ember 11, 1906

On Kenosha Pass

I came to see if the aspens had found any color,
panning in the streaming air
of cooling nights,
yellow ore shivering in the wind at dawn.

The sky, blue steel, could strike sparks
from the flinty eye
of god himself,
light fire to the aspen groves
and smelt fool’s gold among the evergreens.

I turn back into the slant doorway
of the wrecked cabin,
to read its walls,
lined with layers of old newsprint.
I peel the corner of a page from the wall
like bark from an aspen,
read a date—

“ember 11, 1906”

In the month of ember I came as a stranger,
a guest neither welcome
nor unwelcome,
to whisper a few words
among the ghosts
homesteaded on the rocky ground
planted like rows of corn
under makeshift markers and weatherworn stones.

“ember 11, 1906”

Do these ghosts
look to the aspens,
in the month of ember,
in the year of ’06,
knowing that this fool’s gold
is a hard hue to hold,
mountain winter on the way,
and nothing gold can stay?

Posted for Spike. Note that I rip off Robert Frost in a major way at the end.

Random Photo

ghost-pumpkinA photo a day keeps the Doctor in play.

Before The Hallelujah

Before the Hallelujah: A Kenning for St. Leonard

I started listening before your voice
became all throat
scarred with a million cigarettes,

before you sanded down your lyrics
and the words smelled like Cuban cigars,
before you sang your songs

like distant thunderstorms of whisky
washing deeper deep gullies
in the desert of rhyme,

before you became every lost one’s lost saint
before everyone wanted to be lost
before everyone coveted your hallelujah,

I listened to every scratch
in every groove
of every dispatch from the front.

You were “our most important spy”
you sang in a voice made of tin
stomped flat by gypsies dancing flamenco.

You wanted to be Lorca when you grew up.
You wanted to catch
the Fascist bullet in your teeth.

You planted razors in every sacred heart,
waited for them to bloom
before your master made you hoe the bed of snow.

The snow fell the razors bloomed,
slowly the razors bloomed
in the cut glass vase

watered by curated tears
culled from the weeping ikon
all orthodox and gilt.

Forests of violins burned
all of us fell to our knees
as you danced us to the end of love.

You told us there ain’t no cure
in the church of no-place-else-to-go
as you built the altar and swung your ax of gold.

All birds on a stained glass wire,
all birds of St. Leonard,
you made it all up, to us

you made us love ourselves for spare hallelujah
all of us grateful for the razor
in our sacred cut glass hearts.

I started listening before your voice
became all throat
scarred with a million cigarettes,

before you sanded down your lyrics
and the words smelled like Cuban cigars,
before you sang your songs

like distant thunderstorms of whisky
washing deeper deep gullies
in the desert of rhyme.

Leonard Cohen turned 82 on September 21st. His 14th studio album, You Want It Darker, was released yesterday, October 21st.

Random Photo

jesus-cares-for-youA photo a day keeps the Doctor in play.

Random Photo

fly on sweet potato leaf

A photo a day keeps the Doctor in play.

A fly deigns to decorate a leaf of my sweet potato vines, and is caught in digital ointment. I didn’t hear it buzz, but it did interpose itself between “the Heaves of Storm.”

Scissor Dance: Monkey Camera

lost found scissor dance 1 crop

>Scissor DanceCollage cut and pasted the old fashioned way, with scissors, glue, and a stack of old magazines.

Random Photo: Our Flag Decal Was Still

corrogated bolt flag ort crop warmIt doesn’t get us into Heaven anymore.

A photo a day keeps the Doctor in play.