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Poetry Friday: Gila Monster Angels On Mars Hill

Jay Family

When a poet and a songwriter fall in love, you get this week's Poetry Friday segment. Flagstaff-based poet James Jay wrote 'Mars Hill' after a snowy night-hike years ago with his future wife, Alyson, In response, Alyson wrote the song 'Gila Monster Angels'. Today, we put them together for Poetry Friday. 

James Jay:

'Mars Hill', for Alyson

That night-hike up Mars

Hill, a flask of John Powers going

down fast, my finger brushing 

your hand on the exchange,

big full moon, and light-rain

that morphed to sheets

of snow as we climbed 

to the log where we found

ourselves a seat.

Alyson Jay:

I want to marry you, baby

want to stay in bed all day.


You leaning in 

to kiss me, me too scared to go first 


I'd run away with you, baby

when you look at me that way


Wet lips, snow drenched

faces and heads

Credit Jay Family
The Jay Family


I want to believe in your gila monster angels

hold so tight, they won't let go, wont' let go

cause' that's how it goes sometimes


Followed by the firm hold

of hands as we leapt back down

the trail


Even when you're waiting for the fall


Like Jack and Jill: the tale revised

as if by dumb angels who scribbled sweet,

naive edits


Oh these angels, with no dramatic flare in mind


With no flare 

for drama; simply stupid enough

to wish to help;


Just keep your shoes tied


Who worked 

the soles of our feet to keep us

from falling familiarly down;


That's how it goes, that's how it goes sometimes


who erased twisted

ankles; who brushed aside sticks, stones;

kept our shoes tied; our strides in step.


Want to walk with you, baby

up Mars Hill into the night


The angles whose pens are filled

with the ink of surviving

so many

falls before


Float back down with you, baby

and hold your hand with all my might

Credit Jay Family
Poet James Jay and songwriter Alyson Jay


The dumb angels

that earned the calluses that guide



All these angels clear a path for our feet

all the way down, all the way down

that's how it goes sometimes

even when you're waiting for the fall


The light of stars caught

in the scars of their barely visible cheeks!


Oh, these angels

with no dramatic flare in mind

Just keep your shoes tied

that's how it goes, 

that's how it goes sometimes

Gillian Ferris was the News Director and Managing Editor for KNAU.