Saturday, December 14, 2013


Ancient Path Kept Distinct by Cattle

I park near a load of rubbish 
dumped by the road, and, struggling 
up a hillside, follow a path not sure                Take a different path.
it is thousands of years old, but finding

destinations, the leaves of sycamores 
floating onto pounding stones
or into the stream where they are dragged 
along by the current and sucked under.                  Take a different path.

By the pounding stone, a lip 
of earth extends from the slope, 
large enough for a bed. 
A house pit? Below that,
                                                     Take a different path.
rocks stacked on 
each other--a miner's grave? 
Beyond the creek, five trails 
join at a hub between the river

and the creek, where a rancher 
dropped blocks of salt, the questions           Take a different path.
asked a moment before lost 
in the grass, empty in the curl 

Pestles in a Pounding Stone

of a leaf. According to mystics
 the ether contains records
of every moment within eternity, 
a memory of every individual                 Take a different path.

experience within the physical
plane. Somehow I know where
to find the pounding stones 
and house pits and trails 

along the creeks, as though some                        Take a different path.
inner sight has been granted me--
a man powerless, gauche, 
and unworthy. Wildcat Mountain 

looms in the distance from many points 
of the ancient trails, the distance 
undisturbed, no one approaching 
with news of forces sent to capture me        Take a different path.

or drive me off the land, 
the mansions planned 
for forty acre lots. I dig 
into mortars brimming 

Fiddleneck in Housepits near Pounding Stone

with grass and earth, the dry 
oak leaves needling my fingers, 
the pounding stones deep 
as icebergs, the air, smelling                      Take a different path.

of rain, still in the quiet woods. 
I dig out a pestle and turn 
the tapered end
toward the hub. This web
                                                   Take a different path.
once kept a community
alive, yet I
am lost, searching 
the valley for signs 

of the city in the smog                                 Take a different path.
and finding none, nothing keeping
the rancher from selling off
to some developer, the trails,

snaking between buckeyes 
and oaks, etched for thousands
of years in the earth, always 
vanishing in the grass.

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