A weary traveler
I sought an out of the way place
on the edge of insignificance-

late summer’s lyre strokes swirls of sand
into a canon of wordless whispers
scratching my skin
boxing my ears
urging my bones to curve
toward a stair

cool granite slides under me
ushers me to the remains of a portico
a baffle to the wind
a place with holes
dais above broken tiles
roots have woven through

tones of gold, mauve, burnt umber
moans of steamy warmth
rise from hidden droplets of water
vestiges of an ancient tragedy
inhumed in crevices of earth and soot
while rock and scrub hiss black and white
beyond these motes

drawn by empyreal’s downward rays
an imploring scream
long ago cut down
murmurs its lament
crusty appendages scratching once gentle carvings
barely touch the surface
yet its garbled aria portends a tale replete with secrets

a promontory or barren trunk
whose youthful quest for light
gobbled up its predecessor
cracking marble and alabaster
stands testament to penetrating breath of wind
culling eyes of sun

these travel strained ears
burn in the proposition wafting here
what happened?

it is nothing
merely a ruin

against instinct
my weathered feet approach the dais
give way to weariness
in the cool slant of shadow

“we welcome you traveler”

uneasy shift of spine and knees
not ready or equipped for adventure
yet the little breeze on my neck a laudanum…

“rest a while, and listen to the tune”

hair follicles urge a warning…

childhood stories tell of the fate of those who listen to the songs of dead trees…

my form melts into the contours of its mighty back
and all manner of aromas
dance in my cheeks…

“let go your defenses, we mean you no harm,
we sing to soothe you”

I cannot move
the scents worm their way into
the blood and air of me
a thousand ropes knotting me to my self
supply a path for this song to softly walk upon…

“rest upon this fertile empty ground
let the breeze caress
turn your sorrows pleasures gently round
into this deep crevasse

let us warm you
calm you
and softly stroke you thus
float you
rock you
and evoke you
bring you home

our tune lies not outside this gate
has ne’re been sung
nor has it been of late composed
it germinates from tumbled time
inconstant states
and by your presence timely grows
again you must put down your robes
and let your body darkly doze

audience and cantor be
as we attend your earthly labors
drink of the endless season
as we flood your humors with flavors
of the five and legion
worry not for loss or treason
all is well
drink until empty beyond reason
tumbling down through dross and draught
then sound your knell
and sing until your thirst is quelled
we will be at the helm
fear not

the air that will enhance Thebe’s fate
must first be sung by you
now dainty cross the river Styx
as you know it is your due…”

-and so it was I found myself again in the place of the dead