Indian Summer Invocation


The world: mine and now.
Hello and welcome.
Here is newborn Indian summer
where blue battles pink in the sky
and a sharp light spit from the sunset
splits the sides of the neighborhood, tree-dark and struck dumb

Maple leaves cling in hopeless desperation;
Well, we’re all afraid of that –
of death –
aren’t we?

Now there’s me, laying in a garden patch
of dusk-blue flowers, dreaming this up,
all the words, the lines, the breaks. Drunk master
Han Shan mind conjuring the swaying,

the pines
and aspens
back and
and forth,
fading into purple sky,

the sky,

the purple sky,
oh the purple sky.

The autumn moon stealing up
from the black horizon. The neighborhood creeping up
like a constellation.
These constellations
I wonder what they have to say. Like a Spanish frigate
on the Atlantic, where do they guide me?
Constellation is myth,
constellation is faith is poetry.

Faith is a puzzle, jigsawn and scattered across space and the centuries,
and even if you found a piece, you might never know it.

Your sparking somnambulist continues;

the church bells ring, of course, radiating,
the angel’s trumpet ringing true a note of blue-orange.
And there she is, the fiery gem-center of the story,
the tippy tipping-point of the plot, she shows up whenever
I puzzle out my place in the world, or when I’m sleepy
and I need something warm to lay beside, like a garden patch.
Call her Muse, if you must call her something.

Here we all are in the place
where the blurry bleary rhythm of
Indian summer gives way
to the sharp deep rhyme of winter
in a filter of hard colors and cold nights,
frost and makeshift death.

Above me, the plum-ripe sky. The sound of airplanes, and an echo of
ancient baseball games, the melody of chimneys.
The mysterious smell of fall, which is campfire, which is no smell at all.

The grass and earth now cold on my back, so I take off. It’s so easy,
I wonder why we don’t do it more often. I float away on a chilly wind.

Leaves brush my toes. I sing. I harmonize with the chimneys.
Dark shingles, orange leaves, yellow leaves. The so-sad clapboard homes.
Past the ringing cathedrals, ringing, past the smokestacks, smoking,
over the circuitry of streets,
past the lumberjacks in the hills,
past the snowy silence of November mountains,
washing over whitewash fences,
nearly past the moon,

I drop down to the ocean, seasalt in my lungs,
tickling tallgrass, a spray of sand, down to the ocean,
above plum sky has burst open into unimaginable color,
one last display before the rotten black of night.

Oh ho, ah hah! I see.
I can be

whatever I want.

Down to the ocean, sinking down and dipping my toes
into the frothy waves,
shins, knees, thighs, hips, chest, neck—
sky above reflecting me—
ah, watercolor ocean.

Ernest Hemingway, “Along with Youth”

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