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Man on the Moon

by Peter Henry

Seven hundred moons in Loren’s eyes,
Ten thousand years, one hundred ways wise.

Yellow Medicine County and the Kellen farm bore this bearded child,
A maker of masks, master of dances–archetypical man-wild.

A farmer’s son, who rose to work and learned his lessons in the yard,
Blades were sharp, days too long and truly labor hard.

To his grandma’s place for a Sunday dinner came Loren hat in hand,
Folded linens, the scent of home and always vegetables canned.

But not for farming was Loren’s life, just fields and pigs and grain,
It was to city folk he awoke his genius for living again.

To Bloomington he had come bearing burdens heavy,
Looking for love, seeking the dove, and driving a ’56 Chevy.

Loren’s mind understood engines, the pistons, valves and rotors
He’d doted on tractors, been with turbines, even made love to motors.

His country was proud that he was endowed with skills that others had not.
So, they sent him to Asia to work on the bombers that all our taxes had bought.

After ‘Nam, the shop-man called seeking both tool and dye.
Loren complied, he never lied, sure he’d give that a try.

And to this credit, he never let it, hold or tackle him there.
From farm to shop, ‘Nam to mop, Loren had scarcely a care.

See, Loren’s path is ancient road travelled for thousands of years,
By seekers and artists, witches and mystics, shamans and all kinds of seers.

His spirit, like clouds at night, shapes and evolves in the wind,
Comes to life in human form with chance and energy twinned.

Dust from stars and crust of caves form Loren’s bones,
Spider’s silk, farmer’s milk and fifty potent hormones.

He’s travelled lands far and wide, visited Kingdom Come,
Fought in wars, slept with whores, been both hero and bum.

Captain and knave, owner and slave, Jew, Catholic and Daoist.
Winner and failer, criminal and jailer, Nome, Pagan and Maoist.

Loren’s face is only a mask hiding the realm of spirit,
His beard a trick, body a bluff, the smell—a fraud to be near it!

See how his eyes twinkle and shift, dart, sparkle and gaze.
Look at his hands, rugged and thick, their work designed to amaze.

This man is too much, a world of his own, a sum of infinite parts,
Feathers of birds, fragments of words, fires, jewelry and hearts.

Where was he made this prince of the hour, come from beyond the stars?
Was it a chance, seat of the pants, work of the Man from Mars?

We’ll never know, nor can we guess, origins, causes or reasons.
Why we’re here, this life so dear, and onward the changing of seasons.

But, come to him now, look at his mask, see what was kept in his mind,
Struggle with answers, ask other dancers, steal whatever you find.

But love what you do and do what you love as Loren would have you believe.
And when you are done, honor the fun, and laugh as much as you grieve.

Look to the moon, see how she moves, new to half to full.
She never stops, pauses or drops, or waits for others to pull.

Loren’s eyes have looked to these skies for years and ages and aeons,
While roaming the earth with kings and minstrels, sages, fools and peons.

He’s seen the moon shade herself in, change in a regular fashion.
Make the world dark, pretty or stark, flood it with love and with passion.

Now after years, laughter and tears, songs, dirges and verses.
Loren is ready, holding confetti, to hail the legions of hearses.

There is no end or start or stop or reason to dread the worst.
We are this moment, pleasure and master, of all that must have come first.

These moons we’ve seen or must have been tell us to work with Earth,
Fear not death, it’s not final and melts on top of the hearth.

For sixty years and seven hundred moons, Loren held onto this
Building fires, working with pliers and flirting with infinite bliss.

Bless him now and raise a toast for all that he means to us here.
Then leer at the moon, dance with him soon and chug the rest of your beer.

Know it is true, whatever you do, that Loren has been there before.
Toured Paris, dined on the terrace, got drunk and slept on the floor.

So walk on the moon, make a new mask, build a solo canoe.
Dance in parades, win at charades, but never ask yourself who.

Loren it is, Loren it was, Loren ever will be.
Party to this, party to that, part of us, you and me.

Look for him now, put out a call, petition heaven from us,
Would it be weird, that’s him and his beard, riding the back of the bus.

There he goes, let’s follow him close to see if what I say is true.
Loren’s not here a minute ago,– he’s back and younger than you.

Dust from stars and crust of caves form Loren’s bones,
Spider’s silk, farmer’s milk and fifty potent hormones.

He’s travelled lands far and wide, visited Kingdom Come,
Fought in wars, slept with whores, been both hero and bum.

Captain and knave, owner and slave, Jew, Catholic and Daoist.
Winner and failer, criminal and jailer, Nome, Pagan and Maoist.

Now after years, laughter and tears, songs, dirges and verses.
Loren is ready, holding confetti, to hail the legions of hearses.

And tell you this of Loren Kellen, man, spirit and friend:
Every puppet in the world cried to hear of his end.

Seven hundred moons in Loren’s eyes,
Oh, beautiful life, death’s final disguise.

-Peter Henry

1 Comment

  1. Dave Foster on October 17, 2009 at 4:33 am

    An amazingly beautiful poem & tribute–full of insight, music & love!
    Thank you!

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