Harvest Moon

 “Autumn is the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ― William Cullen Bryant

Surfing ever-deepening grooves carved in this country road by repetitious smoothing from my extremely low-frequency sounding spaceship tires, I zone into my own private symphonic opera. A humongous full moon meets my high beams and swallows the horizon. Pitch dark street light free ribbons of black asphalt snake along narrow paths to home and back separating the wild from the man-made world. By their grace I live in this dirt and courage wilderness.

I wave, as is the custom here, to the other spacemen travelers inhabiting our lifeline corridor as we whiz past each other with that all too familiar catatonic stare that monotony turns all commuters faces into; a kind of crazy, irrational drunkard swoon that seems to us all too rational. We are compatible complaints; dutifully fulfilling our social contract and coloring safely inside the lines.

Our axis rotating planet is orderly and slowly releasing its summer soul; producing more dark each day than light. In the murmuring twilight the gloaming summer is lifting her skirt. Summers death rattle beckons the underbrush and she begins to whisper as seductive and dangerous as a woman’s breath in the throes of passion. The sun begins to fall faster and everything seems to take on the sighing autumnal ember colors of all the sadness there ever was.

The pumpkins appear overnight, lined up and stacked in pyramids of orange and white like harmless cannon shells strategically set along highway shoulders for some impending artillery battle. Battalions of corn stalks surround them and us and everything for more miles than eyes can see. They are zombies, stoically awaiting the farmer’s murderous front row cultivators, threshers that mutilate then bury the detritus that once winter ferments will resurrect. A crisp cool Canadian breeze foretells fortune tales of fall.

Flowers fade, fruits flourish and fresh vegetable Bodega glisten with a luster from the sky. You can feel the baby’s breath of winter. Harvest moon is the fullness of life. Leaves turn red on their last days full of life and color them beautiful in death as they abandon the twigs that sympathize with their decay. Albert Camus opined that autumn is a second spring. But the migrating geese and me agree; we put distance between ourselves and funerals.

It’s a Paul Bunyan land of ballgames and barbecues here; a feast of Walden Pond and Lake Woebegone. The thousand little compromises we make every day that eventually add up to the loss of ourselves, that decayed stench of hollowness, disappears. This life to death with beauty dance is the real thing. Welcome to Pleasantville, USA.


Blue Moon

“There’s an angel on a ribbon hanging from her armoire door. There’s a cupid with his feet crossed on the bird-cage by the door. There’s a baby angel drummer, his eyes are open wide; and two more tiny cherubs on the mantle side by side.” – Too Many Angels – Jackson Browne

Not so long ago I left my rented loft in the shadow of the freeway and said a long goodbye to the ghost I left there in that perfect writers’ garret and snuck away in the deepening night with the ocean at my back; looking east.

Tonight an ancient breeze carries the smell of the lake and its piney phantom scent seeps through my castle walls that keep me distant and wisely at bay from this supernatural night. The full blue moon cuts through my flickering candle flame carrying the sweetness of life still and alone on dark eyes; an orphan, as the real world recedes and my land of dreams awakes again in silhouettes of the unknown; another facet on heart cut obsidian jet-black volcanic glass formed in the rapid cooling of this dark, warm, narcotic American night.

I got a call from the girl on the half-shell who’d grown weary of the famine in her soul and the feasts of her senses and the nights she’s seen inside her empty prison walls. So I traded in the darkness for the cool of the evening and the power of her sweet tenderness while the Jazz-man moons lunar gravity baring down on me full of grace rises to meet my journey; her glowing disc enticing the tides in both the oceans and me.

We met not more than a moon rise away at the check-out line. Her straw-colored hair and bright baby blues had the love stirring in my soul; she was clean and cool and lovely. We flew straight into the night like a fire in the cavernous darkness at the heart of the beats pounding in the frontier of my chest. A dream of passion that makes the heart scream occurs only rarely; maybe once in a blue moon.

Her face bathing me in light like the warmth of the sun she appears an apparition as she folds in my arms; a memory of sweet childhood dances below the rectory, vapors in my arms she slipped through my fingers like the sand along the shore that scrapes the ground beneath my feet and all too soon she vanished. I turned my back to the empty sea, standing lost in a raging ocean with the sun burning low; looking east.

Some hours later I found a stool at the coffee spot and conversation that’s at a premium here. I looked around to find the girl with the braids smiling wildly from some mystical inner depth. She is a cipher, unknown, mysterious and a bit ill-omened. But man, that smile; it’s gonna be the end of me.