I walked this way young and unafraid
most of us are flimsy and dedicated
steps taken early are dissipated later
the last decade turned out rather untidy
trepidation builds up down the shady
lane you are alone and dark descends
one step will not get you one step ahead.
After driving to where I figured was away
days northwest east and then to the sea
making others more uncomfortable than me
I found much of my disgruntled ennui
was there like clothes I couldn’t take off
like a smell and like the sound of your voice
I would sit in the Lumina listening and tasting.
Midnight or one on the pavement outside
of Andy’s on Hubbard under street and el
knowing that everyone I knew was asleep
or everyone I loved was slipping into bed
or everyone you felt like telling about the music
would think it was an intrusion
you’d walk in circles.
For a summer and a hot fall I ran
mornings through thick empty stands
of oak along a creek to get to work
for miles I saw no one and quickly
the footwork on the trail was replaced
by the pace of very slow expectation
running to it you were soon far away.
The many times I cut the pretty corner
of Colorado and the west wing of that ornery
state of Texas with Gallup in the middle
or back the other way to stay in the saddle
of who you were going to be when you got there
before there became too uncaring
that’s how many times I kept going.
I lived with a distance like it was a rib
it had vectors I could not follow and vibes
like barbed wire and it stretched me
half-way across the bible and back like
a fence you could not love or logic over
what you wanted was always on the other side
out was kept in and in was unabided.
I received my early instruction always surprised
at all the hitches and exceptions in being raised
untenable the way we persisted in spite of it
you could have called it clinging and rightly
you know you get to more places out of momentum
pure with no decisions no exits no entrances
so surprise takes on a rather ritual character.
If I had to do it all over again better
and maybe I do vicariously as a father
I would eat, sleep, and breathe the territory
giving each place a piece of my torn heart
not trying to draw or locate the big X
on the rawhided map that is only a sketch
after all offering no mornings no evenings.
A man like me may swear not to swear
but then again it cannot rain everywhere
when I need rain and then again again
I have currency in my pocket I can’t spend
where there is no value placed on tin toys
or white-streaked red stones the kind boys
pick up and carry just because.