Visions of Stephen: Stanzas XIV - XXVIII

December 30, 2009
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XIV
I received a letter the other day, said it came from Katie in New York,
She started the first sentence sayin’ “You left me cold & alone”
She said that things went pretty well and that Louis he was fine,
And then she went on to ramble lengthily ‘bout her eternal love.
I grabbed her perfumed letter and rolled it tight into a pipe
And tried to fetch with it my rusty armor inside the moonlit tide.

XV
For four and twenty days I couldn’t move my body frail,
For eight moon-switching nights I was drowned in swooning pain.
The medicine man he crashed with potions and snake-heads,
He grabbed my arm and said “Stay still son this’ll hurt”
When I gained my conscience pain was gone and disappeared,
And the medicine man said “Son you’ll do no more heroin”

XVI
I drifted west of the Mississippi into the big Great Plains
Where a suntanned poet said to me “Know ye of Mark Twain?”
I reached a white-washed town with all doors open ajar,
A breeze blew ‘cross the windows and cooled my very heart,
I swam up and down the river hanging there for the while
Cos the cops were looking for me with their dauntin’ flashin’ lights.

XVII
In Seattle City I asked a guitar boy “What you singin’ there?”
He gave a profound drag and said to me “Man I don’t care”
I channeled thoughts and prevented them from shootin’ stars,
Rode up the street and sat by a willow in a forsaken park,
I was all alone and beyond me was all that present absence,
I heard a man who was a-screamin’ and saw how his eyes darkened.

XVIII
The shadow of the clouds were all over me a-showering,
And all that I could feel was this presentiment of disaster.
So I left the park at night and ran to the train station,
I was determined to go south for to deal with my depression,
But all I found was pirouettes and nasty cheap eye-lashes
That broke my skull and turned my bones into pale white ashes.

XIX
On the eve of Fourth July I was taken stunned heaved by a storm
I ended up in Minnesota wonderin’ where I was born.
Woke up in an empty field, beyond a stony tower of some sort,
A civil war guy came to me and said “Son that’s Snelling Fort”
Woke up again and was somewhere near the Red River
A nice young lady by me said “For an hour I’ve watched you shiver.”

XX
Great boulders they chased me down the Rocky Mountains’ edge,
Chased me all the way to Texas where I heard my sisters’ wail.
Katie she moved back to Pittsburgh, I’ll visit her sometime,
I’ll show up at her door and kiss her while whisperin’ “I missed you so bad”
But for now I contemplate the rollin’ and passin’ of the dyin’ lamps,
Chewin’ all that’s left of sunlight, hummin’ for her distant lullabies.

XXI
Sold my dad’s Ray Bans and my mom’s “Walt Whitman’s Works”
To a young poet who now reads “To a Stranger” with my glasses on the shade.
They said that I was too stupid and they said “You’re a damn fool”
When I tried to paddle down to Mexico on a worn-out used canoe.
Lovin’ mothers they saw me dryin’ my rags ‘neath the sun,
They came and brought me cookies sayin’ “You might as well be my son”

XXII
‘Twas in a hilltop village that the whitenin’ elders closed me in,
They came to me and said “You know son those songs they are of sin?”
I stared at ‘em in amazement, their grey beards touched the floor,
And said to them quite plainly “Well then the problem’s not mine but yours”
They bade to me silently “Boy you ought to admit your fault”
I grinned tightly and said to ‘em “You must’ve issues unresolved”

XXIII
“D’you know where Church St is?” said a lady on the subway stairs
I said to her “Yes ma’m I know, here, let me take you there.”
We went to old Louis’ place and had a coffee by the rainy boulevard,
We had a quiet cigarette and she tugged herself around my arms,
I took her to her hotel room and she slept nicely against my chest,
And all the time I stared out the window cryin’ for the one I left.

XXIV
I rushed like a poor devil off to Boston on the earliest mornin’ train,
I just had to leave New York City, everything there reminded me of my girl.
I stayed at Johnny’s who said had Seven Wonders there to present,
When I got to his apartment all I saw was seven pounds of pure cocaine.
We went crazy like desolation angels havin’ an early naked lunch,
Seven days and seven nights we fumbled and on the eighth I just slipped out.
XXV
Back-home-Jimmy he picked me off the floor and slapped me in the face,
He threw me in a van and followed the long Route 20 trail.
He said he had a cabin in Oregon by a freezin’ green-eyed lakeside,
I told him I knew a jester there once who lived behind a trash can.
When we got there the forest and the cabin, they were calm,
I raised my head to breathe the clean air where only the skylark sang.

XXVI
A six o’clock sun spat its daylight right on my ragged eyes,
I could hear the wind whistling on the far away blue skies.
Everything was hushed, my pillowed head wasn’t a-shaken,
Jim said to me at breakfast “This place will be your shelter”.
We lived peacefully out there, he would go a-walkin’ all day long
And I just spent my days a-dreamin’ in the garden writin’ songs.

XXVII
I got a letter yesterday from Katie, came from Newport, Oregon,
She said she’s tired of Pittsburgh and misses her one true love,
Said she’s read my last letter and is glad with what I’ve done,
“When I heard you were o’er there I got on the first mornin’ bus”
She’ll visit me here next week and then she’ll try to get a flat,
And I’ll tell her “Come live with me where the voices are hushed down”

XXVIII
For almost three years now I’ve been wanderin’ with no route,
Escalating ‘cross wild America, seekin’ for to find my roots,
Now I’m in the northern wilderness, stuck amidst the giant woods,
I ponder long and lonely in my cabin about the faces I once knew,
And all the time I just keep thinkin’, here on my own,
I keep thinkin’ restless to myself “Finally I’ve found my home”





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