from Stirrup of the Sun & Moon

There are innumerable doorways.

The Great Presence draws near in each of them.

Offering yourself like a bundle of prayer feathers up on Thunder Mountain.

The all-seeing medicine of crescent moon and waterbird.

The lash, the moradas, the long walk of Los Penitentes.

Following in the footsteps of Prajna-Distance,

one can set the body — with all its divinity and imperfections — out into the moonlight

and allow the violent heat of the mad world’s kitchen to be cooled within you.

Some kind of leaving is asked of you,

even if it’s only for an evening

becoming a sky-raft rider,

tracing with your finger the points of light

in your skull full of stars.

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When we set out on a journey, we don't plan to be changed.

In truth, we really have no control over the stars under which we will travel.

We cannot predict all of the detours and losses

or when long-sealed bundles of memory may be opened again.

We cannot foresee the testing places along the way

or that moment when herds of wild horses may emerge

galloping forth from a seeker’s upturned mouth

in the form of beseeching songs.

We could never have scried

that in the middle of a late-winter night

some of us would throw-off our human shapes

and become Traveling Wolf Eyes padding down the path again.

Like a sudden flow of blood caused by the puncture of a boar’s tusk,

decades of stowed-away memories poured out of me.

Faces and travels.

Journeys behind the buckskin curtain.

Personal sacrifices made.

Unspoken alliances and dedications.

Names I no longer wear.

Getting caught in the crossfire and running for cover.

It wasn’t until this strange memory-bloodletting was complete

that I realized I’ve been carrying weight.

The weight of others.

Fear.

Grief from lost connections.

Soul-parts of others I took on without knowing it.

Condemnations that were not mine to carry.

My heart fully-drained like a hot blister,

I heard a voice say over the sound of burning cedar:

Wolves don’t make very good pack-mules.


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

sound: East Kiva: Call in the Midnight Water / KIVA / Steve Roach, Michael Stearns, Ron Sunsinger

image: Peyote Meeting, Pinon, AZ / John Middelkoop

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