Twenty-Four Directions to my House
“You are there, almost, without a name, without a body, go now.”
⸺Juan Felipe Herrera
Pass the exhausted prayer flags after a day of fiendish wind
and no grace.
Find true north on your compass and locate the crossroads
where I’ve shredded the most debilitating of my regrets.
If you’re coming from the south, turn right at the Wetherill Inn
and let the scorpions light your way.
If you run into Denver or Cleveland, you’ve gone too far.
Retrace your steps.
Lao Tzu said to do your work and then step back⸺
the true path to serenity. Serenity can be a ghost town.
Use the traffic circle.
Ride in low out of the rising sun and then listen to your
podcast. Remember, there is a trope for every wild thing
that forms on your parched lips.
Follow the theory and practice of regenerative rivers.
Ignore the chaos magic sign and proceed north by
northwest into the heart of the heart of your temporary madness.
My address is as numerically far away from the Arctic Circle
as it’ll ever be.
If you find me hibernating, you’ve come to the wrong cave.
If you discover that the American Experiment as performed by
alchemists, hysterics, pseudo-shamans, Christian nationalists,
slumlords, politicians and polluters is terrifying that climate
change is the Moloch of our lives and that happiness is not a
warm gun, you’ve come to the right neighborhood.
If you’ve reached the point where the Rio Grande disappears
into the desert and feisty Aprils of wind impress the sun with
their effortless dust, you’ve gone too far.
Give the trompe l’oeil mural on the corner in Winslow,
Arizona my best.
Pass Hopi land : place is spirit, place is power, place is
landform. I try to live off the grid in one or all of these
places in my mind.
Here in the gloaming, the garden loses its hard edges
the last of autumn’s sallow leaves, the broad-leaf yucca
where the shadows inter themselves in the hard earth.
My address is impossible to discern after dark.
A power-that-be wants to implant a microchip in my
brain so I can communicate my maladies to a computer.
No middle man. I won’t need an address.
A grackle’s atonal screech from a tree overlooking my
casita is just an avatar announcing your arrival, any day now.
You’re not here yet.
Pass the incandescence of youth: every bar a star,
every entrance an event, every sentence a chorale, every
word gospel, there’s always a somewhere ruptured by war,
if you have to be sure don’t write, Berryman told Merwin
one day in the dry heat of eternity.
A cold north wind, its white noise once lost in the mountains
follows luminaria warmth south, scours our back yard
for a place to rendezvous with its origin story⸺
its roaring stillness across suspect terrain becomes us.
A blessing of kiva smoke on a far rise. Snow distance
moon calliope hummingbird desert tortoise
are cosmic apertures that expose the darkness
around them. I’m the house with the stacked cordwood
and wind chill. Follow the blue sky up the driveway.
I hope you like spirits.