Thursday
Nov202014

Poetry by Carolyn Gregory, Gale Acuff, Wendy Scott, Kenneth Pobo, Don G. Morgan, Frank Pray, Dah Helmer, Cal Freeman, Wayne Burke, and David Klein

Six Poems by Carolyn Gregory

 

 

THE FIRE PAINTER (For Vincent Van Gogh)

 

Numb, he wrapped the ear

delicately in tissue,

thinking it was a sea conch

though with more blood,

his offering to the painter.

 

God spoke to him in parables

about the burning bush

and stars cast overhead.

Pain did not deter him

though the fits and bouts

with absinthe kept him in bed.

 

Forever love stayed distant,

pulsed with letters

and souvenirs from café girls,

their stockings left behind.

 

His brush painted boldly

yellow green wheat fields,

workmen with heads propped

by hands as they rested.

 

Under a yellow straw hat,

his brain teemed with the cosmos,

calling forth sunflowers

radiant with yellow and orange,

the fire inside his heart

blooming and untamable.

 

 

One Bed Becomes Another

 

My old bed could have been the death of me,

its frame dragging the floor, split by time.

 

The red and gold comforter grew dust,

pillows tilted in an earthquake,

shoved against the wall,

 

lights off as if someone died in that room,

sent to hell in a hand basket

as my mother would say.

 

I took to a monk's perch on the couch,

no room for any mistakes

and certainly no lovers.

 

Winter to summer

spent dizzy mornings balancing

whatever bones got pushed out of line.

Trying to walk straight.

 

Miraculous, the cherry wood frame

arrived like the beginning of a new life,

 

hammered into the emptiness,

carved headboard like an invitation

to the seraglio to lounge once more.

 

All those months cheated by insomnia

and broken dreams vanished

as if I had been given a reprieve

 

and sent to Italy

sleeping on my back again,

my left hand trailing through water.

 

 

Abandoned

 

A potted tree tips over on dead roots

near a long stalled escalator.

Palms droop brown and fallen

where no shoppers linger.

 

In the empty mall,

glass crunches beneath

dangling electrical wires.

Blue sparks come and go,

signals at night.

 

There is no social flurry

where chain and designer stores

drew weekend traffic,

shopping for furniture and labels.

 

Once music pumped in

above marble floors

where chic couples glided,

their arms loaded with shiny bags.

 

Now wild grass fills

the dry and cracked parking lots

and glass splintera underfoot

as echoes roll

from one floor to another.

Crows squawk overhead.

 

 

Methuselah Tree

 

Obscure in the White Mountains

ten thousand feet above sea level,

an unmarked tree lives.

 

Wrapped by winds with strong limbs,

it clings to dolomite,

its girth growing one inch per century.

 

When time toughens it

as it survives slowly near sage,

it spreads roots into dry earth

for balance

raising bristle-cones shrubby and sparse,

not killed by drought or lightning.

 

Shedding bark when fungi strike,

the tree is a quiet witness

whose history scrolls back

to the time of the Pyramids

 

its needles tough as it escapes disease,

going into dormancy when challenged,

its rings echoing a thousand more

at its deep heart center.

 

 

No One's Wife

 

Rough and sometimes rude,

I am no one's wife,

happy to wander freely

near branches thick with magnolia.

 

I do not mean I forget

rolling in green silk sheets

or strolling through a Paris garden,

tulips red and shining

 

though I have never walked

hand in hand with any lover.

 

Built to be a warrior,

my shoulders are square

and my voice is big

 

and I was created to join a march

to protest cruelty,

not dance in a ballroom.

 

 

Furnace And Afterward

 

1.

                 

Deep down among the bones in the basement,

I hid behind the furnace

that would burn all remaining signs

of  the dead,

right down to the fillings and fingerprints.

 

In November, we had been stripped of all

our silk and photos, luggage rifled and ripped

apart for fuel.

The field cattle were sturdier than any of us,

in a season scattering golden leaves

like a handful of coins.

 

Father was shot down when the gunfire started,

taken out of a second story

going up in flames.

When mother stood in the place

where our door had been axed,

two soldiers grabbed her

by the shoulders.

We never saw her again.

 

Now we wait in the cellars

among the bones and flying ash

that sometimes goes blue

like the dead eye of winter.

 

2.

 

The thickest woods saved us.

We roamed from one abandoned farm

to the next, hiding the root vegetables

and potatoes we could find,

sleeping in wet leaves.

 

 

Over time, we fought off a black bear and birds.

My father's compass helped guide us

from storms uphill to clear space

once the killing ended.

 

My brothers and I scavenged

for fallen branches, daubed mud

on our skeleton home.

We sealed the windows from rain

with old newspapers

and strips of rubber

left from ancient tires.

 

Because we pulled together, we survived,

gathering apples and roots,

drawing water from a scum-covered pond.

After our home and family were lost,

the gods of the woods made sure

we would not fall down deeper or broken.

 

Square by Gale Acuff

 

Square

 

Miss Hooker's my Sunday School teacher and

she tells me that I'm going to Hell if

I don't stop my sinful ways, I'm only

10 but young sin's serious, too, she says

and she should know, she's 25, but one

day when I'm old enough to shave and my

voice has changed and I have hair in funny

places or it would be funny if it

wasn't so serious I'm going to

marry Miss Hooker—when I pray at all

that's what I pray for, that God keeps her

single until my age catches up to

hers so at 18 to her 33

we can get spliced. I'll have to get a job

but that's alright and we'll manufacture

us some babies and build a family

and when we die, Miss Hooker first because

she'll have it over me by fifteen years,

we'll go to Heaven for eternity

and maybe sit around and laugh about

how she was all hot and bothered that I

might spend my immortality in Hell

and then I'll kiss her, or try to, our lips

will go right through our lips and come out on

the other side, the back of our heads, and

the rest of the both of us bleed through 'til

we change places and look the other way

so that we'll turn around to be face to

face again, which will be strange all over

because we won't have eyes, either. But I 

hope Miss Hooker's right--we get new bodies

like she claims the Bible says somewhere, else

we won't even be able to pray since

we won't have lips or teeth or tongues or throats

or lungs. Of course we could pray to ourselves

 but if we're already in Heaven why

 pray at all? I like to hear voices, not

have to figure out lips I can't read. In

Sunday School today we prayed silently

--I peeked and saw Miss Hooker move her lips,

which doesn't seem square to me but sinful

and after class I told her so. Judge not
 

lest ye be judged, she said. It must be love.

 

Three Poems by Wendy Scott

 

Waiting Room

 

It is possible the man has been sleepless,

sitting too long on plastic chairs,

orange, yellow, brown, made for smaller men

and those who like sitting close. It is possible

he has thought of his work, planned each nail

placed each board for tomorrow’s framing

sent his boss a text listing what to buy

on the morning run to Home Depot

has called his wife to say

he still does not know anything

no word from the doctor, maybe he has thought

of the plate she left for him beside the stove

now in the fridge. This man has prayed the rosary,

more likely, prayed an assortment of Our Fathers,

Hail Mary’s; answered a text from his daughter,

begun to plan granite counter-top, tile backsplash.

Possible this man has not thought

of the doctor’s work, what instruments she is requesting

what’s being said around the table

what she will find beneath his mother’s skin, peeled back.

 

 

Eloping

 

Sepsis sounded exotic. I was still a student.

He was thirty-something, youngest on a unit

of diabetics, smokers, and octogenarians.

Too many patients bouncing

from hospital to nursing home

nursing home to hospital

bed to bed to obituary.

 

Bored with the question:

What skilled nursing facility do you want?

I interview him: drug dependent, no insurance,

want to talk rehab, halfway houses. But sepsis

is epic, toxins in the blood,

months of war across every organ.

 

His skin is gray, amphibian skin.

Bacteria pierced every barrier

carried by needles straight into veins.

We can’t talk rehab, rather,

how to manage a PICC line,

tube through his arm, nearly to heart. 

 

He spends only five minutes protesting

thirty versions of I can take care of this at home

then asks only, How many months?

Leaving work, I find an old blue Camaro

idling by the exit. It circles the lot once, returns.

 

Next day, he’s gone. Did he sign himself out?

No, he just left, walked out at dinnertime.

I remember six inches of tube

extending to his elbow.

He left with a PICC line?

Guess that’ll be convenient.

 

 

How the Birds Were

 

I’ve seen a Field Guide in every Scott house.

We live in every region – not including

my cousin who mines silver:

first Ghana, then Laos, Bolivia, back to Africa.

Bet he has several. We all watch birds.

Four generations who stop

talking, stop walking, interrupt

to look up, stare, name. My brother

only had two questions

when I returned from the Outer Banks:

Did you fish? and

How were the birds?

 

I remember the steel-blue Belted Kingfisher

clinging to a branch above Carolina marsh,

black and white striped Common Loons

on Minnesota’s lakes, the owl flying, barely dusk,

across Route 28 in Pittsburgh, so fast and dark,

dark enough I could not tell—Barn Owl

or Great Horned, two red-tailed hawks circling

above Gettysburg’s battlefield, their February

mating calls. The birds bring back my grandfather,

my father, right there,

watching with me. They linger

after each bird has passed.

 

Four Poems by Kenneth Pobo

 

Dindi’s Curse

 

I ate stale garlic toast while

you packed, expected a dramatic

exit, got a crippled kiss.  You’d

 

have fixed the mailbox had

you stayed.  Sun spindles

turned in our maple, made

leaf coats.  I asked Anteros

to put a curse on you. 

 

The mail truck’s coming closer. 

He’ll see the ruin,

an open metal mouth,

ants crawling on it.       

 

 

 Dindi Nothing

 

A caesarean baby, I tried

to cling tight.  Doctors

yanked me out.  Mom called me

her bundle of joy but joy gets

the flu too, pukes.  Someday

I won’t be.  Let ground

take my ashes, respect them

with red cardinal

flowers.  Dirt and worms,

fabulous teachers, will have

my full attention,

which, by then,

will be nothing.

 

Cowsills’ Epiphany

 

In the back seat I wait for my parents

to buy sausage at the Alpine German Deli,

absently hum “The Candy Kid,” The Cowsills’

68 Christmas song, the light

blue MGM single bubbling harmonies up

 

from our brown console.  In the lyrics, some guy,

too depressed to go to a party sees a hobo Santa

collecting for the Salvation Army (oh, dreary bells!)

a kid starts dancing.  This song will never get on

a Hollywood movie soundtrack.  My friend Mike calls

 

that moment when Candy starts dancing

epiphanic.  It is.  But of what?

That Christmas will end, giving everyone good             

reason to dance?  Will dancing stop one throat

from taking one bullet?  My parents open the car,

 

lean the sausage beside me.  As we drive home,

traffic becomes a hail storm.  Everyone’s getting

plunked on the head.  And look!  The Candy Kid,                     

dancing out onto the noisy street, happy

as all get out, as all get out

to join him.

 

 

 Argument

 

No yelling, I’m

sullen as a popped balloon.

You’re angry.  We seesaw,

go mute, seesaw faster. 

 

I want the Weather Station’s

Jim Cantore to put a weather map

between us.  Hurricane footage. 

Fear grows, mold

on the Chinese food carton

left in the sink three days ago. 

 

It ends without ending--

we bookmarked anger

to return to the same page later.

 

 

Four Poems by Don G. Morgan

 

If Only

 

Her smile and those stars.

If one could only sit amid these many lights without feeling cold.

If one could only do this.

 

Morning

 

It is a moonscape: broken glass, oatmeal concrete, opaque shadows.

Still dim; eyelashes to break citrus, gold, yellow—

Tumbling down stairs, boxes flatten, dominoes fly, 
Millipede arms, legs and fingers drumming.

 

Pictures wave on a curtain of wind,
Strobe lights, lasers and messages on the wall.

Broken down, white cat front-end transmission,
Stagger weighted motion, swinging outward counter-balance steel ball…

 

The smell of machine oil, the tap of feet 
Passing overhead        re-lock.

Cylinders revolve, levers catch, barrels rotate,

Meaning, vision and dreams return

 

Complete.

 

Start again the day.

 

 

Red Dress

 

Run, Red Dress, run

Run to him

 

Down the hall,

‘Round the corner, 

Through the door

To his bed.

 

Let your tongue dance

On his cheek and lips

 

Dance slow wind

Speak hot breath

 

Bear him away on waves of kisses and

Deliver him again and again.

 

 

My Eyes

 

 

With my eyes, I do not see everything.

There is so much in the time between isn’t

And is that I will never know.

 

Wondrous times of becoming,

Inchoate and virgin,

Mysterious and energetic.

 

But among us, I know there are those that do participate

In the birth of dawn, rising in the breath between heartbeats,

Each marvelous morning.

 

And witness the shift of winter to spring

In the way light changes focus in the

Prism of the sky.

 

As for me,

 

Last night it snowed,

This morning it rained,

This afternoon while my bedroom window burned

With the sun’s brilliant metallic fire

The trees out back unfolded their first green buds.

 

In hours, there will be more.

Tomorrow there will be leaves

And in a few days I will not be able to see through

 

The trees at all.

 

 

Two Poems by Frank Pray

 

That Boy


A soul dropped into time and space

Like a living land rover

To explore a foreign soil

Called home.

Only problem was—

Houston cut all communication,

Erased all memory of life

Before the launch,

Making him part of the experiment.

He and a whole crop of data collectors

Born across a nation’s breadth

Combed the landscape like ants

Gathering and becoming

The minutia of a million memories.

 

That Man


Vaguely sensing he is something living

Within a dying vessel

And somehow conscious

That the data has not been harvested in vain,

Has an ET moment that it is nearing time to return.

How many dots must he connect to see

That the game played is not the reality?

If he looks up a second, an insect stunned with insight,

To grasp even a hint of his mission and purpose,

Does he acquire some trace of dignity?

Is he set free of his limitations?

Does his anesthetized brain

Come alive like an electrical grid

That lights every small event he has gathered

Into this thing called “his life?”

Does he at death place his offering

Fully aware before the One who sent him?

 

 

Five Poems by Dah Helmer

 

Yuba

 

Campfire blazes and wavers,

like desert curtains at sunrise.

Orange skin beneath dry sky,

red blood knitted to blue veins.

A spread of smoke flutters, ripples,

as if silk ascends, floats away.

 

At the river’s edge, barefoot

in the wild mud, you are an egret,

a water song, a smooth rock, sensual

and meditative. Further out, light

and breeze are lively nerves against
the dark wooded shore, against

the weight of dusty boulders.

 

You say: “The more that we indulge

in the river’s gospels and hymns the less

we’ll question existence, and the raw heat

between earth and stars, the very element

that we are, is clear truth, is pain and pleasure,

is remembering and forgetting.”

 

The fire hisses and spits, as if a nest of lizards.

The river murmurs, like a wondrous huge moth.

Dawn’s light lifts higher to the valley’s steeple,

to the tips of fir, lit, like majestic candles.

Within my human cave, my human emptiness,

I am anxious to believe you.

 

You say: “Confusion is a whimper, a deep sigh

from a mountain lion’s sleep. Life is breath

set on fire by no one, that burns out with use.

Memories are lights along the journey

that become diffused lamps.”

 

I watch you step into the river where

the water casts its formation around

your thighs. You shiver: a featherless bird.

Your long, dark hair gestures the breeze

with a tribal poise that is the mythology,

the passage, the shadow severed from the body,

the breath that leaves no trace.

 

You say: “The Spirit-Seed spreads its roots

throughout earth, unfurling from the sky,

falling from each dead star into the water.

Water resonates in our bodies. It hems

the stardust into bones and nerve centers,

into vibrant voices, into living and dying.

Life is the bullet and death is the spent

cartridge—so, upon reaching the expiration

date, why must we turn as pale and empty

as an abandoned chrysalis?”

 

Being that you’re facing the Yuba

and speaking, I am not sure if this question

is for me. I remain silent and watch

sunlight drape, like amber tapestry, over

the edge of the forest and cross the water.

Trout become angels swimming. Reeds

are yellow guideposts. River snakes are

dark gray mountain roads on a wet map.

Somewhere, the rapids are booming,

like furious storms, agitated and aggressive.

 

I place a log on the fire and watch it flame

into sunburn on its back. Above the Yuba,

a golden eagle hovers then dives and lifts

a rainbow trout into the sky.

 

You remove your sheer dress, and your seductive

nakedness disappears beneath cold water.

I count the seconds, as if a dream has left you

unfinished, as if each air bubble is a silent scream,

as if I have woken up alone with nothing,

with nothing at all.

 

The Moon’s Deep Wounds

 

When the soothing daylight

became absorbed

by the dim-colored distance

and the moon’s beak,

like a horde of splinters,

hit with a thud against earth,

night fell with a rumble

that made no noise.

 

Then the abrupt moonlight

got caught in your dark hair,

and the early evening air

untangled autumn’s roots,

its twilight, its temple of leaves.

 

I watched you pull closer to yourself,

shaking, like a thin spidery web.

 

You said: “Maybe life is an invalid,

or a host gone astray, and inside

each circle of breath there’s a path,

or a light, that winds around

and comes back to us … and … maybe …

 

(pause to shiver)

 

… on the day that we are going to die the veil lifts

and we know exactly what it is that we need,

and when we turn back to reach for it we fade away.”

 

Suddenly your gaze was that of a wolf,

calm and transfixed, unaware

of its divine ripeness, and aware only

of its physical hunger.

 

You asked, rhetorically: “If love is the master key

to the cosmic equation, then why do lovers

become disjointed, like worn out nets?

—because the human heart is fallible

and powerless at the burning hour.”

 

Looking out over the wooded valley,

where gray light feeds on the wilderness,

a jovial wind makes the leaves laugh and blur

and peel from the trees, like orange embers

fleeing from a fire.

In the dark stubble of the forest

the distance wavered, then disappeared.

The day was gone.

 

You continued: “The bane of our existence

is cold sweat within the icy throes of sinister dreams.

There’s too much drizzle, too much clutter.

Then nothing … nothing at all.”

 

We heard voices coming from along the river,

children’s delicate voices, gentle laughter,

happiness the color of autumn, a crackling fire.

White smoke rose from the valley’s black shroud, rose,

like ghostly medicine over the moon’s deep wounds,

 

and the wind shifted to a steady chilled motion.

You shuddered in silence.

Overhead, the noisy geese made their escape,

and every leaf was shaking.

 

Nocturne in D-Flat Minor

 

In the same way breezeless trees are still,

I ask for nothing,

only to be.

Today is another demand,

the deep churning of time that quickens

the dust,

that which falls silently into the hole

till nothing is left

but the final sleep of exhausted flowers.

If I could translate this,

this thin string of old light,

it would be the loneliness 

of a single shoe left behind.

If I could wake up and forget your absence,

this pale heart would be less heavy.

I dare say nothing. Nothing.

Only, I have spoken a few words too many.

 

Across a blue smear

I watch the wind-scattered clouds break apart.

They say nothing,

not even thank you

to the kindness of the wind,

for its long body touches

each cloud’s demise.

The wind is blind, so it only touches,

still, it is possible to leave,

to break apart,

to enter the hole without feeling,

to feel nothing

for what we leave behind.

 

Eulogy for Roses

 

The wrinkle in this day

red roses faded blush

Pretty dead flowers

sink into earth

wrought with sighs

till nothing beckons 

 

There’s a burn in this day

in each nerve there’s a burn

 

Let’s wish this day goodbye

Let’s wish this day good luck

This day raised by the face of sun

lowered by the face of moon

 

This day petals shriveled

over the ground

tumbled then shriveled

till motion lost hope

and folded

like an empty sleight of hand

 

Sweeping Heaven

 

The bent-over old man knows

You can tell by the winter

in his eyes and how

he rakes the leaves

slowly

 

Sadness detaches him

from conversation as he sees

no value in words

for he is tired of life

and misses his wife

and slowly

he rakes the leaves

 

His son lives far away

seldom comes around

and when he does he’s anxious

to get back home

to his wife and child

and slowly

the old man rakes the leaves

 

In autumn’s chill

the old man is an empty self

of a past filled with

affectionate pleasures

and attention to necessities

now slowly

he rakes the leaves

like an angel sweeping heaven

 

He is preparing

 

 

Five Poems by Cal Freeman

 

A-Ant, Oxford English Dictionary, 1884 

 

Before bedlam, or the Bethlam

watcher making allowances for my pens,

before aphids were herded onto a leaf

by hungry carpenter ants,

ant alone was an ending. 

Still, the doctor wrote,

"Monomaniac, lunatic, insane, until

Her Majesty's pleasure be known":

Broadmoor asylum where the Fenians

roamed, marked my books each night,

hustled me from the hospital,

flogged me in the streets. 

 

Ancillary, as though I were small,

anglomania, as though English

were a disease.  Perhaps so.  In a decade

I'd be the chaloner without wool, holding

paper leaves for these shifty words, etymologies

crawling toward Oxford in the mail. 

When arrangement came for my release

it was too late.  Leaves of my harvest years:

 

George Merrett's murder, an Irish soldier

screaming in Virginia woods, the brand

I held pressed firm against his cheek, 

marking "D" for deserter.  Girls bathing

in the Shanghalese surf; before

masturbation I always dream of them.

I've read Professor Murray's note of thanks

so many times the letters

haul me with my name: a bread crumb,

saddled to the backs of ants.  

 

Ant, a Correction

 

Not

“the small social insect

of the hymenopteras order.”

I have gotten off course.

“Ant” comes from the French

for “sometimes.”

Tenant, valiant, claimant.

Once I was a tenant,

sometimes am a tenant

of this block.  Perduring

claimant, I cannot find

the sometimes.  I am told

I am not always pleasant.

This is sensible:

I recant the worries

that have carried my whole

weight in mandibles.

 

.

Cow  

 
                                       (Cud turned slow in its mouth 
                                        in a southern field in a southern night) 
 
If the jaw were what stayed me, 
I'd be fine turning in the spittle green, 
in the simplicity of taste and mastication. 
Before stumbling words, there was a cow. 
                             The night I held a brand 
to the deserting soldier's face, I saw the flicker 
of the dumb animal's eyes and knew 
that the searing flesh was a sluggish happening 
in the gray mess beneath its skull, 
that the branded boy's uniform was being 
multiplied by thousands in the bramble 
and brush of those Virginia woods. 
 
                                     (A cow on the inroads to the dark, 1864. 
                                     The killing, though 1864 
                                     has no cornerstone on killing) 
 
They said prayers; the silent ones were dead 
with battlefield thoughts that would've been prayers 
given the breath.  If they were considered 
at all, it was with the grace no one affords 
me now, as I drag this forelock of hair 
over the heavy books in my cell, leaning 
toward James Murray's befuddled intent, 
a lexicon of reason where each word is compiled, 
gnawed over, and nearly understood. 
 
                                     (The cow held sprigs of clover 
                                      in its gums.  It could still taste 
                                      the sweetness when it spat 
                                      the stems in the pasture ground.) 
 
  

Song

 

I wish I was

the slack-jawed croppy boy

crooning the grey to rest

in its pall over London,

and the grey biding everything

but time, and the mongers and

the cockle-shells and

the bawdy tunes to be made

there at the noon whistle

in the wisdom of the public house.

 

 

Red Lion

 

 

Merrett died in the red lion’s shadow

near the Red Lion Brewery wall.

I stand there still, smoking Colt

revolver in my hand, surgical knife

tucked beneath my belt.  The Fenian

I chased to kill was no Fenian at all.

Red lion leaps to stoker: George Merrett

reporting for the dawn shift of sifting

coal beneath vats of bubbling hops.

Am I William Chester Minor?  Was it a man

who fell?  Of course it was a man.

You do not suppose I would be so cowardly

as to shoot a woman.  That stinking

Lambeth Marsh where the brewery smell

sat each morning

like a dog atop a turd-pile.

The Scotland Yard detective failed

me, refused to listen to the footfalls

in my eaves.  I work alone in the red

lion’s shadow on the same sequence:

“bullet” to “death,” which will not end it. 

 

 

Three Poems by Wayne Burke

 

Old Buddy

 

I stopped in to see my old buddy

in the old neighborhood

and

he did not recognize me

because I wore mirror shades

and I thought he might attack

so tore the glasses off and

then we sat in his backyard which

seemed smaller than I remembered

and when he went back into the house

to get me a beer

his mother came out and

looked at me and said

“I wondered who the bald man in the yard was.”

My buddy, who lived in the apartment above

his parents, told me

he was divorced after

his wife ran off with his best friend

and that he, my old buddy, had

got religion

and that

the Bible

was the first book he’d ever read

from beginning to end.

 

Fruit of the Loom

 

After having had the shit

kicked out of me

in a bar in Central Square

I walked alone

up the sidewalk bricks

toward Harvard and the Charles River.

The few people I met

gave me

a wide berth

after a gawk at my face

which must not have looked

pretty

and I reached the river bank

and took my pants off

then underwear

which I began to wash out

but thought hell with it and

threw them into the swirling dark

where

they were later found by an oarsman

rowing in a regatta

speared at the end of an oar like a white fish

species unknown.

 

Railroad Tracks

 

Hanging out on the railroad tracks

with my buddies,

a hippie ex-ski bum

and a psychiatric patient who

once put a bullet from a thirty-ought-six

into the church steeple.

What am I doing on the tracks, I ask myself.

Wasn’t I President of my class in

high school?

Didn’t I spend a year at the University?

None of that matters now—

nothing matters except

the pot

and the beer.

Everything else,

like the world situation

for example,

is

like us,

immaterial.

 

 

Marriage Proposal By David Klein

 

Marriage Proposal is part of a larger collection of poems, Carmen Fierra Belongs to No one

 

Marriage Proposal

 

Can you see yourself in a subsidy

co-op in Jackson Heights,

flock of kids at your feet

and throat?

 

Weary line foreman

stumbling home to thrill you

with his latest battle of the meat market.

Now where’s your Moon,

your Waterfall,

your Green Fires of May?

 

Nothing but the pages of a travel brochure

dumbass Tin Soldier,

to see eternity in a Walmart ring

don’t you know the bride

and groom on a wedding

cake are just

food dye and sugar?

 

He’d press them in his

palm to make

a wafer of them

 

Wonder,

or for a fleeting moment

wish

give birth to yourself

 

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    Lost Coast Review - Poetry - Poetry by Carolyn Gregory, Gale Acuff, Wendy Scott, Kenneth Pobo, Don G. Morgan, Frank Pray, Dah Helmer, Cal Freeman, Wayne Burke, and David Klein
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Reader Comments (1)

Casey,

Congratulations! This is a wonderful collection of poetry,
and I am honored to be included.

Thank you,
dah

November 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDah

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