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Juhlhaus Jun 2019
You neatly told me
That your muse is more a student
Of mountain writing
Than of poems; the way they go in
And out, all natural and deserted.

How otherwise can one know
The heart of the matter than
To isolate the heart, at least
For a moment or several, with
What remains of earth and air?

Leave it alone without water.
Send it into the woods with nothing but
A flimsy packet of beef jerky,
No swimwear, and hope
That the sky doesn't pour itself in riot.

So be ready for anything with
The grace to let the self be
Washed, dunked in a lake
Of coffee to emerge what it could
Have been from the beginning.
Written as a round-robin with one of my favorite fellow poets.
Juhlhaus May 2019
Midway upon the journey of life I found myself
Riding zigzag through dark streets,
For there was no straight way
Through that teeming urban grid.
Thus I ventured deeper into the night,
While rosary beads swung hypnotic
From the mirror, reflecting the revenant eyes
Of one raised by an invisible hand
From salt water rocks where, as a boy,
He said he should have died.
Deftly navigating changing lights
Of amber, red, and green,
He humbly inquired after my beliefs
And the state of my soul.
As to this, I could not say.
So I drew it out and held it gingerly
By the rough edges, examining
As best I might in that dim backseat,
Its wrinkles, creases, and scars.
In the reflection he saw all these clearly,
And with gentle resonance spoke
Of things impossible to know,
Less difficult to believe,
And blessed me so
That on passing out the door
I found my soul again soft and warm.
It was the most profound Uber ride I have ever experienced.
Juhlhaus May 2019
In the sunbeams lake flies dance
Away the days like decades 'til
Exhausted from their revels drop
To coat the water with their dead
From where on Winter's other side
Unseen young will hatch and rise
To dance away their seven days
In the sunlight of another Spring
Juhlhaus May 2019
Gravel mounds in the mist
Are the mountain ranges of fantasy,
Spring green, eerie seen
Through commuter train windows.

Pitched roofs recede
Into infinite distance,
And junkyard parking lots are legion
In the gray suburban obscurity.

Factories and landfills loom,
Monuments and masoleums,
The labor and the leavings
Of Earth's little colossi.
Musing on the view from a morning commuter train.
Juhlhaus Apr 2019
Today I saw a happy face
With silent music behind the eyes
And a spring in her step;
Gray earth and skies
And storm forecast, no matter.
Juhlhaus Apr 2019
Fingers on the rails can feel
The pulse of steel and diesel engines,
The muscle and sinew of a continent.
Ten thousand horses throb the air
And bear down on a mile of freight.
It rolls by like thunder
Under a clear blue sky, stirs the soul
With memories of lonely whistles
In the night, a desert wind, mystery lights;
When little fingers at the open window
First felt the pulse of steel and diesel,
A million iron miles ago.
For my father who loved trains from childhood and worked forty years on the railroad, traveling approximately five million miles by rail during his career.
Juhlhaus Mar 2019
This ground is hard and cold;
Streets are empty,
But not the houses.
There people stir and peer
At me from ***** windows.
A gray ghost, I pass quickly
On long legs and silent paws
To hunt the city's rabbits at dawn.
A tribute to a forlorn coyote seen on the outskirts of Chicago.
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