its currents never repeating. Time’s hours rush, the minutes never replaying. It’s difficult to swim time and the midnight river when considering the heart’s sudden storms. Sweet uplift before the riptide’s downshift. A life and love can pass faster than the river’s flow. Let’s swim the midnight river, so close, yet so far from home.
Each morning, we give birth to a new day. We ache, worry, and celebrate as we sweat it from our bellies and into the real. We lift this new day into the light. Stripped down to its bare essence, this new day wails with life’s full force. It’s too small in its hours to create its own house, so we must show it love and tenderness, guts and guidance. Feed it, swaddle it, offer it health and protection. Teach this new day well. Offer it every opportunity for a new beginning.
Mother Earth, gather me into your arms of gothic cottonwoods and sun-drenched deserts.
Let your kudzu hands lead me, your blossoms of darkness bewitch me.
Bed me down in your green hills, let your haloed moons move through me, your golden suns annoint me.
Allow me to make myself mud and straw, fill in the pits and trenches dug into your flesh.
Allow me to make rosaries from your stones and roses, pray for your survival.
Each morning, I search the highways, wander forests, always searching for the most direct path to your heart.
Ten thousand guitarists storm the city, each windmilling and shredding their six-strings into a million mind-bending, soul-expanding melodies.
Scores of bass players pounding out atomic rhythms obliterating our blues into rainbow-headed hipsway.
Hundreds of drummers transforming beats into secret codes unlocking our feet so we can dance and sweat, get down, groove deeply in life’s freakadelic moshpit.
The attack of sounds:
so primitive and deliberate, hook-laden and hypnotic.
Hear the music storm the city, tear it down, then build us back up again.
Paint a constellation of stars on the ceiling of your inner skull.
Be sure to include a North Star to guide you safely through these days and nights of private sorrows and public shootings, political criminals and America’s windmills tilting and battling themselves.
Paint a universe of glowing introspection to guide you wisely through these days of rising racism and declining unity.
Homelessness and hunger, cynicism and suicides.
With a steady hand, paint galaxies of gleaming lights braided into glorious words to sail across your inner atmosphere like optimistic skywriting.
They shape the land beneath our feet.
They shape the terrain of our inner landscape.
These aren’t rivers of wounds, filth, and nightmares.
They honor the reflection of moon’s pearlescent glow.
They carry our dreams within the depths of their mystical undertow.
Like the moon, we are mirrored in these rivers running through us.
These rivers are music. Their songs move steadily through our joys, they are the tears we shed.
It is difficult to drown in such rivers when they’ve been within us all our lives.
I believe in the north star, loud guitars, microphones that don’t feedback, a dependable jukebox in a dive bar, honeysuckle, lightning bugs, the cosmic slot machine rolling three bright moons in three nights.
I believe in courage whose age is spelled out in the wizened lines around its third eye, allegories of passion burning lovers’ hearts to honey, not ash.
I believe in the sound of rain on roofs, songbirds as musical as dive bar jukeboxes, the joy running through my daughter’s body like electricity as she dances, and dreams which survive in a world that would rather pummel than protect them.
Above me, crows with stone-like eyes float downward then lift themselves with steady-winged beats like rock rhythms.
Below me, stones dig themselves deeper into the earth then float skyward with crow-winged souls.
Days like these, it’s hard to tell up from down.
Days like these, when the flow and deluge of the cosmos rubs up against our flesh, the universe hymning and howling the joys and sorrows for which we struggle to find words.
Days when our hearts strain against the unknown until the pain becomes a part of us.
Days like these, when all we can do is put our shoulder to the wheel. Lean into love.
Truth-sucking demagogues toke democracy down to the last ash as civility clips its own tongue to babble incoherently amidst the media frenzy.
Half-blind visionaries lost in the monotones of defeat’s flag turning a whiter shade of pale wander the streets as that once-heralded middle-class nirvana crumbles into a living nightmare of always being one paycheck away from homelessness.
As the chaos increases,
gun-toting lords of disorder scream bloody murder until the peaceful present moment can barely be heard.
In moments like these, there but for the grace of dogs go I,
hunting for the scent of fresh-killed meat.
Fear is based in the unknown.
The unknown is based in a lack of knowledge.
A lack of knowledge is based in a lack of communication.
While bullets can tear us down, peace and mutual understanding have the power to unite and elevate.
May the stars be more within our reach than the grave.