Wooden Axle and the Wasteland of Trains
Jeffy at the spigot
those eyes like wind through bullet holes
or a sink full of dirty pans
jackstrawed telephone poles.
Went to see the beekeeper
a rope hanging from an oak
leaves on the kitchen floor
her breasts like snow
falling through a torn screen.
Root poems crow footing up her arm
is how the world ends
sister coming home through the corn
old Work Bench Face and his midnight thieves
building the railroads a wasteland.
Out of pine shadows
the re-gather begins to congeal
whispering totems make fire
from scattered orange peels
and boxcars clanking up the moon.
Jeffy up near the engine
singing Nobody Knows the Trouble
shoveling hallelujah from the avalanches
smoke and laughter rise
and once more go between stars.
And so Little Sister protects
the wandering needlework
of the forsythia and the despoblados
puts blue on the rivers and streams
weighted with stones into her many ferny loops.
Those who knew what the forest had in mind
before Wooden Axle rolled up
are standing in the doorways
refusing Old Work Bench Face
and the conquerors entry.
This time the stories will be told by the
rare touchwood and quiet mossery
Jeffy at the 6 burner
Little Sister rolling out the dough
because generosity is how you prepare for a rainy day.
* * * * *
New Great Explorers
We come up in the bottoms
through the brambles,
the streets, and single tracks,
the river carries its shoulders
out through the fields,
every time it rains
crows post on snag wood
and swallow stones
from the holes in an old lightening bolt’s shoe
we are the new great explorers,
we saw the legs off, sit on the ground,
plant water and moon smoke in our
shoulder blades, pedal joints,
we wait in the stems,
like sun light, rope swings
towel less swims
and rooster crows passing in apple trees
we go forward by circles
abounding by and by
as salt from the oceans collects on our skin
going back up cloudless
coming back down again
this time as fishtails and black-eyed peas
we live like coyotes
listening to sagebrush
counting the days between rain
we know the weather by being out in it
know the way, by watching it unravel,
as a white horse shows red dust
or an orange thread pulls forth from a seam.
we are the new great explorers
self-willed, seeds of sun expanding in the shadows
in places where the rivers come together
and the herons listen to frogs and spider webs,
we make the wind exist
make blue sky out of our breath,
through the brambles,
the streets, and the single tracks
we claim the day with our legs
we are the new great explorers
we are the bicyclists.
* * * * *
String the boot print moon up in the window
scrape some sand and twigs together and sit down
this be my bike shack
fold up a few onion skins
stuff them under the door to keep out the draft
I will light a fire.
Sweep the beans off the counter into the grinder
swear to the swift birds
the river current
them cold-outback stars
You know truth be in the ditch ice
stovepipe pines, wondering snowflakes
and brilliant revolts.
Uncle Whistle Bones and Hawk Eye nephew
toted a canvas bag stuffed with wolverine
and dingo dreams back up to the cave
then lit snag wood and Jewelweed into a pinnacle fire
danced shadows onto the limestone walls
perpetuated freedom, carved songs,
outlaws, shantymen, gandydancers.
Last time, a lightning bolt from sister Chestnut’s chimney
blew a heart through the speckled dawn,
left Gramma out in a rainstorm
clutching porcupine quills and horse bones
swearing to the garden loam
listen here she say,
we better chase the shrieking jays out
and don't avoid your heart any longer
nor violate your purpose here on earth
it be a dark road
fly down it with light
hold tight, hold tight
now you hear.
And to you sweet single track
dark wood worm, mighty aspen bridge
if we cook, love, and build our adventures
from the limitations of whatever is at hand
the result will always be a surprise
made of its own proportion.
This be so in the shaky morning light
this be so in the stone skipping dusk
with legs all a burn in circles
this be the way, this be our lost trail
dog hearts of thicket, wondering a plenty
the land is everlasting.
Shoot those gullies full of half-moons and steelhead
tell the kids I went chasing stumps
hunting mushrooms among mossy rocks
riding the hills to let the wind be known
winding back down the long way home
fog and tea leaves, rose and cabbage
only a few lost rovers will find it
tell them, this be my bike shack
stay long as they want
can’t say when I'll be back.
* * * * *
Ben Weaver is a songwriter, poet, father, letterpress printer and adventure advocate. He has released eight studio albums of original music and four books of poetry. The bicycle is his chosen mode of transport for all activities in all kinds of weather. Given the choice, Ben will side with the animals, mountains, trees, lakes and rivers, and you can read about his stewardship based musical and bike tours at his website: http://www.benweaver.net/
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