The black morning hides tall pine trees
rising against the star filled sky.
The silence broken only by the canines response
to the pack of coyotes and their screams.
A heavy mist hugs the wet ground
and stones glistened with the slightest light.
Through the drifting smoke
the scattered sun brings to life the forest
illuminated in halos captured in photos
that will help remember the peace and quiet.
Emerging from the forest
through the last barrier of this life,
beasts of the past intertwined with shadows
roam through the open field playing out their purpose.
Standing out of their way as
I am a visitor passing to the next life.
Crossing the field I am met
by concrete and metal machines.
Is this my next life
or only a preview of the coming revolution?
Smoke fills the darkened sky.
I forget where I am.
The field merges with the horizon.
Beasts disappear – were they even real?
Trees bend and in unison lift me from the field.
Passing through smoke filled dreams of the past or future
I emerge at the base of granite peaks.
What remains shrouded in smoke
behind the veil we created?
What is left when the empty
field clears and our eyes open?
So many questions remain at the end of
each day with little reprieve to find the answers.
The fires build and we respond
or let them burn out with no intervention.
I return to the smoke mask
to find what remains of who I am supposed to be.
Long ago that path became an object in the mirror
fading into the dust of the present experiences.
I look back with nostalgia at moments
I have built and pieced together from the
scenes I have witnessed, the people met
and the forgotten glorified sense of purpose.
What becomes of the road after the tires
have passed and the dust finally settles?
What becomes of the river
after the canyon walls give way?
What becomes of home
after the fire dies out?
Crashing waves keep my mind from resting
and I picture a small boat beyond the harbor.
Beneath the darkening skies it fights to stay
afloat, making each moment count.
What will be left in my wake when
the sun finally sets for the last time
and that tree I planted early in the spring
reaches its full height and lets go of each leaf?
Spirt in the Forest
On the earth I walk with light steps
and place fallen branches in the pit.
To the sky I gaze through pine trees
and watch smoke disperse to the heavens.
To my future self I set the path,
wash away the dirt, and cleanse the soul.
Another poem from the “Joline” series.
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.
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
Standing among the ruins.
He looks out over to the west, as the sun sets upon the land
And the smoke billows from the ruins.
Many thoughts at once run through his mind and collide.
He stands alone, afraid to look.
Afraid to ask.
In his arms, he holds all that is left of his life.
The life sniffs the air and hides his eyes under his paws.
He knows what has happened as he howls at the blood red, war torn sky.
A tear falls from both of their eyes.
Deep black eyes partially hidden by disheveled
hair draped across petite shoulders beneath black leather jacket.
Leaning against a chain link fence, the face gives nothing away
no indication, no hint of the inner struggle.
Each image one piece of some story,
each word formed into sentences into paragraphs.
Arms at each side, long fingers twitch
missing the cigarette and rising smoke.
The butterfly casts an erratic pattern over
the pebbles, cigarette butts and browned grass.
Anxious, patience waning as the photographer
snaps a few more, the candid desire becoming more posed and staged.