Tag Archives: contemplation

Lost Highways and Exit Ramps

I hear Odin drives an old beat up Ford
Primer for paint and two coon hounds chasing smells
From one end of the truck bed to the other
Howling something fierce the whole way down the road
On that unknown highway, chasing dreams, booze and ass
Trucker’s cap tiled to one side, shaded eye
Long Beard
And Mother Mary stands with thumb 
outstretched looking for a ride
Joseph got old, and not with age, baby Jesus come and gone
The excitement a blasphemous memory
We all chase the faith just the same
Even if it ain’t faith we know it by
But some other name

I’ve been down some of those exit ramps, they always
Say, speed up near the bottom, on these darker roads
Construction zone signs are a given, only the danger
Is the drive
Been down them exit ramps on backroads 
In places I don’t know
Chasing the saga of some elder mythology
Some broke down, lint in the wallet, college student dream
Like Poets and bards of yesteryear

But by God, look at them stars, stretching out, teasing fingers
Like man and God, the constellations touch ever so lightly,
Separated by a billion million years
Made in their image, our atoms see their reflection
And in the black void of our being, big bang lets loose
Her sweet song of chaos coming down the turnpike
Promising a chapter two…or is it three?

Let’s hop in the old car, two door handles missing, one
Window doesn’t go down, and see what sights there are
Chasing campfire trails and the thick smoky promise
Old stories, time travel, adventure and a warrior’s game
I know your soul smiles, I see it through your flesh
You remember the old gods well and the rush
That was pagan magic and runes and circles and dances
Wilder days are imprinted on our being

I hear the whispering sound of your life living out
Loud poetry has called, but something more
You’ve awakened what amber promises and beer bottle hope
Was only the first baptism of, what those other things
Teased and promised,
Poetry has revealed.

The lost highways are haunted ways
Of hunger and never being satisfied
Of living best after you’ve died
Not to flesh or paper thin realities, but to concepts
Windows down on that older road, listen to the tree frogs
Hear the wind singing her song to the rhythm of pine trees?
Smell the pond thick with stagnant green algae
The creek is calling, her melody your melody, poetry
Alive. Glory to the gods, a being come alive
Haunted ways are calling
Who will you be?


Of Coffee, Caffeine, and Morning Breezes

Just heart burn, a bowl of cereal, and The Civil Wars playing

Thinking about a woman I don’t know

Or might know but not know that I do

Wondering how much longer this trying road will wander


Life is like

And then I stop, because the truth is much more troubling

Life is like life, and that’s all

Any of us can truly say. But that’s alright, ain’t it?

Just one more soup bowl to be cleaned, that’s life

Summed up with a side of toast and raspberry Jelly


Long day stretching out across a short horizon, has the sun

Wobbled up over them Kentucky hills?

There’s something to be said for the smell

Of coffee, caffeine, and early morning breezes


Got my poetry packed, my stories ingested, notes ready

Pen in pocket, jeans laid out, shower going

Teeth brushed, and student’s mask worn

But still I’m sittin’ here wondering

About that fat burning ball of light, the short stretch

Of a long day. What’s the creek smell like back home?

Sugar creek, Lock 8, old hills, little holler

Here I am in Lexington big and wide

Thinking of a little place down the road,

Wondering. What’s this day going to hold?

This Too Shall Pass (rough draft)

We seldom remember the beginning of any storm
Those first few drops of rain so inconsequential, the whispering sound of their community falling and gathering all around
Nor does the water ever seem too high or strong or dangerous
Until it is

On the day my Uncle was found dead just such a storm had been building all around my family and I
Each drop piling high, singing the creek out behind the house into a rage
Until finally the water could hold back no more and all its chocolate milk fury came at us with a thunder and command befitting the gods of long before
We were overcome

This was the day I watched the road buckle and like a blister, popped and exploded its tar memory into the all consuming water
And the day I watched my car get filled mere feet beyond my reach
And above all, the day my uncle, homeless and undesired, found dead in a Colorado street.
Momma wailed, not cried, and the water no matter how loud couldn’t drown her out
First she thought she was losing the house and then she found out she had lost her brother
Was there no good left to God?

My mother and father stacked their valuables as high as they could, hoping the water’s reach would not compete
And all the while I thought of Bay Saint Louis down in Mississippi where I had dug just such valuables out of strangers homes
Mad Lady Katrina had a higher reach than any shelf or even roof
But I stacked my stuff too and let my family hold to their belief

We were trapped
The water was all around, there seemed no hope, out back a river, out front a river, all around the rain gathered their community and sang deaths ugly tune
Dad and I ventured out, we had only one chance, “how high is the water papa?”, old man Cash once sang
Too damn high

Momma had a distant look on her face, her brother’s death had stained her soul, and the water that should wash away dirt was instead carrying it and threatening to stain her even more
Dad gave me an ax and a look I’ll never forget
We started chopping down the fence he had built some summers ago, and somewhere between the swings, I had become a man to my father and an equal
And somewhere between the swings, I asked God why and even prayed, and all the while I thought of what I’d done to help others

I had done more than watched, I went down to dig out the buried lives of those drowned poor souls of the south
When Katrina tried our nation, and found us wanting, hadn’t I gone? Hadn’t I done something more than most?

And somewhere in the swinging the rain slowed and the waters went down
We seldom remember when the storm comes and seldom see it’s recline but no truer joy had I felt than when the creek of my childhood had lost its bite
And left me with its gritty hard lesson
There will always be rain and floods but we can weather any storm if we pick up the ax
And no better boat than the family that rows together

Like all great rushing waters, and floods, and all storms along life’s way, the waters shall run their course and in due time, this too shall pass


My Sad Song

She is gone
And this is my sad song
To have loved and lost
Such a sad and high cost
To have loved
And lost
And in the world I felt I belonged
But now she is gone
And all the sacrifices made
The foundation of love for which I laid
Are as Babel, toppeled and left in rubble
I am saddened and dismayed
And by love’s calling tune
I am truly troubled
She is gone
And all I have left
Is this, my sad sad song

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