I came down from the mountains today
to find the republic whirling around pyrite media-geldings,
wild-eyed over anti-incumbents and
mosques and 'is he really a christian?'
I wanted to go all Moses on the people,
throw rocks etched with roman numerals,
but the mountains did not give me such stones.
Rather, I descended with something not written on tablets -


- impossible to hurl and never effective on a mob.

And so I walked among the people as an alien,
one refusing to bend the knee in this canaan of curdled milk
and rancid honey,
one too thankful to appease the gods of hate.


  1. i am watching this from afar and it's breaking my heart. as an american living in canada i am struck constantly by the mosaic of canadian life. immigrant peoples do not melt here, they puzzle in with their own cultures, food and languages and it works somehow. respect is given, granted, never perfectly, but realistically in a way that allows for the whole of each one's experience and story to be important enough to tell. i am grateful for my american story, and that i don't have to wash it down to live fully here on canadian soil. i think there is much to be learned from our friends to the north.

  2. I remember reading something of yours when Meredith linked here, John, but somehow I forgot to subscribe.

    Then a few weeks ago, I followed a link from Billy Coffey and ended up back here and I've been hooked ever since. (Thankfully, this time I remembered to click the RSS button.)

    I just wanted you to know -- I rarely comment, but that's only because your storytelling lends itself to internal dialogue more than external (at least for me). But I find myself thinking about your images and stories for days on end. (I do the same thing with Billy's stuff.)

    Thank you for sharing your gift. And this poem is rich and truthful. I love it.

  3. Always the mountains . . .they have never failed me. I always wonder who is most alien? Those who engage in hate and a debate that belies much of our stupidity as humans. Or, a being who descends from a mountain re-created once again to a life more at ease and connected to a fir tree? I ponder not long, of course it is the former who is alien. Glad John you walk among us very recognizable!

  4. Heidi,
    Thanks for your words, they stir wonder in me...Be well.

  5. Kelly, thanks for letting me know about the internal dialogue...I do the same thing. I'll have to look up Billy Coffey, I'm not familiar with him!

  6. Mark, yes, the mountains hold wonders galore and angels like Juan and Perla dancing on the heads of pinions. But we have to go there, don't we? - brave a cliff, run a river, climb a switch...not all who wander are lost.

  7. oddity! each time I read you - I hear something I have previously said to myself.