The Island- first four chapters.
The Island- first four chapters. (40 more to go.)
The Island- Part one
A Chapter by Coyote Poetry
A dream turned story.
I am sitting alone near Lake Huron in Port Austin in 2019. My mind found a memory and I am trying to seek the memory out from hidden parts of my mind. I dislike my mind had forsaken me. I am 61 years old and the eleven anthrax and many malaria pills had stole my memory given to me by the Army. Sometimes I can’t tell the truth from fiction. Maybe the island was a utopia type dream?
It was early 1989 and I was barely staying above water in health and mind. I went to the funeral of my brother who committed suicide. My second brother in two years who left my world without a goodbye. Their death made my life fruitless and useless. I decided to take a drive, I went north toward Lake Michigan. I followed the backroads till I found the bridge to Upper Michigan. I saw a small sign, “Welcome to Idyllic, a place where no-one is rushing and the lake is around us.”
I took the turn toward Idyllic and after a short drive. I saw a long bridge, maybe two miles in length. The bridge was ancient and beautiful. The bridge had Greek art on the walls of the bridge. You could walk the bridge if you wanted, a walkway where you could see the lake Superior moving and dancing. This was a idyllic place and I already understood why they called her by the ancient name. I drove the bridge slowly, enjoying the view of Lake Superior and the artwork on the walls of the bridge. At midway of the bridge, a turnoff. I turned into the turnoff and left my truck. Many cement statues of ancient Native Americans dancing and looking at the lake. Each one, had some poetry. I read the poetry on a Ojibwa woman statue.
We seek everything, we want to be the king of the forest.
One day we learn.
We have enough,
we have the trees, the water and the wildflowers.
We have our children, our family and friends near.
The utopia of a fine life.
Being happy with enough.
I went to my car and I felt lighter in mind already. I foresaw a wonderous place already. Idyllic was already making my sleeping mind come alive. I wanted to stop and write but I had to discover what this place was offering to me. The small island seem lightly in population and very quiet. I drove till I saw the downtown area. A four block square of small cottages, bars and restaurants. I saw few people roaming the city. It was noon and I searched out for some food.
I walked the city and everyone I met, said good afternoon or hello. Most of the people were young and they looked content. They were lightly sun-kissed by the warm Spring weather. I found a restaurant with many lunch specials. A pretty red-hair waitress introduced herself. My name is Luna, welcome to Luna’s heathy and tasty foods. Would you like something to drink? I told her, the corn-beef sandwich and a coffee please. She smiled and she told me. Welcome to Idyllic, I hope you enjoy our island.
She brought the food and the coffee and she told me. A music festival at the park, all day, into the evening. I hope you have time to enjoy. I believe you would like. A little Jazzy and some folk songs too. Enjoy the food and thank you for stopping in. The sandwich was wonderful, the corn-beer melting in your mouth and the coffee. Strong and tasty. I paid the bill and I told Luna. Thank you for the amazing food. She smiled, looked deep into my eyes. She told me, please try to have some fun. Sometimes, we must slow down and figure what we need.
I left her and she watched me walk away. I was her only customer. She told me to walk five blocks on the main street , the only street, she laughed and she told me. Can’t get lost in Idyllic. The park dead-end at the park and the lake had a wonderful view. I saw many people sitting near the center of the park. You could see Lake Superior and I was already in love with the city. The set-up was ancient Greek style. The soft chairs settle into a cement, was nine layers of seating. Every chair had perfect view of the stage. Someone had a perfect vision to create a place where music could be appreciated and performed by skilled musicians.
I sat away from people. The people were beautiful, most were young, the women wearing Spring and Summer dresses, the men were wearing shorts and t-shirts. The few older people, were healthy, looked strong and they were alert. The music was wonderful, a pretty woman sang the Jazz songs. I wrote in my journal.
honored by the gods,
pretty people and good song.
A blessing for the people needing peace and salvation.
A needed blessing in my world of confusion.
I looked-up and a pretty woman in her Spring dress, showing tan shoulders, beautiful face and eyes of wonder. She asked, dear Salinger, sitting alone, barely can hear the song. Are you hiding or seeking? I smiled and I told her. Maybe both, us Salingers, we like to be ghosts among the living. Maybe a place of safety or maybe. Need to find some silence. She looked sad and she asked. You want me to leave you alone? I reached-out my hand and I told her, my name is Johnnie. Please stay and talk with me. I need voices, not silence. She took my hand and she told me. My name is Nicole, a artist, healer and masseuse, herbalist and singer. I told her, I am a want-a-be Hemingway, slave for a big company and looking for something worthwhile to live for.
She smiled and she whispered. The song is better in the front, I have some sweet red wine and you can join me and my sister Lana. We may talk you to death, but we wouldn’t mind, if you joined us. I smiled and I told her. Thank you Nicole for being kind to a stranger. I do need some good company today. Nicole took my hand and dragged me to the front. A girl with long brown hair was making the jazz come alive. A beautiful woman stood-up with eyes of hazel green, flowing dark brown hair down her back and a kind smile. She introduced herself. My name is Lana. Welcome to Idyllic, where life is pretty slow and we like it, slow. Please sit down and share our five bottles of red wine. The music is played till 12 pm.
I thanked them and Nicole handed me a glass of wine. She raised the wine glass-up to the sky. To new friends, better days and more laughter. We touched glasses and I looked at Lake Superior. I did a private prayer.
Thank you Lord of life and death.
Allowing me to land in the proper place.
The Island- part 2
Lana sat to the left of me and Nicole to the right. Lana told me, I am a artist. I painted the artwork on the bridge, did you like the artwork? I told her. The artwork gave life and spirit to the bridge, the artwork is amazing and beautiful. Did you do the Native American statues? She smiled and she told me. I wish I did. That was done by Captain. The Captain is our island poet and medicine man. He was once California, now he belong to Idyllic and Lake Superior. He is our personal nagual and he can tell you a thousand stories. I believe he is at least 500 years old. I smiled at her and she touched my face, she whispered. I want to paint your face. You have a ancient face on a young body. I see a million stories in your eyes, I see confusion, pain and loss of direction. You are lucky, Idyllic, a place where people come to heal. Nicole whispered, less talk, more drinking and let’s listen to the song.
Darkness was coming and we drank four bottles of the wine. The music was wonderful, the jazz was sweet and heavy, the folk songs make you believe in love and laughter. I was blessed by two beautiful woman and I told them. I must return home to Ann Arbor. Nicole asked, when is your next shift? I told her. In three days, I am on a short vacation. I had a bad three days. I buried my second brother, 20 years old on Wednesday. The hang-man rope was more tempting than life. Nicole wrapped her arms around me, she whispered with tears falling her eyes. I knew you came to Idyllic for a reason. Lana saw death on your right shoulder and I went to you. My first tears fell for my brother and she held me like a child, Lana cried with me and she wrapped her around us.
We must have been a site for the people near. Lana and Nicole released me and I thanked them and I notice. No-one showed concern, like we were alone with the music. I told them, I will find a motel near and I will return tomorrow. Lana laughed at my words and she told me. Idyllic, difficult to find and almost impossible to leave. We have a spare cottage near the lake. I demand you stay with us. We will be, near to you if you need someone to talk to or if you are losing your mind. Everyone at Idyllic had known great pain and we come here to heal. Dear John, death is not sweet, death is the end. The story end when the kind earth cover our body.
Was almost midnight and we walked into the quiet city. Nicole held my hand and we followed Lana to the eastern part of the Island. The moon was half-filled. I told Nicole, a half-moon. The liar’s moon. Where we can twist words and there is no payment. She smiled and laughed, she asked him. Do the poet never quit writing? I love the word-men. Interlacing their words to song and story. The word-men and the word-women are needed. They write the true stories and tales of our world. if was no writers or poets. Old world would be empty and forgotten. Lana led them to a dark cottage. she went in first, turned on the lights. Nicole went in first and she dragged me in. This is your home, if you need a place to rest. Please come to Idyllic. Me and Lana, we live here, year around. We are Summers muses and snow bunnies in the Winter. Lana kissed my forehead and Nicole hugged me and she kissed my lips. she whispered. You will be okay.
The cottage was beautiful. A large bed facing the large window where you could see lake Superior. Lightly furniture and the smell of the wildflowers. I went to his truck and I gathered my few belongings. One of the items was a 32 pistol in a first aide kit, given to by his father. I loved this day spend with Lana and Nicole, but my heart was heavy. The sorrow of yesterday began to overtake me. I loaded six rounds into the pistol and I watched the moon fall into the west. I heard a soft knock on the cottage door and I opened the door. Nicole in her cotton night gown stood before me. She asked me, what are you doing? She pushed me aside and she went to the bed. She held the 32 pistol and she slowly released the six bullets. She turned to me, please Johnnie, no more death and she came to me. She held me like a child and she whispered. You are not alone, we will cry together, we will share the suffering together and I will keep you safe.
She took me to the bed of cotton sheets and light blankets. She took off my shirt and pants. She forced me down gently on to the soft bed and she released her cotton night gown. I watched her walk away, turned off the lights and she came to me. She held me tightly and she brought my face to her breasts and she caressed his hair and forehead.
She sang to me.
Darkness shall fall,
darkness shall fall,
we cannot bare to breathe,
Sweeter days shall come.
you are not alone.
The Island- part 3.
I remembered Nicole song and her soft hands caressing my face and chest. I fell into a deep and needed sleep. I had a week of hell. Finding money, a place to bury my brother and his mother wanted a memorial. I didn’t rest till I accomplished the needed task. A heavy day at the funeral. Few talks and many cried for the twenty year old boy. He left no note and he hung himself in his aunt’s attic. Silence and prayers, all we could do. I awoke fighting ghosts and Nicole whispered. It is okay Johnnie, I am here. She kissed my face and caressed my face. I returned to peaceful sleep.
I awoke early and I left her in the warm bed. I took my journal to a wood bench near Lake Superior. I wrote some words into my journal.
“Did I do enough?
Why couldn’t I see the struggle?
why couldn’t I know?
Little brother was fighting demons.
Now I know a worn-out life,
my last words to him,
were they kind?
Were they spoken from a selfless place?
My careless life taught me.
lead with concern, kindness and listen.
Lessons learned too late.”
“Little brother shall find his older brother, now,
I pray my brothers found a better place than Detroit to rest.
My toilsome life, forgot to find time to listen,
I forgot to find time to look into my brothers eyes.
Ask, are you okay?
Foolish men learn too late.
Life is fragile,
time is gold.
Love shall break your heart.”
I heard Nicole calling my name, she was at the cottage entrance standing in panties only. She was so beautiful and I knew. She was a miracle. I found Idyllic by mistake and the blessing of Nicole and Lana. I waved at her and she ran to me. She embraced me tightly and she asked, was I okay? I told her, I am perfect dear Nicole. She looked sad and she whispered. You are not okay. Last night you had a loaded 32 pistol and dancing on death edge. Today we shall eat a small breakfast and you and I, will sit by the lake. We will discuss anything and everything. She released me and she handed me the 32 pistol. She told me. If you are okay. Toss the pistol into Lake Superior. I saw in her hazel eyes, they were blue as the sea and we walked to Lake Superior. I tossed the 32 into the lake. She kissed me and we held embrace till we heard Lana yelling. Time to eat.
The meal consisted of some fruits, toasts and two eggs. We ate in silence till Lana asked. Can I paint your face today? I want your face on the wall of the bridge. I love your ancient face and faraway eyes. If I create a painting of you, you will become part of the folklore of Idyllic. I laughed at her words and I told her. You want my ugly face on the beautiful bridge? You will scare people away from the island. she smiled and she told him. Idyllic found you, you didn’t find the island. The island found you.
After breakfast, Nicole ran away to get dressed. She ate her meal topless, left me to look at the lake during the meal. I wanted to see her bare shoulders and perfect breasts, but I was polite. I got dressed and I washed myself up. I told the mirror. This is a dream, Johnnie on a island with two beautiful women. I whispered a silence prayer. Thank you god of life and death for bringing me here. I was so tire, so damn tire. Please make me learn how to live with the sorrow and the loss. Baby brothers, I pray you have found a place for you, to be content. I dreamed last night I saw you, my brothers running toward the sun. Laughing and dancing with the lake.
I heard a voice. Nicole asked, are you ready for the lake walk? I came out of the bathroom and Nicole was wearing a Summer cotton dress of white, allowed me to see bare shoulders and powerful tanned legs. I told her. You are so beautiful, you look like a Greek goddess. She smiled and she whispered. Maybe I am?
She took my hand and she led me to the path. She told him, the path circled the island. I asked for the Captain to meet us at the Witch tree. The halfway point. I want him to burn sage for us. He is a good listening and he know the mystic ways. Sometimes, you need help to heal. Pain and sorrow, can kill the soul, destroy the heart. The path was wide and the wildflowers were blooming everywhere. Nicole told him stories of the herbs. She told him, the natural herbs are everywhere and can heal the body and the mind. She reached in her small backpack and she handed him a drink. He tasted the drink and he told her. Taste good, what is it? She smiled and she told him. My wild rosemary tea, the healing of the mind. Make the mind alert and the blood flow better.
They stopped at the Witch tree. A very old tree reaching in 20 directions. The tree leaves touched the water. She told him. The Captain said the tree is a thousand years old. If you listen, the tree will tell you many stories. I brought her close and we watched Lake Superior dance for us. I heard a old voice and I turned. A Native American man with a ancient face said good morning.
The Island- part four
I liked the Captain face. He had a ancient and kind face. He took my hands and he told me. I am glad to meet you finally. Lana told me, a stranger was with us on the island. We receive few visitors on Idyllic. They call me Captain, my name is Kintpuash, too hard to pronounce, I was born on the west coast and my home was once California and Oregon. I was saved by Lana, on a hang-man rope, she saved me and she brought me to Gichigami, Lake Superior. The Ojibwa called her big water. No more talk of my past, later if you like. I can tell you a Modoc Native American tale. I see in your face, a heavy sadness in your face. When we lose our brothers, a forever ache we shall know. Nicole asked, do you want me to leave? He looked at her and he told her. If you leave, who shall burn the sage? Make the tea? She smiled and she went to a small pit and warmth-up a small kettle. Nicole name mean victory of the people. She is the rock of the island. Today we talk little, tonight we discuss anything and everything.
The Captain pointed toward four large rocks near the lake. He told me, Gichigama is blessed, filled with many spirits and mystery. The Ojibwa loved her. She is so powerful and she cannot be controlled. We sat down and we sat in a deep silence. I liked how the Captain eyes loved the dancing waves of Lake Superior. Nicole brought the tea to me and to the Captain. Today we will drink the cranberry tea. Make the mind and body calm, we will burn the wild rosemary sage. He looked at Nicole and he told me. She is the surreality of the island. She dances with the Winter storms, when the Winter water touches the earth. Artwork for us to see. On the bridge, our Greek goddess artwork blesses the visitors. If they pay attention. You can see her dancing with lake Gichigama in the four seasons. She smiled and she told him. Enough about me dear Captain. She rose-up and gather the sage and the lighter.
The Captain closed his eyes and began to pray. Nicole walked in a circle-dance around the four rocks with the burning sage.
We are with you this morning.
Please come sit with us,
befriend our new friend,
bless-us with the calmness of the lake spirit.
We need the blessing of forgiveness,
the blessing of understanding.
Thank you lake Gichigama.
After the prayer. We sat in silence till the sage burn-out. Nicole sat with me, held my hand. The Captain stood-up and he told us. Tonight at my cottage. Fresh fish from the lake, some bathtub gin and we can talk till the stars fall into the lake. He waved goodbye and I looked at Nicole. I told her. Thank you for being so kind to me. I don’t know why you are so kind to me. I kissed her forehead and her lips. She told me. Life is hell-storms and we must learn to dance with the lighting. We must love the sea, the lakes and the earth. Love is the hardest thing we must do. When we love, we give a part of us away. I see in your eyes, the sorrow of trying to understand the suicide of your brother. You must ask yourself, are you alive, are you dead? Dear Johnnie, you are alive. She traced my face with tender fingers and she embraced me tightly.
She stood-up and she went to Lake Superior. She tossed off her shoes and she danced with the morning waves. I watched her dance joyfully with the powerful lake. I looked at the rising morning sun and I told the sun. Thank you for this day and for Idyllic. Thank you for Nicole. She is a blessed goddess.