glue,
but something set deep in your soul,
something that makes you shine like gold.
And when you have it, don't stare into the past or go far off,
head too far down future paths cause you are right HERE, right NOW
and there's no crowd there, friend.
So take that inward focus and look in toward this life you've got.
It's the undiscovered land!
It's all ahead, looking back at you
It's your FUTURE, man!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The day breaking

I awakened, but I haven't slept. The ice and rock enjoined are too cold a bed for me. Dreams, now but moments past, alluded to warm fingers reaching out from sun onto these vast glaciers, caressing these mountain slopes, the ones I cling to - awaiting. Night is imagined racing far to the hills to the west, chased by the light whose warmth also fills me with hope. How unreasonable these games the mind plays that I fear the light will not come, as if all days past are alone with no more ahead to greet them. But, admittedly, I fear it isn't unreasonable, so long has night been here with her stars and moon, with her grey shadows that a man shouldn't be ashamed to wonder, would ever the day be breaking?

I am miserable without it.

Again, I am pulled from the warmth of dream-induced lies. I am cast into this moment, brightening. Hope ringing in my bones that are shaking in anticipation more than they should have been (I am cold but not that cold). With my coat pulled close, my legs dangling down steepened slope and my eyes straining for any hint, any at all more than I have already seen. And there (!), there it is, blooming. A half circle above horizon, brighter than anywhere else. Not the sun, but her radiance and surely where she would soon rise.

More time goes by and still, nothing. Not the sun, not yet. I wait more. My eye lids growing heavy, they close.

I didn't know if it had been a minute or ten, whether hours had passed or days. I didn’t know where I was for a moment, but soon I did - I remembered. The moment was near, time before had in comparison passed swiftly. Now seconds became fractional, flowing like glacier ice down this mountainside toward where I was to be witness, caught up and enraptured, pulled from the cold.

Beyond the edge of Earth spinning, sun marched on toward me. Liquid light oiled the surface of horizon, remaining quiet and content. More light harnessed the night and chased it away, but the sun's body still had only shifted a fraction.

Infused to this time I was witness to, I awaited, lost in the vision of what befell night on bloodied horizon. What I saw all men have seen since the dawn of time, all creatures have yearned for and still long for every day to come. Exploding then was dawn breaking. Her light shattering the night like a glass mosaic. Mouth unhinged and hung open as if it were made of wax. Every part of me suddenly so very warm and alive, happy. My mouth closed and formed a BIG smile.

So there alone on my icy ledge, the world had appeared as it was, no longer alien. To welcome it now brought a sad feeling, but memory of it persists, burned into my very soul.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Gray Whale Calm

The bay sifts sand and rock
shifts this tiny sailboat
southwest to Kingston's dock
wind pushing, me holding rail
can't help but see Rainier
off in the distance
seems so close it's fear
gravity's resistance
as the wind fails us
the sails flatten and flutter
can't imagine being in a rush
to hear the engines mutter
boat's quiet moan is heard
while looking in at sail's palm
and then to port side how absurd
to see a gray whale calm
rolling over like some great log
can't help but think
that maybe it's a facade
that maybe I should blink
can't picture a moment the same
he was gone as wind puffed
across the surface like rain
its breath filling sail, setting us off

and oh the bay sifts sand and rock
shifts this tiny sailboat
southwest to Kingston's dock
wind pushing, me holding rail
can't help but see Rainier
off in the distance
seems so close it's fear
gravity's resistance

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Measure of a man

This is a hard piece for me to write. I imagine often the mountain eating me up and spitting me out. In this poem I wanted to explore a place where life and death mix, where you could explore how it would feel to be dead and sitting next to your bones, years later.


No beating heart chases me second by second
no flesh at all weighs a dead man I reckon
There are thoughts in me of times before
where good days were ahead and always in store
but life took a different course for me
on high mountain above the sea
My thoughts pause on the young man I was
whose feet ached to go and wonder
the seven seas and the four corners of the world
but that was a dream, just like finding that perfect girl
by the time I’d set off I was in such a rush
what a shame it was to die neath a rocks crush
Long have I journeyed, so much left to wonder
but today I sit and rest high above water
where wind somehow shifts my being in motion
and wisps of ghostly limbs move in unison
across the bones, fragments of what I was before
and feelings are roused, better left where they were stored
And it sets me on a question I struggle to understand
what it is, truly, that is the measure of a man
surely what remains of me here on this mountainside
isn’t the entire sum of what I am inside
No matter the body I now lack
in my returning, I am left defying the fact
had I known of ghosts, would life have been as real?
if I had known at all, there'd be no fear to feel
not on mountain dressed in rock and ice
or on life's path set headlong into futures vice
it wouldn't be my own, only a theme park ride to amuse
such a shame to waste life best lived as you choose
If you don’t miss anything in life, what good is it at all?
maybe I should miss the sound of angels in heaven calling
but instead I yearn for danger felt atop cliffed-in heights
I yearn for feeling a mortal man's blight
but yearned for most of all lay in bones on the ground
these bones that will never rise again to walk around
Soon the sun turns and leaves us in darkness
there are feelings I am sure I will never harness
even with these stars piloting me through sad thoughts
no answer is found beyond cutting out the rot
time passes slowly without whispers of age or hunger blinding
but even then nothing is ever worth not deciding
I leave when dawn awakens and visits me with her smile
now grown I must rise up and leave my past child
I have long awaited discovering the measure of me
and it isn’t in the flesh or bones you see
(nor is it in the wisps of phantom that is now me)
it is in days laid out behind and those ahead
the ones you know are alive even when you are dead

A standin’ man walkin’

Songs are a great inspiration for writing. They are present day poetry. Without them this sort of writing may have already been gone and dead. I was listening to a song the other day and it inspired me to write this short bit about farm life. See, the song I heard was about the farm, and heck that's what my family did, what brought them to the US from Germany. I think it is worth remembering.

Toil in these fields my friend
toil ‘till the light’s near end
sit on rockin’ chair
look out on green pastures
life you know ain’t fair
but now it don’t fester

Wife’s been gone a year now
kids up and ran away to town
they say, “Ain’t no life on the farm.”
I tell ‘em good luck
maybe my life ain’t worth a darn
but I ain’t gonna sell it for a buck

but even I got to make ends meet
had to sell the back half to eat
but I still work the land
even if it doesn’t pay me a dime
there ain’t nowhere to run man
bet I’d lose my mind in a short time

Too bad I’m gettin’ old
day’s are feelin’ mighty cold
don’t think quite as well some days
but I remember how the dirt turns
how the hills groan when the wheat sways
when to park the tractor and watch a sunset burn

Today got a feelin’ I’m a standin’ man walkin’
I ain’t gonna make the fields or be a’talkin’
cause come morn I’m to be a forgotten lot
but don’t matter to me mister, this ain’t my land
not even after all the battles I’d fought
all that matters now is left in god’s hands

Springtime is near

Take away the snows
that cover mountain and valley lows
know that the sun is sweet
when your smile is bright
and your cheeks blushed
and flowers spring up to meet

All these pouring rains
on city streets and highway lanes
they keep you going forward
in the hopes clouds would part
and sun would give you heart
for god knows you can’t be lowered

Speak as you may on this fine night
all illume in moon’s headlight
how you wonder where spring is here?
besides black and white not a single color
among this night’s empty, forlorn pallor
but you know Springtime is near

On dusk's invitation all rise up to see
the finest show there’s said to be
the scope of land appearing so big and wild
out toward horizon aflutter in fiery sunset blaze
all across it you can see what comes these days
nature birthing fortune for all without denial

Flowered meadows are brought to life
among all the lands where springtime is rife
out from the cold and chill
to where hope has been so dimmed
life crawls out of their holes into the wind
where bright sun brightens the hills

And when summertime may come
fall and wintertime take the sun
you will not forget her as you fear
color comes again next to muddied lakeshore
it pokes it head out just as always before
cause all know springtime is near...