(Song for Randy)

My breath was hissing sand in a dry arroyo,
Joni Mitchell sat at our campfire, toasting butterscotch s’mores
as I was dying, the sulfur taste and smell of dried apricots
tying my throat closed with laces of fruit leather

Anaphylaxis in the New Mexico desert the night
cold, the stars cold, the cold blue lips 
of the Milky Way trying to shout no, no Joni, I'm
not going to be a free man in Paris unfettered and alive,

Not a free man even back in Taos or Denver or in the car 
10 miles down the trail since I'm not going to be alive
in a few minutes please conjugate "hejira" in the Arabic 
hijrah "departure," from hajara "to depart" because 

I'm departing all right, the wolf of your song circling the fire 
with silver smoke in its teeth, Kevin trying to make me sing 
"Both Sides Now" which was a sick thing to do if you think about it
but he must have decided better I die laughing 

except singing along with Joni Mitchell saved my life,
can it save yours? Try it. Let the words form up in your constricting heart:
"No regrets Coyote. Just how close to the bone and the skin and the eyes
and the lips you can get." Do it. Save yourself if you can.

For Shay’s Word Garden

10 thoughts on “(Song for Randy)

  1. “tying my throat closed with laces of fruit leather” and “the wolf of your song circling the fire with silver smoke in its teeth” are just stellar, qbit. This is a surreal scene, where seeming friends are cold blue steel.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, this will make you stare a hole in your scrambled eggs. I love all the Joni references, and went off and listened to Coyote because of them, which made my morning. then I reread your poem for the eighth time. I feel like I’ve been at that campfire, choking on leathery fruit and promises, ten miles from normal, and saved by that one particular friend, by the cold New Mexico light in my pen, and the wild songs of others hitching down “the white lines on that free free way…” no matter how different our ways became. An evocative and mesmerizing poem, unforgettable in its way, qbit, and Shay’s quoted my favorite lines already tho I also like “..he must have decided better I die laughing ..” Thanks for the memories this brought back.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks. Yeah, the apricots triggering anaphylaxis way out in the desert with nothing other than “well, this is probably all she wrote” but then Joni having written more to the story.


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