MUSIC SERIES – Return to Sugar Mountain

This poem was based on Sugar Mountain by Neil Young. Let me know what song I should look at next in the comments!

 

Return to Sugar Mountain

 

A handful of smoke-grey pebbles

and piles of decomposed granite

were all that I found on my return

to the fabled Sugar Mountain,

 

that, along with a pile of cigarette butts

burnt out underneath the stairs

beneath the broken-down church cemetery

where they buried old man Barker.

 

I remember dropping to one knee

to dust the ashes from the tombstone

and decipher the inscription his wife left.

It was from a note she wrote him in school.

 

All the candy floss at the carnival

couldn’t match the sweet in your eyes,

nor could the colored balloons

rival the vibrance of your life.

——

 

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THE TALE OF THE MISSING TOOTH – 50 WORD STORY

When the little bug crawled out of his hole in the dirt, he saw the skull-house he had built was missing a tooth. The bones had long since decayed, so he wasn’t surprised at his lost treasure, but when he realized his mornings’ wouldn’t shine golden anymore, he was bitter.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #75 – LAST RITES

I didn’t think one stanza would be enough

to tell you how much I loved you,

but now that you’ve scratched out my other lines

there isn’t any room on the page to say more.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #73 – HEADSTONE CHATTER

Did you hear they cut down our tree?

They dragged the kids out from the branches

then dismembered it limb by limb

until it stood empty like a hollow woman

then in a final swoop of mechanical justice

toppled her like a pair of heels on a night out.

I took a hike up the wilderness trail last week.

The white flowers were in full bloom;

I still can’t remember what you called them.

I saw a pair of cubs running through the trees.

They reminded me of Taylor and Tom

the way they roughhoused in the grass

like they didn’t even know we were watching.

They always came home with grass stains.

Do you see them anymore?

Anyway, sorry I haven’t been by in a while.

Doc told me there’s only a few months to go

and I took a trip to see your mom in Peru.

——

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THE EARTH IS STILL

Oh hey! Happy New Year–and happy birthday to me 🙂 A little apocalypse to usher in the new year is always a good sign, right? I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I’ll be enjoying today 😉

 

The Earth is Still

 

The Earth is still.

No more do the tremors

that racked the mountainside

rage through the bones of this wasted land.
Once flowered rivers, who flowed with the heat of spring

—that same heat which pulsed through the heart,

igniting the veins like sparks to a fire,

now lies pierced; cracked and dead as the unending desert.

 

The last lake, dwindled down to a blackened puddle,

sits undisturbed in the silence;

a mirror to these starless nights

painted with brushstrokes of infinite darkness

 

and yet, a trembling lingers.

It sits, in the back of the cavern;

twisting the thumbs of a half-buried corpse

while it whispers into the great beyond.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #60 – BLINDED

I’m told that love is blind,

but having 20/200 vision

I know that nowadays being blind

can be corrected with a good pair of glasses.

 

The dense world of fog that seeped in

through these tired, aging eyes

made it impossible to see the problems

that were just a few paces in front of me.

 

Which is why, after the break up, I took a trip

down to the nearest Ross or Sears or Target

to try a few pairs on,

and share some laughs with my reflection.

 

But as the shadows grew longer,

I realized that my own vision

wasn’t actually so bad.

The midnight trees shading the sidewalk

weren’t quite the monsters

that my youth had cowered in fear of,

and the distance sadness of the moon

no longer seemed to hide behind blurred eyes.

And suddenly I wondered

if I really needed those glasses to begin with

 

until I looked in the mirror

and realized that my blindness

wasn’t due to my impair vision,

but instead impaired by the blindness in my heart.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #59 – THE APPROACHING NIGHT

Falling in love with you was like

listening to The Approaching Night

beneath an outstretched tree branch

in the backyard of my childhood home

while the yellow-orange sun glimmered

between sunset and nightfall.

 

In that short moment of reverence

it felt as though the great chariot

road across the sky just for you;

as perfectly balanced as a tightrope walker

so that neither of us were burned.

 

And yet looking at you tonight,

I can see that the approach of night

has long since passed us into the smaller hours.

Where the piano music twinkles

with the starlight; eternal

impassioned, and beloved.

 

Even though the lines of age

have filled your face with wisdom,

and bones once strong as the mighty oak

have grown flaccid and weary,

I see in you now the nova of life

burning more brightly than ever before,

having accepted that the inevitable extinguishing

is best enjoyed while living in the apex of the sun.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #55 – TRUTH LIES

I was tripping, falling in love,

when I saw you through the stained glass

of the yellow church window doves.

You were standing on sunset grass

bidding farewell to the preacher,

and as I crossed the brown tile

the sunlight engulfed your features.

You looked like Apollo’s angel

and if I am to know myself,

then it must be that I know you.

For your eyes held the vatic health

that prophets see happiness through.

And though I’m no sight for sore eyes

you’ll find my love is where truth lies.

——

 

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MAGIC LOST (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Magic Lost

Where’d the magic go?

Lost somewhere between the sheets

and the long walk home.

 

Vices

Take another sip

of that poison you cling to.

Tell me how it burns.

 

Intellect

For all our knowledge

we worry about days past

more than mindless rocks.

 

Seabound

If all of the seas

were to close their ports to me,

I’d still wave to you.

 

A Way Out

If they had forced me

to kill someone, I’d choose to

kill them with kindness.

——

 

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FEELING LOST ON THE BEACH

“When did I start walking? I don’t really remember…” my voice trailed off as I looked into the distance. The old man had pulled up along side me just as I noticed the sun was setting. He was a short fellow, but had a certain youthful spring to his step.

“Well, if you don’t remember when you started walking, do you remember why?” The smile hidden inside his beard broke into a laugh. He reminded me of my childhood house cat in that way. He was scruffy, in a well-worn Hawaiian shirt and loose cargo pants, with a deep tan.

“I don’t really remember that either,” I said. I turned my attention to where I was. We were along the beachside, at sunset, walking at the edge of the sand and the sidewalk. The last thing I remembered was tying my shoes in the morning—yet when I looked down to see them, I saw only my bare feet. And had it been this morning?

“Well, you don’t know why you’re here, or how long you’ve been going where you’re going, but you’re still going somewhere. Ain’t that something else? Next thing you’ll tell me, you don’t even remember your name.”

“My name is Adam,” I said.

“Adam is it?” the old man replied. He pulled his beard between his thumb and index finger thoughtfully. “Adam has always been a favorite name of mine. Good strong name.”

“I’m not sure I’d describe myself as a strong man,” the words fell out of my mouth before I had even thought of them.

“Oh,” the man looked at me curiously, “and why is that?” I stared off into the distance again, unsure how to proceed. The relatively flat surface of the beach had turned into an uphill climb as we approached the dunes.

“I’m not sure,” I said finally, “perhaps that’s why I’m walking?” I smiled at him. A look of hesitant concern crossed his face.

“Could be, Adam. It’s no old geezer like me’s business, but I think maybe you’re feeling lost.”

“What gave you that impress—” his tone turned stern, in the way a grandparent’s does when they need to teach a lesson, but without making their grandchildren cry.

“Now don’t go interrupting me, Adam,” he wagged a meaty finger in my face, “I’ve seen boys like you before. Look over their,” he gestured out to the many small silhouettes along the shoreline, watching the sun sinking beneath the ocean. “All those people? They’re going through something just like you. Might be they just got through it; might be that they’re about to run into it.

“But it’s too easy to just walk away from your problems like you’re doing here. Leaving the whole world behind, as if the world did something to you that you didn’t deserve. You’ll keep walking till your feet are blistered, your legs are cramped, your stomach is knotted, and your hair is in tatters. And you’ll still feel lost, because that’s not how we overcome our problems. It’s good to know when and why to walk away, like from some hothead in a bar, but it ain’t no good to just be walking empty headed—letting them bad thoughts cloud your mind and eat away at your soul. You need to stand up, and figure out where you’ve been and, more importantly, where you’re going.”

His hands closed into fists with these last remarks. Then, he put a hand on my shoulder and stopped. I paused and looked up. We were at the top of the sand dunes. The ocean could be seen for miles, and the sun was just a fleeting sliver, before it would wink out for the night entirely. His eyes were full of determination, yet also so full of sadness. Like he knew what I was feeling even better than I did.

“I—” the words wouldn’t come to me. I could feel a tear slipping down my cheek, though I wasn’t sure when it had gotten there.

“That’s alright Adam,” he took his hand off of me, “you’ll figure it out. Just stay here till you do.” And like that, he spun on his heels, and marched off down the hill, while I sat and watched the clouds turn from orange, to pink, to purple, and finally to a deep, empty gray.

——

 

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