Sacred Contracts XXIX: Ancient Telegraphy 

When you scale down   
that mountain’s side   
your heart crisply bathed   
but muscles limp in ache -   
it's the small things you appreciate   
the natural things that matter.   
Everything else is fake.   
The falsity of buildings depreciating   
concrete buckling from earthen force   
all are constructs of human weakness   
providing an illusion of security.   
Four hard walls and a roof   
power lines, I-phones, cables   
doors, windows, locks   
two cars in the garage.   
Materialism caulking the cracks   
to feel what's missing in the heart -   
Except no matter how much cash   
is pumped into the ventricles   
it loosens from the organic sinew   
it tried desperately to adhere to -   
We freeze from back-drafts of emptiness.   
And there's this yearning, longing   
through bloodlines for something   
we can't explain in absence   
of what’s left behind.   
But up here on this mountain   
there are no windows or doors –   
only four winds of Life:     
Air, Water, Earth, and Fire.   
And upon this dirt is history   
a remnant of ancestry   
an ancient communiqué   
fire bowl of a "Warriors Path"   
symbolizing transformation   
Burning wood altering   
tangible form to ash -   
ash to dust -   
smoke to nothingness -   
nothingness to floating messages   
black signals of rising particles -   
history returning to her deep origins   
A daguerreotype of preservation   
compressed tintype of memory   
These plumed symbols rising   
without designated meaning   
lest intercepted by the enemy.   
Are your eyes lifted unto the hills   
from whence cometh your help-   
Do you translate the rising sequence   
decipher hieroglyphic meaning.   
Intuition is as moistly dark   
as this mountain's heart   
under all this layered rock   
perceived infallible   
except by a stick of dynamite   
and gas-powered bulldozer.   
Some things are meant to sustain   
naturally - that patch of grass   
stretching back to Life   
as though its spine was unbroken   
carrying the weight of my searching.   
The same with buildings -   
Nature will reclaim   
her own after humanity.   
So they'll level this mountain   
with machines for prosperity   
construct buildings for safety   
that won't last mere decades   
trench the water with pipelines.   
But what they can't destroy   
remains wedged into the Earth   
as a Dryad Spirit in a forest   
raising its pulpy voice   
through kindred roots   
justice from the fire   
the whittled bow of its trunk   
boned arrowhead   
of animal inhabitants   
the Tribal Elders lodged in sweat   
the buffalo kill – respected offering   
the Peace Pipe between brothers.   
And you know what, they can't   
destroy you and me either   
despite your misplaced trust   
in a shaman ciphering resources   
through the partners you choose –   
all those hypnotizing siren songs   
producing no more than broken wood   
against serrated jaws of rock.   
O! how you must hope   
at least one would survive   
the crash, her half-naked body   
tangled amid hair and seaweed     
skin of olive branch curled   
across the low tide beach   
a washed-up conch waiting   
to be found that you'd finally   
know the Love you've searched.   
O! That you could hear the song   
of eternity against her breasts   
each night you dream in rest.   
Jealousy has transformed   
to compassion, my Dearest   
for the sake of happiness.   
I'll tell you what a rock is   
and it's not me or my flesh.   
And I want to scream:   
"Don't you dare give up;   
don't you dare quit or   
'Look for me in the last fall   
colors of Autumn leaves   
When all you remember   
is a desperate kiss goodbye.'"   
But I can't. Even now,   
in what tiny amount   
of portal'd time is left   
between us:   
Ten minutes.   
Five. Two.   
So I'll wait, maybe wish   
that you'll remember me 
or maybe that I remember you   
or us each other 
come two harvest moons   
dangling heavy   
as ripened oranges   
floating in their own   
darkened juice –   
And landing gear   
skidding black across   
the runway's tarmac   
smoking contrails behind   
because sometimes to survive   
you must trade Water for Air -   
Then we shall touch knowledge   
we've sought - proof the taste   
of the only Universal Truth that exists:   
Love that's survived war and death.   



October 2016

Tribal Survivors

The Moon engorged 
upon the brilliance of stars 
in a cratered solitude 
a tribal survivor 
of meteorite 
proud and strong 
its one good eye 
looming over the earth 
Yet – 
It is no match for the size 
of our hearts through absence – 
the lunar tide of distance 
pulls as hard against resolve 
as a shore averse to self 

I see you arrayed in carbon 
olive skin matted with sweat 
inhaled into the black lung 
of the scorched dance   

The mountains choke 
on laharic mass flows 
sediment-rich floods 
from clogged bronchioles 
over the beaver traps 

The moon is obscured 
by smoke and mirrors 
atop the Blue Ridge tonight 
despite her magnitude of orbit 
yet is habitually present 
in blessing or curse 
and we know it 

Just as you are here with me 
and I am there with you 
each engorged 
upon the light of the other 
in a cratered solitude 
tribal survivors 
proud and strong 



November, 2016


You get my space           
my need for distance           
my thought process           
burning early morning ink           
across a wooden table           
until after-light breaks           
The creak of a door           
into a whitened vastness           
surrendering to winter           
gravity pulling my age           
from the interlocked           
housing of organics           
Yet there is that buck           
dusted with snow           
behind a bare branch           
and the skulk of foxes           
keeping distance           
from my open walk           
I can smell the ice           
in the slowing water           
my bones chilled           
in this simple meadow           
where I've retreated           
to offer poetic verse           
to dormant gods           
I hear the brush of moccasins           
stepping lightly upon the grass           
with the utmost respect             
daylight stretches into a yawn           
the time of leaving has come           
You’ll wrap me in a blanket           
of arms and hold me longer –           
the edge of the forest stirring           
with frigid hunger yearning           
for the taste of warm blood             
Smoke rises from your hearth             
the smell of tea and bread           
we'll share before mid-morning           
takes its toll on our schedule           
demands our attention           
You’ll lead me to the car           
you warmed yourself           
you’ll open the door           
but won't let me sit       
for another minute           
or two - or ten           
forehead to forehead           
no words; same breath             
Isn’t this what life is about           
the sounds of the living walking           
over dirt, chimney soot           
warm and gritty to the senses           
a reflection in a cabin window           
of lovers embraced in belief -           
Then one left alone, watching     
the other depart, the other reflected     
through the rear-view mirror -           
distance swallowing them both            



December 2016

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by TamArtsy