The cocktail napkin I stole from Julie the bartender still smells of the Partagas case within which it's been folded for three months. I put it there on June 21st.

When my oldest brother, Bjorn, was married in Oregon nearly eight years ago, our family made the 30 hour road trip together - for better or worse. On that December voyage, I (clandestinely) suffered my first cigar with Bjorn and Dane outside our motel room and a tradition was born. Two years and a quick spring later, Dane was married in northern Iowa and the tradition bore itself onward, again set romantically in the circle drive of an Iowan hotel. This time, the posse was made complete, by all accounts, with the addition of one bad-ass grandma Mickey. For what its worth, all cigars should be smoked with this woman.

Of Acres and Acres

From the nearly pure black of a good winter night's soil I grew forth, in your palm, and I became. You drew roots to my eyes with the gentle pressing of your rigid finger and to those sockets your story continues to come.  My brain blossomed as the priority of your growth, a dream for which the forest starved itself so that its youngest may rise higher.  On an October forest floor you laid me down, your son, quiet and clam, your handful of twigs to my nervous forehead, and you opened my bones at the center chest. Retrieving a relic from within you, you uttered a grace, and inlaid it in me so that the branching of my throat would remind me of your stretch toward the sky, and I would return forever grateful to the fields, to celebrate our passing time together.

The Yelling Hill

I am forging heavy letters constantly and I hope that you'll forgive me, friend, for stowing them in your spine. The space, tail to tip, between the vertebrae so cozied in your back, nestled between the big muscles, is just right for the notes I chisel of the hard coat of a lonely truth telling atop the yelling hill.

I pack my tools quietly and set off for the ridge where truths are screamed for a fee.  No level too loud and no explitive unwelcome, that hill knows the world's darkness perfectly.  There the most stubborn confessions are pounded out of the earth.