Elbows on marble

smoke of añejo on the throat

two whirly-gig blondes, bright eyes blinking,

desperately try to get my attention.

I guess they don't realize I'm old enough to be their father.


The only thing on my mind is the soft blue smoke of the dark red hills;

soaking in the soft blue water, just up from Horsethief Canyon,

the last time I remember a smile on your face.

The stars were like jewels. So were your eyes.

We drank nigorizake like two crazy clouds that had broken out of prison.

I can't seem to put the memory down.


I pull myself back 'into the now' and watch the endless scurry around me.

Wandering eyes glancing

wanna-be princesses prancing

jaw-jutting male peacocks strutting

not realizing they're dining in the poison jungle.


I wander home in a trance, pondering:

What is the point of this chaos;

this fast-paced fetishism

this new floating world's religion of freneticism?


I close my eyes in this world and open them in another.

I cross paths with Hawkeye in spirit-form.

We're wandering through the canyons out from Bandelier,

somewhere between Sanchez and Hondo.

The Rio Grande is a stone's throw...and so we do.


We start skipping stones and talking about the journey of this life.

His regrets. Mine. Wounds. Time.

Two hawks circle above and I think to myself, 'What a perfect day.'


I turn and look my father in the face

and find myself thinking how young he looks for his age.

It occurs to me:

The weight of the heartbreaks we carry

is the only aging force there really is.

It's why we meet some people in their nineties

whose spirits are lighter than eiderdown

and some twenty-somethings who already seem old,

like they're carrying inhabited dungeons of banished travelers on the inside.


I awake.

It's the first day of autumn

and my first thought of the season

is the work of off-loading useless cargo.

The ground ahead is a mix of rocky and soft

and a bunch of added weight will do nothing

but sink wagons in deep ruts of mud and regret.

(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com