Summer Morning Alone

When he awoke he remembered that the house was empty and as he rose from his bed he felt himself lighter than usual.  As he stood, he felt the strength in his rested limbs and the mental clarity that comes from deep, uninterrupted sleep.  Today, and in the few days ahead, no one would be asking him why or where and he would have all the long daylight hours to wade the creeks and walk the shaded banks of the little river and all of the warm nights to drive along the river road into town and find his friends and maybe even Linda Johnson.

It was a thing so welcome and so perfect that he had not allowed himself to think much about it, even as his parents’ and sisters’ vacation approached, day by day.  Something could have happened.  They could have insisted at the last minute on his coming along with them to the house at the lake where the days would be divided into neat hours for swimming and for dining and riding the pedal-boats.  Or one sister might finally have opted out to stay home with him to be there for summer cheerleader practice which would mean his aunt would again have to come and stay with them at the house and then his schedule would have been just as limited and regimented as always.  But now, there would be no questions asked; no bells to answer.

He did not bother with breakfast but took his rod and reel from the garage wall and headed into the woods behind the house and onto the path he had made that ran half a mile up and then down a steep hillside and finally to the banks of Laurel Branch, a rushing stream bounded by mossy banks and completely entunnelled by the arms of the ancient birches, now in full foliage, that stretched  from side to side and met in the middle, like the rafters of a cathedral.

When he topped the hill he could hear the gurgle and seething of the stream and he knew then that he would work his way down to the blue hole as quietly as he possibly could to cast again for the great brown trout that had reigned over that pool for as long as he remembered.  He had seen the fish many times in the deep pool and every time he spotted it, every time it rose from the dark blue into the sunlit shallow, his heart raced.  The fish looked out of place; impossibly large for such a small stream.  Like something from another age.  Once, years before, when he was only learning to cast, his father had hooked the big trout and brought it thrashing to the surface before it snapped the line and disappeared again into the depths.

It was an arduous trek, down the stream to the blue hole.  One had to know each rock and beware of every swift, slick run and to constantly balance against the relentless pull of the current.  As he waded above knee deep the frigid water took his breath.  Although it was mid-summer, the stream had escaped its underground springs where it rested in the cold earth only two miles above him.

He moved from stone to stone with the assurance of a mountain goat, using his long rod to stabilize himself as he worked down the stream.  Even in the heat of the hunt and even as he stretched and exerted himself to land in the right places and avoid being swept under, he thought of Linda Johnson.  Who wouldn’t?  She was the girl who everyone wanted and who no one could attain.  Others mocked her for her reserve, but to him it only increased the attraction.  It made sense, he thought.  Why settle for anyone but the best, if you have your choice?

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Justice

Since we were to live in Houston only about a year, long enough for dad to make his contribution to the engineering of a new polyethylene plant in Taft, Louisiana, we moved into an apartment instead of buying a house.  It was in a complex, the likes of which we had never seen and which probably did not exist anywhere in our home state of West Virginia in 1966.   There may have been a hundred or even two hundred units in the place; I don’t really trust my memory here.  I probably remember it being much bigger than it really was.  It was all brick and two-story, with three-bedroom units upstairs and down.  The development was divided into sections, some still incomplete when we moved in in June.  Each section, probably twenty apartments a piece, enclosed a rectangular courtyard, a real lawn, much bigger than would ever be allowed in such a plan these days.  In each of the five or six or seven ( I really don’t remember) courtyards was a swimming pool, each just a bit different from the others and all just big enough for a run and jump in and for a few kids to horse around in at a time.  That is what we did, of course, because it was very hot all summer.  Hotter than West Virginia, and more humid.  In a little time I discovered that you could have your run of any of the pools in the place.   You heard that each pool was only for the section of apartments that surrounded it, but that wasn’t written down anywhere that I saw and it certainly was not enforced.  I went from one pool to another like a jet-setter from one resort to the next for the first few weeks until I learned that the McNair’s pool was the best of them all.  There were three McNair brothers and they had attracted a few other kids to their group. They had their jumping and diving games in their pool and their own special words for lots of things that were really funny among us, partly because no one else understood what we were saying.   The bunch who played in this pool were sixth and seventh graders, just a bit younger than me, but I had just arrived and the kids my age must have had other things to do.

The oldest McNair brother, Dennis, was in high school and he did not swim in the pool at all.  He would come out by the pool sometimes on his way to the laundromat to buy himself a bottle of pop.  He would stop and look at us when he passed and put his hands on his waist and shake his head.  He was skinny and wiry and taller than his brothers, but probably not much taller than me.

His younger brothers said that Dennis was going to be getting an electric guitar.  Their sisters, who were older even than Dennis, got Dennis snuck into The Rendezvous downtown all the time.  The sisters were friends with the guy who ran the club, so he let them do it.   Roy Head played there.  He had a hit record called “Treat Her Right,” and his guitar player, they said, was one of the best in the world.   Dennis would stand right next to the stage and watch the guitarist and he could see how he played the guitar.   A lot of the time the guitarist would try to hide his hands while he played so that people in the crowd could not pick it up, but if you knew where to stand you could get it.   They said that Dennis had already been to a music store downtown and was already talking to the guy there about getting an electric guitar.  He was probably going to get a Fender Telecaster, which was the kind of guitar that Roy Head’s guitarist played.   If you wanted the right sound, you had to have a Fender.  The guy at the music store also went to The Rendezvous and knew the McNair sisters and knew Roy Head’s guitarist personally.  Dennis McNair knew that if he had a guitar he could already play it, just from what he had seen and just from the feeling he had about it.  Everyone believed that.  He just had a way about him.  He was one of those guys who picked things up.  Who could do anything.

I had been lobbying my parents for a guitar for a long time, myself.  Long before we left West Virginia. Right before we started school that fall, they took my sisters and me to one of those big discount stores on the freeway to get clothes and supplies.  There was a music section in the store and probably because they felt that the transition from home to Houston was going to continue to be difficult for me, they let me pull one of the guitars off the wall and take it home.  It was not an electric and it probably cost under twenty bucks.  But those were the days when they made guitars, even cheap guitars, out of real wood and this one was a beauty.  It was blonde and glossy bright with a big round shoulders and when I set it on my bed it changed my room from that of a child to a cowboy’s bunkhouse or the garret quarters of some romantic.  I don’t remember the brand, and I don’t remember what finally became of it, but even today I think of walking by some pawn shop and seeing that guitar in the window.  I would recognize it like an old girlfriend and I would walk in, throwing all the discipline and caution that a life of family budgeting has taught me to the wind, and pay the first price the guy named and never part with it again. 

I ordered Mel Bay’s Modern Guitar Method Book One from a magazine and learned the song “Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes” which was the first song in the book and used only the top two strings.   I worked on it for hours and days on end, developing callouses along the way.  I had never heard the song anywhere else, so I had nothing to shoot for, but somehow after so many tries I heard the song when I played it and it sounded, I knew, like it was supposed to sound.

Dennis McNair heard that I had a guitar and told me that I should bring it by sometime and he’d take a look at it and tell me what I needed to do to get it right.   Although I had not been told not to take the guitar out of our apartment and into the next section of the complex, I did not feel right about doing that.  By that age, I knew how and where my parents would draw the lines.  So, as much as I wanted Dennis McNair to see and play my guitar, and as much as I wanted to show him how I could play, I somehow could not bring myself to take the guitar over there.  One day he was in the laundromat in our section getting a soda and he saw me coming out, probably headed to go swimming with his brothers.   He yelled at me and called me by the name the kids called me then and said to bring “that famous guitar” out and let him have a look at it.  That was the only time I ever heard him say my name. We walked back into my courtyard and  I got my guitar and I showed him how I played “Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes” to which he had no reaction.   I handed my guitar over to him and he did not play it or even hold it like he was going to play it, but just held it up this way and that, looking down the lines of the body, up and down the neck.  He said that it was a lot like he thought it would be and that there were some problems with the neck and the frets and with the way the strings were put on the guitar.  He said he could take it to the music store with him, to the guy he knew, and get it all fixed right for free.  It would play better and sound better.  I was about to let him take it with him.  He  said he was on his way to the music store right then.  But my mother, who, unbeknownst to me, had apparently been monitoring our conversation from a window, came out and said she was sorry but that she knew that my dad would not allow that guitar out of the house and I shouldn’t have even brought it outside.  She spoke more quickly than usual and in a tone that I had never heard her use before.  I expected to get a lecture about this later, but she never said a word to me about it.

(OR But my dad came outside then and said hello to Dennis and stood with us as he continued to inspect the guitar and then Dennis McNair handed it back to me and left.)

After school started, we had no time for the swimming pools, even though it stayed hot enough for swimming clear up into November.  Because ninth graders went to high school in Texas then, I rode the bus with Dennis McNair and his bunch and not with his little brothers and my other friends from the pool.   I made new friends right away, but I was not among Dennis McNair’s friends, who were all upperclassmen and who sat in the very back of the bus.  I sat most of the time with Sally Watts,  a girl in my science class who lived in a house just across the bayou from our complex.   We sat nearer to the front of the bus, always in the same seat, and thus out of the way of the hell that Dennis McNair and his bunch raised, sometimes to the extent that the driver would have to stop the bus and make threats.

The bus stopped at each one of the sections of the complex.  It stopped at the front section last, just before getting onto the freeway, and there, always, were a twin brother and sister, taller than the few other kids waiting on the bus.  Both of them were blonde-haired and both wore metal-framed glasses.  They always seemed to have on more clothes than anyone else.   The girl said almost nothing and the boy spoke only to be polite, to let people ahead of him in the line and things like that.  One thing people didn’t like about the boy was the way he walked.  He stood too erect and held his head straight up, almost back, and he did not move his arms when he walked.  It made him look like he always thought he was in some kind of ceremony.  When either of them spoke it was immediately obvious that they were recent immigrants.  The boy was very big and thick and boxy looking.  His face was horribly ravaged by acne.

It was halfway through the year, while the weather was cold, at least by Houston standards, when Dennis McNair took an interest in a belt that the big, blonde guy had on.  It was a horsehair belt, McNair said, and he wanted that belt.  He joked around with the guy for a while, wanting him to take off that belt and let him try it on.  They boy stayed in the bus seat, next to his sister.  I can’t remember what all Dennis McNair said to the guy, but I do remember that my last illusion of there being anything good or worthy of imitation in McNair dissolved then and there.  McNair was taunting the boy and ridiculing him and poking him in the shoulder and saying things like a guy like that guy had no business with a belt like that, that it was too nice for him to have.  The guy’s face got real red.  I thought that the guy was scared.  I remember one thing the guy said, word for word.  He was fending McNair away from his belt, pushing McNair’s hand away over and over and he said “You are being foolish.”  It was like something a teacher would have said to a grade-school kid and everybody heard it, which I thought was bad for the guy.

In the 42 years that have intervened since that day, I have obtained a law degree, married a local beauty, raised two sons and prosecuted five racketeering cases in Federal Court.  I have taught Sunday School for the last thirty‑three years.  If these years and experiences have given me any perspective or self‑knowledge ‑ and I think they have ‑ I am by now painfully aware that my moral failings have not been of the impulsive, active or indulgent type (those were the failings of the friends I remember best).  My unabated (besetting) tendency is to moral cowardice ‑ not standing when and where I ought to have stood.   What I did ‑ or failed to do ‑ on that day is perhaps the strongest case in support of this verdict  ‑ the most burning and disgusting memory.  I watched McNair follow that poor lunk of a guy off the bus, knowing exactly what was going to happen and I stayed right there in my seat.  I could have gotten off, and I could have given some support.  I did not at that moment think I could have whipped McNair, but I knew as I sat there that I could have made a difference.  That I might have been able to protect the guy or at least offer some sort of ameliorating influence in that situation.  But I also knew that if I helped the guy out there would be a price.  Not so much that I would then and there take a beating, but by taking the other side here I would be forever cast out of even the outer rim of the McNair circle ‑ the brothers, the sisters, the cousins, the people who went to clubs and saw Roy Head.  All of their influence would be forever against me. And so I just sat there.

One of the great mysteries and graces of my short time in Houston was the unmerited favor of Sally Watts.  She was blonde‑haired and blue‑eyed ‑ the kind of girl you would have expected to see on the cover of a Beach Boys album in that day.  Although I disappointed her, time and again, by not asking her to school dances, she for some reason stuck by me and sat beside me every day on the bus to and from school that year.  People thought we were an item, but I never so much as lifted a finger to deserve her attention. Things have never been so easy for me with women, before or since.   On that day she paid me another great compliment.  As McNair followed that guy off of the bus, Sally fixed her feet on the wheel-hump in the bus floor underneath the seat in front of us so as not to let me out.  She really thought I was going.  She looked at me and shook her head.  This is not your fight, she told me.  She was right.

I cannot remember why the bus stayed parked there.  The driver must have known that something was up and he may have even tried to intervene.  Whatever happened happened fast.  I didn’t even hear a scuffle.  What I do remember was hearing something thud against the side of the bus and seeing the big Polish guy walking fast by my window saying something like “He thought I would give him my belt.” He was still flushed.  Then a few seconds later McNair came by, limping and bleeding from his nose and mouth.  The Polish guy climbed back onto the bus and sat back down next to his sister and we went on. Nobody said a thing.  Dennis McNair did not get back on the bus.

My dad’s stint with Brown and Root would be over at the end of the school year and my family and I would then return to our home in West Virginia.  I only saw Dennis McNair one time after that.  He never came back onto the bus and though I expected to hear some adoring buzz that he had dropped out and gone to work on an oil rig somewhere, I never heard a thing.  I would never have believed that McNair’s leaving would go so completely unremarked.  It was as if the warming weather, the proximity of year’s end or the collective aging of all of us or maybe just McNair’s absence brought sort of a key-change to life on the bus.  One morning, a week or two before the end of term,  when the bus was passing by the Seven-Eleven beside our complex I saw McNair get out of a car with his mother and sisters and go into the store.

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LISTENING TO ARETHA FRANKLIN

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I hear the drums and saxophone

The piano and guitar

Baby, baby, sweet baby . . .

And I am lifted out of my chair

Lifted up, I’ll tell you.

Higher and higher

It shakes me to the core

Reminds me that I still have a core.

.

Was life ever really that good?

Did we know the first time we heard these songs

(Riding in your dad’s convertible. The one he bought for you.)

Did we know then, there was nothing else like this

And never would be.

Copyright 2015

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Music To His Ears

It had already been a long day.

A personal-injury case I thought I had settled blew up again. My star witness, acting without my knowledge, gave a statement to the defense.  Killed the case. I don’t know why and everybody in the office seemed to blame me for that although I had no idea.  I don’t know what they want me to do to keep a lid on.  Threaten the guy.  I don’t know.  I thought this would make a good month for me and it was about time.  Now it’s just one more staff meeting where I’ll have to ask for patience; tell them it’s coming.

And then this call from the school.  I’ve done my best with Duane ; given him lots of time; lots of encouragement; lots of instruction.  I do remember high school myself, what a bunch of idiots there were there.  How they worked to make life miserable for anybody that didn’t pay their dues.  Made life miserable for me.  Don’t want that for my kid.  Do about anything to keep that from happening.

In one passing moment just now I allow myself to think again of all I had hoped for for Duane: that these years would be good ones, happy ones, for him.  That he would have friends, be respected, have dates, dance, play ball.  All that.

Duane is a good kid and that’s not just me talking.  Anybody would tell you that – his teachers, his friends’ parents, anybody.  So that much is good.  The way it ought to be.  But I worry about other things.  Him being the one who gets picked on; always getting the short end of the stick.  He’d settle for that, just to keep the peace; I know him.

But I also know that in this world he’ll inhabit for the next four years settling to keep the peace will not keep the peace.  It will invite further abuse.  The more you give in this context, the more they’ll take.  Anybody who has been through it will tell you the same. And I have told him just that. And I have worked hours with him – he’s not naturally aggressive – to show him how to punch and how to turn an assailant’s force against him.

And now here I am in the waiting room outside the principal’s office.  Called in from my office.  A meeting about my son and no word at all from Duane.  I don’t know what this is about, but I have a strong hunch that he’s gotten into a fight and gotten whipped and is now in trouble with the school even though he was not the aggressor.  I want to blow up against the principal if I find this to be the case but I remind myself that that will be counterproductive in the long run and that I need to keep my cool.

As I sit I am already feeling terrible for Duane.  I don’t want him living in this rut that I lived through and I want to stop this sad music from repeating itself and I feel powerless.  I have done all I could do to prevent this.  Telling Duane that if he gets picked on he can let it all loose and it’s alright.  I’ll answer for any damage if that was the case.  But Duane, that’s not his impulse.  He’s not a big guy, either.

Now the secretary opens the door to the office.

“Mr. Davis, won’t you come in?”

I walk inside, doing my best to look calm.  To look like I do this every day.  Like I know what I am doing.  Like I am ready to defend my son.  The first thing I notice is that Duane is not in the room.  At first I am relieved.  Whatever this is should be easier for me outside of Duane’s presence.  But then it strikes me that he may not be here because he is hurt and somewhere in a dispensary or even hospital.

The principal, Hobart Bailey, is an older gentleman who many would say is so far past his prime that he can’t keep up with the goings on at the school.  He stands, then points to a chair before his desk and tells his secretary that he wants to speak to me alone.  She obviously knew this was coming and closes the door quietly on her way out.  I am almost sick to my stomach with apprehension; with fear.  We both sit down.

“I wanted you to get this straight from me, unfiltered.  And the reason for that is that I actually saw everything that happened. . .”

“Excuse me, sir,” I interrupt, “But I don’t have any idea why I am here.  Is my son okay?”

I am almost shocked at his response.  He smiles and chuckles.  “Oh, yes.  Duane is in fine shape.  He’s in the library right now and you’ll pick him up in just a minute.  But I want to explain to you a few things, man to man.”

“What happened?”

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“Well, your son was getting picked on.  Just outside the door of the shop class.  I was inside a classroom just across the hall.  The light was off in that room and they could not see me, but I saw everything that happened.  You’ll be pleased to know that after the other guy – an upperclassman – slapped your son he grabbed the guy by the neck and had him on the floor in no time.  Duane held him in a stranglehold headlock and the guy was gasping for air.  I came out into the hallway, but I didn’t intervene immediately.  I’ve had trouble with that other guy – his name is Bostic – time and again these past two years and I’ll tell you that something in me – this was not the most professional response, I know – but something in me just reveled in seeing this guy just his just desserts.  So I let it go until Bostick was gasping and just about to pass out and then I opened the door and told Duane to let loose.  Bostic was completely disoriented and almost unconscious by then.  It was a thing of beauty, I’ll tell you.  I wish it had been my son that did it.  But here’s the thing, David.  I am stuck here.  There is a written policy here in place at the school that anyone who gets into a fight has to be disciplined.    You know how these rules are these days.  I’ve got no discretion in the matter.  I guess when they wrote this policy they didn’t allow for those cases where the principal himself saw the whole thing  So, Duane is going to have a week of detention hall.  Half an hour after school for the next five days.  It was Bostic’s third offense, so he’s kicked out for two weeks.   I can’t stop that from happening, but I wanted you to know that Duane was in the right and that he acted bravely and that he has probably put one of my major disciplinary problems to rest for the year.  I don’t think Duane will be having any more problems like this for the rest of his time here.  I wasn’t the only one who saw it.  Word will get around.

“I know that both you and Clare are working now and I know that Duane being kept after for half an hour will present a problem.  He’ll miss his bus, I know.  But here’s where I can help out.  I leave for home at about the time Duane will be getting out of detention hall.  I can bring him out your way and drop him off myself.  It’s no trouble for me, and to tell you the truth, I’d like to get to know this young man a little better.”

He has finished his speech, but I am so moved that at first I cannot speak.  This is an answer, no, the answer, to my most secret prayer.  I don’t know that I have ever felt more grateful or more gratified.  I try to maintain my composure and act as if what I have been told is exactly what I would have expected from my son.

“Well, sir.  I thank you for this.  I appreciate the offer of the ride for Duane.  I’m sure we’ll take you up on that.  I’ll get out of your way now.  Did you say that Duane is right across the hall?”

“He is.  Sarah will point you to the room.”

I stand and turn and Mr. Bailey speaks again.  “David.  This has nothing to do with the fight, but we got Duane’s standardized test scores back today.  Just a coincidence, I guess.  I want you to look at this.  Look at his score on the math section.”

He hands me the print out and I scan it and orient myself to its format and in the lower right corner see the 800 score on the math section.

“That’s a perfect score, David.  We see something like that once every ten years, maybe.  It puts Duane in the top one-tenth of one percent of the test takers.  He’s one in a thousand.   That means an academic scholarship is in his near future.  Maybe even Ivy League.   My idea right now, David, is to keep this quiet for the time being.  You agree?”

“Absolutely.”

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Summer Morning Alone

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When he awoke he remembered that the house was empty and as he rose from his bed he felt himself lighter than usual.  As he stood, he felt the strength in his rested limbs and the mental clarity that comes from deep, uninterrupted sleep.  Today, and in the few days ahead, no one would be asking him why or where and he would have all the long daylight hours to wade the creeks and walk the shaded banks of the little river and all of the warm nights to drive along the river road into town and find his friends and maybe even Linda Johnson.

It was a thing so welcome and so perfect that he had not allowed himself to think much about it, even as his parents’ and sisters’ vacation approached, day by day.  Something could have happened.  They could have insisted at the last minute on his coming along with them to the house at the lake where the days would be divided into neat hours for swimming and for dining and riding the pedal-boats.  Or one sister might finally have opted out to stay home with him to be there for summer cheerleader practice which would mean his aunt would again have to come and stay with them at the house and then his schedule would have been just as limited and regimented as always.  But now, there would be no questions asked; no bells to answer.

He did not bother with breakfast but took his rod and reel from the garage wall and headed into the woods behind the house and onto the path he had made that ran half a mile up and then down a steep hillside and finally to the banks of Laurel Branch, a rushing stream bounded by mossy banks and completely entunnelled by the arms of the ancient birches, now in full foliage, that stretched  from side to side and met in the middle, like the rafters of a cathedral.

When he topped the hill he could hear the gurgle and seething of the stream and he knew then that he would work his way down to the blue hole as quietly as he possibly could to cast again for the great brown trout that had reigned over that pool for as long as he remembered.  He had seen the fish many times in the deep pool and every time he spotted it, every time it rose from the dark blue into the sunlit shallow, his heart raced.  The fish looked out of place; impossibly large for such a small stream.  Like something from another age.  Once, years before, when he was only learning to cast, his father had hooked the big trout and brought it thrashing to the surface before it snapped the line and disappeared again into the depths.

It was an arduous trek, down the stream to the blue hole.  One had to know each rock and beware of every swift, slick run and to constantly balance against the relentless pull of the current.  As he waded above knee deep the frigid water took his breath.  Although it was mid-summer, the stream had escaped its underground springs where it rested in the cold earth only two miles above him.

He moved from stone to stone with the assurance of a mountain goat, using his long rod to stabilize himself as he worked down the stream.  Even in the heat of the hunt and even as he stretched and exerted himself to land in the right places and avoid being swept under, he thought of Linda Johnson.  Who wouldn’t?  She was the girl who everyone wanted and who no one could attain.  Others mocked her for her reserve, but to him it only increased the attraction.  It made sense, he thought.  Why settle for anyone but the best, if you have your choice?

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Poem For August

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It is always August.

If time would stop, it would stand still

Under the dog star.

Winter lingers, but all of that season is labor

Boots, gloves, scarves and coats

Off and on, on and off

Snow shovels and firewood

What shivering creature stops to contemplate a grey sky?

We spend March and April longing for June

And in May we are ecstatic and the days pass

Almost without our knowing

July is full swing

Long-planned travel, hours in the car

Hurry up and rest, hurry up and enjoy

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Spring is bursting birth

and fall, dramatic death

But August is stasis

and we sit in the warm evening

by the still-warm water

and think it will always be this way,

it should always be this way.

There is no rush into August

Nothing is planned there

We sleep late

And sit outside all night

Who works or worries then?

There is no rush away from August

No one wants to hear that first bell.

Stop time.

Stay here.

Breathe.

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Waking to The River

If you get there early

At the break of dawn

At the first of spring

Then the river may reveal its mystery to you

And you, for a moment,

May know it as the Indians did

It must be cold then

Too cold for comfort

There must be edges of light ice remaining

In the high, hidden springs

And yet you must wade in

As if you lived there

And were impervious to its frigid bite

The leaves on the sycamore and birch

Must still be tiny and just unfolding

If you hear a car passing on the road above

Forget it, all is lost

The river will not speak

Unless its whisper is the only sound

If you do not disturb the deer

Drinking on the far bank

Then maybe, maybe

But you can never repeat

What your soul takes in

The English have no words for it

You’ll just have to go back to living normally

And hope for another moment

Cold, blue, and silent

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Waking to The River

.

If you get there early

At the break of dawn

At the first of spring

Then the river may reveal its mystery to you

And you, for a moment,

May know it as the Indians did

It must be cold then

Too cold for comfort

There must be edges of light ice remaining

In the high, hidden springs

And yet you must wade in

As if you lived there

And were impervious to its frigid bite

The leaves on the sycamore and birch

Must still be tiny and just unfolding

If you hear a car passing on the road above

Forget it, all is lost

The river will not speak

Unless its whisper is the only sound

If you do not disturb the deer

Drinking on the far bank

Then maybe, maybe

But you can never repeat

What your soul takes in

The English have no words for it

You’ll just have to go back to living normally

And hope for another moment

Cold, blue, and silent

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Country Song

I walked down main street yesterday

All the stores are gone away

Boarded windows, bolted doors

It isn’t what it was before

‘Cause once upon a time this place

Was filled with God’s amazing grace

. . People used to dream here

. . And they used to believe here

. .The sky was not the limit

. .Their hearts and souls were in it

. .They bore the burden every day

. .And went to church to sing and pray

And now the streets are empty things

Nobody dances, no one sings

What happened I can’t really tell

Why no one comes to ring the bell

They lost their faith in broken dreams

And gave away their souls, it seems

Surely they know not what they do

To give up truth and beauty, too

I guess they thought that chasing thrills

The needles and the little pills

Would all their empty places fill

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Country Song

I walked down main street yesterday

All the stores are gone away

Boarded windows, bolted doors

It isn’t what it was before

‘Cause once upon a time this place

Was filled with God’s amazing grace

. . People used to dream here

. . And they used to believe here

. .The sky was not the limit

. .Their hearts and souls were in it

. .They bore the burden every day

. .And went to church to sing and pray

And now the streets are empty things

Nobody dances, no one sings

What happened I can’t really tell

Why no one comes to ring the bell

They lost their faith in broken dreams

And gave away their souls, it seems

Surely they know not what they do

To give up truth and beauty, too

I guess they thought that chasing thrills

The needles and the little pills

Would all their empty places fill

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments