I question everyone's sincerity.
From the Pope to the president,
From a stranger to a friend.
You held all the signs of a true love blossoming,
But we've both made mistakes before.
In a quiet, midnight embrace:
My forgetfulness took hold and I was entrenched by your beauty.
You may not be sincere in the least,
But the way you hold me says otherwise.
I am a fool,
I am everything that I hoped you would not be.
For a moment I pretended she was you
And all fell into place.
And the heartache I felt was at the fact that I would feel heartache no more.
But it was not enough to shadow the pain.
And it flooded upon me.
And winter came.
I felt as if a sacrifice,
Lain naked before the judging eyes of those who had gone before.
I craved a home in your heart,
I gained a hate in the stars.
And I am a constant reminder of a mistake you made.
There were times the wine made me speak foolishly.
There were the times I spoke that way sober.
I never had a moment I didn't mean,
But the ones with you just always meant more.
You came on strong like dandelion wine
And I never questioned a sip of you.
Anymore I'm just asking for another glass.
Oh, I can find the bottle, I just can't find you.
Woe to us,
For we have lived in the age in which we must witness his death.
There was no glorious flame that robbed him of flesh,
And no broad dealt the killing blow to him.
It was the thirst for a journey that laid him low.
He had wanted to drink from the oceans
And indulge in the cultures of others.
We could never fault him for an adventure journeyed in wonder.
Some day he might return to us.
He may reprise with a song on his lips
And a turn in his step.
Until then, rest easy, my friend,
But not too easy.
And when the silence renders you speechless,
Never forget that your breathe is a storm to few
And a welcomed breeze to many.
Whatever fate that might await us beyond those snowy white mountains is but a sweet release than the one that awaits us here.
For we have traversed the icy blue rivers with the courage of men and the wonder of children.
We died at the hands of machinery over and over again.
How must a man act when staring into the void?
Even worse, how must a man keep his courage when staring into his own soul?
If there was but some world that echoed our own,
I must say I lived like a king there.
I must belay these thoughts.
The winter nips at my nose and the savage hearts close on my heels.
Oh God, I have lived a life of almosts, of maybes, and of probablys,
But I will die a death punctuated by an exclamation mark.
All wait patiently for a love that doesn't exist;
To play their part on the stage of importance.
They beg to see the triumph of the hero,
But there is no victory in love or patience.
When the drapery falls, they depart.
When the lights dim, they have all fled.
When the love never shows
The hero turns his soul to death.
A soldier laying in a middle eastern desert,
A bullet lodged in his chest from a sniper
And his arm missing from a 5 year old suicide bomber,
Stares at a cloud passing by.
He closes his eyes tightly.
A tear squeezes through and streaks down his cheek.
He asks the cloud to carry a message for him.
The cloud does not reply.
He asks the cloud to tell his family he loves them.
To his mother,
A stronger woman there was not.
To his father,
His pride was all he sought.
To his sister,
Keep your chin up and don't give in.
To his infant brother,
Don't let the world cave you in.
The cloud moves slowly and lazily away and the soldier dies.
Days later a cloud appears over his family's house.
It must have rained for a month solid.
Death, that wretched inevitability,
Reaches out to enforce pity.
Has he not taken enough of my kin?
Dweller of the hadeopelagic,
The shark that swims in darkness,
He will turn all to black and sin.
That day in which he turns his gaze to me,
Lest he speak a word of comfort
I will not drink of his cup quickly.
I will let his death wash over me strong
Letting the warmth carry me home,
To find my kin that I mourned for so long.
I have driven with the engine light on for so long
That I now miss its soft glow.
Gone is the dissonance of the dashboard light orchestra
That made those long night drives tolerable.
All that's left is a foul sense of normalcy amidst the gauges.
If you're not in need of attention
Then you're forgotten.
When the wolf howls in the darkest of night,
When terrible winds choke courage's light,
When all is wrong and naught is right,
Love soothes me.
Though, I had a mother by name of America,
You were my grandfather.
And your Northwest Passage filled my heart.
How did you come by your mountains?
I must believe that God did shape smoothly
Just as the conductor beckons the orchestra.
My heart has been filled with your beauty.
And in your wilderness, horror and glory stride in step.
I find the line between the two is very thin.
I must go now. I must return to the cities of man,
But your eternal wilds will stay in the spirit
Just as the clock cannot truly run free of sand.
I went down to the field.
There was an ache in the distance.
No more plowing need be done,
But I prayed all the way there.
I fetched for my bloodhorse
And groomed him with a fire brush.
I was always a good son and a better man.
I fear I've wrought too much too soon upon myself.
Maybe the crops will grow next year.
On a heavy drive back from Dallas
I stopped just after passing the Oklahoma border.
A small, quaint town,
Of which I can no longer recall the name,
That offered little to the unimaginative.
At that point in my self flagellation it was evening,
That's a lie.
I don't recall the time because I was gone before George.
I had spent a large portion of my life in a drunken grapple with theology that would have made Olympic Brazilian jiu jitsu look like child's play.
I guess that little escape to Texas had been a deterrent of sorts.
On the side of the road in that ghost town sat a church.
It was an indian church.
It was a Native American church.
My father had told me that my faint Native heritage made it acceptable to use the word "indian" as a correct identifier
We never saw eye to eye.
That church was unlike anything I had ever been a part of.
I knew I was in a state of ill virtues so I decided to press upon the small bastion of hope.
I was immediately greeted upon entry by native elders that had the skin of a decorative leather horse saddle.
None seemed to hold me in contempt due to my lighter shade.
I was thankful.
Still somewhat boozed,
I found my way to a pew somewhere near the back by the nursery.
The pew that you sink down in when you come to find Jesus,
But you're not so sure he wants to find you.
The congregation fell silent as the preacher approached the pulpit.
I felt myself immediately entranced.
Plain in his get-up of a white long sleeved dress shirt coupled with black dress pants and a headdress of glorious proportions,
He began to shriek in a wailing, undulating cry.
Something tirelessly associated with Natives.
I felt holtly uneasy.
All had closed their eyes and began praying.
I had no idea what to do.
My past told me to bow my head and pray,
But the present was screaming, "Wait! Watch them! You might want to start yelling, too!"
I yielded to my past.
After a few minutes of this the preacher began speaking in Creek,
A branch swinging from the tree of the Mvskoke Native language.
Men dressed in the customary dress of the Creeks danced their way from the doors on either side of the pulpit.
A drum began a frenetic pace and kept rhythm.
A turtle shell filled with what sounded like sand and tidal waves began it's rapid approach.
I was in utter awe.
A small bowl filled with something unbeknownst to me made it's way around the church.
All had taken a sip of it.
A fragile and leathery elderly woman brought the bowl to me.
She muttered the words, "Heal your soul, child" to me before tipping the bowl into my mouth.
It was such a foul, bitter drink that I immediately thought on spewing,
But, thinking that it might offend them,
My God did I gulp.
It must have lodged itself in my throat because I knew I would surely suffocate.
After what seemed like an eternity the blockage subsided.
The drum and turtle shell continued on.
I felt golden.
My skin felt like water.
My tongue felt like a shaman,
Able to feel and heal.
It was peyote.
This was a peyote church.
Most had made this place out to be a cult,
But what little Creek I knew deciphered into the words "Jesus" and "Creator".
Everyone prayed for what seemed like hours.
I saw things that if I tried to explain them my pale, limited vocabulary would fall short and be detrimental to the glories I beheld.
At one point I swear God put his hand on my shoulder.
I bawled and howled like a newborn babe.
I passed out.
I awoke all alone in the church.
That church where the walls were yellowing,
Where the level of care reflected the meager salary the church pulled down.
I directly stood and exited the church.
I had no idea what time it was.
The Sun was either just coming up or just going down.
I was so disoriented that I could not discern which direction it was headed.
I hopped in my car and headed homewards.
I found shortly that it was actually turning into night.
I had spent a whole night and day in that church.
I had an uneasy feeling in the crawl of my gut.
I decided to stop off and get some coffee.
I pulled into an all night diner where the walls were yellowing.
The giant sign flickered like a bastion to a lost ship.
I walked through the door and to a booth on the southern side of the joint,
Pointing my back towards what had taken place.
A quaint and appealing waitress walked to my table.
As she poured my coffee she muttered the words, "Heal your soul."
Forward they tarried from the black-heart ocean;
The demons arose on a night as black as pitch.
Their brooding eyes vehemently searching for the weak,
And it they did find.
Blasphemies flowed as if rivers from their tongues,
Armed were they with the cloak of evil.
They set a course to ravage ignorance and false purity,
And they did.
Amidst the troubling cries and pleads of the weak,
The clouds rolled and thunder was heard across the world.
A mighty horn sounded as the sun fell silent.
He appeared, glorious and perfect, and spoke swords.
All who walked righteously bowed before him,
And every evil was erased from existence.
His whispers forced the earth to quake upon itself,
His voice caused the universe to fall.
Leviathan, in his evil glories, besought the King for mercy,
But mercy was there none.
Mighty Leviathan's neck was snapped,
His head was cast into the ocean from whence it came.
His arms and legs were used to encage the reprobates.
His tail was used to ensnare the universe to normalcy
And his spirit was destroyed.
All who remained cried in jubilation.
The Lion of Judah had arrived.
The King had returned
And all who fell,
In his name,
Had not fallen in vain.
Death is an accountant of sorts.
What life gives in the beginning
He will take back in exact, of course.
He is not kind nor is he hateful.
It is his lot to maintain the balance.
If he is swift be sure to be thankful.
His gift is to endear the dwindling hours we have left.
To tell your loved ones and others
That death is not an exit; only a theft.
I peered into my mother's eyes.
As her soul pried itself away from her fledgling grasps,
I did not hear a triumphant fanfare,
I did not hear a choir of angels singing the blessed hymn.
I heard only the tapping of the hospital staff's shoes in the hallway
And the sound of the world carrying on,
And flee they did.
The bewildered union soldiers coward away quickly into the trees of the evernight.
Some had suspected the wrath of Jehovah almighty to have set down upon them.
Others believed it to be the work of Lucifer.
Whichever god it was,
The men knew their fates were nigh.
They made their camp in the heart of the Alabasis forest.
After a hearty escape they had felt somewhat safe.
The shrieks and calls, growls and hollers of the wilderness set their hearts uneasy.
Only a few of the remaining men had managed to bring their rifles with them.
The others had been too preoccupied with getting clear of the vengeful hand clawing at their backs.
It was a night spent in dread as they watched shadows cast from the fire on the trees.
These were surely harbingers of death.
The men felt guilt.
They felt greed.
They mostly felt sick from the flesh they had partaken of.
Be not like the wolf
For his life is one of cowardice and treachery.
He hunts in packs and relies on butchery.
Be not like the wolf.
His existence revolves around his use of fear.
He taunts mother moon and lacks respect for the Seer.
Be like the bear
For a more noble creature there is not.
His hunt is one well tread; his victory is one well sought.
Be like the bear.
The seasons and mountains guide his steps.
His life gains meaning when moonlight fills his soul's depths.
And with the dying of the light
A star will shine as bright;
Moreso than the sun on midday,
Moreso than dark beneath waves.
It is a natural thing;
Winter will rise and fall.
How did I survive before
When the sun had all but gone out?
Where will my warmth come from?
It must come from a love that died in Fall.
A Fall memory can warm a Winter heart,
A failed excuse can warm a wilted start.
This time next year,
I will have repeated it all.
This time next year,
I will have a Winter heart with no trace of Fall at all.