Tuesday Morning

The willow oak is
still holding many
dead leaves
A grieving mother
unwilling
to release
from her clutches
those lost children
whose winter has come
and in the background
Ustad Vilayat Khan’s
Raag Bhairavi alap
sings from his sitar
and I hear her tears
in each sweet meend

 

Mother

Love was the absence of pain
The belt withheld for paying obeisance
if the grades were good
depending on her mood
she might be lenient
a roof food clothes bed
nuff said
she the ramrod of this
orphanage equivalent
and no permission for
opinions
self
nurturing
allowed

Behind the Pen

I’m a rhythm writer primarily
My rhymes internal
Often merely implied
Subjects diverse
Some themes universal
Unrehearsed
Unlearned
A style cobbled from
an amalgam of great
poetic minds that
I imbibe without shame
If I am better today
than yesterday then
osmosis is alive
and well

Stain of Youth

When I was eleven or twelve
we lived in a house on
Grove Lane
The grove was
noticeably absent
but we did have a huge
black walnut tree and
boy did she produce
big aluminum trashcans
full we gathered and
dragged to the garage
until the green husks
began to fall off
The rest was up to us
and they stained
anything and everything
they touched
hands
clothes
whatever
but I don’t recall
what became of them
or who ate them
I never really
cared for walnuts

Poetry Slave

A poem!
A poem!
screamed the damnable wretches
as if I could open my hand and
one would fall out like candy
A poem!
Their words tore at me
determined as they were
to force my soul out
drop by inky drop
What could I do, a
poor slave to the masses
so I tossed them this –
and it passed

Dad

Up early
instant coffee
cigarettes
to work
hard work
cigarettes, Winstons
home
dinner
cigarettes
Korean war vet
bit of TV
to bed by eight
repeat
weekends
to the
library and
the dump
sneaking a few Schlitz
on the trip
to avoid mom’s angry fits
listen to the race on AM
fall asleep on the couch

That was dad

Old School

Will there be anyone left who can read a map
when the grid collapses? Those creased
accordion sheets of
codes
colors
lines
and
numbers
once free at every gas station
and motel
I kept one from
everywhere
in case I found myself
in some faraway
there
unexpectedly
I would know where to turn
without a disembodied voice
telling me

Silence and Shadow

Silence and shadow
hold all that is essential
for a soul to know
yet the propensity of man
is to avoid them both
Preferring what is easily seen
over the noiseless source
of all things
stumbling drunkenly
through this chaotic dream

Midnight Ride

Some evenings the sound
of a westbound train
escapes the constraints
of time and space and the
clack
clack
clack
tears from the track
thru my back door
thru my chest
taking my soul aboard
roaring fearlessly backwards
150 years and I smell
the prairie grass and
see the
Sioux
riding
free