A Thousand Cranes, Volume 6 // Sample Chapter

A Thousand Cranes, Volume 6 by Ashlee Craft

Clovers in the Sun

I once saw a clover shining in the sunlight
& in the background thru headphones, heroes
were singing about how we could do it
if only we were brave enough
& could be so when the times demanded this of us
if only we could be the heroes of our own stories
when there was no one else around to be our heroes

& like a bolt of stardust
falling from the sky
it hit me; I looked into my reflection
& bravely said
“I love you”

then I repeated this to the whole world & every soul in it
& my life was new



oh yes, in the past twenty four hours I’ve done
at least two things that I previously despised
but now don’t think are so bad

then I told you what my plans were for the future
& you learned that they were a lot different
than two years ago

you now like shopping at the store you hated
even though you won’t admit it to me now
you’re fickle, but then again, so am I

like fish flopping on a hot sidewalk
we keep changing our minds
to go with the flow of the tide


Destiny is Free

elusive & effusive charged joyed wonder written on stone in the center of a forest while next door to the meadow the breeze is swaying in a beautiful afternoon & I am possible I am possible / semitropical sequences repeated yet are unknown & unseen as I try to capture the flighty time where I had music that was ground beneath my feet & the air in my lungs & the soul inside of me, a time where I did not yet know my limitations or the fact that I was imprisoned / no dilettante in this I took it seriously & put my heart & soul into it, but it was not time for this egg to hatch yet & so I wandered down a secret road behind beliefs & feelings & waited underneath a big stony tree for the return of radical creativity & rollicking piano riff ideals rattled off easily because I believed in them / I am a creative factory & everything is possible / & now after two and a half years of working on these visions, these doves, I have finally released them into the world & become the next prophet


Two Years Ago

two years ago on this very day / two years ago it was the beginning of who I am now, the beginning of a challenge which I am still journeying on / last night I looked back upon just how far I’ve come in those two years, so long, so long / I’ve come so far & grown so strong / I have changed so much / & even though last year when I looked back only to see that everything was still the same, I now see that it was always shifting & never stayed the same / it was all an illusion

two years ago I was about to write that letter which would forever change things / & make it so the ones who always thought of me as the innocent complacent happy one would suddenly know that I wasn’t really underneath of it all, to see that I had lied / to let them know I wasn’t going to be this symbiotic child attached via umbilical cord to my past / that I wanted nothing more than to escape

two years ago I wrote out my plans for escape on a broken down piece of paper & I sent it to you because it was time to release the idea which had been breaking me for five weeks by this time / I trembled typing those words, knowing that everything would be different after you knew it, but the truth was I couldn’t hold it in any longer & it was killing me not to know what you would say / when you read it you started crying / I tried to act like everything was normal but I begged you for an answer / the whole time desperately counting the days until I could free myself, but six months would be so long, & they would hurt so much & in many different ways

two years ago on that day, you told me that I couldn’t do it, that you wouldn’t let me go to the place where I would actually be happy, that you would not let escape my iron bonds & continue seeking sunlight / you told me that I could go make my way from a tether, but you didn’t even want me to do that yet, but all the same, you lied that you would find me some friends / but I would not be able to escape / the plans I’d meditated on were lost in the wind, & I was falling, falling, falling like a bird shot in the air, descending into the frightening abyss / my world died that day

then, numb & in emptiness I walked into the shop seeing endings everywhere not wanting to feel anything anymore but being much too aware of the pain this all had caused me of dreams created & cried about every night had fallen & shattered & the only thing I believed in anymore was deceased, murdered right in front of me, the death of hope / & I fell from the sky, my wings of silver shattered & I fell & it all crushed me underneath rubble & I was lost, I was lost / I was drowning in myself & I wouldn’t let anyone in to save me / I was drowning in myself & I didn’t know how to get out again

two years ago, I proceeded to go into the span of a week in which I don’t really remember what happened (too numb, too sad – the days all blur together), other than that I managed to get out of bed every day & go on somehow / I don’t know how I did it but I did

two years ago, I finally dug myself out & emerged temporarily into the sunlight / living in the light for a while, but a year ago disappearing into darkness

but now this year, everything is different / I am different / I’ve proven all of that wrong / I have made it to the stars this time & I am smiling / I am soaring & I am happy / my wings work once more & I am integrated into the fiber of joy / I am happy now / it isn’t always easy, but I manage to stay afloat when the storms rage

for the first time in my life, I can look back on those two years
I can know that things do get better
I can know that I have the power to make my life whatever I want it to be
I can know that heroes are real
I can know that you should never have to settle for less than what you want
I can know that I can do this
& that the power
was always inside of me


Sending It Back To Then

this is my message to you / this is my message to you & I am sending it back in time to you, back in time to when you needed it most / sending it back to you, so that you might have a little hope in the darkness, a little beacon so that the fragile ship might find its way back to the safety of shore unharmed / this is my message to you

I hope that somehow in that moment I’ve been to before, you can find this spark / maybe that is what happened, maybe that’s why you changed / maybe this was what made you determined to get back up & try again / maybe it was this message from me reaching back into the darkness & guiding you back into the light where you belong / so here is some music to keep you company in the darkness / follow it, & you will find where I am today

I am sending this back to you so that you will know that there is always hope, that today can be a great day if you are determined to make it so / that you’re going to make it there, & that you’ll try in the night & find what you were looking for / that you are going to go out & be free & feel happy, that you are a shooting star in that field of destiny, & that you are possible / this is the message that no one will ever own you, & that if you have the strength to carry on & the hope to believe that something better is ahead, that you can do anything / this is the message that everything is going to be okay / I am sending you all my love now in hope that you can feel it, & I think that you can

I think you can feel my love tonight on this darkest of nights / I think that my love for you is your only companion & that it will not fail you or let you fall, that it will keep you safe / I know that you cannot believe in its existence but you feel it all the same, & that is the reason why you do not throw yourself onto the floor & declare that you give up as you bleed into the air that cannot see you / perhaps my love is the reason that you, even on this night, even on those dark winter days coming up ahead, will find it inside of you to make impossible plans for freedom even though you can’t believe them / to dream of running away from it all, even though it’s an impossible fantasy / but at least you will make plans to do something, & for now, that is enough

I just want you to know that you make it / you make it here, & one day, your life here becomes perfect

here is my love
here is my heart & soul
please take good care of them
& carry them into the Now
when you first caught a glimpse
of who you were to become


Summer Day

the air is still & completely silent
air warm & humid & somehow seeming sacred
reminding me of a thousand summers past
& a thousand more summer yet to come

when I was young & laid under the umbrella
listening to music
or in the north, on a playground
pretending to be a famous adventurer
or when I was a child & I played with my friends
in the mud & in the trees
or silent summers at the last place I lived in
when I played with my dog outside

& perhaps this impending
is the best one
that I have been waiting for
cumulation between
everything about summer
that I am in love with



cool damp laundry flapping around
in the rhythmic yet staccato breeze
cool damp laundry touching against my skin
as I lie on a blanket beneath it
on the hot summer day
& think about my plans
for my beautiful future


Owl Obsession

flutter wings ringed in brown gold green
& jewel toned eyes staring back
talons & cries flashing in the night’s icy black
stopping on a branch to preen
& their majesty of flying & soaring freedom
caught up in a vision of beautiful conviviality
I feel this spirit of freedom’s new reality
& with large globe eyes I see them
& now represented in personified form
covering the surfaces of those things I love
& I see flying owls in the sky above
my spirit is warmed
like being wrapped in a warm towel
I just want to be surrounded by owls


Haiku Odes to Tofu

you’re misunderstood
perceived to be a wet sponge
but I still like you

my father asks why
I eat tofu – it tastes bad
but I think it’s good

you who is nothing
yes, you can be anything
anything at all


Welcome Home

thrilled by thriving nightlife countdown counterfeit dinosaur crashing couch party & perhaps mistaking the rose colored goggles for a glass in which to play xylophone noises obsessed in tone but feeling pretty good overall / it is a stream of your mind wrapped in a silken dream and schooled handy control / columns burned by bravado wearing white underwear & dancing beneath a thousand stars / & you, my friend, standing in the middle of all this chaos & you’re dancing with them / welcome home / welcome home

written in gold ink upon the silver paper & forever embossed in silken stone / emulsified by amalgams of alloyed personality traits and read-only tinsel coated lies / repetitions of railroad track on treadmills powered by punk music & rectified their actions by reading the script to the best selling movie of all time / meanwhile a chaos is occurring in the monomaniac’s hotel room apartment where he stands by the window and throws his hands up in the air, making constant references to the serenity & profundity of a woolen chair / & you, my friend, are standing their laughing in the middle of this cacophony / welcome home / welcome home

you stand there and overhear eavesdropping thru the steel wall & standing on your tiptoes trying to peak in through the peep hole in the door / plangent cries up into the air & the tree tops drop their leaves & respond back that they know the derailed illustrations removed once from their placeholders / mustard placeholders challenging charge cards befriended befuddling the introspective glances of those too blind to see who give the thumbs down before they can wrap their brains around it as they insult you in the process / & you, my friend, are smiling at them & laughing because you don’t believe them / we’ve missed you / after all you’ve been through, all you’ve learned and become / welcome home / welcome home

Kindle Edition