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Rick Marlatt

Letter to Trey Anastasio

I. Your chords

finger lightning adore               precise           fret fire melting ice
snow-packed dread     sweat            hippies thousand
barefoot children blaze eyes wild bodies
float ghost-like into aura unmatched                   untapped.

Better in summer sweat weather           antelope soul
prayers for rain to sop stoned earth slosh
sweat trickle to birth under ultra-wide July sky.

Fluid mind bend electric           pow    mind trance
whirling light heaven dance. Just like
four brothers running in apple
orchard bloom            chiggers              jumping              high
starlit baseball, fending for ourselves, land rulers.

Notes, chimes rumble waves,
waves, tingle hot color
immaculate color sting tips of ocean
sky blue orange berry pond water teal
green, evergreen with its
dark hints of wind-crazed memory and
the power of now power of life
power breathing blood pumping
circulating air                  through scorched lungs
action imitation of holy.

II. Your voice

stalactite passion chant needled my blood,
reminds me of slanting snow piles ice
tight tree tips chai tea warm throat
in cool breeze.
Voice was warm too, warm like the girl
her hair long blond frayed on my skin liked to
look back couldnít tell where I               ended
and she began one skin one pulse one body breathing hard.

Forward flash two kids two heads one dusty
blond the other red smile just like forever
just like their mother just like their father
just like the voice from my past          your voice
tolls in my head throbs in my veins.
Smiling crying praying sad voice.

Night moon black sky star fire
fall air holds me stiff in quickness
crisp corn stalks wrap my ankles corn
dust in my nose smell of corn crackle
corn crunching through revolving chainsaw
jaws who grind spin crunch grind.
Windshield raindrops outside endless      grey
endless wonder grey skies go on
in private expansive mellow. The rain will leave
then stare at starsí white fire.                     They teach.

III. Your words

prints on blank page spirit like wet
pebbly sand vibrant toes hand prints
with grandpa, fresh cement under roof
musty barn dark walls dark barn
barn swallows soar sing for words.

Mine slip by fall unheard guarded
ancient haunted creek tomb.                              Silence
was my god in the face
my blue-eyed father the one
who faced hard wind               sad        years weathered
fingers of working man to match
stoic sad eyes sky blue while my love stayed
unexpressed mute unmade god Iím trying
to make up for it now still hurts, still hard
but your words were there red beard friend.

Pulling tears from dry crimson eyes like
forgotten bones               soil  soaked         dust    with my
hands, your words showed me how to use
my hands see healing in my hands
power they have, hands of healing, hands
of love, love to love a father love a wife
hold a wife hold kids      hold       them      tight
work like a man work like your father
love like snapshots space and time wonít die.
Healing hands given light by your words.

©2008 by Rick Marlatt

Rick Marlatt is a middle school English teacher in Kearney, Nebraska. He received B.A. degrees in English and Philosophy, as well as an M.A. in English from the University of Nebraska. He begins M.F.A studies in the fall. He writes and performs in many genres, including poetry, screenwriting, fiction, and memoir. He has appeared in dozens of stage productions and readings throughout the midwest, and was a featured poet at the Nebraska State Reading Association's annual convention this past February. His work has appeared in literary journals such as Language and Culture, The Carillon, and The Reynolds Review.

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