Ritual

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Ritual

from Temazcal: The Steam House Chronicles

They are at it again.

Twin Thunderers
up behind the gray cloak of night
facing off on the old ball courts.

Twin Thunderers smashing hips,
kicking at large boulders.

Every time an elbow or heel lands in the scuffle,
shards of ice rain down on us here in the Middle World.

The match must be over now.
The knocking of hips and boulders has ceased above the clouds.
The only thing that remains is a soft rain —
tears from Mother Sky and her sisters mourning the sacrifice of one of her sons.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Earth Island / Earth Island / Suspended Memories (Roach, Reyes, Saiz)

image: Jezael Melgoza

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My Death Is A Wolf

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My Death Is A Wolf

from Temazcal: The Steam House Chronicles

For the past three years,

a grandmother silverback

has been stalking me.

My death has been stalking me.

My death is a wolf.

The first year, I knew she was close

because of the wind.

A strong, unmistakable musk wafted in.

My death has been stalking me.

My death is a wolf.

She doesn’t like it that I know she’s there.

Lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of tricking her.

I turn around mid-step

and that’s when I catch a glimpse.

She moves behind the trees

but tries to keep her eyes on me.

On days I feel no fear, I run straight at her.

She scampers off for a few weeks

until she circles back around.

My death has been stalking me.

My death is a wolf.

Last night, I felt her hot breath on the back of my neck;

a reminder that no matter where I go

or what I may manage to do,

she will eventually have the upper hand.

In the end, she will free the spirit inside me

by feasting on what is left of the man.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Melting World / Earth Island / Suspended Memories (Steve Roach, Jorge Reyes, Suso Saiz)

image: Neil Rosenstech / Sunshine Village, Banff, Canada

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The Sixth World of Blessing

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The Sixth World of Blessing

from Temazcal: The Steam House Chronicles

Beneath shaded bough,
I sat gazing at agave-blue mountains
with Osprey-mindedness.

This is when I saw it.
A round room in the center of a vast prairie.

A temple of the sun.

Inside the room, two great faces were locked in tense dispute.

One was White Face, a Taker-Spirit.
He spun and spun like a violent wind.
His pale face bore a smirk of self-satisfaction.

The other was Red Face, an Elder-Spirit.
His red and copper face bore paint and markings that represented earth powers.

His face also bore a mark of concern.
He twirled and flowed with the aggression of White Face, blending with the Taker-Spirit

just-enough to maintain a temporary connection.

White Face laughed.
"I am powerful. I take what I want.
You will not stand in my way."

Red Face replied,
"There is more than one kind of power.
Our way is the oldest way, and will endure in the end."

White Face scoffed.
"You are weak. I own the land.
I own the water. I even own the air, as you can see from my great flying machines.
There is only one kind of power, and it is mine.
What do you have to show for your way?"

Red Face grimaced.
"You make bombers, prisons, tear gas. We taught our children the old silent power; how to dream, when to purify, when to gather rice and sap, how to live in harmony."

Again, White Face laughed.
"These are irrelevant in my world. Anything I need I can make or I can take. It has always been this way, thus it will always be."

Red Face shook his head.
"The gleam and glitter shining off all of your new gadgets has blinded you to what is at stake."

Suddenly, a dark cloud blew in. The sky outside the round room turned gray. White Face could see images in the ink-dark eyes of Red Face. He saw his great machines rusting. His crops withering. His own children were thirsty and starving, sitting in lifeless square rooms, burning piles of money to stay warm.

White Face shrieked, for he finally understood.

The dark cloud blew on.
Light filtered into the round room again.
It fell softly on ancient pots and weavings of those who once tended the Way of Harmony.

White Face wept.

I turned to see low strobing currents all around the round room.The currents flowed outward and became clouds, rivers, herds of elk, ants-in-formation.

My Heart-Eye was reminded of the Sixth World of Blessing
that will go on and on
long after this current dying world has passed away.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Mutual Tribes / Forgotten Gods / Suspended Memories (Jorge Reyes, Steve Roach, Suso Saiz)

image: Hopi basket / family collection


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Abalone Woman Visits

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Abalone Woman Visits

from Temazcal: The Steam House Chronicles

My mouth fell open with the recognition.

Swamp Lantern Woman had been taken over by a traveling spirit.

Her usual pale countenance took on a shimmering blue-green dancing magenta.

She declared pointedly:

Ahhh…this land is fertile; sooo fertile.

It is fertile because it feeds from below.

It sucks the spirit out of everyone.

This is why everyone ceaselessly tries to fill themselves.

There are hungry faces below the ground.

With a shift of light

and a rising cloud

the Mississippi night resumed its early Spring thrumming.

This is how I learned

even the moon

can become possessed

from time to time.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: excerpt: Glimpses of the Ways Beyond / Toward Distant Hills / Slow Paths Beyond / Andrew Lahiff

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Star Eyes

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Star Eyes

from Temazcal: The Steam House Chronicles

Last night, the weight of time and age

hit me like a freight train.

Not mine.
My mother's.

Retiring for the night,
she ambled across the room
hunched over like a bear
heading to her cave.

I gasped.

"I haven't noticed you slumping forward like that before. You okay?"

"I do this at night. It's this cancer medicine...and, my foot hurts."

She's cancer-free now
but she carries the scars of battle
like one of her Viking ancestors before her.

We looked at each other for the longest of silences.
A hard-to-name realization cascaded around us.
I still don't fully know what to call it, but a thought passed right through me:

I'm really not going to enjoy living as much after she's gone.

Her face beamed with a sudden smile.

"Hey. I'm okay. Mornings are better. It's only at night that I ache."

In that moment, I saw and understood
why some among the Skidi Pawnee call her Star Eyes.

She carries a medicine of soul-brightening.

I know I will need to kindle the same

for my own impending nights of aching.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Light and Mist / House Made of Dawn / Coyote Oldman

image: Andreas Wagner

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The Holy Invitation

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The Holy Invitation

from an evolving collection Temazcal: The Steam House Chronicles


When it happens, it doesn’t feel like a holy invitation.

Yet, when the weight of the road has worn you down

and the lattice of your carefully-stacked beliefs

has started burning away inside you,

the remaining ash

like a snake shedding her skin

is the tell-tale sign you’re standing

in front of an ancient and cherished doorway.


You are on the precipice of something great.

What it is not

is a call

to cast the robe of the body away.


As one of the old travelers of the Way used to say:

“By all means, kill your “self”….

just don’t harm your body when you do it.”


What he meant was off-loading what no longer serves.

What he meant was off-loading what no longer brings you alive.

What he meant was off-loading what is holding you back.

What he meant was tilling the ground

planting the seeds

watering the soil within you;

finding at least some place in your day or night

that can be an eventual harvest of delight.


I know you can barely speak of it now.

No one is asking you to.

I could barely speak of my own

but that’s how dying dreams and dismemberments go.

They don’t occur with shredding skin

and cracking bones anymore.

They fade, gradually,

like the subtle retreating light

in the eyes of some of the elderly.


I know you know what I mean when I say

the slow drift of things comes with a life-numbing price.

It becomes a trance the old mariners called the doldrums.


Being more-spirit-than-body now,

and more wolf than man at that,

where most people see

the subtle swaying of Spanish moss on a branch,

the muscle in me tying together

shoulder, eye, ear-tip, and haunch

raises up and knows I am seeing the winds of change.


Trust in what is passing away in you.

Don’t cling.

Let go.

You are a custodian of new realities seeking to come through.

Tend your fire.

Tend your fire.

The arc of stars

in a brand new sky

is calling to you.



(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: excerpts Sphere 7 & Sphere 8 / HelioSphere / Radiant Mind & Steve Roach

image: Anna Anikina




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Longing for the Familiar

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Longing for the Familiar

from an evolving collection entitled Temazcal: The Steam House Chronicles

-- a tribute poem to an old warrior amiga (and any others who have made it through the terrain of heartbreak into the territory of renewal) --


Arriving before the light of day,
the dawn bird alights upon branch
and fills the dark silence
with a song-filled declaration.

Your dreambody is pulled back, abruptly,
across some great expanse
before you were ready
to join the waking world that waits for you.

You rise
and you do join;
you join all the other delicate creatures
stirring slowly on this cold morning.

Beaks fluff feathers under wings
dogs, cats stretch their spines
nuthatches, finches, wrens
chirp and dance down fence lines

and in this same kaleidoscope of movement
you shuffle on sock-feet
across cold floorboards
to a kitchen only you have inhabited.

Steam rises from your morning cup —
reminds you of the heat of summer
even as ice on the window
says the bounty of spring is still weeks away.

You turn and enter the world,
inhabiting it in the way
that has become your way.

You join the scurry and rush
and push and pull of it.

Human beings
being human;
appearing from far away
more like migrating herds
or salmon trying to fight their way home.

You glide past anonymous faces
for weeks and weeks,
making note of occasional smiles;
so rare these days, they stand out to you like beacons.

You do what you do.
You toil and lift and press and lean.
You serve.

Yes. You serve.
You serve
because something ancient in you
says to.

You measure your days
by more steaming cups
by the arc of the sun
beams of light reflecting on
windows and stone.
The days come and go like dreams;
they rise and fade away like waves.

Recently, I asked you:
How is it with your world?

You said you had made it
from the Land of Heartbreak
to the Land of Renewal.

You announced
that you're going to be alright;
the comforting amber glow
of home lamplight
has become like an old friend
waiting for you
in the evenings.

You also said
that on some days,
like Valentine's Day,
you sometimes find yourself wondering:

Where is the love for you?
Where is the one for you?
Where is the love so great
it calls to your soul
from across the cosmos?


And then you shared,
(and this is the teaching for us all):

Until that day, you happily wait;

you serve
and stretch
and lean
and rise.

You rise
you rise again
in honor of the love
that stirs the entire world
awake every morning;
you rise
you rise again
in honor of the love
found flowing from the dawn bird
on the other side of the screen.

As a final gift, you reminded me
of one of the old teachings
of the Dust in the Wind School:

"The door to real love
does not open
without the presence
of reverence."
— doña Rio —


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: The Sentience of Touch / Tactile Ground / Robert Rich

image: Ali Morshedlou

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Michiziibi

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Michiziibi

from an evolving collection entitled Temazcal: The Steam House Chronicles

Her origins speak of The Great Origin.

Hers. Ours. The many nations of the living hoop.

She starts, as all wholesome bodies-in-motion do —

like a gentle hand planting seeds.


Just above Omashkoozo-zaaga’igan

Elk Lake in the tongue of The Good Humans,

a great font begins.

Tapestry of eloquence.

Soft colors bind life to life.

Raindrop.

A distant pitch-perfect loon.

Sturgeon creates a swirl.

Crane.

Eagle.

Moose.

Beaver builds her lodge of downed birch.

A blanket-wrapped woman at the lake’s edge

offers tobacco to the dawn.


Icicles melt from branches of tamarack, balsam.

Another sounding from a lonesome loon.

A yelp, another — howls from a pack of wolves.


Dripping.

Dripping.

Collecting.

Flowing.

Lightning forks of water gathering.

Branching downward

downward

meandering

to southlands.


Flowing past acorn songs.

Birch bark stories.

Stands of sweet maple sap.

Kinnickinnic dreaming.

Flowing.

Flowing.

Flowing past Osage, Sauk-Fox —

others we don’t know the names of

but whose memory is sealed in the breath of the wind.

Flowing down past Effigy Mounds.

Concealing mammoth bones, muskets dropped long ago.


Flowing.

Flowing

like extending arms

downward.

Downward.

Scooping up shifting sands.

Horseshoe lakes.

Oxbow islands.

Unseen currents below

carrying prayers from two-thousand years ago.



(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound:excerpt from Lost Songs From The Endless River / Roy Mattson

image: Lena Rose


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Magenta

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Magenta

from a collection entitled Temazcal: The Steam House Chronicles

The light of day recedes.

In an instant, something churns within me.

Like a desert quail suddenly kicked up,

startled and fleeing from the underbrush,

a thought flutters to the surface:

This life is passing away.


With that, the twilight glow

beyond the trees

becomes a doorway.


I offer tobacco and copal

to the soft forces that stirred

this stream of feeling inside me.


Breath returns

as if suddenly being released

from a marbled tomb.

I contemplate going down into town

to pick up supplies

to imbibe a sip of smoky mezcal

to dine on the cuisines of ancestors

to be around other two-leggeds

to listen to their laughter and night-murmurings

to remind me of the elegance of humans passing time.


I opt not to.

I sit like a mountain instead.

I follow the shade lines down

into the root structure of the self.

A woven curtain is pulled back

to the great mystery of wayfarers….Way-faring.


I hear a reminder, put to me gently:

The soul is its own entity

over which we have no control.

It is doing its own work.

Our day-to-day self has little influence.

We are quiet, mindful observers taking notes, adjusting as we go;

occasional recipients

when the soul conjures a feast

alongside its own riverbank.

We must receive the gifts when the gifts arise.


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Pulling Thread

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Pulling Thread

from an evolving collection: Temazcal: The Steam House Chronicles

A great unstitching is taking place

followed by threads being pulled through

and patterned after The Great What Could Be.

In the deep-honeyed night, a hand reaches for another.

One is burnt-umber.

The other speaks of clouds and mist.

Beneath the same canopy of sorrows,

a lightning flash

a subtle smile

a knowing.

We’ve been here before, haven’t we?

Paddling along Clear-Awareness River,

the smoke of remembrance envelops everyone.

We make our way home,

alone,

for another night of dreaming.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Devotion To The Shrine / The Secret Well / The Holy Fountain / Ruven Nunez

image: Igor Ovsyannykov


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