Friday, June 02, 2006


As many as eight or 10 or 12 bats spent an evening outside my door a while back, feasting on insects that swarmed around the safety light atop a pole high above my magic castle. Bats. The only mammals that actually fly. In some cultures, bats are considered to be physical manifestations of the soul. In others, vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, death, and tricksters. Symbols of the night, certainly. Welcome distractions from the humdrum.

A couple of hundred yards from where I sit, beavers dammed the Neches River less than a mile from its source, oblivious to the river's flow hundreds of miles from northeast Texas into the Gulf of Mexico. The beavers are back in the woods where the river, still small at this point, begins to straighten out of the "s" curves where fenced goats eat along the banks and big, white "ghost" birds won’t sit still long enough to be photographed. The beavers go about their business as the river goes about its own.

A few minutes ago, I got an email from another writer sharing some statistics about a methodically stolen election. "Sometimes I just need to share so as not to feel quite so alone," he wrote. And, "Hope you are well and writing. The world needs poetry." Here’s a poem, “ethereal domain,” from my in-progress chapbook, "I Am the Ghosts You Fear:"

Pendrift hears
the high, soprano song
of a seeking young soul
growing in twilight

flesh weeps its blood
in the slow, silken breeze
that crawls through ancient forest

hours of cold rain fall;
it is winter, spring comes
in the sound of the song
if spring is to come at all

songs about death
that make you dance

memory focused
in this moment,
my mind dances the memory
of a half moon wrapped
in its pale shawl
as dew freezes on the ground

Eric Taylor's excellent new CD, "The Great Divide," is subtitled "lyrics, lies, softshoe, fried pies." Ray Wylie Hubbard's "Snake Farm" is deep-fried Southern blues with a certain joy in the performances that sound almost like ritual from a slightly twisted, or slightly sane, world. Kris Kristofferson, in the notes with his first CD of new songs in 11 years, "This Old Road," comments that the CD is "all pretty close to the bone, about my own personal journey. It's about what sense I've made of my life up to now."

There is honesty in the sparseness, Kristofferson says.

On "Pilgrim's Progress," a song about maturity, he asks, "am I young enough to believe in revolution, am I strong enough to get down on my knees and pray?"

However we choose to pray, and to what.

Kristy Kruger, on her new CD, "Songs from a Dead Man's Couch," an album to caress for its intelligence and tiny bits of quirkiness, sings that the sun smiles when it burns your eyes and that black holes are bottomless, but at the same time a sky black as oil can be filled with glitter and the moon can become a spotlight.

Outside my door that few evenings ago, above the safety light with the bats swarming around it, was the night sky. The half moon, waxed, reflecting.

The sun, with its swarming planets, would return in the morning. For a while, we settled for the distant stars. Infinity. Intersecting itself.