He has come out of a dread silence and given himself a name; Saugus, he says. He
bleats like a tethered goat to come out of that coming, to be away, dense spiral to
the core of self, to the mountain call, bird arc across such slopes of pale imaginings.
Saugus, he says: I am that part of you cries not for the love but intimacy of words,
light touch of skin we dread and seek, owning up of self as if in another. I am that
part of you named endless searcher, thirsty one, guzzler, sufferer, warred on, the
starved and the wasted, that part of you you can’t turn over by yourself. I have the
secrets you do not know you know. I am lodged in a far corner of mind, some
fallow place at reins’ end, waiting to be routed out, turned up, to green a page again.
Has it taken you so long to find me, or do you ignore me and try it on your own?
You cannot avoid documented lightning, shock of metaphor, God on one knee,
Saugus. I am not a stranger. I breathe with you, find shelter and warmth when you
do, know the single star haunting the edge of your horizon, know best of all the
magic when the sound is right, Oh, Thomas! when the sound is the music of one
word upon another, and it tears two parts of soul to four because nothing like it has
been heard before, when the word dances on its consonants, slides on soft vowels,
when the spine knows the word is known by every ganglia, thong and sinew of the
body. The coring.
I am Saugus and you waste me away, cast me aside. I who carry all sounds of
memory, cast me aside at breast-panning, when you lose the music down in some
phantom crotch, when a sweet ass ties your brain in knots. Now, just now, Thomas,
feel the core wind in. Feel the word rock in you. Find the word rock. Chip at it. Let
the chisel fly, the sparks dance out globally, the word broken away from the granite
source in you. Don’t you know me, Thomas? I am the gate tender. I am the one who
lets you find the word rock. I am the key man. I let you into that vast field of
yourself where the rock grows. I am Saugus, and I tend that field where the rock
lies in the sacred cairn. We meet so infrequently. I keep myself here waiting on you,
the gate eager to rise, the field waiting to know your tread, the rock waiting to be
beat upon by the hammer of your desire. I am lonely when you wander. It is dark
and fearful without you. And yet I can make you cry when I am lonely. You don’t
believe me yet… I am Saugus who makes you cry.
You can’t tease me, please me, appease me. Just use me. I am servant of servants. I
am Id’s Id’s Id, ego sans ego sans ego. I am to be used, exploited, submitted. And I
guard that huge rock in you, tend it, know what filled it dense as hardpan that time
in Boxford field and you hurt all over; dense as the frozen earth DeMatteo dug fox
holes with C-3 and it finally blew off the back of his head and Colonel Mason said,
“Shit!”; dense as Vinegar Hill or Indian Rock or that rock wall outside Schenectady
and you stopped to change a tire at her waving and she slid down that wall at her
back motioning to you her bodily gratitude. Dense is that word rock, full of all your
lore and legend bricked with every movement you’ve ever known, all sights and
sounds and music of the words; that special place where the thing rings in you, that
place of core vibration.
Jesus, Thomas, take my hand again! Walk in the field with me. We belong together,
you and I. Dispel me of doom. Let the music of words come, let them dance first in
your eye, roll on your tongue, live to die on the page. Let them vibrate on your
spine, get kissed of your skin, shoot out of here in flight of geese, and mournful
sound of heading home when there is no home, steaming freight train whistle
calling you from a circle of blue nights, self shout at the moon still shining on a hill
East of Cleveland, South of Yang-du, East again a long stretch from the Chugach
given you in a word picture, West of a cliff near Kerry and rain moved as a god
laughing at the rootstock of your silence, Celtic mummery, God buried in stone.
If you can’t come with me, Thomas, you are the loser, lonely, forsaken. I can take you
back to all the hard places, to the adjectives and verb ends; to the quadrangle in
Japan in 1951 and the cool wind coming through Camp Drake and the voice of
death talking in it and calling out all your comrades’ names and it didn’t talk your
name and you still felt sad and knew you were the only ear. In three weeks they
were gone, all gone, and their voices went into ground, and all their words, and they
built on the word rock and now they still dance sadly… such words that make you
cry with music still in them, and they come long and slowly out of another time
funnel, like Billy Pigg cursing as he rolled over in your arms and Captain Kay
saying, “I just want to go home to Memphis for a little while and tell Merle and
Andy I love them. Just for an hour or so.”
Ah, Thomas, come home again. Come home again.
previously published in This Rare Earth & Other Flights by Lit Pot Press.
Tom Sheehan, tot tired yet, still working this machine in his 87th year, just avoiding a defibrillator-pacemaker procedure next week because of discovered improvements in health, this author, Tom Sheehan, served in the 31st Infantry Regiment, Korea, 1951. His books (print/eBooks) are Epic Cures; Brief Cases, Short Spans; A Collection of Friends; From the Quickening; and This Rare Earth & Other Flights (poetry). He has 24 Pushcart nominations and 360 stories on Rope and Wire Magazine. Recent eBooks from Milspeak Publishers include Korean Echoes, 2011, nominated for a Distinguished Military Award and The Westering, 2012, nominated for a National Book Award. His newest eBooks, from Danse Macabre, are Murder at the Forum, an NHL mystery novel, Death of a Lottery Foe, Death by Punishment and An Accountable Death. In the publication cycle is In the Garden of Long Shadows, a collection of short stories from Pocol Press. His work is in/coming in Provo Canyon Review (2nd issue), Rosebud (6th issue), The Linnet’s Wings (6th issue), Ocean Magazine (8th issue), and internet sites and print magazines/anthologies in Romania, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Italy, Thailand, China, Mexico, Canada, etc. He lives in Saugus, MA