THE SOUND OF COINS
You could hear the rumble of diesels starting
downcanyon, the clack of grousers, the squeal
of steel upon the cobbles stacked in the creek
each morning moving closer to sounding normal –
you could feel the spirit die within you, leaving
upcanyon for a steeper place to rest and be
beyond the hungry grasp of mortals. But it was
the felling of old trees, the tangle of white sycamores,
thick stumps severed from their roots, green leaves
wilting, red flesh open to the road, all bleeding
in the bright Sabbath sunshine that cut the deepest.
Chain-sawed, erased - open sky clear to the creek.
To the prayers and preachers fresh from
Southern California, we became the gentiles,
the native heathens, the diggers and grinders,
the backwards shepherds dressed in dead skins
living and believing in more than we could hold
or control. I remember whispers then, waking
in the dark to rise and write, lend letters of logic
to a wilder perspective – longer term than the symbolic
suggestions from the monkey-wrenching men.
Silent at dawn, shadows shrink across the canyon,
the naked sound of ambition dressed in religion –
the quiet sound of coins on the tabernacle floor.