Aria of the Lake

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There goes myself along Lake Michigan

naked back walking before me

there goes an uprising

a piling of stones so sorrowful

a ritual of calm tumbling

gusting god out of our heads .

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There goes the sky

compressed into a moment

there goes an uprising , a murder

a bewilderment , bewitching

the sound of sunrise

of which nothing can be said

and when this happens

there goes poison in the forests

and all those hiding

want to escape the immense of this world.

 

She sleeps in the cinema of muck

the trauma of stones rebellion

haunting the howls strangling

off the South Manatou Island .

it is everything at the same time

in the same place

trembling from a tiny hand opening .

 

There goes myself along the shoreline

the Great North Lake my courier

naked back walking before me

no mirror needed

brown nipples uncensored

lustful flight voluptuous

the souls , our flesh drowning

the beauty is blinding .

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There goes the Sandhill crane

over Pyramid Point

writing the ending first where

tonight at dusk

the moon will lay in our arms

the moon will lay in our arms .

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Beatitude Point – Part 2 continuing – Francis … and life goes on

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The world is in another orbit as gravity spins me back like a restless ghost to Orcas Island where my daughter is caught in the tides of heartbreak after being forsaken by her young husband . He is gone , seeking divorce … she is left behind holding their newborn .

Dropping me off at the Traverse City airport , my brother is kind .

” You will travel in a land of marvels “, I quote as I say goodbye and he looks at me questioningly , ” it’s from Jules Verne “.

” Just call me when you get there , I’ll be here to pick you up in two weeks “.

” OK Dave , I will …. Thanks , love you “.

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Resembling a catacomb , her house crowded with a marriage destroyed and relics of hope and commitment left smashed and deserted like those crooked , paint chipped buildings from my photo series taken on my bicycle of ” places where no one is anymore “. Now her house , her soul , her wavy distressed mind hearing lyrics even when there were none , trying to make sense where there is none . This is the universe of mountains and rivers , of bread and wine , the world of poverty of human nature where man is left in sorrow … ” Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted “.

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This Pacific Northwest Island , an island of narrow bridges overgrown with wet moss and fern from constant rain falling where fog clings to the forest , holds a musky stench from oysters and fish , a rancid breath seeping into everything … the black bay so unlike the pure , clean , fresh waters of Lake Michigan . The difference like that between stagnate unwashed hair and shampooed soft , silky locks that swing when you walk . I miss home … the light that reflects everywhere , it is not here , the coffee not the same . But I have no right to lament as sorrow lays itself down in this house of my family .

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I escape after long days into music listening to Ringos drum playing . He plays the heartbeat ( his secret of greatness ), perhaps this islands secret too held in the sound of the flapping wings of bald eagles who were here first before man . Everything starts with the heartbeat , our mothers heartbeat , life’s heartbeat and it sets the rhythm for the rest of our days . This is the connection between life and emotion , this drumbeat where the most important part of music is found . And the beat is subtle to me in the hamlet of Glen Arbor but here it is too loud , overpowing the quitar and the voices of the robins and the winds moving thru the branches of maple and oak trees I hear back home . And where have the stars gone ? They are lost in the presence of these tall pines on jutting mountain places . Melancholy forebodes in this strangely paradoxical place , stark and murky both where whales don’t linger long after feeding on other abundant species far below the earth . The landscape reminding me of an Escher drawing with its sharp angles , unexpected turns and mysterious depths , the whales juxdiposed in fluidity … another contradiction . Even though the streets have magical names like , Enchanted Forest Road , Fossil Bay Drive , and Owl Lane , I’m frightened of driving these roads , so dark that my eyes sting from squinting for the light . An onerous recollection of past years here haunts me of stumbles in a thicket , a thicket filled with thorns at every turn drawing blood . I think God is unjust now , unjust to my dear daughter . There is a sign over the door in a movie I can’t remember the title of , the sign says , ” How long will they last ?” It’s that Jane Fonda film where the dancers , the marathon dancers are hanging so desperately onto eachother , so exhausted that they can barely hold their heads up while their sore feet shuffle , shuffle in slow motion. This is the dance I find my daughter in . “This life is long isn’t it ?  We’ll do better in another life , with other gods to watch over us “, she once told me .

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I can feel the slow spinning of the earth where across the continent of America , in another place and time , a boy of residual aching youthfulness is honoring his grandmother by presenting her with a slain deer and here , now , on this island my own little grand daughter removes a lollipop from her mouth and kisses the image in a glass frame saying , ” good night daddy ” as I draw the voluminous silk grey curtains lest she be on full view of strangers who loom . The wooden flute sounds just a sigh and I wonder of my life back home , my brother , the familiar faces of the coffee shop employees , that man who sits and writes there nearly as much as I do , his relaxed frame folded in the cafes leather armchair , his blue eyes searching the rooms four corners as if trying to see something beyond its walls … the days of my last chapter before my own heart stops where I’ve found the lighthouse at the end of the world , where the strongest urge is to write the story of my brother and his three mates tragedy while still somehow trying to make it into a love story .

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On the ferry boat returning home there is an eerie pause of water and wind , the sky appearing like a single pearl and the ocean solid as if I could walk across it and I can hear the sound with absolute clarity of a lonely whale breaking the surface thousands of miles away . The loneliest whale in the world does exist . Scientist have been tracking her since 1992 and they know the problem . Her voice is unlike any other whale . No other whales can hear her as she sings at a higher frequency . She is alone . And it is here on this boat that I sense Gods infinite and benevolent hands of compassion holding my daughter and all of us away from the dizzingly crowded Picadilly Circus of confusion where every blade of grass has a shadow behind it . I tell myself to get it together … but get what together ? I’m bewildered . Thoughts are racing fast like the train racing south from Seatle in a streak of silver and blue to the east coast at 200 miles an hour …

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” You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars , you have a right to be here . Whether or not it is clear to you , no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should … with all its sham , drudgery and broken dreams , it is still a beautiful world “.     Max Ehrman

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Note : girl with fawn by Katerina Plotnikova

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Photo of my daughter

Beatitude Point – Part 2 – Francis – 2014

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How long is 7000 years ago ? Is it part of this moment , 11:02 a.m. in October . I see my fingernails caked with dirt from living this summer in a tent in the backwoods and history is facing me . Sleeping Bear Point , the place on the way to someplace else : … standing at the dunes tip now feels like I could swim there . The whole point fell into the water once . You think you know everything about something . How much could there be to know about a big pile of sand . Then you realize you don’t know anything at all . Down the coast lays Pyramid Point and in the other direction , the town of Empire . Their names of antiquity , telling , making me proud to live here . As I’ve gotten older I realize I’m certain of only one thing … Days that I can feel the world in orbit are better than days when I cannot .

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Standing above the Bay , I see the northern expanse of the dunes , that languid golden pink length of sand , so much sand , looking so soft , especially when the sun sets and rises . The dunes have an abstract , cryptic beauty and the light changes everything in view . To see these dunes is to be aware of primal forces , the air , earth , fire and water create a strong emotion . Every grain of sand was once part of a rock . The winds and waters shifting over and over again evolving new formations . If everyone on earth suddenly vanished , would cats and dogs de-evolve into creatures more akin to their feral ancestors and would they be standing on a mountain stone climbing to Venus ?

I love strange beauty , not normal beauty , not popular beauty , not the kind where your friends agree with you , but just the opposite . Life is not supported by the sand – nothing grows here and if some little sprout manages too , the sand blows and smothers it . The dunes are an acquired taste , a developed love . I want to hike from the top , down to Lake Michigan in the west but knowing this distance is deceptive , that it is so much farther to the water than it looks , I want to understand the ways of these dunes that I’ve climbed since childhood .

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My name is Francis . I live here now . The year is 2014 , the year of the Ebola Virus outbreak , the Syrian war and when ISIS seizes large regions across the sea . A Malaysian airplane went missing with over 200 passengers aboard , months ago and still never found . Record cold weather roared across the United States and Peter Gabriel is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame . The new Apple I-phone 6 just came out , water vapor is detected on the dwarf planet Ceres , my son’s girlfriend is obsessed with ” Doctor Who ” and my brother just discovered that the social security system has had him registered as a female since his birth in 1952 and so his retirement benefits are in jeopardy .

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Cat Stevens ( Yusef Islam ) is going on tour this year , the last time being in 1976 . His music captured me tight the only year I went to college , walking into a record shop , hearing ” Peace-train ” , ” Morning Has Broken ” , ” Moonshadow ” and ” Where do the Children Play ” . I was stunned then and I can hear the music drumming in my mind , a heritage of memory in its pleasure still . And what about the album cover – you know , the one with the sun , tree and the path with the Tillerman drinking tea in a fairytale of colors … the first album I ever bought . Just last week I heard him interviewed on Public Radio – ” I get the tune and then I just keep on singing the tune until the words come out from the tune . It’s kind of a hypnotic state that  you reach after awhile when you keep on playing it , where words just evolve from it . So you take those words and just let them go which ever way they want . Moonshadow ? Funny , that was in Spain , I went there alone , completely alone , to get away from a few things . And I was dancing on the rocks there … Right on the rocks where the waves were , like , blowing and splashing . Really it was so fantastic . And the moon was bright , ya know , and I started dancing and singing and I sang that song and it stayed . It’s just the kind of moment that you want to find when you’re writing songs . “

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I  wish you could hear the sounds of my place , a place of strange language , words within the waves of a Great Lake . I wish I could take these background rhythms everywhere with me and when I opened my mouth , that is the word you would hear . Just writing this , I feel both a tremendous sadness and joy , a wanting from within , something ecstatic . I choose my words carefully about these feelings . I don’t know what this is or where it came from or just when it began . I never thought I could find so much in the passage of a distant white sailboat below the dunes . Something has changed , last night my brother ,Dave , gave me an old journal written by his dead friend and part of me wants to mark this as the moment of change , although I know that it isn’t . The change is something that has come more slowly , perhaps it even began before I fell in love that first time , or second or third . What that change means I don’t know , just like I don’t know if I’m happier or sadder than I have ever been . There is a purpose in all this although I do not know yet what it is . There is so much more that remains . For most of us our stories can be written long before we die , there are exceptions among great men in history but I am not one of them . It is a crazy world but a world that is somehow still brand new to me and now I’ve turned into a writer where I was before an artist drawing life like a silent stow-a-way . These are my new words , written words as I sit for hours in this lone coffee shop where today I spotted an older man with a spark in his eyes who slowed down to take a look at me while John Mayer works his magic singing “Gravity” thru the radio playing amidst the coffee aroma and life goes on .

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Gravity is working against me

and Gravity wants to bring me down

Oh , I’ll never know what makes this man

With all the love that his heart can stand

Dream of ways to throw it all away .

Gravity is working against me

And Gravity wants to bring me down

Oh , twice as much ain’t twice as good

And can’t sustain like one half could

Its wanting more that’s gonna send me to my knees .

C’mon keep me where the light is

C’mon keep me where , keep me where the light is .

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