Late Summer Mustangs

Boulevard elms are golding now, first fogs have lifted

Time to return to keyboard and pen.

Yesterday, my fab pal Shelley sent me a great poem, and the mustang spirit reared up and inspired a responsorial. Here, for your amusement:

How To Love Your Life

Begin in the woods. Feel the tree-air cool
your limbs and listen to the soundscape change
to creek-song, birdness. Chew salal berries.
Press your palms on the pelts of moss, sit
across from a waterfall called Crystal.
Pretend you’re a mystic.

Spend hours reading beside a café window
with a Goliath cup of coffee, a slim glass of water
that tastes like good fortune.
From time to time, look up: there’s the sun
in glorious splendour, spotlighting
trios of thirteen-year-old girls
with legs longs as horses’.
There’s a homeless man wearing a blue guitar.

Walk alone through the busy downtown streets
and know the answers
when strangers ask for directions.
Admire Gladiolus. Admire the social hive
that’s a small-town post office.
Smile at absolutely everyone, like a lunatic
or a gal from Saskatchewan.

Hike through a tunnel to a beach
and note the perfection of kayaks, smooth swimmers,
and dripping ice cream cones:
mint chocolate chip, strawberry.
The playground’s pulsing with acrobatic children
thinking no further than now.

Go to an art gallery wall-to-walled with local landscapes.
Enter the paintings, if you can. The best ones
make you remember the details
of good places you’ve never been to.
Hold on to that bit of magic.

Skip down the steps to the community marina.
Blooms of small white jellyfish.
Streamlined yachts.
And on the shaded trail between marinas,
kicking through the high and wild grass
where nobody goes, the vagrant with the blue guitar.
Say good day to him, too. And fully mean it.

-Shelley A. Leedahl

Here is a ‘Mustang,’ a reply with many lines stolen from yours, as if I am some scruffy horse snaking my head through the fence, my mouth the velvet glove of a thief…

How Else (Shelley Through the Forest)

sit up through a night or two, long hours
with the moon wearing a blue guitar
calling chord changes, love and loss
love, love, loss

so full throated by now, your voice
slides a slim glass of water
through the thirsty dark, you have
become a waterfall, pelts of moss
singing love, love, loss

tunnel through the social hive
horse-legged girls, gladiating
with dripping ice cream cones
giggling at discoveries, always
acrobatic as children, our hearts
love, love, loss, repeat

somewhere in the forest
your breath
salal
fern
wild and high
grass
jellyfish
in marina sound
as above, so below

waving on the pulse of it all
you run, love, love, loss
love, loss, love, loss
measuring your stride
forever picking up that beat

love, loss, love, loss
love, love, loss
accent on the one
long may you run

AMSewell/Aug 31, 2091, in rainy Edmonton

2: Edmonton Variation

Begin with the rain, sleek
new asphalt gleaming
purple black washed with pearl
from this sky eased down to fingertips

notice how late summer rain
becomes a beader at the garden’s loom
so grapevines, spent lily stalks, bent chives
grow fulgent with transient diamonds
understated in rough napped day
confident of the summer’s plenty
content to wait as apples light
soft lanterns all through darkened leaves

all this you can see and close
behind your door, and rest
nested in wood, velvet, wool, jute
the colours and fabrics chosen
and woven, not unlike the work of birds
who every season grace ‘your’ space
with their passion plays, their families

there will always be more work
this is the way of house and garden
but today, in low light, sit and hum
take out your guitar and strum
the chords so long in shaping
falling into place, shift, ring
hum wordlessly, what grey days sing.

AMS

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