Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Greatest

While I live about 100 yards from a perfectly acceptable Great Lake, every now and then I take it in mind to go feel the cool breath of THE GREATEST. And the breath of Mother Superior was indeed cool this time. Set off yesterday on my mighty Rozinante at about 1:00 PM and rode ~ spent the night in Jim Harrison country ~ and was home by 3:30 PM today. Slew no dragons, didn't even see windmills. There were lighthouses. Derelict vessels. A really big lake. There was cold and rain, in tolerable doses. There was food and drink in tolerable doses.
a motorcycle
in the Michigan morning
of blossoms and rain
So why ride well over 500 miles to spend so little time with the object of my affection? The ride, my friends, the ride. It is a new season, and I rode to where it is even newer, backing up time just a little bit. That's enough for me.

~ RM

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Things Alone

Things alone come to me.
The red dancing shoe I saw
alone in the winding roadway
of the Appalachian Gap.
The blue workman's glove
alone in a Calumet backalley.
A black-clad widow,
her chair in the street
of a Tarpon Springs afternoon.
Now this saxophone,
its voice in the night
of Hennepin Avenue,
one dollar and change
in the torn green lining
of the open case
at my feet.

~ Ralph Murre

Saturday, May 16, 2009

night truck

the night truck
speeds in from the east coast
drops off morning
crosses the mississippi
- rm

Sunday, May 10, 2009

To Laura, gone now

Aw jeez, Ma, I miss ya somethin' terrible.

Was There a Poem?

In her dark hands that milked cows and made lace,
hands that fixed tractors and wiped tears?
A poem in the dark hands
that built houses and kept them, that worked the earth
and folded to a heaven she was sure of?
Hands that hammered out justice and
handed out calloused caresses,
those hands that labored at the piano,
but changed flat tires with ease?

Was there a song in her dark eyes
that laughed easy, but cried hard;
eyes that saw good wherever it hid?
Eyes that struggled in darkness
to read the verses and read them again
until she saw light in the words?
A song in the dark eyes that bid me welcome,
the colorless eyes that I bid goodbye?

Was there a portrait in her dark face?

- Ralph Murre

(appeared in Crude Red Boat, from Cross+Roads Press)

Friday, May 08, 2009

An Open Relationship

photo by Dana Tynan

I was just looking, with justified admiration, at the photo of Joan Baez on the cover of her great autobiography "And a Voice to Sing With", when I found I had to explain that Joan and I have been together for a long time. Since before the sixties turned into THE SIXTIES, in fact. Oh, we've had an open relationship, to be sure - I'm OK with the fact that she's had other lovers, and she's never said a word about my infidelities - but she's always been there when I've needed her, which has been pretty often. Those times when I needed somebody with some heart, some guts, some brains, and a voice to sing with.

Maintaining a long-lasting relationship is easier, I suppose, when one of the partners is totally unaware of the existence of the other, as she is unaware of me, but she's been true to the spirit of our romance, and I am happy. I can only ask what great love is without its little oddness ? Her book talks of the old days, and of her waiting in a dream for Marlon Brando to come along and swoop her up on his Wild-One Harley. About the same time, as it turns out, I was living in Northern Cal and was waiting in a dream for Joan to pick me up along Hwy. 101 in her Jaguar. I mean, what else did she have to do?

Years later, after demonstrating the courage to stand up to some of the nastiest offenders of all that is holy, she came to sing in the little auditorium of the barely one-horse Midwestern town where I live, so I went to hear her, and to be in the same room with one of the great heroes of my life. I sent flowers backstage, but lacked the courage to try to meet her. Our relationship is still unflawed by an actual introduction. I've heard that love knows no bounds, so I'm not sure what this is. But it's something like love.

~ Ralph Murre

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sex in the City

The Sam Laud Enters Green Bay
The great vessel
after giving signal
and receiving signal
nudges strong and gentle
and slow
so slow
into the draw
and up the dark flow
a long and two short
and deep moans
Colored light
all around
~ Ralph Murre