Tag Archives: Magic

A FAREWELL TO ERIC

In nineteen seventy five
In the rainforests of Venezuela
Eric lived for a year with the Yanomami

He also lived with the Hunkpapa
the little people that only the shamans see
unless you toke what the shamans toke
then you can see them too

When Eric was ready to go home
the Yanomami gathered by the river
and wailed and mourned as if he’d died

Eric says his goodbyes and tries to start his boat
Tuned up, new plugs and all, but it just won’t start

He pulls and pulls while the tribesmen wail

After what seems like a very long time
the shaman comes down to the boat
and asks Eric if he’s sure he must leave

Eric insists again that the time has come

The shaman admits that he has placed
Hunkpapas in the motor to keep him there

He pulls them out one by one
juggling them hot in his hands
and throws them steaming into the river
One pull and the motor starts

In two thousand and twelve in Austin
Eric is ready to go home again
Many wail and wish that he would stay
but he knows that it is time to leave

At times like this it helps
to have a shaman for a friend

John Hawk flies in and reads
Eric’s poems to the Hunkpapas
and watches as the little people leave

It takes a few pulls, but the motor starts

RED STICK WEDDING – BATON ROUGE

RED STICK WEDDING – BATON ROUGE

When you get married at the Alligator Bayou
in the middle of a Louisiana swamp
it is well to expect some magic

When you get married on the anniversary
of Granny Jean’s death in her 100th year
you can pretty much expect she’ll be here

The sky cracking open with lightening
just as the preacher starts preaching
and the thunder and rain and hail
rattlering off the big tin roof
all through poem and ceremony
might have happened anywhere

But when the wedding vows slow
that rain to a stop, so we can go out
on the flat bottomed boat at dusk
come around the corner and see

Two cypress stumps fifty paces apart
struck by the wedding party lightning
firefly sparks against the night
we know we’re not in Kansas

THE ACCIDENT

THE ACCIDENT

Summer job at eighteen
building roads for Ramsay and Bird
hauling hot blacktop to the spreaders

Driving with broken wipers
rainy afternoon, newly oiled approach
wheels slide and cramp into gravel
and then the big blue truck
leaping into the air

A quick, high flip
landing upside down – roof crushing the cab
then bouncing onto the wheels again

Within the truck, and I, time moves slow
as in the flow of unthinking rhythm
I raise my forearm to the roof

And, as it seems, the slow collapse
without impact or jarring of any kind
brings me, ever so slowly, flat against the seat

Crawling out I observe
the roof wrapped round the steering wheel
and crushed pancake flat down to the dash

I see a small safe area
where my cushioned movement placed me

I feel a mystic fearlessness, a change in me

That night I sit with the rest of the crew
older tougher truck driving men

We don’t talk about magic, or beauty
or God or the plastic possibilities of time
of the cosmic wonder of what has happened

We talk of luck and other wrecks
and booze and broads and baseball
and other trucker talk and drink a lot of beer

They getting up – me coming down