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Dancin' Moon Songcast
26 minutes | Apr 4, 2021
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 86 Promise of Being Filled | KEYS TO MY HEAD EPISODE!
Featured song from 2021's Keys to My Head LP Promise of Being Filled All alone is not alone anymore Once you make peace with yourself. Darkness is not a loss of sight Nor being emptied a loss of wealth. These snowy hills will be emptied in the spring, This cutting wind fallen still. I will relinquish this white-knuckled hold... Open up the promise of being filled. Silence has a language no tongue could ever speak, Holds a wisdom gentle to the ears. All the chasing, all the grasping, all the noise Only awaken all the fears. These snowy hills will be emptied in the spring, This cutting wind fallen still. I will relinquish this white-knuckled hold... Open up the promise of being filled. (instrumental verse) These snowy hills will be emptied in the spring, This cutting wind fallen still. As I relinquish this white-knuckled hold... I open up the promise of being filled. As I relinquish this white-knuckled hold... I open up the promise of being filled.
21 minutes | Mar 28, 2021
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 85 Southwind | KEYS TO MY HEAD EPISODE!
Featured song from 2021's Keys to My Head LP Southwind Southwind and a pickup truck On a gravel road and I think I'm in luck Cause the sun's high in the western sky And in an hour or two I'll be by your side. I know these hills like the back of my hand But they feel like a no-man's land without you. Ten days on a workin' trip, Back's achin' and my jeans are ripped I'm through. Southwind and a pickup truck On a gravel road and I think I'm in luck Cause the sun's lower in the western sky And in an hour I know I'll be by your side. Long shadows stretch across my way Been counting nights just to make it to this day Deer standing on the far side Bodies tense and their eyes wide Just stay Southwind and a pickup truck On a gravel road and I think I'm in luck Cause the sun's settin' in the western sky And in a minute more I'll be by your side. (Instrumental) Down the canyon and my brights are on Seems like the last two miles are a million miles long I know this road will call me out again But I hear our dogs barkin' as I pull This big truck in. Southwind behind my pickup truck On that gravel road and I count myself lucky Cause the sun's gone from the western sky Just you and me, and we're in for the night. Yeah the sun's gone from the western sky And this workin' man ain't nothin' but your Stay-at-home guy.
28 minutes | Mar 21, 2021
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 84 On That Day | KEYS TO MY HEAD EPISODE!
Featured song from 2021's Keys to My Head LP On That Day There came a day We didn’t hug our mothers. There came a day We didn’t kiss our lovers. And on that day The sun rose like any other, But we watched the numbers grow— Those who didn’t recover. There came a day, There came a day. There came a day We couldn’t leave our houses. There came a day We looked at children and spouses And wondered if they Could be spared and counted Among the saved. There came a day, There came a day. And love still remains, It’s in the stains On the masks and gloves. And love still proclaims, All the names Of those who risk dying for us. And love makes a claim On the heart That cares enough To love, and sing this refrain To remind us We need the human touch. Love and sing this refrain To remind us We need the human touch. Love and sing this refrain To remind us We need the human touch. We need the human touch. There will come a day We will hug our mothers. There will come a day We will kiss our lovers. And on that day We’ll be sisters and brothers And the sun will rise— May we truly see each other. On that day, On that day. May we truly see each other On that day, On that day. See original LIVE version here
30 minutes | Mar 15, 2021
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 83 In the Pines | KEYS TO MY HEAD EPISODE!
Featured song from 2021's Keys to My Head LP In the Pines In the pines, in the pines Where the sun never shines That's where the cold wind blows In the pines, in the pines Where the sun never shines I shiver when the cold wind blows My hours and my days Are filled with a haze Rising up from the soil Like a grave, The dead and the dying Are far past lying And their voices come, The living, to save‚ In the pines, in the pines Where the sun never shines That's where the cold wind blows In the pines, in the pines Where the sun never shines I shiver when the cold wind blows These hills and these hollows Are a judge and a gallows For no one but the guilty Of heart, So come bringing light Be it daytime or night Those who have gone before Are ready to start. (instrumental section) In the pines, in the pines Where the sun never shines That's where the cold wind blows In the pines, in the pines Where the sun never shines The time for justice grows In the pines, in the pines Where the sun never shines As I shiver, and the cold wind blows. Traditional, with new verses by Scott Simpson, Copyright 2020 View original LIVE version here!
25 minutes | Mar 7, 2021
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 82 Full of Fear | KEYS TO MY HEAD EPISODE!
Featured song from 2021's Keys to My Head LP Full of Fear Gotta leave here tomorrow gotta leave here tomorrow poison’s deep in my marrow gotta leave here tomorrow Oh, oh, oh the path is straight and clear Oh, oh, oh, but my heart is full of fear morning sun shows the way morning sun shows the way travel’s safer by day morning sun shows the way Oh, oh, oh the path is straight and clear Oh, oh, oh, but my heart is full of fear (instrumental section) who will I be when I’m gone who will I be when I’m gone don’t know myself beyond this wrong who will I be when I’m gone Oh, oh, oh the path is straight and clear Oh, oh, oh, but my heart is full of fear Watch Original FAWM video performance recording of Full of Fear here!
34 minutes | Feb 28, 2021
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 81 Making Our Escape | KEYS TO MY HEAD EPISODE!
Featured song from 2021's Keys to My Head LP Making Our Escape It's dark in here, it's dark in here Most days I don't even hear, don't even hear A thing, no not a thing, not a thing... So many years, it's been so many years Since he came to check on me, break open a box of tears... Not sorrow, no not sorrow, just love‚ tears of love Yeah, we used to fly above the bed Him on his back me overhead He put the words right in my mouth So I'd say in a mighty shout "We're off to save the whole wide world‚ Every boy and every girl!" One time he even made me a cape We were super heroes making our escape. Is it dark out there? I wonder if it's dark out there too He doesn't have his favorite bear... see, a guy needs his favorite bear To fly... oh to Dream... to have a place to put his words, yeah yeah I'm not alone, I suppose I'm not alone here in this box Next to me his pocket knife, a rock he found, and a compass that doesn't point north any more... Yeah, we're all just waiting, here together, like a time capsule he forgot to open up... Yeah, we used to fly above the bed Him on his back me overhead He put the words right in my mouth So I'd say in a mighty shout "We're off to save the whole wide world‚ Every boy and every girl!" One time he even made me a cape We were super heroes making our escape. Yeah, we used to fly above the bed Him on his back me overhead He put the words right in my mouth So I'd say in a mighty shout "We're off to save the whole wide world‚ Every boy and every girl!" One time he even made me a cape We were super heroes making our escape. We were super heroes making our escape. Did he ever make his escape? I wonder, did he ever make his escape? We're all making our escape. We're super heroes making our escape... We're all making our escape.
36 minutes | Feb 22, 2021
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 80 Ragged Set of Claws | KEYS TO MY HEAD EPISODE!
Featured song from 2021's Keys to My Head LP Ragged Set of Claws I am not the man I used to be I am not the boy I was Some days I have trouble getting used to me Some nights I fight A ragged set of claws... A ragged set of claws... Brave adventures Were my future Back when I dreamed myself A hero's cape and hood But every time I leave My bat cave these days Some clever joker shows me why I should stay cave-bound for good... I should stay cave-bound for good... My hours have grown narrow Eat, sleep, do my job My friends increase their distance It's taken years to grow This ragged set of claws... This ragged set of claws... (Instrumental) Just starting out Is always lovely... It's when we write the stories We believe. Down the road We meet the monsters In the battle's when we see We've been deceived: The monster's me... My hours have grown narrow Eat, sleep, do my job My friends increase their distance It's taken years to grow My hours have grown narrow I eat, I sleep, I do my job All my friends seem so distant It took me years to grow This ragged set of claws... This ragged set of claws... This ragged set of claws... Original LIVE version video HERE!!
37 minutes | Feb 15, 2021
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 79 Answer to Pane | KEYS TO MY HEAD EPISODE!
Featured song from 2021's Keys to My Head LP Answer to Pane I look out on an empty field but I’m not so sure my fate is sealed They are building, building all the time. Strip mall, industrial park, duplex—it’s like a Noah’s ark replenishing the city, two of every kind Well, some say the eyes are me to the soul But I’m not sure they’re big enough holes To welcome in near enough light. When someone chooses to pull the shades The vision dies, the story fades, And who knew what would come with the morning light? The answer to pane, it seems Is shutter out the world But darkness only grows Inside the blind. When you find you’re in a jamb Instead of glazing over, man Just tap... I’ll open up, I don’t mind. This morning I see some snowflakes fell I imagine out there’s cold as hell But we’re warm, rail against the stile. You read your book, you do your work I let the sun light up your smirk, Can we brighten up that grin into a smile? Let me brighten up that grin into a smile. The answer to pane, it seems Is shutter out the world But darkness only grows Inside the blind When you find yourself in a jamb Instead of glazing over, man, Just tap... I’ll open up, I don’t mind. The answer to pane, it seems Is shutter out the world But darkness only grows Inside the blind When you find you’re in a jamb Instead of glazing over, man, Just tap... I’ll open up, I don’t mind. Just tap... I’ll open up, I don’t mind.
37 minutes | Feb 7, 2021
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 78 Life Begins in Mud | KEYS TO MY HEAD EPISODE!
Featured song from 2021's Keys to My Head LP Life Begins in Mud Something green, something new Something raucous, something true Something muddy beneath the big, wide blue Something me, something you, Something you, something you. Something you. Mindful of the butterflies Monarchs in migratory skies Something wise and ancient beneath the big, wide blue Something me, something you, Something you, something you Something you. Take these moments that we meet Spring is waking hands and feet Take these growing sprouts and buds All of life begins...life begins in mud Life begins in mud Life begins in mud Life begins in mud. (whistling verse) Something green, something new Something raucous, something true Something muddy beneath the big, wide blue Something me, something you, Life, life begins in mud Something you, life begins in mud Something you, life begins in mud something you.
28 minutes | Jan 31, 2021
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 77 "1987" | KEYS TO MY HEAD EPISODE!
Featured song from 2021's Keys to My Head LP 1987 Sky as blue as ocean Summer clouds are sailing by Black-eyed Susans on the shoulder Sway and dance but they never cry They never cry... Setting out is all too easy You think a map is all you need But then the road is closed and the Weather turns... We will arrive just wait and see. A log cabin near the Great Divide Your hair loose in the breeze Water falls into a lake hung high There we were just 23... Just 23... Setting out is all too easy You think a map is all you need But then the road is closed and the Weather turns... We will arrive just wait and see. Windows down, the buzzing desert Your bare feet, your mirrored shades Singing every track on Joshua Tree We set our course with a serenade... What a serenade... Setting out It seems so easy You think a map is all you need But then the road is closed and the Weather turns... We have arrived—-Don’t you see? We own this road, you and me... Yeah, It goes on as far as I can see.
33 minutes | Jan 24, 2021
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 76 This Lonely Road | KEYS TO MY HEAD EPISODE!
Featured song from 2021's Keys to My Head LP This Lonely Road I set out on the 1st of May I had a hunger in the worst of ways a hunger for a love, a love like you. I rounded a corner in the morning light almost blinded— almost lost my sight there on the shoulder was you. Oh my Lord... I got a feeling you and I’ve been down this lonely road this lonely road before. I got a feeling you and I’ve been down this lonely road this lonely road before. I pulled over in a cloud of dust your hand-drawn sign said “anywhere or bust” but oh, that smile. I don’t recall what state I was in but your eyes told me that you needed a friend— just too damn many miles. Oh my Lord... I got a feeling you and I been down this lonely road this lonely road before. I got a feeling you and I’ve been down this lonely road this lonely road before. And it’s almost sundown can’t ever find the right town to call our home just to call our home. And it’s almost sundown can’t ever find the right town to call our home just to call our home. (Instrumental) Well the seasons change and the road goes by there in the front seat with an Ice Cream pie and a coffee: It’s just you and I. We count the markers we count the signs you count me yours and I'm gonna count you mine whatever side of the solid line. Oh my Lord, say... I got a feeling you and I been down this lonely road this lonely road before. I got a feeling you and I been down this lonely road this lonely road before. I got a feeling you and I been down this lonely road this lonely road before. I got a feeling you and I been down this lonely road this lonely road before.
34 minutes | Jan 17, 2021
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 75 If You Wanna Make a Song | KEYS TO MY HEAD EPISODE!
Featured song from 2021's Keys to My Head LP If You Wanna Make a Song You gotta have a hole In your heart, Stick out your neck so long, Give everybody the keys To your head, If you wanna make a song. (repeat) When the tension’s too much Or even not quite enough, I know I need to tune it up or else I’m Always gonna play too rough. Yeah sometimes it’s just electric And other times it’s not But all that really matters to me is that I resonate with all that I’ve got! You gotta have a hole In your heart, Stick out your neck so long, Give everybody the keys To your head, If you wanna make a song. (repeat) (Instrumental) I’m not just a nut Always thinkin’ everybody’s just pickin’ on me Got to strap on some confidence Get respect from anyone who lays a finger on me I wanna build us a bridge But never string you along Some people say I’m just wound too tight I’ll put my nylons on... We’ll go out on the town Me, and my exotic top If you and I can strike all the right chords I know we’re never gonna stop You gotta have a hole In your heart, Stick out your neck so long, Give everybody the keys To your head, If you wanna make a song. You gotta have a hole In your heart, Stick out your neck so long, Give everybody the keys If you wanna make a song. You gotta have a hole In your heart, If you wanna make a song.
43 minutes | Jan 10, 2021
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 74 God Episode | POETRY SERIES EPISODE!
Ready For Jesus The missionary is only 20. He's telling us that the people in Honduras have nothing--- he describes a family of seven who live in a mud hut with a dirt floor and a doorway with no door so the animals wander in and out. They are ready for Jesus... he says, Their existence is painful, so they're looking for some meaning. He tells us that they are the other race in Honduras, not the Latinos. Hundreds of years ago, a slave ship wrecked off the coast, they washed ashore and never left, kept their language, their culture, stayed separate. In my high school geography text, a map demonstrated the movements of the tectonic plates, how the continents had once fit together as a single mass called Pangaea. I wonder if the Honduran coast would match up against the original home beach of these people like if it weren't for time, this transplantation would have been nothing more than a hike across the grassland. The young man's eyes are wild as he tells us he's broken off his plans for Law school to do this. I pick up my notebook, and am about to write something about how pain comes in going from one thing to another too suddenly, being jolted even half-a-foot by a car from behind; or smooth skin made in an instant, two bleeding halves by a blade: the abrupt imposition of a foreign object disrupting the order..., when he asks for money. The woman across the aisle from me begins to dig in her purse for the piece of Jesus she will send. ********************* A Conversation with Logos I The Greeks described logos as the living substance that enlivened, animated all things, they said it inhabited the world like honey inhabits the honeycomb-- logos saturates all that we are, is associated with fire and light. The Hebrews understood logos as the great mysterious inter- cessor between God and humanity... they named it Torah. But Torah was not simply written word; the rabbis claimed, When G-d began to create the world, He consulted Torah... Torah, logos, the Word that preexists speech, writing, art, earth, sky, universe. The gospel of John begins, In the beginning was logos, and logos was with God and logos was God, he was with God in the beginning, and through logos all was made, without logos nothing that is could have been, and logos was life, and that life was light, and that light shines into darkness... and darkness cannot overcome... light, word, life, warmth, logos... Darkness cannot over- come, darkness cannot overcome, darkness cannot overcome light. II The irony of the Word preceding all speaking, the warmth preceding all fire, the life preceding all bodies, the light preceding all creation, is that all talk must be silenced, all lamps extinguished, all movement stilled, all work ceased in order for the most important conversation to begin, the most brilliant illumination to be seen, the most savored breath to be taken, and the vocation of living to start. III There is a voice that is mine that is heard always though rarely listened to, and though this voice is mine, it is one I am just beginning to recognize— not mine because I have shaped its reflections or phrasings, I did not speak it, but mine because this voice, in gentleness and wisdom, is always trying to speak me. It knows my true name—the one I'm sure I knew best only hours after birth, now mostly forgotten. While other voices try to speak me into shapes they've schemed, the shapes that serve them best, this voice is sighing gently, the form called me—the form I had before I was—the form that serves best. Only silence parts the lips and moves the breath, articulates the tongue, my tongue, my breath, my lips praying my one true voice. ************************** What People Forget Is that the universe is more space than stuff and that space is what keeps planets spinning and galaxies expanding... Is that their bodies are full of space as well, each atom a tiny galaxy tugging and animated. At our very core our most elemental state there are vast distances, journeys to be made and intervals between open enough for adventure. In a moment we tend to think that what we are is solid, that what we are is what we will be. But what I am has never been certain... the "who" of me a dynamic set of parameters held together by that gravity we call soul. Now, do not mistake me, thinking I mean that soul is other than substance... no, soul is substance held precious. Soul is one green planet held in loving embrace by one perfect star, made inhabitable: a place for life to multiply. Soul is not singular though soul is union like marriage like the atom like my body like my mother like my father like my daughter like my son like spirit, breath, wind in everything, Like universe, uni- ONE verse- POEM One poem many lines enough spaces to make the singing of it an exquisite journey.
33 minutes | Jan 4, 2021
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 73 Eight Poems for Sheryl | POETRY SERIES EPISODE!
my dream I see you like this: you clutch the tiny warm ball of a new brown field-mouse. pressing it into the warmth of your scented neck where your hair bends gently in to brush your careful fingers... it is cold outside, and your breath moves slowly away: clouds of warmth in the snow-white sunlight, your words of comfort, your essence atomized, released and later, if the mists linger in the year-old plow-valleys whispering, "It's alright... All is not cold and hunger," you will still be there, warm. It is only a dream I have, a dream in which I am helpless and nestled in your neck. *************** in her bed our daughter has had her one more story, her one more drink, and dreams the part of herself that we never see. In our living room we have a movie running, the Canadian Rockies of the early 17th century shift in some conflict involving intimate campfire reds, steel-blue glacial arms cradling white, and silver-gray aspen groves to move your intent eyes... I chose the movie this time. The couch is long enough for us both as I watch this light playing upon your nightgown it is more deadly than second-hand smoke: the Canadian Rockies moving in the lines of your face, the folds of your clothing. I am kneading these silver trout you lay across my lap in this stream we make of our bodies. I will lay you in the winter glow of aspens and smooth the clothing from your skin so you can warm by our fire--- night-breath bristling the invisible down of your neck, fanning the glow of your eyes. ***************** Alone for a Week I've been shuffling around the house in my thin moccasins not bothering to turn on lights or to use dishes, it is quiet except for the purr of our neighbor's mowing his homogenous grass in the last moments of twilight; the house is dark except for the night-lights I haven't unplugged in our daughters' rooms--- those lights supposed to chase the shadows away, as though it weren't light that created shadow. At intervals, I wander into the family room, stare at the couch, then the blank TV. I am grabbing at the tail-end of the hour as it slips around the clock in the corner and my hands close around still air. I wonder how long it will take for me to use up all the air that spent at least some time in your lungs, moving through your throat and spilling over your lips? I know enough to know that I'm not going to get any work done tonight. I can't let go of the clock long enough to get lost in some of this stuff you left so I could complete, undisturbed. But I don't think I like being undisturbed or passing by the orange glow from our daughters' rooms; and suddenly as my neighbor completes his last lap across his grass, the evening has gone deaf and I know fully that silence is a taking away of something, a loss. Were I single like one of my friends, perhaps I would use my dishes and fold the laundry seeing how these things all have places in the week, maybe I would throw open the windows to let today's air in, but in your absence I find that silence and darkness have new names and don't whisper, or rise and fall beside me. The thinness of these moccasins reminds me of the ground and my weight upon it--- that I'm still here. *************** Midnight & The Tall House after Williams I Hard, dark night open wide, our yellow window light addresses trees, shaping canopies to hide the grass beneath, where crickets wing a song. Not long we're held this way, you & I, a sort of gray haven hedged by black sky, black soil, black cricket & blacker music rising in his silver clear wings. II Wind sweeps out & down, slips over elm tree, sound -ing, sounding sound & rounding out the dark. To know the park is sleeping, slide & swing inert; to know the dove wing covers doveling heads in eaves above, this is love, feathered night pulled past our eyes, nest full, sky lanterns winking dull, soft wind rocking broad bough, stretching closer every pane of glass. III Outside, below us the sun is forgotten, the impatiens are muted, drooping down to ground & dirt & dung & earthworm, showing quiet colors: earth colors, night colors, browns, dull rust, their thrust toward sky forsaken. Inside, we trust diminished sight, open-palmed, eyes held wide, ears alive. Touching, twining spinning colors out of night -wool, wind-rhythm, skin-scent: impatient love. **************** with sheryl, outside centennial wyoming open range long grass full moon haloing clouds blue shoulder of mountains two rails catch the moon wind through the grass silver lines, disjoined except in the moon's touch we are small tonight our words almost too quiet to pass between us but something in the luminescence of your skin your eyes the seed swaying heavy around us on its stem makes sense of what is still dark we shine where this moon rides us where we're worn smooth with shared use **************** old camp blue your laugh is music on bark, on leaf spilling over rocks, around crags of old boulders between shadows of aspen of birch of pine on a mat of needles, your eyes and mine are windows too small for looking only--- the fallen spruce, half wood half powder and you and I go to dust, elemental making love of sun and stone and leaf and laughing as a swelling of clouds goes dark with summer rain ***************** Behind My Back For Sheryl She says things behind my back I have caught her on occasion, stepped around a corner as she mentioned my name her lips as familiar with it as her own each time my status is changed: they look at me with her eyes Today I'll tell her to her face, Thank-you **************** As Night Approaches I watch the sky drain from bright blue to purple and finally into deep violet streaked with bits of red She is behind me inside the house washing up after dinner Clink, clank plate on plate and her humming soft, sure happy are the only sounds as night falls
39 minutes | Dec 28, 2020
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 72 Birthright, Humpty & Grass Clippings Like Tea Leaves | POETRY SERIES EPISODE!
Birthright Jacob stole his birthright, being clever and tricky and gets the bad rap on account of greed, but what about the sin of Esau who sold his birthright for a single bowl of soup? Sure, at the time it seemed reasonable Esau seeing nothing but his hunger —gut wrenching hunger but emptiness doesn't always render us clear of sight— sometimes it shapes desperate eyes and snatching hands. I imagine Esau there at table, hunger sated, realizing now the emptiness of the bowl the emptiness— what he'd given up... or maybe not, maybe Esau simply belched and excused himself, because satiation doesn't always render us mindful of consequence. Keep brother stuffed; he'll never know he's being taken. And sometimes my own hunger is the voice I hear telling me to short-sell for a few immediate spoonfuls... I have seen the children of stolen birthrights, stolen, in the end, by their feeders-- by those who have something to sell them... and something to gain from the selling. And I'm a teacher for Heaven's sake, with a bowl of soup and some hungry students willing to eat what I'm dishing up-- indiscriminately-- filling the pits of swollen bellies with what's been mandated with what the research says will surely fill them. And I could spend days feeding them data soup chock-full of standards in a warm broth of best practice and we could raise the bar make AYP incentivize the path till no one's left behind. But what if something has been squandered while I was ladling— what if they've traded some blood-right, some unique mark... What if we educators have helped them trade a birthright for a bowl of compliance soup? ******************* Humpty That afternoon he'd been stripped not so much like a banana or an antique chair, but quite like some kind of ice sculpture, having yet the chain-saw grooves to prove the artist's process— fresh from the freezer, unsheeted for show... He was now gathering into a puddle under his own feet and the hors d'vours were warming (infinitesimal buzzing of flies, cheese dark'ning ever-so-slightly) Rot's a process like stripping only rather than disambiguation rotting obscures... like a peach in the windowsill, forgotten and now no longer a peach but a hard lump of a sow's severed ear not hearing, of course, but also never to be a silk purse Whether he was coming clear or perhaps growing mold he was not certain, though he knew he was in control neither of their eyes nor curious hands The innocent are always intrigued toward tactile amusements, groping and fondling the frosty surface, leaving little fingerprint windows to the soul but curiosity, as they say, kills catastrophically beatifically in a swirl of red, and he knew as the world tilted it was he himself askew and not the snot-nosed toddler in the smart blazer, his mum releasing only one brief cry before the shattering moment, the tremble of cocktail sauce simultaneously flipped and letting bright droplets... At their feet, his integrity scattered into gritty stones like safety glass or human teeth on the floorboard of the fatal automobile accident beneath the still-bleeding passenger, he knew even the Jaws of Life could not speak the pieces back into what he'd dreamed himself to be. ******************** grass clippings like tea leaves Today, I'm reading the future from yesterday laid out in sun-blanched clumps where mower blades have battled these less than civil blades and won. This neat appearance almost argues design as giver rather than taker, but fastidious reason is no creator, it offers mere pruning; the mower has cut things short for a season and this grass will never come to head, produce seed. Above us, the Bookcliffs slice late morning, shadow bleeding into this valley; my students sprawl upon the soccer field with journals and seedling ideas riding the sharp tips of their burrowing pens. We hear the mower still at work. Who can say, No more— Growth stops here? Only the tiniest ant working deep among the hidden roots is safe from the whirring of the blades, but, for these twenty minutes, this young sun, these credulous pens, tilling naive pages, we are all taller.
34 minutes | Dec 21, 2020
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 71 Near Roubaix Lake, White Christmas & Night Music | WINTER SOLSTICE POETRY SERIES EPISODE!
near roubaix lake they've made a new stream the early snow has filled this footbridge barely supports my weight above the runoff ten inch PVC hastily placed releases water from the makeshift dam of mud and sticks to rot the roots of newly flooded chokecherry shrubs they will die now and fall over next spring or early summer brown, leafless chokecherryless we are running you and I into new course ways spilling into low places killing what once grew and just maybe, with time we will find what there is to water that needs watering, how to silt fertile this strange Dakota soil further down, cattle graze oblivious on rich grass stopping only to drink where otherwise they would have gone thirsty but winter is coming in the gray clouds the sun barely a warm spot, the time when everything shuts down into soundless white It would be simple to wait it out hope for a renewed warmth to pry us into usefulness— if only love were a thing that flowed downhill ******************************* White Christmas They never have snow in Abilene so four inches dropping wet out of a wide, plains sky on the twenty-sixth of December is more miracle than ambiance Grandpa, having slept the night in jeans and boots in his chair works up a smile as we pack ourselves into the tiny hospital room They've been expecting us Grandma, one cheek drooping stubborn as she forms her greeting How are you-all? her left hand lying soft, puffy as dough in her lap is dressed already for the holiday in her red pant-suit with the Indian-head nickel buttons all buttoned and modest, pretending the wheel-chair isn't there Can you be-lieve this snow today? Beyond the window a hastily-rolled snowman is slowly lowering his twiggy arms, his face sliding away under the sun He will be gone in thirty minutes My daughters, having given her the picture of themselves and their sleds, are petting Grandma's hand, singing softly tracing lines to connect the brown spots with the tips of their own tiny fingers smoothing her rounded shoulders Grandpa watches, eyes keener than ours to the subtle changes—her eyes sinking deeper the three second waves of blankness the growing weight of her frame as he lifts, pulls her into bed and the fading of something unnamable something central to her dignity her integrity something his grandaughters feel without knowing as they pat and stroke her pale skin Therapy time, the nurse intrudes and Grandma tugs my sleeve as they wheel her by Don't work too hard when you go back home she slurs, enjoy your day in the sun And Grandpa follows them down the hall to make certain, among other things the nurses take care with Grandma's buttons ****************************** night music "I am a dance—play up there" -Walt Whitman, The Sleepers a winter storm tunes its woodwinds and its brass and you and I sit by the window our children dance with no provocation to tunes their ears alone hear they are motion and music given to unbridled rhythms alive touching air with every inch of skin of hair of spirit you and I are silence, ancient steps unwinding into stasis somewhere inside clouds, begin a gentle swell among the pines snow, spilling over eaves in glittering moonlight don't wake the children— rouse us with your music
45 minutes | Dec 13, 2020
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 70 Design, Taraxacum Officinale and On Cherry Hill... | POETRY SERIES EPISODE!
Design 1 We have a secret place my daughters and I where an old creek has run empty The sky above that hill pushes fast past the swaying tips of pines but the birch, oak and ironwoods have not yet leaves enough to dance No dry winter no drought emptied our creek the water turned aside some years ago for other work and my oldest stares at the smooth stones sunk into soil When will the water come back? My youngest has hands delicate as birch twigs and burrows pebbles from the bank like a busy mole carries one at a time to the mound of larger rock we are shaping into a ring for our campfire She chooses a spot for each and believing in some master design believing I would know it asks, Should I put it here? Or here? There, that looks good right there, but that's really the question, isn't it and I think of the water's working years and centuries into polished stones forever setting and re-setting each here in our creek bed to be abandoned 2 I cannot tell how my knees bend how my fingers inside these leather gloves swing on their hinges I know only the digging and the occasional sun on my neck I cannot read the seasons burned into the grain of this handle or tell what secrets if any the hills keep but here, another shovel-full for a moment visible mixing with air thrown toward the sun 3 The deep soil reclaims each stone we leave unturned, swallowing her wayward children around us, the trees are smoldering with an inner fire relaxing into the dirt that grew them flaking open with each rain skeletons all of ribs marking the ground with bright stripes of greener grass The air darkens as rain enters the ravine like a lost fawn: one step there, here hesitant behind us other side of the tree, there again, over the rise and suddenly certain almost purposeful all around us the leafy floor comes alive with movement we flee our unfinished altar rain drenching stones, wood, dirt rivulets refilling the creek bed and back in the car we decide, tomorrow to build a bridge TARAXACUM OFFICINALE You're lying in the darkened bedroom spent from an hour of choosing which of our bills to pay which to let slide. But you'll be glad to know our girls are helping as they can: picking dandelions collecting their tithes to us in two piles on the picnic table one mine, one yours. I want to know what makes a thing dig in under five months of ice and at the first touch of spring push past packed earth survive herbicide to spite dreams of solid green with gold summer again and again in each of its hundred heads. Our debt is to our children: we owe it to them to accept the gold they offer. on cherry hill with my martin backpacking guitar 1 three years ago Martin began making them-- cut-down, sawn-off easy to carry anywhere I know an executive Chris at the music store told me who takes his to the office. This is a big seller for men 30 to 45 half mandolin, half banjo mellow and light so you can feel it hum, pressed against your ribs-- start your whole insides to singing with one strum 2 the first time I came out to Cherry Hill a crack in the old stone bridge revealed yellowed photos torn from Penthouse and Playboy, sent our 8-yr-old stomachs to our mouths-- threatened to pull us inside-out, crotch first why "Cherry Hill?" I asked and Kirk told me he'd heard all the high school girls had lost their cherries here we were so young we looked for them 3 coming out here alone with my guitar I have developed a new religion or maybe an old one the long grass on the hill contains the spirits of all little boys who giggle here and later find the world mortared with more flesh than any centerfold the Spirits Temporal graze as lost sheep until I return, an older David with my harp, singing Absalom Absalom! releasing them into the Eternal in this ritual of adult perspective you must be grass level, facing Heaven and playing the chords to Gone to Carolina in My Mind 4 I went walking with my 5-year-old daughter and our feet led us to Cherry Hill; she wanted to stand on the stone bridge I'd told her about see herself in the still creek below she ran here and there, collecting bits of trash, old pop cans oil jugs, asking, Can we recycle this? and Why do people want to trash this place? I wanted to tell her want is too strong a word but all I said was, Don't touch -- it's dirty. Someone else will get it. of course, no one else would but at least she never found any photos going home she asked, Why do they call it "Cherry Hill?" I didn't see any cherry trees. and I had a thought that today was a good day for planting some
32 minutes | Dec 6, 2020
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 69 Joe and Marge at the Movies, Jay & While Waiting... | POETRY SERIES EPISODE!
Joe and Marge at the Movies They were getting old and they didn't even know it. Joe smiled like the crowsfeet and the false teeth and the double chin didn't show--- weren't there. Marge walked just like the base of her neck didn't bow up and hump down into her spine--- just like the index and middle fingers of her right hand weren't twisting slowly, year by year as the knuckles grew to the size of chestnuts. Joe held that hand when they strolled down the aisle to find their seats, bought popcorn that they put between them, placing their hands in the sack together, later, fighting playfully over the last kernels. And as the movie progressed, Joe slid his arm behind Marge's thin shoulders, resting the crook of his elbow around her crooked back like they were made to fit like that. At the end of the show Joe would grin big as a kid or maybe cry and, either way, Marge would stretch over with her tiny face and kiss his chin, the touch soft as the muzzle of a colt. They would leave slowly, reluctant as lovers at the end of a long-awaited first date, wanting to stretch it out, wanting it not to end, waiting to see all the credits, hear the very last note of the closing overture, remarking that movies are just too short. Jay Jay used to ride around Lincoln NE with a little empty child-seat on the back of his bike. He told me once that it wasn't the divorce that bothered him, it was her moving to New York, taking little Toby with her. I always think of Jay that way--- riding around town with a little empty child-seat. While Waiting in the Cafeteria Of Bradshaw Public School for A Meeting, I Check My Watch Once More Before Allowing Myself to Become Distracted It's a very small cafeteria, I'm thinking, but it's a small town--- These must be kindergartners in here doing their Art, they're so small. One boy talks loudest--- he is bigger than all the rest. He is coloring a map of the U.S. and now I think these may not be kindergartners and maybe this is Social Studies, not Art. My country's purple... he's saying and his country fits neatly on the 8 1/2 X 11 dittoed sheet he pinches proudly in his raised hand--- his country looks good in purple. Now the children have left me with my cup of coffee and watching one of the cafeteria ladies place the ketchup dispensers, spacing them evenly across the fold-out tables, preparing for lunch and the squeeze bottle she sets beside me has a picture of a 1950's housewife dancing, the brand name, SQEEZE-Ezy in box-letters beneath. I haven't seen a Squeeze-Ezy bottle since I was 5 and with my parents at Ideal Cafe' back home--- and suddenly I am 5 and thinking my world might fit on an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet and somehow maybe I do have the power in one hand to pull out of the box the best color for the whole place; and maybe if I had a hairnet like this cafeteria lady's, her slate curls pulled, contained, held tightly in place, maybe one that keeps my head inside the lines, keeps me from always hurling myself to the far ends of the universe--- holds me focused, wraps the whole complicated mess into a clearly labeled Crayola wrapper, then I could make some kind of Art with it.
41 minutes | Nov 29, 2020
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 68 Artifacts, Mid-Winter Hike & Before You Teach | POETRY SERIES EPISODE!
artifacts I'm burying my head deep into a distant May a stretch from this late January where an unseasonable warmth has reawakened these lilacs beneath my skin (they sprawl, varicose, purple clusters across my forearms around the backs of my shoulders) come close it's on my breath the soil radiant but cool just three handfuls down: water from a spring melt filtering deep to the roots the china-doll's broken foot spent shell casings and chimney stones marked by old fires have torn my nails wedged the nutrients deep into my fingers where growth begins mid-winter hike 1 home is where I'm too whole and each step in any direction is the losing of something I replace the pieces with something new— light on the crusted snow leg bone of a deer gnawed twice, by coyote and myself trying to get at the marrow of things I want to return satiated full of something I hadn't missed before, so spent I'm unable to sleep for dreaming 2 pine cones grow warm on the side of this hill where sun has drawn back the snow the dry grass, the needles glow with an idea of what spring is— memory and prophecy the cones open their wooden petals and seeds are always hidden near the center waiting for fire only wind and the winter birds' chatter can speak so patiently of the slow hand of sun opening up everything a bit at a time unhurried 3 I'm not alone out here, someone dogs me at every turn I fumble to recall the name as I stumble home carrying words so as not to jostle them into a trite retelling who is it? I spin who's there? out this far, it's impossible to be alone before you teach 1 a few hours before class drive out Tinton road until you leave any traffic behind you the trees will not distract you they will stand perfectly still here, you must leave the the beaten path and join them along an ancient road left overgrown wind your way among them to a shaded spot and kill your engine from here you travel on foot speed is no longer your goal each step is a lesson 2 here, dig into the hard dirt bank find egg-shaped rocks fractured by the weight of millennia and know that a thing whether fertile or not left long unhatched turns to stone think as you walk of the mountain lion waiting patiently for a sign of weakness know that hunger is his nature and that you have come here with only a pocket knife and your senses see—he has left for you a sign claw marks in the mud hole long and deep, count them one, two, three, four, five straight as a treble clef left empty and waiting for your half of his composition 3 coming home roll down all the windows and drive fast letting the dust filter in sprinkle, flavor your books your papers even your skin the sweat of the journey will make it stick and you will taste it in your teeth even as you speak to your students
37 minutes | Nov 22, 2020
Dancin' Moon Songcast Ep. 67 Late August, Kirk Coming Down & Summer of Whistles | POETRY SERIES EPISODE!
late august seminar in andrews hall the fields along I-80 are dark as three years back when you moved behind every stalk in the side-spill of my headlights-- silent trips only three weeks four weeks five after your death marked for me a new accounting of days three years and I am here and something like your arm has wrapped itself around me your hands steer me through campus the way you slid your bike in and out of traffic wind in your long hair force of all that was behind you guiding, pushing counting keeps me looking back you, there behind me not changing-- shrinking with distance the spot on that narrow road where I listened for you in the grass the gravel of that shoulder the crescent of black rubber mapping your short encounter with something too heavy to resist you're coming up again from behind me the windows are black late summer is rolling over into night the pavement cooling outside the fever rippling toward the sky the dashboard lights are pale green and orange how fast I'm not going how little time has elapsed how far I haven't been my headlights hardly touch the edge of night as I tug each marker up from murky water counting off the next mile this side of you Kirk, Coming Down Here on highway 6, between my feet, they've marked with orange spray-paint, the spot where you landed. Down there, by the tall grass is where they say you were hit. The paper said the man driving just fell asleep for a moment, and your bike was clearly over on the shoulder. Now, it's just a matter of the settlement, no one's pressing charges. They've marked your departure point and where you came to rest, but in between: twenty-five feet of nothing but air and time. One track meet in Middleschool I came out during the rain to watch you jump. It was cold you stripped off your sweats down to nothing but your tank-top and shorts. Your shoes looked too heavy swinging on the ends of your long skinny legs and you bounced them on the runway shifting your weight back and forth. You paced off your approach for the last jump marked a takeoff point by placing a wet twig at the end of the crescent you measured. I stood as the rain became deafening on the surface of the nylon mat. This'll be the last jump of the day coach said. You hit the twig and lifted up into the rain against a thousand tiny droplets stretching back, your arm out your eyes fierce and peering back over your shoulder. Your torso snapped like a whip making a loop of your legs that unfurled itself an inch above the bar and slung your sneakers up and over. Look at him fly just look at him fly and it seemed like you'd never come down. Then you did, you cleared the bar, hit the mat and slid, sending a sheet of thin rain arching like tempered glass in front of our eyes. Summer of Whistles We used to walk down the tracks where it was so bright the sun seemed to eat away the brown discarded metal. We made whistles out of some (summer of whistles) until you found that dollar and the day passed while we were making plans. The can we kicked home echoed, and I looked expecting two other boys to come around the corner ahead, they never did--- never did I tell you... We came to my house about the time the wind tousled the trees and your hair and I grew small under a darkening sky watching you run fast down the blocks till your speck turned out of sight toward your house. Sometimes I almost cried. I don't know why I never told you... That night, I knew you were listening to the rumble and the rain. I knew tomorrow would be dry. I dreamed of you and your dollar bill, of the sun, and rusty whistles. I dreamed that tomorrow... I would tell you how much I loved you. Kirk Miller 1964 to 1992
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