THE LAUGHING BONE‎ > ‎WORD‎ > ‎POETRY‎ > ‎

Jones is dreaming

Jones is dreaming
under blanket
on the other side
of the fire
eyes rolling
under closed lids
mouth whispering
the language of sleep
mumbled prayers
to a dead god

we are far up
Chama River Canyon
good ways past
the Monastery
beyond the deadend
of the red road
coyote yip and prowl the shadows
along with larger beast
shapes divined in dusty print
wings hush and shiver
bat owl and nighthawk
choir of cricket
grasshopper katydid and cicada
rising falling calling
long oscillations
of sex and death
the desert breathes
its breath

pinyon, cedar, ocotillo and juniper
a pile I add to every day
sizzle pop and sputter
sap and resin in the fire
the red cathedral
of embers
dioramas of inferno
copal smoke
frankincense myrrh
memory
red sparks rising orange
flame yellow spin white
fill the night sky with stars

waiting now
for Jones
a week gone
since we arrived
I walk and gather wood
Jones wants no food
but takes water
we wait
we talk little
nothing left to say
at night
he stares into the fire
sleeps and dreams
during the day
he sits still
in the shade
of a broken juniper
I watch and wait
polishing these
present moments
teeth and stones
in my pocket
already shining
with memory
a deepening lustre
like a bone in amber
waiting for Jones
to die

bus from Austin
night departure
soaked in hot rain
an angry driver
vicious with words
and a child wailing
with hunger
in the uncaring arms
of a dead-eyed Mexican man
holding the child
like a tombstone
the child cries on
with the wasted energy
of a lonely siren

sunrise
like an opening wound
Ft. Stockton, Texas
get off to stretch our legs
I sit Jones down
on a church pew
in the waiting room
of the station
go hunt down some coffee
come back
and there's an old black woman
across from him
playing a banjo
singing ancient song
I sit down
steam rising
in ghost vapors
from the coffee
her eyes are clouded white
with cataract
her banjo out of tune
or maybe just
alien to my ear

See my child with eyes so bright
The stars are hidden from his sight

O I’m a woman from the Land of Nod
On my way to see my God

My mother is draped in robes of shame
And fears to use my father’s name

Well I’m a woman from the Land of Nod
On my way to see my God

My other child is buried deep
And sings my dreams when I sleep

Yes I’m a woman from the Land of Nod
On my way to see my God

Listening to
the increments of India
air rich with smell
the mud of the Ganges
a hundred fires at least
Jones and myself there
sitting on the steps
Varanasi Ghat
watching the smoke
from burning bodies
blacken the temple walls
ashes muddy the water

the spell is broken
by the unnecessary
and harsh hollering
of the driver
Charon rowing
through the souls
lost in the water
knocking heads
and hands away
the bus is leaving
the old woman
keeps singing
maybe deaf also
Jones painfully rising
and we reboard
and continuing
ever westward

Yes I’m a woman from the Land of Nod
On my way to see my God

They say he lies on a cold grey stone
With holes for eyes and snow-white bones

Well I’m a woman from the Land of Nod
On my way to see my God

Yes I’m a woman from the Land of Nod
On my way to see my God






4/20/14