An Ode to Falcon Ridge

You cannot go to the same folk festival twice
The lineup of performers will have changed.
A longtime favorite performer isn’t there
a new favorite performer is emerging.
The performers themselves will have changed
with new experiences
new attitudes
new songs.
Their instruments will have changed as well
the strings will be more worn
or replaced
Their voices will have sung
that many more songs.

You cannot go to the same folk festival twice.
The weather will be different.
No matter how hot
or how much rain there is.
It is always a little different.
The moon will be in a different phase.
The stars and planets will be aligned a little differently.
The shooting stars, rainbows and other little bits
of festival magic
will come at different times.
Even the animals will be different
as the hawk circles above
the workshop stage
and the chipmunks
scurry for cover.

You cannot go to the same folk festival twice.
The crowds will be different.
Broken tents will have been replaced
and new tents pitched in different locations.
The car that broke down last year
won’t make the trip this year
The kids will be a year older.
“How much they’ve grown”
everyone will observe
at the campsites.

You cannot go to the same folk festival twice.
The kids that were at the family tent
will now be at the dance stage
and those that made that change
years ago
will be at the workshop stage
picking up tips
to help them achieve
their dream of being
an emerging artist
on the main stage.

You cannot go to the same folk festival twice.
Each one of us have changed.
We’ve heard new artists, new songs,
that we love.
We’ve experienced successes,
grief, and sadness.
We’ve grown, we’ve changed,
our hopes and expectations are different.

But underneath it all
the folk festival remains constant.
The food and friends
The peace and joy and mud.
and the volunteer at the gate
Welcome Home.

Road Trip

This morning, I woke up to a great idea for a long, complicated poem. I had a general idea, phrases I wanted to use, and an overall outline. A long day has passed, with usual tasks at work, followed by a community event in the evening. By the time I got home, the idea for the poem had evaporated. I wished I had written down some notes. Hopefully, the idea will return.

I spend a little time looking at the tabs that are open in my browser. Perhaps one of them will give a clue. Is it something about ‘Dabar Yawheh’? None of the other currently open tabs seem to provide a lead.

I get distracted looking at THE OBSESSIVELY DETAILED MAP OF AMERICAN LITERATURE'S MOST EPIC ROAD TRIPS. What was William Least Heat Moon’s path in Blue Highways? Which road trip books included Connecticut?

Then, the idea starts to come back. The Road Trip. Starting from #Rhizo15. Getting lost in books as a kid, in encyclopedias, in libraries, and finally, on the road. All of it as a metaphor for that great trip, from cradle to grave, along with whatever comes before or after. I think of the great epics. I think of travelogues. I think of the Camino de Santiago, the 88 temples of Shikoku. I think of my own journeys when I was younger, and virtually retracing some of Blue Highways. I think of Wim Wenders Road Trip Trilogy, and I think of wandering in the desert for forty years.

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It is still early in the morning,
but the air is think
with heat and humidity.

Beside the road
the chicory,
purple loosestrife
and Queen Anne’s Lace
stand motionless.

Even wild flowers
can’t provide inspiration
in this heat.

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The Funeral

The young girl
wistfully sniffed
the red carnation
placing the flower
on the waiting casket
as her sister
wept quietly
in the corner.

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It’s hard to concentrate
as the helicopter
flies up and down the river,

I read old emails
from a father and son
about a website
we worked on,

Then I glance at the news
about the father
whose only son
was stabbed to death.

I can’t imagine the pain.

It’s hard to concentrate
as the helicopter
flies up and down the river.

I read Facebook
where a friend posts
about the seven year old boy
who was killed by a gunman
aiming for his father.

I can’t imagine the pain.

It’s hard to concentrate
as the helicopter
flies up and down the river,

I take a walk at lunch time
Three rescue trucks
return to the firehouse
and the baby boy
believed to be thrown
from the arching bridge
by a young man attempting suicide
still hasn’t been found.

I can’t imagine the pain.

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