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For Skye at 25 (the Van Halen poem)




In the vibrant, kerchugging community of human interests, the

Car stalls, but at least we have the key, don’t we? Anyway, at least we’re here

With the gasoline cupped in our hands, ready to go anywhere

Our hearts desire. And they do desire. And since it’s your

Quarter century mark, it’s high time to ask, where’s the nearest gas

Station, but aren’t those stars cute, what is the Van Allen

Belt, really? Some gorgeous string of protons and celestial

Neurons absolutely inferior to you and yet somehow

Effortlessly illuminating your essence?

Well, that’s always possible, but anyway

Nothing is exciting to a stone, but we’re not stones,

We have lots of modifications to the continuum of eternity to offer.

Riding this junky red Camaro across the deserts

Of delusion where so many of my perceptions seem to be way off base

Yet one thing is certain. I haven’t seen enough of you

In this lifetime. And I can make excuses and I can understand

What the real reasons were, but really


It’s an odd world, that I can tell you, at least from my perspective.

Thieves will give you gifts and holy seers steal your booty.

When the ledger gets filled in, there’s just too many zeroes.

But we don’t want to get all maudlin, we

Want to get high. And I see you, flashing by on a breeze, a falcon

On high, blinding the sun and crying to the moon.

Well, maybe I’m way off base. Maybe you’re blinding

The moon and crying to the sun. Hey, who knows? After all, you’re quite

A practical girl, and I salute that quality in you.

Yet the natural ability to meet the world on its own

Terms does not and never will preclude the concomitant capability

To soar as high as the highest star

In a Ford Fairlane leased from Orion, letting loose

Whoops of insanity in the dead of night.


And it is the dead of night, isn’t it? When all beings

Ponder stupid facts, like the fact I’ve seen too little of you.

But we’ve made a lot of that up now and guiding my shiny velvet green

1962 T-Bird thru the enshrouded mountains of self-doubt, I’m happy,

In fact I’m ecstatic with the notion that you know how to do things

And you’re getting what you want from this rotten world.

The Van Allen Belt has nothing to do with it. Concerning

Your peace of mind, most of the things surrounding me are way off base.

Nonetheless I’m stepping hard on the pedal,

With my steel boots, and sailing out of here into the light of

Self-knowledge, where I see you in your soulful splendor

With that faintly-cackly fun cracked voice of yours spilling out

Against a backdrop of Photoshop-retouched cliffs which look

Strangely like birthday cakes.


Okay, I’m crazy, but I’m crazy about the right things, I hope, such

As yourself and your brother. Guiding this dark blue limo across the plains

Of rapture I’m raising my voice against the winds to offer my joy

To the entire atmosphere, including the Van Halen Belt

And the Belt Parkway and the Infinite Belt of the Fat-Bellied God

Of All Earthy Fools. O I’ve done a few things right in my life, and you are

Something I’m so proud of. So with one hand

I’m demonstrably way off base, scratching my head, but with

The other I’m waving to you in the car of your dreams with the man

Of your dreams slaloming down the Lombard Street of Love, and

Then I’m out of here with thoughts of you careering around

In my overheated mind, missing you like crazy, always.

Happy birthday, daughter! May your tank be full enough and the highway patrol

Officers waiting on the side roads forever distracted.




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