A young boy, dressed in clean but threadbare jeans and a shirt
that might have once been red, took in my leathers and my road-weary black Harley.
He then shot me a look that was older than he was. “Mister? What’s it like to
ride a motorcycle?”
I decided to tell him the truth. “Kid. It’s so hot your
knuckles fry. It’s so cold you want your fingers to fall off because they hurt
so bad. But it’s wide high freedom with a joy that transcends to something
beyond the howl of the wind and the throb of the motor that becomes so close to
the beating of your heart you can’t separate them. It’s a gratitude beyond the
food in your belly—beyond the roof under which you live; it’s a paroxysm of
elation that sings a song in your heart and you love every note without knowing
how it ends. You just can’t describe it exactly, Kid. You just can’t. But you
want to keep riding, just in case you find the words that might shine a light
on what it’s like so someone else might have a clue. It’s almost a prayer. If I
could really share it with everybody, I surely would.”
He pursed his lips, looking for a moment like the old man he
would someday be. He nodded. “Thanks.” He stopped at the doorway and looked
back at the Harley and me. He nodded again and went inside, probably to look
for his mom.
I stood there in the fitful breeze cinching my denim jacket into its windy shape. Time to throw a leg and go. As the motor kicked over I nursed it to a smooth potato-potato and wondered if I’d ever see that kid again. The story didn’t feel done. I filed my shrug to the we’ll see pile.
Her passionate eyes held mine as she elegantly voiced her heart’s intent. When she looked away I snuck a peek into her cleavage and immediately looked up, embarrassed, apologizing to the sky and all the women in my heart. But I chanced another glance as soon as I could.
The dog catches my eye and whines his question: “Now, Boss, now?” An idea: the smell of salt opens my mind. I laugh and nod. He stands with a clatter of claws on hardwood, tail high and boisterous, as he prances around the couch. His eager head presses through the red leash harness and we’re out the door, through the dunes, onto the moor, hearts on the fly in our amble du jour.
Consciousness, the universe is– a way to understand and make small enough a vastness into parts. Your mind will never grasp the whole, no, that is a feeling for your soul to warm when cold clasps your heart and galaxies never seen seem almost familiar and close enough to nod acquaintance. Understanding is accepting you cannot.
Birds play tag: close-drill flitting, chasers suddenly chased at the flick of a feather. I laugh; my mind flips like they do, but without their agility. I am honored to watch, bathed in their game, humored with their compassion.
Your poems run the gamut; you have blessed us with music of realization and understanding. Many of those poems were born on your couch, lying on your back, looking up at your journal. Really? Their birth is as astonishing as their venerable lives.
(Here's an example of a the beginning of a daily writing session. Initially, I made no edits. But I couldn't stand it, so now it's trying to become a poem. I've changed the original, so my first effort has been subverted. Silly me. I'll probably keep editing it until the work no longer feels like creation. Once the start is in ink,the important thing is to keep going. jrs)
Blood moon coming tomorrow; eyes all on high, hoping for clear enough and no rain. A dramatic sky—clouds and patches of stars—would be fine, maybe even preferred, like daily obstacles that educe a story with grit and a voice like an old friend with a mug of steaming coffee come by to visit for no particular reason other than coffee and to breathe the same air listening to the sea. Stories can do that: come alive and show you how they need to be. A story will not lie to you unless it becomes your lie. Daily writing does not require approval. All it needs is a curious heart.