Monday, April 29, 2013

One Place To Begin


One Place to Begin by John Daniel

You need a reason, any reason—skiing, a job in movies,
      the Golden Gate Bridge.
Take your reason and drive west, past the Rockies.
When you're bored with bare hills, dry flats, and distance,
      stop anywhere.
Forget where you thought you were going.

Rattle through the beer cans in the ditch.
If there's a fence, try your luck—they don't stop cows.
Follow the first hawk you see, and when the sagebrush
      trips you, take a good look before you get up.
The desert gets by without government.

Crush juniper berries, breathe the smell, smear your face.
When you wonder why you're here, yell as loud
      as you can and don't look behind.
Walk. Your feet are learning.

Admit you're afraid of the dark.
Soak the warmth from scabrock, cheek to lichen.
The wind isn't talking to you. Listen anyway.
Let the cries of coyotes light a fire in your heart.
Remember the terrible song of stars—you knew it once,
      before you were born.

Tell a story about why the sun comes back.
Sit still until the itches give up, lizards ignore you,
      a mule deer holds you in her eyes.
Explain yourself over and over. Forget it all
      when a scrub jay shrieks.
Imagine sun, sky, and wind the same, over your
      scattered white bones.

"One Place to Begin" by John Daniel, from Of Earth. © Lost Horse Press, 2012. Thanks to The Writers Almanac

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