Alone on a Saturday in G major

The stars are moving.

Its the one thing I’m sure of. Look at each one of them, up here over the quiet water, the sleeping water that in all these years hasn’t changed, in spite of white skin replacing brown-red-copper skin, in spite of a metal bridge, in spite of lamp posts where once ranged deer, in spite of dorms where tents and fires and dogs ranged, firelight on old face telling stories.

The stars are moving. Look at each one, proud hunter, the little bear and his brother, each one is moving. Look at each one separate, and they glide forward, ride forward but it is all mathematical: no one out rides the other, each one moves in geometric progression, the same pattern— shiny geese flying forever in a double V, miles away.

There are no places to sit under a night sky when the stars are moving. No bench, no stairway, no rooftop of a Ford. Instead, I found a sawed off tree trunk, which had its twin still standing. Siamese, these trees had grown together till one succumbed to the winter gales 2 months ago.
Sit on the stump that is left, rings under denim and skin that live, still live, that no saw maw paw could kill eat or destroy. The bark of its standing brother held no ants, no sleeping spider. Lean back against hoary bark, and suddenly the wind does not chill your human skin. Suddenly your feet sink deeper into soft soil, the grass welcoming your mark. The tree welcomes you, and dry skin is fitting, and you sit still, quieter than a summer afternoon on the terrace, drying next to chillies, drying next to wet pool of spittle, drying next to clothes hung on a line half an hour ago.
The tree welcomes you, like an old Massachusetts woman who has reason to love you; there is no close tremulous hug, but there is a huge meal, and warmth, and from her nose you can tell you share great grandfathers and family recipes for pumpkin pie.
Sit on the stump that is left, and you are no longer cold, for there are branch-arms that are above you that will keep away all asteroids and rain, leaves that if you wait long enough will cover you in crackling warmth. The tree longs for its twin. Hermes-Aphrodite. Yin-Yang. Shiva and Parvati had it good because no one ever severed them apart and proceeded to then let them lose in bingo. The tree longs for its twin, and cant believe its luck it finding you.
Memory of long ages. The living sap would put forth shoot and branch and grow through sphincter and skin, up through esophagus and gut through my mouth and nose and eyes, if I let it. You can never kill just part of a tree. It sighs in longing, but it waits.

I got up because tonight wasn’t the night to stand with my face to the stars with a raccoon at my feet, wood pigeons in my hair. I got up and walked up the hill to lie on the rock, the old stone making comfortable hollows for all parts of me it received with no complaint. This rock is said to be the very same rock that Roger Williams canoed down to in order to speak with the native tribes, and find solace. It is a big piece of quartz, and looks like a turtle on its side from above. Roger would sit here when there were older trees, and darker nights surrounding the rock, and speak with the Indians. I am the first Indian here in many long ages. And I have no tribe markings. Of what land, and what peace can I speak?

But he doesn’t mind, I can tell. In fact, he likes the company. And I know its old Roger, because 4 months ago come samhain, I left half a bar of chocolate out on the rampart of the rock, and the next day it wasn’t there. Americans do not eat things off the ground, and sea gulls do not eat chocolate. The rock cupped the back of my head as gently as my grandmother would. The stars are moving, the bay is quiet with all the old spirits sleeping. The stars are moving, all except for one: a single silver pin prick that stays dangling on a branch, that laughs against the dark fur of the night. I stare at it fascinated, wondering at this out of season Christmas bauble.

I watch for the exact moment that the ember dies out. And I am grateful, for I have time. I have time, it pools between my fingers and stays sleeping around my feet and hips. There is time to sleep and dream and mend and make, and it is now. I realize, Kerouac had jazz, and I have had jazz too. But jazz is for the cities, the big happy hugging jazz that comes in and hold you and your aunt around the hips and takes you down the floor, and the moaning white-eyed swamp jazz for those who delved into magic not their own. Jazz is for the cities, and for madness. But Jethro Tull is for the night when stars are moving.

“Wet wind on the sidewalk: I’m staring at the rain.
Walking up the street, yeah, and walking down again.
And my feet are tired and my brain is numb.
See that broken neon sign saying, hey, in you come.

Got the scent of stale beer hanging, hanging round my head.
Old dog in the corner sleeping like he could be dead.
A book of matches and a full ashtray.
Cigarette left smoking its life away.
Another Harry’s bar — or that’s the tale they tell.
But Harry’s long gone now, and the customers as well.
Me and the dog and the ghost of Harry will make this world turn right.
It’ll all turn right.

God’s tears on the sidewalk: it’s the mother of all rain.
But in the thick blue haze of Harry’s, you will feel no pain.
And you will feel no soft hand slipping on your knee.
You don’t have to pay for memories, they will all come free.
Another Harry’s bar — or that’s the tale they tell.
But Harry’s long gone now, and the customers as well.
Me and the dog and the ghost of Harry will make this world turn right.
It’ll all turn right"

Everything is moving. My head, the empty bottle diving to the bottom of the trash can, the baby skunk finding food in the dew, the snoring wind spirit that makes the lake water dance. Everything is moving, and it will all turn right.

Alone on a Saturday in G major

Priyanka Joseph

Joined January 2008

  • Artist
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