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Health

While jogging on the treadmill at the gym,
that exercise in getting nowhere fast,
I realized we need a health pandemic.
Obesity writ large no more, Alzheimer's
forgotten, we could live carefree again.
We'd chant the painted shaman's sweaty oaths,
We'd kiss the awful relics of the saints,
we'd sip the bitter tea from twisted roots,
we'd listen to our grandmothers' advice.
We'd understand the moonlight's whispering.
We'd exercise by making love outside, 
and afterwards, while thinking only of
how much we'd lived in just one moment's time,
forgive ourselves for wanting something more:
to praise the memory of long-lost need,
or not to live forever in a world 
made painless by our incurable joy.

Upon the Heights

And victor of life and silence,
I stood upon the Heights; triumphant,
With upturned eyes, I stood,
And smiled unto the sun, and sang
A beautifully sad farewell unto the dying day.
And my thoughts and the eve gathered
Their serpentine mysteries around me,
My thoughts like alien breezes,
The eve like a fragrant legend.
My feeling was that I stood as one
Serenely poised for flight, as a muse
Of golden melody and lofty grace.
Yea, I stood as one scorning the swords
And wanton menace of the cities.
The sun had heavily sunk into the seas beyond,
And left me a tempting sweet and twilight.
The eve with trailing shadows westward
Swept on, and the lengthened shadows of trees
Disappeared: how silently the songs of silence
Steal into my soul! And still I stood
Among the crickets, in the beauteous profundity
Sung by stars; and I saw me
Softly melted into the eve. The moon
Slowly rose: my shadow on the ground
Dreamily began a dreamy roam,
And I upward smiled silent welcome.
 

Road Trip

The new road runs along the old road. I can see it
still imprinted on the earth, not twenty feet away
as I drive west past silos and farmsteads, fruit stands and hogs.
Once in Kansas, I stood in a field and watched
the stars on the horizon revolve around my ankles.
People are always moving, even those standing still
because the world keeps changing around them, changing them.
When will the cities meet? When will they spread until
there is a single city—avenue to avenue, coast to coast?
What we call "the country" is an undeveloped area
by the side of the road. There is no "country," there is no "road."
It's one big National Park, no longer the wilderness it was.
But the old world exists under the present world
the way an original painting exists under a newer one.
The animals know: their ancient, invisible trails cross
and re-cross our own like scars that have healed long ago.
Their country is not our country but another place altogether.
Anything of importance there comes out of the sky.
In Amarillo the wind tries to erase everything, even the future.
It swoops down to scrape the desert clean as a scapula.
Here among bones and bleached arroyos the sun leans
through my window at dawn to let me know
I'm not going anywhere. There's no more anywhere to go.