Swans of Fire / Riding

I thought mountains and swans of fire were swallowing the world.

The ocean roiled, the spray splattered, and the rain came in sideways. I ran drenched, no hand one holding, back to a car that smelled like a wet rug. I backed the old Ford out to the highway, turning the feebly lit dial, until I heard a familiar tune:

We are riding on a railroad, singing some else’s song.
Forever standing by the cross road,
Take a side and step along.
We are sailing away on a river to the sea,
Maybe you and me can meet again —
We are riding on a railroad, singing someone else’s song.
Sing along.
Time to time I tire of the life that I’ve been leading;
Town to town, day by day
There’s a man up here who claims to have his hands upon the reins.
There are chains upon his hands and he’s riding upon a train.
We are riding on a railroad, singing some else’s song
Forever standing by the cross road.
Take a side and step along.
We are sailing away on a river to the sea.
Maybe you and me can meet again.
We are riding on a railroad, singing someone else’s song.


**** “Riding on a Railroad”, Music and Lyrics by James Taylor

7 Autumn Lunes

I.

sometimes, one alone,
just walking,
knows why but can’t say —


II.

colors turn
in the same way that
hearts invert


III.

the cool awakens
dormant hope
among the fevered


IV.

not all grief brings tears —
our skies mourn
with more than raindrops


V.

to find hope
one must always seek
on love’s path


VI.

do not just dream of
tomorrow;
make it so today —


VII.

love: come and explain
this heartache –
let peace find a home

A Visitor

Once,
A visitor to Cornwall
Stirred an ancient Celtic wonder

Every opening was spun silk and gilded
As flames licked higher over cold granite

Down in Falmouth,
Where the moorland meets the sea,
There echoed the song of Éadaoin

Mixed with a thousand lovers’ sighs

And the lament of a visitor

Who still seeks the touch

 
Of the untouchable

altered reality

a spent force, unable
even to fantasize, memories
frozen flooding back like
wastrel girls idolized by
teenage boys who still had
the power to alter reality through
imagination

cold skin pressed against
warm fervor, inexperience posing
as cool indifference, finding
empty cabins with wood stoves and
singed blankets kept too close
to fires and first timers who
know the recipe but are missing
half the ingredients

the creative

I was busily engaged in
  making a pastiche out of
  emotions and Skippy
  Peanut Butter

She was on the phone to
  our agent, asking when
  and if we would have a
  next booking

It was at that moment that
  she realized my commercial
  viability was limited and
  that she maybe should have
  chosen a mortician

I, of course, realized nothing,
  given that the true artist
  sees no reality save what
  she or he creates

Or destroys

fourteen times

the story and the metastory

always, it’s about her
  and about her knowing it’s about her

so much kindness in her voice, arrogance
  only specious in intentional
  vacating of previously occupied
  territory ceded to the opposition

transactional analysis, used
  to good effect upon mountains of
  regret and underneath umbrellas of
  translucent rainbows

young life scrounged
  fourteen times by hotel maids
  who once served hot dogs to
  shy cabinetmakers and window-washers

 

lies, luscious lies –
  with the occasional truth
  thrown in for flavor

intersection of parabolic interests where
  cold indifference serves as a
  reliable guide

plain plastic platitudes sent
  seventy-six ways into
  walls of wanton

sensuality