Cold rain falls in the river, flows down to the sea, gets into the skyline, circles endlessly. Same old rain on the wind, same old pain in my soul.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

ran into an old friend today,
to be sure.

you see,
I was sure,
he was long gone,
even hoped so.

a dreamer,
this one,
that won’t ever
amount to nothing
cept whittlin clouds
into snowflakes.

I was out
in an old familiar
place, hummin an old
familiar tune, from
an old familiar time.

the wind was right
the season sure
the clouds asleep,
just right for carving.

he dropped by
as I was cutting wood
under these here clouds.
he winked
pockets packed
and I wiped my brow
to his knowing.

we agreed to share a beer
and a stump
carved into chair
when January whistled boredom
from ten thousand feet
of day dream.

God, it was good to see him,
though he’s such a fuck
whistles out his ass
and calls it maple syrup;
a real
piece of work,
this one.

we studied the clouds
and weighed em out
like butcher’s beef
along the ridge line
while our fingers numbed
to remembrance
and barley brew.

we wondered
just how long those trees
have swayed
and if Yankee soldiers
ever silhouetted
the sky line
in no reason why.

I showed him the chicken coop
of simple family dreams
that were cashed in
for ten cents on the dollar

the murdered cedars
that would never
make a grape arbor

and the garden
by scorned neglect.

a killin field
only safe for
slum dog rabbits.

he never asked
about the family,
he always knows

we reminisced.
of winters past
and summers
that never were,
but might have been.

we never backslap
or laugh out loud,
we sideways glance
giving comfort.

he didn’t ask how I was
he knows what I am

he didn’t ask
what’s new
or hers past
I never could
draw a winning hand
cept in solitaire
and only if I cheat.

but we drank a beer,
and pretended
it wasn’t cold
-the day that is,
and it was enough.

we of tripped up dreams
and tangled ledger.

our failures hang upon trees in Mexico
like misguided butterflies
that couldn’t
spawn a maggot
in a shit pile.

but a shrug
a beer
a broken ridgeline
and an old friend
cures all today
and hides tomorrows
where I’ll pretend
not to look.

now, the clouds are
the beer is kind,
and the friendship,

a toast then
to another year
another ten penny nail
in thread bare tires
on a bus
comin in from Buffalo.

and a toast to him
and to clouds,
and to you,
and what almost was.

Happy New Year


Monday, December 21, 2009



I began writing this in a moment, on a very bad day when I thought I had lost something dear and precious. Later, I found hope and added hope to this. I am opening comments to this because Shadow has threatened me with great bodily harm if I don't.

The village was nondescript. Except that it lay on the edge of where war had once been. The big one.
He walked the fields that lay dormant for a thousand years. He cried as he walked, remembering what could not be forgotten.
His feet fell heavy and lifted even heavier, as if clay learned roots to better torment the living.
Old women hung laundry in the damp hopelessness and men counted coins in their shops to mark time. But it was he, the conscience of their soul, that could not be ignored. They watched him and dwelt in his misery, as children scratched marks in cold stone.
The snow fell as Christmas snow should. Green chased red in never ending tag. The children lay upon beds of makeshift dreams and colored green trees under orange crayons of sunshine, as December blew through the cracks.
She did the dishes in hopes of his late return. Shame kept her from the children. Fear kept her from the window.
One of the children, the smallest, looked up out the frosted window to the neighbor's laughs, racing from window to window. And wondered.
It was three in the morning. Another hour to go as he looked to the arm of his stiff blue
security uniform of feigned importance. Spending time he noticed his wrists and then his hands. So soft. Not the brown leather hands his grandfathers wore like worn suitcases, their people's history carried all right there. His, too soft. He pulled his sleeves low. Old women in generic hair pulled greasy handles as if a basket of dimes would really matter now. Grateful husbands, miserable old bastards really- slept in peace dreaming of flat tires on buses of glory.
Glory. Yes, what glory for a tribe that once ruled the plains and now hoodwinked and babysat old white women for miserable old bastards. He looked at his watch again and briefly thought of long ago, and seasons out of time.
In the beginning was light, and the light was good. Then there were seas, and the seas were good. Then were there trees, and grass and green fruit, and it was all good. Then a moon, a Sun and stars beyond measure. And it was good. Then great whales and beasts and great birds and all that, was good also.
Then there was man and he was given dominion over all that was good.

I dream.

A village of gentle breezes where the air dries perfectly. A place where coins have no place and children roll and laugh in fields of wildflowers as men smoking empty pipes smile in feathered line and lean to friendly trees that have never seen a war.

I dream.

A Christmas Morn where every child knows love and laughter in marshmallow hugs and the green catches the red in a new colour. A December that doesn't play favorites.

I dream.
Of peace and buffalo on a golden plain of simple existence. A field of harmony in a world void of tour buses and slot machines.

I dream, because I believe. He who called it good says the lion will once more lay down with the lamb. This is my hope.
Merry Christmas~rick

Monday, December 7, 2009


There are images from our past. Music. Sights. Smells. Sounds. Some stay with us in photo-shop breakdown. I see a certain colour combination and it reminds me of something from long ago but I’m not sure what. What I do know is that these triggers alter my emotions and pin stripe my moods.
I’m fortunate that I rarely fall to triggers that take me to black and I feel for those susceptible to such recurrences. Me, I see an empty parking lot at two-am with a steady snow falling through the yellow light and the sound of a plow scraping across town somewhere and I pocket down and smile deep, knowing school will be cancelled.

the gold that white ambulates
sparkles in midnight glitter.

black painted silver
sweeps down
in exposed waves of accumulation
telling soft tales
of Winter solitude
under the lone light
of an empty school lot.

viewed in this manner,
snow is understood.

a train heard,
through blind hills
but all encompassing
it penetrates the village
soothing the ancient
luring the young
giving the wind voice
in the language of
where and when

heard in this manner,
time is understood.

the rhythm of tired waves
the stillness
of the red-tails glide
an alone child
on a squeaky swing


A grandmother’s shaky smile
a gift in tender wrap
weeping incited
by long ago scent

do you remember

the sound of rain on your tent?
the taste of your first red kool-aid?
the smell of your first barbeque?
the softness of your first kiss?
the wetness of your first good kiss?
the trust in a friends eyes?
the way of a spring storm?
the warmth of a fall breeze?
the crunch of fresh snow?

then you have understanding
and a recipe
for tomorrow’s hope.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Nicole and Dan

I know most people assume I only think and write nasty, acerbic shit, so forgive me if I take a short break from the negative. I've been reflecting on my children, and how they've managed to grow into absolutely wonderful, brilliant adults in spite of my leadings. I encouraged their drowning in lakes and jumping from cliffs. I told them the dastardly tales of my youth and of my foibled history. I've led them in poverty all over this country and taught them that Pepsi for breakfast was perfectly fine. I've never imposed a curfew on them. I've never grounded them.
I've never had to.
For some reason they've just always had a weird knack for doing what's right and it still drives me crazy. It's so not me.
So I guess I must credit their Mother, though she swears it isn't her. Anyway, I was thinking on them a bit lately. This is what resulted.
I have a daughter. I love her dearly. She's grown now. A mystery always. Always sleek and under the radar. Words are used only when necessary.

the harbour
it looks still
and peaceful
from this hillside

I squat
ancient observer

was a time
the time
when I worked
the dock

she stayed close
back then

her wake was playful
her conning tower
to the stars

I rubbed her
I smoothed her
I polished her
-she let me

but the day
has grown on,
the shadows stretch

her wake is strong
full of purpose

she polishes
in her movement
a barnacle
wouldn't dare approach

so I walk the hillsides
that surround
her emergence

ancient observer

she goes out now
much farther
much deeper
by the learning
of her engine,
the motive
of her rudder
and the pull
of the tide

others watch
and give passage
to her sleekness
as she slowly disappears
below the surface

one day,
she won’t return
neither good nor bad
it just is
the way of life

so I walk
the hillside
ancient observer

and dream of where she’s going
and hope
her bunkers filled
and her seams dry

and I hope
as she slides
beneath the surface
that her periscope
will rise once
and turn
to look
for the
ancient observer
who looks from squat
upon a windblown


I have a son. I love him. He's brilliant, and funny when frustrated. Loves to argue. Dabbles in everything. Extremely creative. He always tries to do the right thing-nothing like me. I wonder where it will all take him.

a strange one,
this long, lanky

a hard thinker
from his roots
of tender lily

I don’t miss
the times we had
so much
as the times
we never had
and should have.

a boat builder
of tobacco sticks
he might have seen it float
-had I seen it float

he believes in science
and logic
and modern man

my belief in such
lies fragmented
in the craters
of a war
beyond this earth.

he wants,
I think,
to be battleship
but one that swerves
to avoid sea turtles
or stops to rescue
broken birds

I don’t know how to tell him
he can’t be both.

I just know he can’t.

he’s stronger than me
he will be battleship
in the name of progress
and logic.

I wish him well
but I wish him
stars over gps
and enough trouble
to keep him spirit

I will take the broken bird
and tired turtle
and swim for an island
that knows no

and dream
of tobacco stick boats
and a little boy
who once sailed
a plastic lid
across a lake
with a sister
for crew.

and miss the times
we never had.
(I sorrow greatly for any love I ever held back. I know them to be forgiving)


Monday, November 23, 2009

Making Sense Of It All

I have a problem. Nothing in this world makes sense to me anymore except crazy lyrics to washed-out old songs. Funny, I remember a time when I thought I had the world figured out, but didn’t have a clue what Bernie Taupin was trying to say. Go figure.

Making Sense of it All
Levon likes his money…

Google gave me directions,
last week
clickety tick
flippety whirr
zip! zip! zip!

we’re on a first name basis,
this Google fellow

he’s very helpful
and I trust him

so when he said left,
left I went
with a thank you
so very,
very much!

Levon wears his war wound
like a crown…

he was big
and ugly
this Pennsylvania
with stomp your ass

I told him about Google
and the beauty of
all sunshine
and enlightenment

you know, right?
he didn't know.

he only
and chewed
and nashed
and puckered both
our asses

I guess
to someone-
is not so large
a traffic ticket

Levon sells cartoon balloons
in town
his family business

I’m thinking Brazil.

will the mean man
from Pennsylvania
follow me
like Popeye Doyle?

the Rio Connection

my purse-cinched
feels rather bad
and wishes me well
from tenth story
mascara’d by the

blows up balloons
all day
he’s on the porch swing
watching them fly….

another man
who loves peace
and good prayer
went quail hunting
on God’s
Texas ranch

not sure he had a license
he thought
he did

feathers and ribbons
tangled in stars and stripes.
but the taxidermy man
can clean it up
with speeches
and bugles

now the quail
have taken arms
against the liars
with un-apple pie names
but I fear,
for quail are not always
so bright
and the pound
of flesh
must be sliced
and broiled to perfection.

take a balloon
go sailing…

I went into a bathroom
and sat down

the wall said,
“die niggers!!!”
“Mary Jo is a whore”

these quail
of very little brain

while Levon
slowly dies…

I listen to the man
of eloquent speech
and secret
and wish to believe
his banner of hope
but aged cynicism
stews a cold shoulder
in dented pots

he was born
a pauper to a pawn
on a Christmas day
when the new york times
said God was dead
and the war’s begun
Alvin Tostig
has a son today…

Bob Dylan
has a Christmas album
I guess William Shatner
was busy
I think Cat Stevens
felt too much
and now,
thinks too much.
John Denver
wouldn’t give the Russians
ten million
to fly their space ship
then nose dived
a puddle
near Pebble Beach
Stevie Nicks
now blasts Lindsay Lohan
for poor choices,

and Jesus,
he wants
to go to Venus,
leaving Levon
far behind…

Toby Keith
says he'll put a boot
in the ass of all
who don't fall in line,
and sings that
he likes that her kids
cry down the hall
the Dixie Chicks
dislike senseless wars
and oil driven

now Toby
wades fields of
green confetti
Natalie smells
of rotten
in banishment

How do we like him now?
just fine,
thank you

And Levon likes his money,
spends his days
in a garage,
by the motorway…

I remember the young man
laying lifeless
in blood and
a runaway's tears
at Kent state.
It’s fading,
was she fourteen?
does it even matter anymore?
the man who pulled the trigger,
the American soldier
who STILL eats
apple pie
and toe taps to Toby,
he who aimed
and pulled
does he remember?
67 rounds in 13 seconds,
damn, that's some shootin!
and they fixed bayonets.
did you know that?
we bayonetted our children.
-in Ohio

Cuz he likes the name,
and he sends him to
the finest school
in town…

I remember,
many years ago,
a woman with twin
just one year old.
-can you hear them
pleading for a pick me up?
she left them alone,
in the house,
while she went out
in her yard,
in the Maine cold
to hang laundry
or some other
such malfeasance .

this rebel
wore mittens,
white ones,
to keep her fingers warm.

A hunter shot her
right through the heart.
clean as a whistle
dead as a doornail.
the little girls waiting
must have wondered
of the sound,
and the cries of "Dear God help me"
that the neighbor lady heard.

how dare she wear white mittens
in her yard.
they bellered and arm waved
in uproar
the invading survivors
were driven
back to Iowa
where they belong.
ungrateful bastards!

the hunter lost his license
and was greatly
and all was well,
once more.
Her name was Karen Wood.
do you remember?
my friend, Google
can help.

if we reached up
and spun
the sun
would we get
another turn?

or just more shots?

he shall be Levon
he shall be a good man
in the tradition
of the family plan.

{since I've penned this, just last week, a 23yr old girl, a college student collecting frogs with two friends for biology class, was shot dead. BLAM BLAM!! right into oblivion. Her friend was only shot through the hand. Guess that one can't go on the wall. How frikken bad can one want a deer? Do deer in Virginia and Maine look like students and mothers? A year or two ago in Minnesota, an old guy hunting from his lawn chair in his driveway shot a horse out from under a young girl next door. Everyone but the young girl and horse thought it was a hoot. LOL}

Monday, November 9, 2009

Northern Sky

Well, if there's any I haven't completely offended yet, this just might knock the fence-sitters down. Sometimes we find ourselves out of our element and in the rush to blend in, stumble into something better left to experts. I've spent many years in the South. Being a foreigner, it took me awhile to find my way. But the truth is, I'm Northern. Always will be. I just need to be a better visitor to the South.


Warning #1- The language in this piece is rough and raw. If you are offended at all by such language, you may want to skip this read.

Warning#2-To all my friends south of the Mason-Dixon; please put on another layer of skin. I know the south is beautiful and the list long as to why so, this is just a tongue in cheek post about finding myself far from home.

I’ve swooned
and wooed
to the southern belle charm
just a hip swagglin whore
eyelash batting her way
confederate ranks.

oh, yes,
she slapped my sloppy white ass
while bubble gum popping
to my school girl giggle

“well, mah, aintchu a perky thang!”

why yes, ma’am, I demurred.
all rubbin my ass,
sweet and shy

I flashed my tah tahs
and threw up at Bristol
got banged by four
under a peach tree in Atlanta
and two-finger whistled
a Dallas rodeo
while he slipped his hand
down my panties
to take my temperature

she always said,
“ya’ll come back!”
but that’s the problem;
she always said it
and she always called me ‘Hon’

my ass got sloppier.

not sure if it was Bubba’s BBQ
or Bubba’s cooking me
over his rusty tailgate.

now don’t get me wrong,
ain’t nothing wrong with Bubba
or his bent up gate.

ain’t nothing wrong with
Earnhardt or Bristol
or getting fucked
under a peach tree
by boys baked
in the jungle heat
all ‘baccer plug droolin

but I woke up
one day,
all tramped out.
I smelled it fore I seen it.

I tried from the window,
but it was too small.
So I kicked open that door,
that mother son of a bitchen door
and stepped outside.

There it was,
higher than I remembered it.
bronze and gray
and three sheets to the wind
yet stone sober
and beautifully stoic

the northern sky.
My Northern Sky.
The sky that coddled my wet dreams
in moose shit
and bear scratch.

the sky that froze the moon white
and lured me to hidden wonders
the sky that made me one with the universe
on starry nights of chosen solitude.
The sky that understood Christmas
and strong armed spring behind the rockies

it shouldered me,
in the doorway
through mournful cries
of a weeping wind
that a cypress
could never translate.
but I could,
with the help of a pine
and a hungry grayjack

the southern lady
wouldn’t give two shakes of a stick
for this bullshit we call North

blizzard sittin
to a five gallon bucket
on a twenty below field of scarred ice

mosquito slappin
to the last sunfish
on a loon guarded lake

snow shovelin
cable jumpimg
pipe freezing son of an ornery ass mother

we’re too stupid to make money at a yard sale,
we just wanna get rid of shit
and our barbeques
are mostly just hamburger

A girl hardly ever
gets banged by four guys
under a tree
cuz it’s too damn cold,
pine needles hurt
and she’d slap em silly
for the try

So now my ass
is not so sloppy
I’m relearning
“good deal” and “you betcha”
and I’ve become invisible
below 72 degrees

my perfidy forgiven,
the Northern sky
has come to scold
and take me home.


Monday, November 2, 2009

My Old Foe, Death

Death is a cagey bastard. It rarely comes right at you and if it does, it does so at lightning speed. It has a way of showing disinterest until it creeps from the shadows and coddles you into it’s clutches. I choose to search it out, keeping my enemy close, the better to keep an eye on it. It has a need to be in control and that is the battle I choose.

I walk through fields of amber and grey
boot heavy and heart full
all jangle and beat
in search of one who feigns
and waves along
with nonchalance

a foe I wish to draw near.

my life falls heavy
upon my chest
in anchored breath
of heated sorrow
and wasted want

bare and Poseidon-like,
a back of brass and iron.
banded arms in lock formation
jeweled in blood and blight
as emerald and ruby
these eyes of hardened deceit.

echo this,
echo I
hollow made thus
erringly so
you of yesteryear and forever.

but yet, I call
even demand
to one who flicks
the ash of man
across the chessboard
of who dare?
I dare

I search you
in hunt of red October
and dip my fingers
to the depth
of your despair
in beleaguered plea
of selfish surrender.

I spy not
the whiskers of your age
nor the grain
of your youth
but the stench of your choice
I discern
in these fields
of inglorious restitution

and my eyes glint
as my tongue clears the scabbard
of notched forlorn

but you whisper goodbye
and trace
to the whisper of your
the magic
in the chicanery
of your choosing

and once more, you have greased my grasp
with your laughter.

sheath full
of dull worn edge
boot heavy
with rusted jangle
and heart weary
yet alert,
narrow eyed
to the shadows
that chase
along the edge
I plod on


when cease I to hunt you
your cutlass shall claim my blood
in chains
of sullen embrace.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Life and Voyaging

Pardon me, but I'm feeling rather the thief, today. I read this on another site (Never ending Voyage-Hank De Velde) and copied and pasted wholesale. I found it beautiful and encouraging and thought perhaps it may do the same for another.

The quote is from Sterling Hayden who was by no account a saintly type person. He drank way too much and after joining the communist party, turned around and sold out to old J. Edgar giving names and all. Ratbastard.

I include, here, a snippet from an interview with him about that shameful period.

[Q- After the War, you joined in Hollywood the Communist Party?

A- Yes, they put me in what was called "a backlot group," though Ronald Reagan would call it a "cell." I decided right away it wasn't for me. I remember the first meeting I went to, they said the next meeting was Tuesday night at 7:30. My first thought was, "Fuck the Revolution, what about my date with Charlene?"]

Anyway, on to my original thievery;

"In passing ... by Sterling Hayden oct 17

In passing ... "To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea -- cruising, it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about. "'I've always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can't afford it,' some men say. What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine, and before we know it our lives are gone. "What does a man need -- really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in, and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all in the material sense, and we know it. "But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. "Where, then, lies the answer? In choice ! Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?" -- (Sterling Hayden)

Monday, October 12, 2009

People I've Known

As the sand has fallen, I realize that more and more people I once knew I will never know again. It's funny how we never know when the last wave or handshake will come and we take so much for granted.
I remember Perry
just a dollop of a kid.
a snippet of a person
in brown stained levis

we ran
wild and free,
played ball
as if it mattered
and climbed trees
just to fall.

he disappeared in ‘74
along with two others
when that green dart
flew fields of trees
but not nearly
high enough
as an oak huffed it’s chest
to the insanity of youth.

Rob left then, too
a fourteen year old
with a death wish.
adopted, and for some reason,
everyone knew it.
a chipped tooth
and a laugh that couldn’t catch up with itself
it runs still today
in haunted silence.

I lost Dennis a couple years ago.
they said he’d die,
said his heart was sick
but I figured Dennis would get around it.
outsmart it. outplay em. always did.
he was fifty
and out of quarters.

Scotty was smart as a whip
and strong as a bull.
a bar stool philosopher
and a good pitcher.
pinched his pennies
for early retirement.
who knew his heart would just pause
a second too long
on a Sunday highway
and the pennies
would be orphaned
in a ditch of spinning wheels
and twisted handle bars.
I think he was 38
something like that.

I’ve lost a lot of them
some in cars,
some on bikes
some wed
to disease

I’m still losing em,
want names?
why make it personal.

every day
we play Russian roulette
to a loaded house.
somebody’s gonna buy it
and ya can’t fold,
nor beg your way out.
just ask Charlie.
God, how we envied him.
I think he was nineteen
when he and half his family
spiraled a copter into the goldless

you wake up to a full house
aces over queens
and gutter down
to deuces and treys
in the last light
of a hopeless day.

and you never seen it coming
-even when you did.

so lawyer up,
policy pack
and vault tomorrow
in the lessons
of yesterday.

we’re all one muscle,
one split second,
one bad hand
from that
which we all fear most.

perhaps, fear is the thing
we should be fearing
and life
the thing
we should be living.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I Remember It Well

Sometimes, we don’t remember the details exactly as they really happened. And maybe, after all, the devil really is in the details.

I remember it well,
I said,
and you said
but I did anyway.

you looked so-
no, really, you did.
and I laughed to your telling
as you told about
him and, um…

I remember it well.
we took the five
and arrived
and, well,
you know.

It was hot that day,
your hair long
and let down.
I wore that shirt
you never liked.
and you handed me-
no, really, you did.

well, anyway,
we walked through
the park.
I think mid-afternoon.
are you certain?

I remember it well.
your perfume tickling
my nose
and that scarf
wild in the breeze
but I thought…
I was so sure.

did we have coffee?
I thought not.
it snowed.
oh, yes-August
of course

did I have the Buick
are you sure?
was your mother-
no, I suppose not

uh huh,
but I did love you,
did I not?
and you me?
of course.
I remember it well.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

She Dances To Moons

I wrote this for a precious friend, she of so much giving and caring. She has her family. Her faith. Her friends. She has a spirit that shall never grow old and that is her greatest gift to me. I only wish I were a better writer for her.

she waltzes with moons
in a garden of words.
one hand to
the red ripe,
the other
to vine.

a look up
to wishes cast
from a bayou dock
deep in the stillness
of the black
with a casual glance
knowing the pearl-topped
have graced her yesterday
before leaving
for another’s youth,
another’s tomorrow

she loves where
she’s been,
she’s been where
she’s going
and she trances
to second-hand books
and far away looks

love is flawed,
this she pens
in her palimpsest
but her garden
more beautiful.

a treasure
to her friends
and friend to
their treasure
she pours herself
and they drink her
her long stem
to the nectar
of a dragonfly’s ebb
while we rim our finger
and lip the sweetness,
only to
cherish the taste
of her untamed garden
and fevered library.

she dreams,
still, as before.
Bohemian and cut-offs
seventeen forever
and taller than the clouds
and wonders,
and grapples
with the answers
an indifferent bayou

and she dances to moons
with fat red tomatoes
with skinny arms
to her skinny legs
in her garden
of words.

and her garden grows more beautiful
with every dance
and every verse.
pictures and poetry
Stevie Nicks
and morning glories
and tomorrow

A soft, sure smile
She to us
us to her
cupped hands in drink
arm to waist
a garden walk
with a very special friend.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Miss The Smell Of The Water

New York City, Paris, snow-capped peaks and lovers long gone. There are many things we once knew that embed in our souls, taking root, mooring loosely but sure. I miss many things I once held close. None more so than the smell of the water.

did they laugh?
to us?
at our legs?

or the popcorn,
the stale,
white miniature clouds
of buttered delight
that always
drew their beg.

the gulls-

how they made us laugh
and run
and chase


what would we do
if one we had caught?

but we never did.
really wanted to.

~ ~ ~ ~

they held us,
but loosely so

so rigid,
so mariner ancient,
in their anchored stand.

and we played upon them
and the sea
played upon us

the rocks-

we swam
or nearly so

and she held us
in broad bosom bondage
but never too tight
and always cheerful,
in her wake.

we walked the barren beaches
on naked twilight sands,
and cake-walked cliffs
to distant foghorns
and morning bells
of drunken chime
in sparkling charade


we got hot dogged
and potato chipped
to wind unfurled
and too many flies
proficient in the game.


hot dogs here
are just Wal Mart at it’s worst.

the barren beaches,
cover my blighted heart,
crab picked
and starfish skeletal.
church bells of empty souls
toll for truck horns
of impudence.

and the gulls,
those gulls,
to another’s popcorn,
another’s rock,
another’s dream.

I miss me
when I was young.
I miss you
shadowing the horizon
as the moon watched,
tender eyed.
I miss us,
when all we needed
was all we wanted
and that we had.

And I miss the smell of the water.
in your hair,
in your kiss,
in your soul,
in my heart,
in my now.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Boldly Goin To The Moon

This is what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. Or any sleep for that matter. You start believing, silly twit you! Webster wrote the book for a reason and the moon is just a rock. Now go bake cookies and watch basketball. These are the things of substance. The things of Earth.

I think I’ll go to the moon today
and visit William Shatner
I heard he lives there
for the zero gravity
and ocean views

he looks good for his age
don’t ya think?
sure the botox makes him puffy
but hey, eight billion miles
across the boldly goin ain’t chickens feed.

anyway, I like the moon.
I might even claim it. Manifest Destiny
don’tcha know
I’m here-it’s here, it must be mine.
think that’s how it works.

friends have gone there
and returned all smily doodled
and dreamyland starstruck

I wanna be all dreamyland starstruck
and sappylicious terrific.
maybe open a starbucks
virgin territory, fer sure.

I wonder if it rains on the moon?
just star dust and pissywallows I suppose
and the water would just fall off
in gloppy cloppers anyway

can you tan on the moon?
do they have their own language?
on tv, it’s always seventy two
and English no matter the planet.
what a marvelous phenomenon

where was I?
oh yes, the moon!
would I find my dreams
on the other side?
would the stars be within my grasp?
would the train be on time?
or would it just be a clop of dirt at which dreams are hurled
and piddlydust fairies play bridge with William Shatner

I wanna go to the moon
my moon, our moon
the one you told me of
where dreams matter and want reaches
beyond yesterday’s decisions
and tomorrow’s good sense

I don’t wanna see Bill there,
let him get his own moon
on Vegas stages and silly studios

first we’ll plant a tree
then a garden and goldfish pond
and build a starliewinkle cottage
with green shutters and a fine patio
for evening viewings of earth
and all it’s silly goings on

we’ll tell each other silly jokes
if Bill Shatner farted on the moon,
would they smell it on earth?
ha ha that’s a good one!

no, seriously
we’ll do it
it’s a date.

we’ll go to the moon
and we’ll find our tomorrow
on breeze of chocolate sapphire
and emerald peppermint

we’ll dance to Jupiters wind chimes
and Saturn’s rings will anoint us

mercury will be our nightlite
and earth our used to been.

bearlymarlo paw paws will be our lunch
and hickorysnaplle parlydorps our supper
we’ll learn English and teach our goldfish the backstroke

You shake your head
you say no?
such things cannot exist?
but you told me they could
you told me they would
if only we’d believe

oh, yes, I remember now
belief is that thing I read about in that book
the one bout pissywallows and gloppy cloppers
and star trek enterprise
silly me

there is no moon
nor life beyond breath
William Shatner is just a silly old man
who farts on the earth

and dreams?
clay pigeons for cruel sport
and Disney dollars

but it was a fine idea, wasn’t it?
yes, silly one, a fine idea.
now hush and go to sleep
sweet dreams.

(I first posted this back in the spring but pulled it within an hour. I like it though and have decided to let it grow wings and fly-even if only to crash. Take care)


Monday, August 24, 2009

Jumping From Clouds

How do we get from here to there and there back again and somehow make sense of it all? How did we get there in the first place? Maybe we just went to sleep one night and woke up to find our dream was real and our dilemma sure. Ah, if only one knew where Jacob kept his ladder!

I jumped off a cloud.
soft you suppose,
and why would I,
you wonder.

but see you here,
it is only soft from below,
as it entices your thoughts
to dangerous levels
in treachery’s drift.

to those of us
who cower
from lofty advantage,
we only see
the hard below
and the black

I mused of exploration
but how does one measure
of cotton mirage?

I thought of
but my pockets laughed
and my eyes
googled the result.

I thought of breaking
it’s spirit.
rope and ride and
wrangle the yahoo!
but it slumbered
to my threat.

I could accouter.
a sun roof?
that would be redundant.

A stereo?
the thunder would laugh.
the rain falls down,
who could tell?

I spied a girl,
in a field below.

she was spinning shitties
for no particular reason
and no obvious audience,
save me.

she had a sun roof,
a stereo that knew
Kate Wolf
and whitewalls.

she cared nothing
of the rain.

So I jumped off the cloud.

but she was too fast,
too wild,
and I missed.

Now I ride the cloud,
but I can no longer
jump off,
or know fear.

I miss the girl,
and I miss the fear.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Storm On The Horizon

To see an approaching storm, especially in an alone morning, is to inspire my soul to pass beyond my body and grab hold of a thunderbolt and ride it to someplace magical. Someplace other than me and the chains the blue of a false sky have applied.

gravy black
in cauldron bubble
inside out
in summer spill

slow motion rollers
in leathered walk
and steel bands
of outward press

heaven’s prairie
it drives
the chariots of terror
with whips
of bone and feathered iron
across dreams
smothered in platinum

but rough cut
in leathered passion
and prosper
in the vibrato of fury

iron sharpens iron
and trembling
comforts fear
as one moons
to another’s terror
in twisted ambiguity

the daylight
peeking from corners
frames the somber
of wild unrestrained
while assuring relief
through chastisement

the place,
the cradle,
the hope,
the bed,
the tomb,
where thoughts
are bred
to be borne.
dreams to be inspired.
hope to be polished.
fear to be ridden.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dragonflies & Butterfly Fish

It was a thousand years ago, and somehow just yesterday.
Public beaches, jet skis, fishermen and her to he on a hot July afternoon. She always was the one with brass balls and a way with water. His choices were obvious.
should we?

I suppose not.

I will.
I know.

is not my smile

is not the whiteness
of my raised chill

more than.

watch me.
see my hair
float, then lay.
see my arms
as humble wheat
to August wind

this I see.

do not my eyes
paint the wet around me?

in deep-sea mascara

The fish,
how they wag.
the dragonflies
who light upon my shoulder,
all speak approval
while to all others
I don’t even

do I exist
to you?
the dragonflies say so,
and I believe.

this moment ,
this chance,
will swim to distant shores
in the wake of
butterfly fish.
and the coupling of blue-green
will fly
on the magic
of dragonfly wings

my tears
that hide
and strain
behind my tame torn heart
say it is so.

so come to my depth.
I’ll light upon your hips
and teach you
what dragonflies
and butterfly fishes
have taught me.
will you?
will you come to my depth?

and he did.
and they swam.
and the distant shore
waited in vain.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Golden Boy

upon hard pack gravel
spoke beauty
in time-scape

the fruit boxes
all in toss and stain worn
coloured the grey
of no match.

the loveliness
of the Mexican bride,
of her smile,
in the window of the rusted truck,
asking directions
from the Pennsylvania Dutch
went far beyond
digital ability
and painted the desert
of Kentucky gloom.

a thousand images
in a single frame
and yet-
it was the boy, always the boy,
the boy
with the strawberry-blonde
and the smile
of a thousand golden joys
turned back, looking
over the buckboard
that froze time
and rendered hearts
in the glory
of harvest nuance.
for his mind,
his spirit,
his beauty,
could see beyond our vision,
into a tomorrow
we may never know.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Power Of Suggestion

A man went for a walk one day. On his mind were the things which held title to his sleep, and chains upon his heart.
The walk took him past houses in smattered settlement, churches of ancient hollow ringing, and schools of broken promises.
His walk was deep-pockets down and fevered brow, and he tried to hide himself in shrunken mobility.
So many hopes in so many yesterdays now echoed in the wash of empty buildings and long ago schemes and they followed him in silent maniacal laughter.

To the children of chalk and jump rope, he smiled and gave way. To the bent, squat widow with an armload of store in paper, he nodded to her solitude and armored grief.
His slurred steps eventually led to a park, or so the sign said, but it was empty and un-peopled and that was enough.
He found a bench of carved graffiti and moldy bird shit and sat down to settle the noon squabble within. The pond was inviting, speaking in mist, “Come, drown here.” So he looked away. He looked to the sky, but the sky stared him down in folded shun, saying, “You’ll never know me.” He looked to the ground and the ground said hello.
It was here, bent sullen upon a beggar’s bench, that it came to him. At first, as just a shadow burying him deep, and then as voice.
“What troubles you, friend?” The voice prodded.
The man in the cage said nothing.
“Mind if I sit?” And the voice did.
“Perhaps things are not so bad as they seem,” the voice crossed it’s legs. “Perhaps I may even be of some assistance.”
The man glanced over but not up. “Oh, yeah. How do you figure?”
The voice shifted a bit closer and cleared it’s throat.
“Well, if it's money you need....”
For the first time, the man looked up, but only to the voices chin, and interrupted it.
“Well,” the man acquiesced, “money would help!”
“I see,” the voice straightened, “and how much money are we referring to?”
“Oh, I’d say a hundred thousand dollars would do quite nicely.” The man clucked in cynical fashion.
“I see,” the voice paused. “That is quite a sum, to be certain.”
The man looked away. “Tell me about it!”
After a period of silence, the man stretched to rise but the voice stopped him.
“What if I were to tell you, that I am prepared to give you the money. All of it.”
The man looked to the voices knees.
“Give, huh? Just give.” The man sneered and looked away.
“Yes, That’s quite correct. Just give. With just one condition.”
The man raised his head in mock agreement. “Ah, of course. A condition,” the man continued. “ Like seventy percent interest payable next week.”
The voice put it’s hands to it’s knees and rubbed.
“No, nothing like that. Just a verbal commitment.”
“I see,” the man in the cage replied. “And what is it you’d have me agree to.”
“It’s very simple really. You give me your soul. I give you one hundred thousand dollars. Deal done. You’ll not see me again.”
The man grinned and rubbed his chin. “Let me get this straight; I say, ‘here, have my soul’ and you give me a hundred thousand dollars, and I don’t have to pay it back, and you disappear. Is that right?”
The voice stood once more as shadow only. “Yes, that is correct, Sir.”
The man kicked at the dirt in amusement. “Well, OK, Partner-you can have my soul. Now where’s my money?”
The voice turned to leave. “You’ll find it on the table when you return home. Good day.”
And with that, the shadow gave way to light and the man was once more alone.
The man stood and looked about him. The pond and sky no longer spoke to him. The burden on his shoulders had shifted to the pit of his stomach, and the voice was nowhere to be seen. He walked home and smiled not to the children of chalk. He glared to the women of stoop and groceries and bitterness poured gravy on self pity and gorged itself fat.
There was, of course, money on the table, neat and to the penny. And he was never again to know the voice. And of what he had said, he had only said. Words of false alarm.
His problems abated, for a time. Then new problems came to fill the void. But the voice never again came in offer. Had it ever really been real?
Perhaps it had all been a dream.
But his thoughts changed. His heart changed. The sky changed. The moon turned to steel and the sun to molten hourglass.
Just saying something doesn’t make it so-does it?


Friday, July 31, 2009

Teaching Hummingbirds

I live deep in the, well, -shit. Far from anything resembling a town or village, if you please. But what we lack in two legged beasts, we more than make up for in birds and critters. Idiots that we are, we feed them as if they’d starve otherwise. Or maybe we just like playing God. Anyways, hummingbirds come by the dozens daily. Thirty at a time. Four feeders of four openings but it’s never enough for the greedy buggers and they never seem to get enough. They really are quit rude and their language awful. I must teach them proper manners some day.

the bar is open,
come one, and come all
portals to nectar
sweet julep
of crimson.

I’ve put one here,
and there
and filled them to full
admission is free
and the ambience
with just a hint of

I’ll be your host,
please have a seat.
now, now behave!
there is plenty for all.

but behave you do not!
pooping my porch,
sneering your buzz
shagging the slow
and chasing new guests.

such language! I never,
and what right?

now you, over there,
and you, wait your turn.
no fighting, no scolding
no shagging, be nice.

oh, no? so you say.
shoo shoo
impetuous rascal

I’ll take them away.
yes I will, wait and see.
I’ll teach you of manners
and how you should be.

is that boy on my yard?
hey you! get away
who ate the last cupcake
and drank all the wine
I’ll pee where I want
to claim it as mine.
ooh, Fay Johnson looks good
through the hole in the fence,
I think that she wants me,
it’s only good sense.

if only you birds
could be civil,
like me
you’d live in a house,
and not in a tree!


Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer Visitor

How many times had he walked this path? Daily and for the few years his legs had known.
Just a dirt trail along the riverbank that led from house to town and back again. Sometimes it was to go to the store for his mother. Sometimes to visit a friend. Sometimes to fish or just sit upon the rock. But always, it was plain and uneventful.
A few others knew the path, but no one he looked forward to running into.
All that changed on July 17, 1972.
It was hot, as usual and the bugs flooding the weeds screamed out in anguished rituals of mating. A fish could be heard jumping occasionally beyond the cattails lining the shore. And the smell, the ever-present smell that rivers in July give off permeated the way.
He swiped along the dirt with the stick he had picked up and occasionally picked up a large rock and heaved it over the cattails just to hear the splash. When he rounded the bend where the boulder offered faithful rest, he glanced up and stopped mid stride in shock. There, sitting upon the rock, his rock, with one knee cocked up in all it’s sunburned glory, was a girl. Not just any girl, but a pretty girl. Young and strange and beautiful.
There, sitting upon his rock.
She was wearing only her underwear and they clung to her, obviously wet as her pants and shirt splayed the rock to soak up the hot sunlight.
The choices available to him were immediately taken away as she sensed his presence and turned to meet his gaze. He felt embarrassed and trapped, but she only smiled and turned back to the river.
“What’s the matter?” the words carried out over the water. “Haven’t you ever seen a girl before?”
He didn’t answer . He wasn’t sure how to.
She turned her head and lay it on her arm, which rested across her knee.
“It’s OK, I don’t bite”
He moved a little closer, but still didn’t speak.
Even in his youthful unknowing, he couldn’t help but study her. She was about his age, maybe a little older. Long dark hair that knew no certain direction, and her body had shape. He was amazed that she wasn’t embarrassed to be found this way and that she hadn’t shrieked and raced to cover up as he would have expected.
She looked him up and down in a way that made him feel naked even though he was fully clothed. It seemed she looked right through him to someone else on the other side. Her eyes sparkled in the sunlight and she again spoke.
“What’s your name? Mine’s Miriam.”
“Jeff,” was all he could muster, and was even surprised to hear that come out.
“Jeff is nice,” she offered. “You live close by?”
He turned and pointed to where he had come from. “Yeah, bout a mile that way.”
“Well, pull up a rock, Jeff, plenty of room for two.” She moved her jeans over a little and patted the rock.
Jeff knew the girls from school. He knew the girls from his church, from his neighborhood and from stories both told and read. But he knew nothing of a girl like Miriam. She was from Bloomington and was staying at her aunts for a month while her parents went to Europe.
She talked. Slow, easy and plain. When she smiled, her breath fell on his face like buttercups in a spring time pasture. Some times her arm brushed his own and he shivered from the connection.
She talked- he listened. She talked of the city, of rivers, of dreams. Of growing up in Bloomington. He too, cocked a knee up and his eyes, too, began to sparkle, as the rhythm of her spirit caressed his youthful heart.
By mid afternoon, he too, stripped to his underwear and they waded the soft mud and swam to gentle eddies.
Several nights later, they swam under a full moon while even their underwear kept to the rock.
Miriam taught Jeff how not to fear. She taught him how to kiss without worry of failure. She taught him how to grow, how to dream. She taught him of passion without shame. She taught him of love and of leaving.
By the end of summer, Miriam was gone. Back to Bloomington. The rock was barren once more, though he put his nose close to find just a trace of her scent, a scarce trace letting him know she was real.
He didn’t heave large rocks over the cattails anymore, but rather skipped small stones and he wondered why. And he thought of Bloomington, and of damp white underwear, and love upon the sand.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hot July

Quite by chance, or so it seems, I find myself these days in a place where July knows no mercy. Damp, heavy and suffocating. It wraps itself around your shoulders like a hundred pound shawl and smiles to your misery. Thank God for fans and lemonade.

the air falls thick
in layered waves
masturbating the fields
in perfect disorder

cream coloured strokes
fly the fields
and rise the ridges
in Gettysburg waves

as it was before Noah
as it was before love
before emotions were birthed
and ejaculated
down the tendrils
of our uprising

July bakes
because it can’t spill.

the heat thrums
up, down and out
while we hanky our brow
and nose drip
the fever that plagues
our stolen comfort

by noon,
the feet will grow heavy, dense.
eyes will narrow
in pleas of mercy
and hair will stray
to pasted surrender

by late afternoon,
makeshift fans
on shaded porches
keep time to
rockers that cradle
and comfort
in all, there, there

when the dishes are done,
and the sun finally
falls silent,
when a breeze dares again
peek out from
whence it slept,

windows will again fly open.
box fans will fill them
with a wellspring
of dusk delight
and we’ll lay
one leg out
in wait
for tomorrows heavy dew

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


before asteroids,
before space invaders,
before X-Box-
there was a sloped table
on four chrome legs.

the top was filthy
and cigarette burned.

the kid,
what he could do
with it!

a pull with a twist
and a knock of the knee
and the little steel ball
was in play.

up and bend
groovin the paint
smirkin the move
all brass balls

the kid would push
at just the right time
and the ball would
bonus X500

a bump to the side
and the ball would
fall in the hole
with a ding! ding! ding!
as he cracked his knuckles
in well, fuck yeah!

the ball would try to escape
maybe down the side alley,
but he was too good
and could bump it back into
siderail torment.

by now,
the ball was weary,
as the knock
told the score
and the games piled up.

it tried to race for the exit
down the middle,
but that only played
to his power
and once more
the ball was sky rocketed
in sideways cacophony
bing! bing! bing!
bip! bip! bip!

I’d like to hold that steel ball,
that cold little steel ball,
in my hand.
rub it warm
like a wounded bird.

I’d like to carry it to an ocean
and bathe it in my palm,
with a one finger stroke.

maybe it and I
would share chardonnay
on a Paris balcony,
laughing to the headlines.
I'd show it the moon,
I suppose,
and roll it
through soft
easy meadows.
or maybe,
just maybe,

I’ll just carry it
in my pocket
til we’re both free
from our glass encasement
and the games
of another’s quarter.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Thompson Security Co.

When I was younger, much younger, I did some crazy things, though they seemed perfectly sane to me at the time. In the early eighties, I had a nice job behind a desk as a regional sales manager for a large corporation. I had taken the short cut to the fast track, and all I had to do was play the game. Trouble is, I never could play the game.

So one weekend, with no thoughts to future consequences or care of common sense, I decided to quit. I had been there three years and back then, three years was well beyond the life expectancy of anything I might be found involved in.

There was no plan beyond getting in my rattle-trap Pontiac on Monday and pointing south. Somewhere around Kansas I flipped a coin and Texas won. I fished the Colorado in Austin for supper while living in my car. I danced with Miss Houston at Mickey Gilley’s just after Urban Cowboy came out and agreed to share living quarters with a bum under a bridge over a six pack.

But Texas was loud and unkind and gave me a traffic ticket I couldn’t pay so the Pontiac set sail and easted, to Florida.

I had a friend there, just slightly less stupid than me. He let me stay with him and his roommate. I sold my blood, I worked at an ABC liquor, and I squeezed dead fish and pulled gonads. But before all these glamorous ways of making a living, I installed peep sights.
Here’s where it gets interesting.

Back in Texas, my black sheep uncle whom I had never previously met, told me of a great scheme for jackasses like me to make some money. Here’s the deal; you go to Lowes (for Marion) and buy a two dollar peep sight. You drape a drill over your shoulder and go looking for neighborhoods of old people easily given to fear and no peep sight.

knock knock

“Hello! My name is Mike and I represent the Thompson Security Company. Did you know there has been a rash of burglaries in this neighborhood?” I would lower my voice near the tail like the bad guys might be listening in.

Old women-because old men were out fishing or golfing this time of morning in Florida- would clutch their drab blouses with both hands and oh my! with exaggerated brows mostly painted on.

‘”Yes, I’m afraid it’s true, and did you know you’re vulnerable?” I would raise one eye brow.
About this time, I would also glance over my shoulder for any sign the cops were onto me.
I would go on to say how my company, out of deep concern, was installing peep sights in homes without them for only ten dollars. After that, she would be able to always know who was lurking just outside her door. State of the art security for only ten dollars!

The beauty of this scheme was that it only takes a quick drilling and screwing in of the sight for an eight dollar profit and the old lady would feel safe. In theory, it was all win-win. But for some reason, old people in Florida in 1982 were not all that interested in state of the art security.

The last time I did one of these installations, I was able to convince the lady that rapists and burglars were watching her even now from bushes and beat-up chevy vans. She wanted to wait and ask her husband but I convinced her of the great surprise it would be to him when he returned to find his home so much safer for only fifteen dollars. (Due to slow sales, I had to raise the price.)

Now this was no shanty, this was good digs with a gorgeous door. As she watched nervously, I quickly drilled from the outside without taking so much as a glance to the inside. The bit seemed to go through too quickly. I swung the door open and peeked to the inside. There were square indentations on the inside of the doors and beautiful inlaid decorations. This door hadn’t come from Lowes, that's for sure.

There were now two immediate problems. One, the peep sight was too long for the whole drilled in the upper corner of one of the receded squares. When you screwed the thing in, it just hung out one side or the other and you could just push it back and forth like a cheap trombone. The second problem was that the wood had exploded on the inside. Like Butch Cassidy had blown the thing open with dynamite.

With one glance, I could see her look of deep consternation and my mind found another gear I had forgotten about. I quickly smiled to calm her fears as she nearly strangled herself in blouse-clutch.

Hmm. Seems I have a small problem. But don’t worry, I have a shorter sight back at the shop and I can make those white splinters not even noticeable,” I lied.
“But my husband will be home soon. I can’t let him see it like this!” Her eyebrows disappeared into her blue hair.

I waved her off and told her the shop was nearby. Don’t worry about a thing.
I then left and went back to the apartment. I really did intend to make things right somehow. But as I leaned on the railing trying to hacksaw the too-long brass sight, my friends showed up and asked if I wanted to go out on the boat. I thought of an angry husband possibly now home, and of a boat and a cooler full of beer.

I wish I could tell you I didn't throw the thing in the bushes, that I did the right thing and became fast friends with the family whose door I had so badly mutilated, and married their beautiful daughter. The best I can do is tell you I resigned from the Thompson Security Company and never again maimed a strangers door. And in case anyone is still looking for me in Florida or Texas, (yeah, I know, Texas never forgets) I declare this to be a work of fiction.
Wink, wink.
(I don't mean in any way to justify my behavior either real of fictional in this post. It was a recession. I was broke and desperate and figured my incarceration wouldn't help anyone. If I could go back and make it right, I would.)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Al Mitzler went to Deadwood

Al Mitzler went to Deadwood

I had a friend. He had a wife. They had some children. They had a home. He saved money. Retirement would be early. They had a boat. He fished. They had plans. He was a nice guy. I liked him. He looked good. People liked him. There are a billion combinations to a formula that if only one were altered, this story would not be written. But Al Mitzler went to Deadwood.

this ride.
his life
bikers, babes
and beads.
everyone’s a superstar
-for a day.

“ya goin to Deadwood?”
the question
and probed
and roamed
on the wild wind
of midlife’s

the ol’ lady
fear and apprehension
all took on a shrug
of noncommittal purpose without

but go he did
a last second whim

is there really any other kind?

Peggy’s wedding
wasn’t til next week,
work let him off,
the ol’ lady said go
and money was just portraits
of dead presidents on shit-green paper.

all the planets
in line, seemingly still
at warp speed
and the kids
who knows where
Al Mitzler
went to Deadwood

“I’ll see ya on Monday.”
a kiss and a smile
and on Monday
she did.

the day
warm-blasted their ride
and cold beer
doctored the fuel
that starry-eyed the night.

Sunday morning
is kind to bikes,
the highway
fat and lazy.

the music in his head
smiled his ride
and hid the mundane
of urban resettlement.

he looked to Jerry
off the port bow
smiled and drummed
the polished chrome
to the remembrance
of Saturday night

he didn’t see the car-
that didn’t see the truck
that beasted blindly,
and the planets fell
out of orbit
as Al
fell out of life
and came home
riding coach.

the sun came up
on Tuesday.
work was work
jokes were funny
and the moon
didn’t so much
as hiccup or burp,
it just mooned as before.

“what a nice wedding.’
“yes, Peggy looks so happy.”
“shame about Al.”
“yeah, ya just never know.”
“I almost went with him, ya know?’
“you don’t say!”

Al Mitzler went to Deadwood.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


(This picture is not Hazel's, but close enough. I was too lazy to take the camera down there, and the locals would label me a commi spy. Hazel has a real roof and a better porch.)
I get my mail at Hazel’s.

I’d get it at the road like most other people, but the road is a half-mile away, Hazel’s is a mile, and a mailbox a half-mile from the house is only a target. I know. I was sixteen and bored once.
So I get my mail at Hazel’s.

Hazel is old but beautifully so. Eighty-something old. It’s the only business in town. Hell, it is the town. No Hazel’s-no town.
I’m not from here, as all their looks will tell you, so I don’t know everything, but I know enough from pieces thrown in my direction to claim part ownership in the history.

Hazel sells things, lots of things. Or at least lots of things are for sale. Not sure about the selling part. Motor oil, cooking oil, cereal, bread, milk, candy and other assorted staples rest upon ancient tables and poorly crafted shelves.

I suppose if North Korea were to bomb my back yard next week, Hazel would do a booming business, but this week there is peace and I buy nothing because I never see anyone else buy anything. If I spied a Twinkie, I might buy it just to test the theory.

The store itself is just an old Southern house like all the others before fake brick and shitty thin tin were invented. You have to climb the wooden steps to the forever falling-off screen door that always makes the same sound. That sound will alert Hazel who is either reading the paper or lying down on the hard wooden bench. If it is winter, the little gas stove will be going and it feels good to put your ass to it and it's always easier to loiter as you rub your ass to a good fire. If it’s summer, the fan will be blowing a delightful swirl of dust around the room as if it’s chasing itself in hot boredom to a ghostly game of tag.

The trick, at least for me, is to not look at the goods but directly at Hazel as if I’m in a hurry and what could I need anyway. If it’s noon time, there will be a couple of forevers (as in forever lived here) sitting near the heater and they will turn to inspect the entrant and then silently formulate their gossip for when I leave. I smile, letting them know I know, then nod with a Jack Nicholson smile so they might fear me later.

Sometimes my guilt outsmarts my good sense and I buy something I don’t need for twice the price I’d pay if I did. But never one of the three loaves of bread that beg me as I walk by, as if they were from Rudolph’s island of misfit toys. What bread man delivers three loaves and where do the stale ones go?

I figure each purchase buys me another year of no purchase.

I don’t think Hazel really cares if she sells anything. I figure it’s all a front for the government money she gets for being a post office to the twelve people down Leatherwood Road. And it’s really not a post office anyway; it’s just a long wooden counter where she sorts through it all to find your stuff. Her record on mistakes is much better than the big boys.

Hazel and her husband never had children, and you’d have to ask her why as her husband blew his brains out in the store long before I came along. I know this because people are people and they still enjoy telling the story to anyone who might not know, as if it validates them as a Forever. As to why, the locals shrug and pretend to know the secret but I think their knowing is all bullshit.

But she opens every morning and closes every afternoon between one and whenever the hell she feels like it. She has her aches and pains but won’t bring it up unless you do.

She’s beautiful. She really is. She genuinely seems to like me and that’s strange behaviour in itself. And I like strange behaviour.

As for her story and why she keeps doing it day after day and what happens to the town when she dies or when the Postal big shots pull her plug-I don’t know. Maybe they’ll tear down the sign as it will no longer be a town. Maybe we’ll all suddenly have an appetite for stale bread. Maybe I’ll have to put that mailbox up for the local vandals to run over. But for now, I’ve gotta run and get my mail. She says four but she might mean two. I kinda like it that way.