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.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Eloise Loses It

Every small town has a catholic school, it seems, and the always smiling lunch time ladies. But every body has their limit and things aren't always as they appear. (must give credit to WIAW for posting something similar but much better last week. I had to give it a shot)

didja see Elouise
down der at de pool hall?

Ya, chur did, ja know
all elbows
and hang out
in de corner pocket,
chootin with de Anderson girl

urd che went all lesbian
on Frank outa de clear blue
and tossed him out on his keister
witout so much as a what fer!

ja don’t say?
I do say! I do!

one day just sloppin
dem mashed potaters
and veeners
down der at de catlic school
and whoopee!
she jus' up and loses it
when de Miester kid pees his pants again.

den she runs up and lifts Sister Margarite’s habit,
or whatever dey call dat ting
den pinched her right der on er rear!
chur did, ja know!
and I heard Sister was wearing purple panties wit yellow flowers!
say, where d’ya suppose a nun gets a holt somtin like dat?

Oh gee willakers, I dint hear none a dat!

heard tell
dem other little squirts stood in line
and watched just like Ike Johnson ad rolled his old dozer again!
den she runs up and sticks a veener in Fadder Mitchell’s kisser,
pretends to light it,
and shovels a scoop of dem mashed p’taters right on his head.
slappin him silly and gibbin im a knee!
doubled 'im over like a toad with an ass kick dey say

ja don't say?
I do say, I tell ya!

and den she gave de revren mudder a big ol honk on dem big ooters of ers
and kissed er full on de lips!

en der's more,

and I’m not makin dis up,
she yanks off her own clothes,- dey say,
and runs out-naked as a jay bird!
bouncing and a floppin dis way and dat

Pete Willard said he saw her run past de café,
and rub her bare ass all over
de five and dime's big winder
as ol lady Schmidt watched from inside,
trying ta keep ol Schmidty from gett’n a peek, ya know,
what a hoot!

well, she never was right, cha know
not since dat der deal at Marv Sheplin’s funeral

ya, che was really lit dat night.
hard to live something like dat down.

dem kids’ll do dat to ya doe,
damn devils dey is!
a person can only take so much.
shame about er goin lesbian though

yeah, she sure looked good at de pool hall
and I never liked Frank anyway.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009



I cast shadows
over my shoulder
just to watch
where they land


I stretch my arm
across the expanse
of desert’s thought provoke
to touch
the glimmer of the needle


I reach
for the boundaries
of depth
through the sands
of the other side


I long
for beyond
and apart
sewn in stitched
quilts of leathered dreams.

this I do for..

my thoughts
lamp-post my lean
in moth scattered
yellow light
dirtied by the mist
of yesterday’s

but I won’t
shoulder up the collar
to the cold chill
of authorities

for I can’t.

is next week’s
dirty laundry
and mine will hang
where you
can see

in worn
mottled in spent
in wasted honour


must mock
the bleach
that church’s
your hidden wants

let it be me.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Swallowed in Green

Sometimes, emotions come in a flood. Sometimes rest, peace and love come in a torrent. Sometimes it's best to just give in and be washed over.
*****I ask you, dear reader, if you have a couple minutes, please go to my friend LP's blog here
and read the most brilliant writing about something pertinent that I have read this year. Please. You can always come back to my silly shit if you have time. Her piece is so much more worthy to be read and enjoyed. Thank you! (I hope I linked it right)

feet in sand
soft and giving
and washed over

the sound
a whisper
that roars
in beckon
and warn
the way
I like it

it fills
my ears
and then my heart
and then my past
and then my future
and then my pulse
and then
I burst into surf

breaking over rocks
I rush
to join it
onslaught poured
it swallows
me full

in emerald silence

so quiet
so peaceful
so full
a hum
that kneads
and lifts my surrender

I roll
to engulf
and quake
in silent forever

my body
naked for shiver
in wet entwine
to know green fingers
of insidious delight

a spectacle,
for those
that light the way
of nature’s
blended fury

above me,
a storm
to Jacob’s herd
and Rachel’s jealousy

but here,
all is calm
in silent drift
breathless mercy
as I green
to aqua blue
becoming turquoise
as yesterday’s


Monday, May 18, 2009


The locals all knew him. It was that kind of town. Somebody farts at the VFW and they smell it at the bowling alley. If he had a history, no one knew it. And no one cared. He never held a job for very long as one hand was always holding a bottle and the smell was ever-present. He fixed lawn mowers, sometimes, but not very well and if he needed a snort and couldn’t scrape a few dollars together, he might just sell your lawnmower out from under you. You wouldn’t even know about it until fall or winter, as he’d keep telling you he was waiting on parts. He worked off and on at the granite factory making tombstones when they were desperate and also dug graves when he could be found.
His name was Charlie but everyone just called him Coots. He had a wife but she was rarely seen and rarely spoken to. A social leper by association, she went to Church and the grocery store and kept her gaze low. They had children, five boys and two girls. The boys, without exception were hellions and tough hellions at that. You simply avoided their street if you weren’t looking for trouble and always hoped they were on their street. The girls, on the other hand, were quiet and shy, even pretty in a plain sort of way. And who knows if they really were shy or simply felt the need to make themselves small and invisible.
There’s a lot of shame in being the family of the town drunk and the effects are permanent. Survival dictates policy.
There was a small theatre in town also, but for whatever reason, it was never able to fill even half the seats no matter what movie was playing. The owner, Harvey Taylor, was a nice enough guy but always seemed kind of shady and no one could figure out why he ever bought it. It just didn't make sense. There was only one small screen and it always smelled damp. You could go just five miles north and buy your ticket at the new theatre with two concession stands and four screens.
Well, one bitter cold Wednesday night in January, sure enough, very early in the morning, the theatre caught fire. Biggest blaze the town had ever seen. Every fire department within fifteen miles had been called but all they could do was save the rest of the block, more or less. Sound travels far on cold northern nights and everyone woke to the sirens. People young and old lined the icy riverbank in bathrobes and other's overcoats. The fire and gossip kept them warm as they pointed and shook their heads.
Thing is, there was an old lady who lived above the theatre, the widow Mary Wilcox, and by the time the fire was discovered her place was engulfed. It turned out she had been staying with her daughter for a few days, but at the time, no one knew, except for maybe, Harvey Taylor.
Coots didn’t know. How could he? He was always swallowed up in the bottle. But he walked. Long into the night he would stagger the dark alleys and find shelter in rear entryways and rest on ramshackle stairways. They found Coots in the morning while poking through the mess. Well, his body anyway. It was inside the theatre near the entrance to the stairs leading to Mary’s apartment.
There was a lot of speculation. Small towns breed small minds searching power through knowledge, whether real or imagined.
Harvey had a wife. Though odd, she was beautiful in a dark sort of way and you always felt she was casting spells when she looked at you. It didn't seem as though she and Harvey cared much for each other and shortly after the fire she would disappear and Harvey would be as though she never existed. If you asked him, and nobody did, he would just suck harder on the ever-present cigarette while his eyes narrowed and his smile threatened. But this is all later. In a time when Harvey found a bar stool at opening bell, crossed his legs and didn't leave until late afternoon.
A lot of figures were tossed around as to how much Harvey got from the insurance but he never said and never seemed to lack for the day's bar tab.
Harvey couldn’t have started the fire as he had an ironclad alibi and his wife backed him up. Most people thought Coots broke into the theatre to either rob it or maybe that he was paid by Harvey to set the fire. Hardly anyone ever considered that maybe he was passing by, certainly drunk, seen the yellow glow and busted in to try and save Mary.
Investigations were pretty bad back then and people enjoyed guessing more than knowing. Coot’s wife grew more reclusive. His kids disappeared from town one after the other. And another drunk came along to fill the gap of dirty gossip.
Hollywood would have it that many years later, a guy from Arizona came out of the woodwork to write a book on his platoon and the fierce fighting they went through in Europe in World War Two. Much would be said about Charlie and the good things he did. It would turn out he risked his life to save a family hiding in a basement and was shot while going back to help a wounded friend who later died anyway.
But Hollywood’s full of shit and always has been.
A would be writer with a worn out imagination would tell us of how the love of his life was ripped out of his arms in a tragic car wreck so many years ago and his heart just couldn’t bear the guilt.
Just more bullshit.
The truth is buried with Charlie’s smoked mind and scorched heart.
Every town that can support three or four churches has a Coots. If a town has a Wal-Mart super center it might have two. Any more than two and the town is a city and too large for a town drunk. It just has drunks that no one knows or cares about.
They’re here to make us feel better about ourselves.
“Well, at least I’m not Coots!”
“Amen to that, Brother!”
“See them drunks under the bridge?”
“Yes, sad.”
The fat ones make the skinny ones feel good. The average make the beautiful above average. And Coots makes the rest of us sober.
And so it goes.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Green Bike Summer

It was green. Naturally. A green I can’t describe but every once in a while I see it in passing cars. A type of aqua maybe but not quite. The one he had bought me was black.
You must know, that my father never bought anything for his children but the necessary staples. He lived during the depression and fought in World War Two. Those people just don’t toss money around loosely. I and my brothers all worked jobs since we were twelve because it was the only way to know anything other than pork chops and mashed potatoes.
But there it was, a used black three-speed bike and him all uncomfortable in the giving standing beside it. This was huge. He didn’t even spring for class rings or yearbooks, or even class pictures. You want it, you earn it, Buddy!
The trouble is, I didn’t want it.
I had been mentioning to him how my best friend John and I were going to bike all summer long to distant towns and unknown destinations. This I had done just so he wouldn’t be surprised when he would see the new ten-speed bike I planned to buy with the money I had earned.
I tried to appear pleased and surely was surprised but I was thirteen and had made plans that a black three-speed would never be up for. It would never pull the hills or keep up with John. The handlebars were straight-and it wasn’t green.
So I traded it in. Just like that. Without so much as a word to my Father, I took his gift that he so out of character gave and traded it in for a green ten-speed just one day after the Holy offering.
There is no doubt that I hurt him. And perhaps it could have been handled with greater tact, even from a thirteen year-old, but I knew my Father. He never would have agreed to my desire, thinking it frivolous. All,- "It costs how much?!!" and "When I was your age..." But he never was my age, and I would never be his age. We were two different people in two different times and this chasm could not be bridged. He never said a word, only shook his head and sideways sniffed, as if pepper had blown up his nose.
I did what I felt I had to do and it greatly defined who I became. Not saying it's good or bad. Just saying it is.
John and I went everywhere that summer. Even to Minneapolis. We found every road that wove through the great waters of Minnetonka. We met girls. We laughed. I kept up and that green glistened in July’s warm sunshine. We rested on soft hillsides and waded sweet waters. We talked of everything thirteen year-olds talk about on lazy summer afternoons. I remember having an odometer of sorts. We put on over a thousand miles.
I could have been the good son. I could have shrugged and explained to John that great adventures and exploration would have to wait at least one more year. But then, that's who I would have become; the wise pat him on the back son with time-shares in Florida and Wednesday city council meetings and not the me I am.
But I didn’t and I’m not sorry. I am sorry I hurt my Father for a time, but we both moved on and moved closer even though I'm still a head-shake and eye roll to him when anyone asks of me. But that summer. Boy oh boy, that summer. I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Friday, May 1, 2009


Old men love to sit on benches at the town square
and tell the same old stories to the same old stories
all knee over knee and eyes on young hip-hagglers.
There's no action in that. The good stuff's happenin up on Riddleman's hill where that old shyster Bill Ludke got rich selling his farm to them city investors! Only God could make that patch of hell level.

There she goes,
and it can’t be mine.
mine don’t go like that.
smooth and straight,
right down the pipe.

she seen it too,
I see her eyes over the glasses
she doesn’t
but she does.
no, not mine.
never seen it before!
Ha! so you say.

Got a nice tail wind,
might be doin eight.
ooh! that was close!
gotta love those reflexes.

here comes another.
nothing like a race
to break up
Saturday afternoon.

that could be mine
but I swear it ain’t
it just moves like mine
all drunk and jiggly
spilling into Taco Bell

don’t look at me, Pal,
I just have this milk and caulking gun.
I’m a spectator,
just like you.
ass hole

heading into traffic,
that first rogue.
scatter and shimmy
brake and collide
down and around
in and out
devil may care
horns a blarin'

the State Farm guy
will woe is me
to the bemoaning victims
of run for your life

Well, here’s my ride.
almost hate to go.
only K-mart
would build their lot
on a hillside
daring maniacal shopping carts
to turn violent.