Tag: Memories

A Not So Idyll Idyll (Long Ago in West Virginia)

I only visited
my paternal grandfather
A man who mistreated my dad
passed him around to
relatives houses
My mother insisted on the visit
I don’t know why
I was around nine at the time
sitting in the front room
The special room
that was not often used
in their little West Virginia
farmhouse and most of what
I recall is how dark it was
And small
And a smell – mothballs?
And how tall my grandfather
looked entering the room
Backlit by the bright
kitchen light behind him
and a mantle clock
Tick tock
Tick tock
Tick tock
and it was the only
sound on the face
of God’s green earth

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
but I don’t recall
what became of them
or who ate them
I never really
cared for walnuts


Up early
instant coffee
to work
hard work
cigarettes, Winstons
Korean war vet
bit of TV
to bed by eight
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

How Now Lowbrow Cow

My aunt Janie raised
beef cattle for a living
in West Virginia
I spent a few summers up
there helping out when
I was younger and something
she said stuck in my head –
that a Holstein was the
dumbest cow alive.
Now, try as I might, for
the life of me I can’t
arrive at what kind of
bovine behavior could
clearly brand it as the
“dumb one” among its
cud-chewing kin.
My aunt has passed
so I can’t ask and
it’s troubling my mind
What do they do?
Miss the door and
face-plant into the
side of the barn?
Do they try to climb
on the tractor and
crow at dawn?
Stare directly at the
sun until blind?
Sit down to pee?
It’s a mystery
to me – I find
myself in a
cow conundrum
Drifting through
the great unknown
of dairy cow conduct

Fog Advisory

Events that have
passed into memory
are no longer real

Absent the moment,
the visceral
blood and guts
of being there
they are reduced to
colorful shades of air



Yet we choose
to live there
Lost in their
misty miasma

Once, No More

I remember Earl’s
growing up
A dump where
you could buy
five burgers
for a buck
then pass through
a doorless door
and spend your
quarters and
your luck
at the smoke
swaddled pool tables
stained with beer
And a few times
mom sent me there
to round up dad
who didn’t fare too bad
for a one-handed man
Then there was
Double D’s
alone on a hill
outside of the town
where I live now
Steamed crabs
by the bushel
Ashtrays on
picnic tables
and lots of
biker muscle
always hanging out
A certified dive
that thrived
Long ago bulldozed
Imposed upon by
the drug scene
of a Walgreens
And a Walmart
And a Target
And a PetSmart
I should have
captured some
pictures but
I figured
nothing would change
Everything was going
to stay the same
and never go away
I’m still guilty
of that fantasy

The Boy Who Was King

Playing backyard football
in the park, scuffed up
and dirty until just before dark
in the cool October breeze
of my teens, all the colorful
leaves tumbling along
rustling songs of promise,
of first loves, of dreams,
and all the learning I
have mastered since then
has not added to or
surpassed the wisdom
of that time, when all
the world was mine

Of Fish and Cattle

We used to fish
there, under a
short bridge spanning
a silver sliver of the
cow pasture, an oddly
monikered river
to be sure but
chubs and
horny heads
galore could be
wrangled ashore
most any afternoon
between bites of
prepackaged 7-11
ham and cheese
I have to
hand it to the
cows, though,
such crafty beasts,
not one bovine ever
nibbled my line

Winds Of Time

This breeze tonight
brings me back to
October ’79

the first time
I felt its
its touch
the sweet
of my first
burning crush

I never told her

now older
I see one less
that young me
had to shoulder

but how this
breeze survived
years through
space and time well

your guess is as
good as mine


My older brother would spring
from the dark living room
where we weren’t allowed to sit,
his hands up in the
corny claw shape
we humans make
and unleash a loud growl
to scare me. It always worked,
even when I thought I knew
it was coming, and I would
rain windmill punches down
on his running retreat.
I’m no longer afraid of the dark,
and death has kept
my brother hidden
for well over
10,000 nights now.
I wonder where,
and if he is planning
to spring out and
scare me again
some day.