I thought that I had lost you and the Earth cracked
And the bells grew deafening,
The rumble of the tracks a crumbling of beams
As the house fell.

The house fell,
Even as I ran down the stairs and into dusky air,
Ran,
Eyes casting for the opposite cliff
Where you stood, only inches away.

I felt that I had lost you
and I fell, and I fell,
and the world was empty,
and the bells were deafening,
and the ground was craggy
and made no sense.

And I fell, and I fell,
and I fell, and I fell.

/

after Leon Stokesbury

Don’t catch that train tonight, my friend.
The bells, I know they call to you louder than my voice,
but just hear me out, friend.

There are sunsets pinker than peaches waiting for your eyes.
Purple as your favorite bear and drifting like the laziest tide
’til the heat breaks.

And friend, I saw the cutest puppy,
and you know I just had to tell you about him. The way he bounded on the hillside and stumbled over his own paws!
He got back up so quickly, friend.

And I know some days your projector rolls and rolls and won’t let you look away, and I know some days the film is blank and crackles.

But, friend, I saw the best movie the other day, and you absolutely have to watch it. They kill the bastard and build their own Eden, friend.
The seeds survive the desert.
The women are not things.

Please don’t run for that train just yet.

What about the stars? They’re hard to see sometimes, I know,
but you’ve got to wait for the next clear night, friend. We’ll climb
to the top of the parking structure and pretend we’re sailing a deep black sea, with brilliant fish winking all around.

And we can listen to that album you love, all the way through, I promise.
Doesn’t that make you want to stay? Doesn’t it sound like something worth staying for, sometimes?

Don’t take that train tonight, my friend.
There will be plenty more. The bells can wait.

A professional lifelong learner.