The Story of Joline

We walk across ths snowy fields
a chance meeting yet we always
knew this day would arrive.

I do not know your face
from dreams of a spirit
walking between tall trees,
always obscured and hidden.

But with the song playing out
here between each snowflake.
I know it is you.

“Which way home?”

She asked in child’s voice.

“This way, into the sun.”

I replied, pointing up the slope at the muted

late winter sun at the path’s end.

“We all come from the sun.”

This is not working.
Playing the other role,
hoping for something benign,
I asked what this was.

You threw your cigarette.

Landing with orange ash slowly rising
into the early autumn air,
as you dropped from the cement
wall and walked away forever.

In the fractured sleep of night’s immersed
in dreams based in nothing familiar or known,
one word repeated over and over – direct.

I watched power-less as background images
of tall buildings, lattice, and cross-stitched patterns
rotated and approached my view with ever increasing velocity.

At the end (or beginning) of a tunnel
bathed in wavering light with no sound
a shadow slowly approached.

The sides of the tunnel began to
move and rotate, grey lines
and intricate patterns covered everything.

and I briefly lost sight of the shadow
until something pushed me through
and I landed on the empty fields

near the forest where we first
met in ancient times and you
silently spoke directly to me.

With an apathetic look in tired eyes
he turned away from the edge,
hundreds of feet above the turbulent
waters, and walked toward the forest,

across the empty road absent
of any traffic since the morning,
into the cultivated fields, curiously empty,
and sat next to the stone marker and finally wept.

I see you in fragmented dreams
images from a life I have not lived

unfocused faces and voices
mouthing words I cannot hear.

I see images on billboards
and movie vignettes where

touching moments break through
the wall 20-years old.

I see you in rare dreams
sourced from beyond this life,

beyond the choice I made
and the weight I have carried.

If you are out there behind
the trees the shadow

following me through the
forest as the sun sets

please let me know,
please let me know.

At last we have arrived
at the transition.

An outpost where the river
falls into the sea.

Here we will setup camp
and wait for her to arrive.

I did not sleep well that evening
the voice of the stars and the silence of the sea

wrestled through the smoke
and through the flames the moon smiled.

What does this mean?
Is she near?

We travelled 40 days to
find this space and now we wait.

The book only spoke in hushed tones
only alluded to her in veiled visions.

At last I fell asleep and this dream
passed through time and quasars

violent shaking and collapsing
as the space closed around me.

I awoke on a mountain peak
overlooking a valley but

no longer near the outpost
as the sea falls into the river

the moon consumes the stars
and she reaches down from the sun.

I have been writing about the character of “Joline” since 1993 mostly through many, many poems.  Earlier this year, I started on a screenplay that ties together real-life experiences, some people I have known, and a storyline that emerged from the poetry.  In completing the outline and determining locations, a lot of it will be based in Alaska, and Haines in particular.  Below is a photo form Haines that is providing am anchor for the beginning.

Haines, Alaska
Haines, Alaska

In another life, defined
by just one different choice,
I walk next to you as you
lead us along the shoreline –
bare feet sinking in wet
sand, the early morning filled
with a grey mist, seagulls,
the whisper of waves –
near the pier a rock
pile surrounded by seaweed
and cold coean foam, you
stop and point –
“Daddy, that starfish only has four arms!”

Another poem from the “Joline” series.


(1)

We walked to the river
beneath the towering cement bridge.

A solitary barge moved with
grace and silence.

Our voices were not silent.

Djarum smoke filled the space
between us as we took turns

speaking and telling stories
releasing pent-up anger.

I felt your direction was directionless
you felt I was not happy with you.

The fragile state of mind we brought
fractured, exposing the vulnerabilities

and baggage weighing and influencing
our thoughts and actions.

(2)

Who was right?
Who was wrong?

Pride became the wounds
opening before our eyes

and that road we foolishly
set to walk together, vanished.


Fort Snelling, Mendota Bridge
Fort Snelling, Mendota Bridge