by Ben Weaver
String the boot print moon up in the window
scrape some sand and twigs together and sit down
this be my bike shack
fold up a few onion skins
stuff them under the door to keep out the draft
I will light a fire.
Sweep the beans off the counter into the grinder
swear to the swift birds
the river current
them cold-outback stars
You know truth be in the ditch ice
stovepipe pines, wondering snowflakes
and brilliant revolts.
Uncle Whistle Bones and Hawk Eye nephew
toted a canvas bag stuffed with wolverine
and dingo dreams back up to the cave
then lit snag wood and Jewelweed into a pinnacle fire
danced shadows onto the limestone walls
perpetuated freedom, carved songs,
outlaws, shantymen, gandydancers.
Last time, a lightening bolt from sister Chestnuts chimney
blew a heart through the speckled dawn,
left Gramma out in a rainstorm
clutching porcupine quills and horse bones
swearing to the garden lomb
listen here she say,
we better chase the shrieking jays out
and don't avoid your heart any longer
nor violate your purpose here on earth
it be a dark road
fly down it with light
hold tight, hold tight
now you hear.
And to you sweet single track
dark wood worm, mighty aspen bridge
if we cook, love, and build our adventures
from the limitations of whatever is at hand
the result will always be a surprise
made of its own proportion.
This be so in the shaky morning light
this be so in the stone skipping dusk
with legs all a burn in circles
this be the way, this be our lost trail
dog hearts of thicket, wondering a plenty
the land is everlasting.
Shoot those gullies full of half-moons and steelhead
tell the kids I went chasing stumps
hunting mushrooms among mossy rocks
riding the hills to let the wind be known
winding back down the long way home
fog and tea leaves, rose and cabbage
only a few lost rovers will find it
tell them, this be my bike shack
stay long as they want
cant say when I'll be back.
Wooden Axle and the Wasteland of Trains
Jeffy at the spigot
those eyes like wind through bullet holes
or a sink full of dirty pans
jackstrawed telephone poles.
Went to see the beekeeper
a rope hanging from an oak
leaves on the kitchen floor her breasts like snow
falling through a torn screen.
Root poems crow footing up her arm
is how the world ends
sister coming home through the corn
old Work Bench Face and his midnight thieves
building the railroads a wasteland.
Out of pine shadows
the re-gather begins to congeal
whispering totems make fire
from scattered orange peels
and boxcars clanking up the moon.
Jeffy up near the engine
singing Nobody Knows the Trouble
shoveling hallelujah from the avalanches
smoke and laughter rise
and once more go between stars.
And so Little Sister protects
the wandering needlework
of the forsythia and the despoblados
puts blue on the rivers and streams
weighted with stones into her many ferny loops
Those who knew what the forest had in mind
before Wooden Axle rolled up
are standing in the doorways
refusing Old Work Bench Face
and the conquerors entry.
This time the stories will be told by the
rare touchwood and quiet mossery
Jeffy at the 6 burner
Little Sister rolling out the dough
because generosity is how you prepare for a rainy day.
Ben Weaver is a songwriter and poet. He has released 8 studio albums of original music, and four books of poetry. Known for his bicycle driven musical and stewardship tours, he most recently rode 1500 miles down the Mississippi River from Saint Paul, Mn to New Orleans, and circumnavigated Lake Superior. Carrying his instruments with him on his bike he stopped to perform along the way, raising awareness about fresh water and land issues among his audiences. Given the choice he will side with the animals, mountains, trees and streams.