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.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Julie

This is a post I published long ago. Julie died last Thursday. Age 51 I hear she weighed 80pounds.
She just ran out of fight, I imagine.
Goodbye Julie










Do you remember someone special in your youth? One you thought hung the moon and you wondered why everyone else couldn't see it. I thought this of Julie. I wish you well wherever you are.





tomatoes are cheaper
tomatoes are cheaper






she chirped
skipping past my house
her laugh prodding others



in class
at ballgames
parties and such
she drew me
load and lock



but unnoticed
went I,
or mostly so,
giggles and elbows
only



there was history
dark
I could tell
and that
I think, the draw



she saw, I think,
my knowing
for I looked past
her beauty
past her shield
past yesterday



I wanted so
to protect
she wanted
destruction only.
victory was hers
in dash



wagons loaded
for the goldfields
she found only
needles and loops.
fool's gold for
cheerleaders
with white tender thighs




cruel lords
mastered her desire;
less than nothing,
for it made
her complete




last I heard
bridges for roofs
thieves
for company
whiskey
for yesterday
hollow eyes
for tomorrow
lust slaked
at last




friends that were
tho I doubt,
say no hope
we tried, what a mess
as they tip
their pink drinks
somehow purifying

I'd like to see her again,
to hear her chirp
and laugh
knowing I wont




I'd like to see her
just one more time
to say it's ok
we all fucked up.

pandering ass



tomatoes are cheaper
tomatoes are cheaper



perhaps, maybe
I just liked her
or maybe envied
and admired
her glorious
destruction
with no holding back





tomatoes are cheaper






~Rick

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Trainwreck






In a piss-hole town birthed by a railroad that later changed its mind, lies a hell hole of a tavern-no, tavern's too genial a word-a bar called The Depot but The Trainwreck suits it better.

Just head South to exit 142 and walk one mile north along the tracks. It's accessible by car but you'd get lost anyway and the only parking is in the police station across the street which has housed most of the locals who tried when they had licences.
What it was, was the train depot when there was a train til the train got lost and Elmer Hatcher got an idea and scratched together a few hundred bucks and an old beer sign so he'd have an excuse to not be home.
If there was a front door on the joint, a boxcar hitcher could just jump from one open casket to another, without losing the pallor of death, but the front door was nailed closed as if two exits might be too confusing for the patrons.

You wont find much of a crowd, nor much of a bartender who is also the cook when she ain't working at the factory. With arms the size of my thighs and a gut that could trampoline you straight to Venus, where they apparently get their TV signal from, she also keeps order by scowl and reputation.

The first thing you notice when you lower your ass onto a barstool, is that you really lower your ass! Elmer's cousin Bernie built the bar in his garage and the damn fool built it too high. Bernie swore it was regulation height and even accused the behemoth of a bar-maid of sawing off the stools legs some to make people feel smaller.But seeing as they have ten barstools and no two a match, much like my Aunt Mabel's kitchen set she scrounged from Goodwill, it has to be the bar, a jumble of warped plywood and rusty bent nails.
If you stand, your elbows barely reach and your chin-anybody's chin- sits about level with the bar and some of the local women bring pillows.

You can order scotch or wine but you'll get beer in a warm can cuz the cooler is just an old closet and canned beer is all they got. I once asked the gal what they have on tap and she just squinted mean like and said, "Huh?" as if I had asked her the theory or relativity.
Everyone smokes cuz she smokes and no one knows if it's legal but with one door and no windows the smoke hangs like a blue plague from Moses' staff.
They heat the place with a wood stove and the temperature depends on how many empty cases are available.
The menu offers a choice of three burgers, a fish sandwich, and french fries, all made on the griddle blackened with grease and who knows what, oozing a fatty substance that drips to the floor where  cockroaches scuttle merrily across a mystery meat patty that looked like it’d been there awhile. I watched the cook step on it several times and wondered if she'd pick it up, if she could, but finally she just kicked it under the freezer.

There are two bathrooms just off the bar but it's hard to tell which is which as each has a toilet and a sink but no doors which is just as well as there's no lights either. You can look away when someone goes but you can't help but hear it when the bristly dude two sizes too small for his jeans stands pissing in a toilet as if voyeurism was the provided entertainment.

If you make your way outside for oxygen or to see if it's still day, you'll most likely see an old Cadillac that in better days had seen many a drug deal, limpin in on one hubcap and a dragging muffler. That would be Martha, Elmer's niece who hauls her not right brother around in the backseat as she goes to the truckstop to peddle hamburgers and fish sandwiches to truckers who don't know any better. She got too big for the seat so they ripped it out and put a small beat up recliner in its place. Billy keeps the burgers warm in the backseat under some old towels.
After the cook/bartender/bouncer/factory worker brought out the orders that had been called in on an old CB radio, the Caddie would lumber in reverse, then creak forward on bedspring shocks towards the unsuspecting truckers.

On a good day, say a Friday, The Trainwreck might take in forty or fifty dollars and another ten in the jukebox from those that forgot it doesn't work.
It's not Ruby Tuesdays or even the VFW, but it's cheap and the place has character.
Just no Trains or doors.

(written with a good friend who wishes to remain anonymous-and really, who can blame her?)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Annie In Wonderland




".....the vast opportunities are endless and the growth potential is limitless but the volatility surrounding the structure of our present economy prompts a greater measure of prudence in deciding the direction of our resources at hand....."

Pssst, hey you!
"me?"
-yeah, you. Wanna see somethin'? Follow me.
And lacking her normal regard for consequence, she did, right down the rabbit hole.

Falling
Falling
Falling


Annie found herself in a magical realm where meetings no longer existed because everyone knew they were bullshit. She twirled around in her white cotton dress and levitated. The rabbit tapped impatiently on his watch while lamenting "We're late, we're late..." and lead her through a tunnel with gum drop walls and tootsie roll beams...right back to her office.


"Wow! Is that my desk? It seems so small without all those papers on it."
The rabbit smiled and looked up at the clock which seemed fixed on 4:00 PM. Annie didn't question its accuracy, just grabbed her purse which seemed heavy with cash, and headed for the door. It was time for her workout. She caught a glimpse of her svelte self mirrored in the window of her Mercedes and smiled slow and wide. She had never looked so fit! Looking young too....25-ish?  As the rabbit buffed his pocket watch on the hem of his coat (the better to distract you with, my dear), she decided on a drink instead.

Alder Bistro had finally replaced the scrap of awning with a brilliant burgundy ensemble. The place looked positively regal. She was surprised to find Joe Bonamassa's bus parked out front. Poster on the door said Joe was doing a special show tonight only, but no one got the memo and it was quiet, save for a few regulars....just the way Annie liked it. Joe and the band were just finishing "If Heartaches Were Nickles" and he jumped down from the make-shift stage and swaggered towards Annie's reserved table.

"Hey, Babe, so glad you could make it! It'd really be great if you could sing a few tunes with us."
"Well, maybe just a couple," Annie demurred.

Annie sang harmony to Joe's lead, deliriously happy to do so as the sun set outside the big glass window, turning the gentleman leaning the lamp post into a black silhouette. He drew on his cigarette in long slow pulls and exhaled in paisley ribbons that danced, entwined, to the ballad.

It was late when she left, and Leonard Cohen was still slanting his hip to the lamplight. He took her hand and walked her to the Mercedes. "Annie, I've been reading your poetry and quite frankly, I've been tempted to plagiarize. I was wondering if, well...you'd co-author a book with me?" Annie explained to poor Mr. Cohen that she really didn't have much extra time but would give it some thought. Leonard threw his hands back and smiled. "Hey, that's all I can ask. Give me a call when you decide."

When Annie got home, the smell of roast greeted her entrance and her husband came out of the kitchen to hand her a glass of wine and let her know it would be a few more minutes on dinner. She would have sat on the couch but her son was vacuuming so she went to take a bath, which was already drawn...surrounded by candles. Singing birds helped her disrobe, dropping her clothes amongst the rose petals which covered the floor. Just as she began to doze in the warm water, she felt herself drifting up...
up
up
up

"....and that's why the sensible approach is careful prudence. The Turner proposal will just have to wait. any questions?"


Annie looked around the room and sniffed hard for roast. She felt her hips, grimaced, and looked to the clock that said 10:15 AM. She then ambled to the window to looked for Joe's bus, but all she saw was a white rabbit, decidedly glancing her way, as he shit on her Ford and disappeared into the alley.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dead Jimmie

So one day i says to God
God, if i die
-could you give me a couple
Hours warning?
-Kinda got some things i need
To clean up

He didnt answer
Rarely does

But you wonder,
You know?
That weird lump
The dizzy spells

So anyways,
There i was
Minding my own business
While i slept
When up walks jimmie

Now Jimmie's a fella
I used to work with
Nice guy, bout my age
But had the diabetes bad

Last i heard they had lopped
Off a foot and were
Thinkin on lessening him some more

Anyhow, he didn't look good, nope,
None too good

But here he was
Wake walking in my sleep
And damned if he didnt look good!
Walked like a guy with two perfectly good feet

I was cleaning a small window
And who knows why and
I say to him
"Jimmie, geez, you're lookin good"
But he just sadly shook his head no

I could tell he came with a purpose
A message perhaps,
Didn't just happen by,
ya know?

And  he just pointed knowingly
To the ground behind me

Then i woke up

Hmmmm
Would God send dead Jimmie
And is Jimmie even dead?
Couldn't imagine God sending live Jimmie, but Jimmie is a mormon so he mighta been on a field trip
Baptizing hitler and dead jews
Who knows

Couldnt find Jimmie in the obits
But he really wasnt an obits
Kinda guy,
Never even tucked in his shirt
ya know?

Anyway
I feel like shit
But no worse than the shit
I felt like yesterday
And hate to clean house
If Jimmie was just gas

But if soon you find
A wreath upon my blog
You can't say I wasnt warned
~rick

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Way I Know Her



saw her once in 1973,
she was leanin to the lamp post
when billy fremont came
sauntering past with his
cocky stride.
she was snappin her gum
and never lost a beat as
the corner of her mouth
curled geniusely

her foot snaked out
and whamo!
down goes billy in a heap!
but quick as lightnin
ol billy jumps up and bolts
for that dirty bitch
but weren't no need to hurry
cuz she was already there
with her chin up and
her long hair cherokeed

"whatcha gonna do bout it billy fremont?"
she slung his full name like david's stone
and it sunk deep in his forehead
"well, you'll see. You'll see"
she coughed out a laugh
that echoed through generations
and her gum hit him square in the head as he stomped away

seen her once in a field
splittin wood
all dressed up as a man,
her sleeves rolled tight
to her biceps, and
that axe starting at the heel
never paused for breath
as nature itself  held
hush in the trees

she once sold the worst car
in the lot
to the man who owned the bank
and all he could do
was pretend it wasn't

but she has her soft side

I've seen her walk down
a country lane in May soft
as doves skittered her steps
and sparrows nested
in her locks

she's written poem after poem
to dragonflies who taxied
soft breezes
to her curling fingers

I've seen her stroke
the marigolds gently
and tickle the honey bee's whisker
while the sun caressed
her heaving breast

she has her moods
and they are best avoided
but she has her moments
that should never be sold

those that think themselves
favoured in her charm
shall surely find the draft
of her bared teeth
and her mercies are
more random
than a coin toss

if she were any other way
she would be any other lake
than Superior

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Poet Will Die

There are men and women who climb mountains, row great oceans, and rediscover who gives a shit poles. National Geographic is littered with the remains of the many who never returned. They are called explorers.
And they knew the risks.
Many had careers and lives envied of all that knew them, and yet, they trekked., knowing the cost and odds.
See, it's all about vision. Simply put, they could see beyond sales quotas, beyond 401k, beyond the securities of safety and well played. They could see even beyond the mountain, the distant shore, the barren pole. They could see the feel that lies in the doing.
Poets, of which I am not, can see that feel as well, though their range of vision can claim no goal nor know of any great glory.
The K2 that draws them is the life within death, the sorrow in great joy, and the hatred within love. They see the contrast in life and explore it with their blood.
It is never enough for them to love, they must rip the heart from chest and explore the why. And then do it again.
They must get down and dirty with all that plays out before them. Satisfaction in contentment can only mean failure and the beauty of a rose shall not get off so easily while their thorns spill blood.
Therefore, when the hawk soars full of life, the rabbit never dies alone and unseen. When children cry for food and lovers for justice, the poet sees their feel and bleeds their heartache. And a perfect sunrise is only a means to hope for storms.
Bankers shall live to dispense currency to the car mechanic who buys his house to keep his family happy while he repairs the bankers car. It is an age old system of barter that plays out well in love, war and politics. But the poet tumbles free of this circle unable to find purpose or worth in any of it.
And she writes what only she can understand and see, knowing her words will wash away in the clocks of ancient fixture and the speeches of great promise.
Therefore, the poet will die.

in every beast, a hunger grows
to thirst, for tomorrow's fresh dew
and the lover says shall we
in the new fallen rain
and together they walk
but alone

and a flower blooms
wild and true
where politics bled her men dry
in fateful excursion
leaving their passions
in fields of martyrs passed by

the sower seeds
while the painter creates
and the violins
spin blue into gold
but somewhere below
and beyond the turned earth
beyond the white fields of fresh snow
where new borns dredge
the souls of before
they must sing a new song
 of great old

and this story new
it must be told
in a thousand
shades of pain bourne
bled from the prick
she knew in great need
 to balance the weight
of her scorn
and
the poet will kill her
to die his sweet self
in the murder
that no one shall mourn

so here and now
let's drink to he
and her, and all
that ever they see
for tomorrow, the poet
shall surely die
so tonight
let's just let him be
~rick

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gimme Shelter

Billy Hobart steps gingerly to the porch
as the frightened screen door
screams from his feeble grip
shifting the dog into panic


looking to the pasture,
he spots the chestnut mare
looking back, wild-eyed,
her mane a thousand crazy
kite strings

as the barn door slaps BANG!
on its twisting hinges,
his cap takes flight
chasing Miss Lucy's
shit green garbage can
down the drive

far out to sea,
the fishing has been fair, but now
Tom Patterson stares narrow-eyed
through the helpless wipers
as Jack sits the little stove
two-handing his coffee cup,
leg over knee, on the folding chair

the rollers have grown teeth,
swagger, and two fish
in the water dance wildly
on their cable, saying
as if!

list and wallow?
run and swamp?
or dare to luff?

Jack lifts his filthy cap
to rub his brow
and one-eyes Tom
who can only shrug

Sometimes, a moment too long
is a lifetime too short

I feel it now
as this blow barrel-rolls
across the ridge and
hammers the hollow flat

I feel the burp of
the ocean deep
rising and churning

fences fly
and lights flicker

windows bend
and rain becomes a million shards
of black stained glass

somewhere in my memory
there's a time, a place,
a gentle raft on still waters,
a mountain top of soft powder,
a girl lying upon stained linen
smoking my last cigarrette
in the red candle light

I don't wish the storm away,
wouldn't purchase promise
if it sold two for a quarter

but here
in the midst of the rage,
in the belly
of the storm,
just before I make my last chance run,
for just a moment

gimme shelter


~rick

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Search For The Perfect Perfume

Dear Reader, This is a very long piece and I expect no one, not even my most faithful to read it. I've been writing some longer prose lately and I just put it out here to be out here. Please feel free to move past it.~rick


Do you remember the smell of the cafeteria when you walked down that long sloping narrow white-tiled hall after mornings last class? When the lunch ladies giggled in the kitchen and recess bled through the tiny windows?
The smell that delighted rather than repulsed as the day before?
The plain round ladies in puke yellow dresses giggle because just one of them, just last night, got good and fucked and the infection spread among the brood like candy from the Christmas parade with every child scrambling for a taste.
No broccoli today and extra sugar in the Kool Aid. Do you remember?
Recess was five minutes longer.

Daddy's old spice after Tuesday night's shower.
Momma's kitchen on Thanksgiving morning while Macy's convinced you, you were really there.
Grandpa's pipe and the cloud that framed his smile.

And that cute brown haired girl who never spoke but sat in front of you in English class. How the stirred air awoke you when she returned from bathroom break, and how your jeans lifted and twitched.
The July hay field you peddled past on the way to dreams just over the rise.

And Bethany, on the shore of that autumn lake with the pretty name. Deep under the moon, deep into the night, deep into her. Your senses were filled with the flow of magic. the water, her hair, her kiss, her moisture, all coming together in a fragrance that would shame April lilacs.
All of these, and more. Making perfect sense as one.
That's how the perfume was described.

I had been walking through the forest when the white raven came from behind me and settled on the limb where she became the woman.

Like jack while on a mission of simple survival, suddenly confronted with the notion that giant beanstalks laddering to golden eggs really can exist, if only we dare, I sought a price.
She cackled from the limb supporting her perch.
"Why, child, the only price is your ability to achieve."
And with that, she tossed it to my reaching hands and flew away.
I sat down against the tree to study it.
Orb shaped it was, neither heavy nor light. It just was, as if beyond the possibility of gravity.
I held it to my nose.
No roasting turkey
No old spice
No Bethany's sweet cum.
Just a ball full of nothing.

I began to peel the layers away one by one and one by one they disappeared but the orb never grew smaller, and each layer, once free, grew wings and flitted out of sight.
I grew restless and walked but couldn't remember where or why. I just wandered the forest releasing magic butterflies into the trees.
As deeper I trod, the forest grew deeper as well and dusk settled on my efforts.
Just as dark was reaching its apex, I stepped into a small clearing of light.
In the middle of this light was an ancient sage sitting at a small primitive table mixing a potion.. His white hair curled and tangled secrets deep in its wild weave. His white beard rested his lap. His fingers stretched and knotted like oak branches steady as their roots.
Above him, hung a tiny moon watching over his shoulder, with sleepy eyes.
Without so much as a glance, he spoke.
"What is it you seek, so deep in the forest?"
I held out the magical orb.

"I seek what lies within."
"Hmmmm, yes, a noble desire no doubt."
He lifted the glass holding the potion and one-eyed it through his tiny glasses. Then, as if truly curious, he asked, "What would you do with it, should you achieve it?"
The answer required no thought.
"Just know it."
His moon had grown dimmer so he reached and stroked it gently and fresh light covered our conversation.
The sage then set the glass back on the table and took the orb from my hands. He turned it and studied it.
"The trick," he said, slow and deliberately. "Is to open it from the inside out." Then he handed it back to me and resumed mixing.
"Well, how do you do that?"
With no change of expression he replied, "You must love it before you have it."
I thought for a moment but only grew more confused. "How can you love something you've never known?"
"Ah," he raised a long gnarled finger. "That is what you must learn."
I paused in frustration.
"Um, ok -how do i learn it?"
Finally, he smiled slightly and looked up.
"Why, my boy, you already have."
Then he leaned back and reached up to stroke his moon again as he studied me. He then leaned forward and rested his chin on his closed fist before asking, "That girl, the one at the lake long ago, did you love the scent before you knew the moment?"
It didn't even strike me as odd he should know.
"I did not know the scent til then."
He threw his hands open and his eyes twinkled in the lenses. "Precisely!"
Then he continued. "And your fathers after shave, how many times did you smell it before you found it lovely?"
I shrugged and tilted my head.
"Just once, I guess."
He leaned far forward and thrust a crooked finger at me.
"Right again! Inside out."
I squatted down before him and rolled the orb in my hands.
"You speak in the way of wisdom," said I, "but still my dilemma remains."
He lifted the glass once more, eyed it carefully, then set it down and pushed it towards me.
I looked at his deep eyes, ancient lines, and then he whispered, "You need to go."
I looked around at the walls of thick black and wondered, go where?
He tapped the rim of the glass.
"Here."

I dipped my finger into the clear liquid, brought it to my lips as he watched expectantly. There was no taste, no strange sensation, and his eyes closed gently as he nodded.
I lifted the glass and drank it dry.
As I felt nothing new or queer, I raised my palms wide in silent ask.
The old man's eyes narrowed kindly and he pointed over my shoulder. I turned to look and my eyes fell upon a trail of light through the darkness. I quickly turned back to ask the sage of it, but he was gone, along with his moon.
All that existed was black nothing and the trail of light, which I chose to explore.
I walked only a short time before coming upon another trail of light to the left. I entered it, and immediately found myself upon the shores of a long ago lake. I followed a familiar scent along the moonlit beach and found Bethany, in her youth, lying upon the sand naked, as she masturbated to the rhythm of the waves.
I walked to her, to ask her why she was alone.
Her eyes were closed and when I reached down to touch her, she turned to tiny white wings and fluttered away.
I smelled the damp sand, tasted it, hoping for a trace,
But there was none.

The darkness started to gather and close around me, threatening to swallow me whole so I turned and rushed to stay ahead of it, back to the original trail. When it I achieved, the only light I could find was to my left.
As I followed it, I watched behind me as the darkness followed my steps.
Not long after, I found a trail to my right and turned into it, the darkness waiting where I left it like a well trained butler.
Once in the trail, I came upon a round middle-aged woman upon a bed. She was wearing only a hairnet as her squash coloured dress hung from the bedpost. She was on all fours and a fat ugly man was fucking her hard.
She squealed and sloshed as he smoked a cigar and drank a can of beer. She reached between her legs to help herself along as the fat bastard watched baseball on the TV in the corner. He slapped her ass hard when Roger Maris got a double, and his dick must have grown two inches because she came in a wild flood  just as the winning run scored.
I walked closer to ask why this made for better smells in cafeterias, but they grew wings and off they flew into the darkness before I could smell any pizza or a graper kool-aid.
This journey continued and repeated until the trails ran out and all my memories of lovely fragrances had been tarnished.
The only spot of light remaining was where I stood. I held the still many-layered orb in my hand and decided the woman had deceived me for her own amusement. There was no flawless perfume, no perfect fragrance, and no perfect memory.
Then the light at my feet rose in a gentle bloom and I found myself at an all too familiar tree. Looking up, I watched a white raven land on a limb I recognized, and the white raven became her once again.
She smiled and spoke.
"Did you achieve?"
I held the orb up.
She pretended a frown and said, "What seems to be the trouble?"
I turned my eyes to it and replied, "It seems whenever I peel a layer away, a new one grows within."
"That's true," She offered. "Each layer is a moment and for each moment past, a new moment is born."
"So," I puzzled, looking up to her, "The riddle has no solution."
She said nothing but bent down low and softly blew upon the orb.
Instantly the air was filled with white wings that lifted and landed among the branches of the forest. Above her head I could see the sun and moon standing side by side. Rain fell from a starlit sky while soft white clouds swirled through the trees.
I looked into my hands and the orb was gone. I had felt nothing. But then the most beautiful fragrance well beyond imagination filled my being and filled the forest.
I smiled as never before and looked up to the she-raven.
"Disappointed?" She asked
"No," I answered. "Pleased beyond all hope. Tell me, what do you call it?"
"I call it "Now"
And with that she changed again and joined the other moments in the trees.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Colours


I wish I could swim
or even float as flotsam
in the colours of my life

not as grandeur ocean
or rolling, churning river
but as hurricane,
me, the all seeing eye

greens and burgundies
aqua and sunset
as up I carry
in a spiral trail of magic

i would float on my back
and perhaps, understand
the blend and finish
of my new colour
collage

from there, up high
I could spin miracles
to the perfect twirl
and paint you happy

but i flounder and flail
in a hopeless kick
and broken stroke
while the mess rains heavy
as bent rusty nails

how they tried,
those that loved me
to soothe and gentle
in demonstrated ease

just a little kick, they smile
-easy strokes,
be one with the moment
you swim in

and I try
God help me, I do

but I sink as before
as the colours explode into shrapnel
obliterating the cascade
I dreamed of
when my youth
knew imagined success
through perfect
naivety
~rick

Monday, October 25, 2010

Silent Observer


was the time
when rivers knew my stones
from troubled fingers,
the wiggle of my bait
from greedy want, and
the trespass
of my feet, all five-buckle boots
trample and clang

and too, the woods of September
knew my stick
in crooked drag
and daring poke

I swung at the clouds
challenged the storms
sang to the moon, and
danced to ideas
stolen from generations
of long forgotten fools

but not now
-not today

today I ghost,
a watcher, mere
silent observer

this I do, with tremble and quake
seeking a new brand of comfort

the stones I threw
and side-winder skipped
chased herons from the quiet, and
birds became mimes
to my terminator steps

and choir to the moon
draws only the applause of sad dust
while the clouds I swing at
water another man's tulips

but now, maybe,
if tenderly I step, and
carefully I observe while
reaching into my ribs
to stretch my soul wide
to the quiet placement
of motion without man,
then perhaps,
a new comfort will find room,
more five and dime
than taco laced strip malls

so hush, says the gentle river
gliding the day
shhhh,
says the quiet woods
laying me upon it's
canvas of paupers carpet

let us paint you
in the light of concede
to a way you need know
to truly know us

let us drift you, say they, to
a new language
that rush can never learn
from passing clouds

we will be your gait
as we blend your thoughts
into dreams you can't see
and songs you can't hear
in the silence of your noise

I know,
this silent passage
will not grant me
my hearts desire
nor make my moon fuller

it will not be alchemist
to my stew of mistakes
nor keep me
from tomorrow's fresh madness

I simply choose to accept
the peace it offers today
if only I shadow it
a silent observer

so
I surrender the sword
without ceremony
or honour
to be silent observer,
the careful watcher, one
naked in spirit, needing
the ancient wisdom
quiet might bring


~rick

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sweeping


Whsht whsht whsht

The sun kaleidoscopes the maple
into orgasmic explosion
sending life upon death
through the vacant street

in 1968, his son met jimi hendrix
in Da Nang, but
only the music returned
giving voice
to a folded flag

wushhh wuushh wushhh

lost a sister in '73 in the
damnedest wreck clay county
never did see, and

A maple leaf falls
in twist and float
but settles short of
the potter's field
where it's too sad
for red to die

Wushhh wushhh wushhh
sweeps the broom
as Tom's mail truck
rounds the corner
unnoticed
by the stillest of motion

whsht whsht whsht

Mary passed in '87 from the cancer
-brother earl, two years later
when his heart paused
a moment too long
over the snow shovel

cars pass, some wave
some stare
a few understand
and most ignore
in kindness

but it matters not to him

he who
at first light sidles down
the porch steps
clutching his purpose,
the only one he can keep alive

and the leaves fall
and the wind laughs
and the town cries
for greater recognition, but

time means nothing here
having been swallowed whole
by the seasons of his passing
and the cold hand of loneliness

so all day long he sweeps
that same God damned spot
of clean dirt
like an upside down grave
he can't gain entrance to

and the children pass
to school
and back
quiet feared and wild-eyed

while Marge Thompson
sips her coffee while
leaning to her kitchen window
remembering
to when the maple was a sapling
and hope sang harmony
over green grass seeding love

whsht whsht whsht
~rick

Monday, October 18, 2010

Snow


Oh sky of grey broken tender
Do you feel my beg?
Feast upon my longing?

Old friend, season of my song
Have we not earned each other?

Roofs are for raindrops and
Dream weaver sleep while
Fires tend the fearful's
Broken heart

But you and I, old friend
Kindle a different passage
Where loneliness makes trump
And comfort settles within

So here i am
And there you are
One losing purpose
Without the other

So hush the pines
Who baby bird-like
cry for their supper

Drift the frozen lake
That cracks in flex
Prepared for cover

The owls wait for
Your moonlight glow
And still, telling shadows

We all wait, old friend
As you ponder your mood

I am here, in the field of wait
Alone and jacketed
Longing for the cleanse
Only you, old friend,
Can offer

Hear my longing
As i walk the alone trail
I turn my eyes to you
Throw my arms wide
To your roll and dark billow
And bend the knee
In pleading obeisance

Snow, old friend
Snow


~rick

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Making Do


The man at the corner
sells stolen roses
a dog may have pissed on

I bought three for you

remember the Chinese place,
where the cook smoked
to keep the flies miserable?
you kissed me first there

I sang you a song
from the balcony
of super eight
and wrote you a sonnet
when the ball game was cancelled

your mother blushes
when I kiss her hand
with twinkle and smile
while your father beams
to my adventures and travels
from his lazy recliner,
seeming quite weary of his fat ass

all in all, I've loved you well
wouldn't you say?

but if i could
love another
whose breasts stood taller and mightier
whose lips fountained red in full bloom
whose hair sailed the milky way
in fragrant mist

and if I could
win the Pulitzer
sit upon senator's thrones
win the royal cup or
save my soul
from the heart of hell
by simply throwing your mother in
my place

the man on the corner
would be one dollar poorer
and the Chinese fly factory
a table richer
while your father's fat ass
mourned, for his supper


~rick

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Civil Wars


Up high on the ridge, i watched
As two hawks battled
For supremacy


While
Just down the line,
The crows gathered to witness
Wearing the petticoats
Of first Manassas

Down here, in the cheap seats,
Twenty hummingbirds
warred over nectar for fifty
While the ants thieved
And the cat watched

A car grinds down
The drive way, flags waving.
It's Mr. brown bearing gifts as he tells me the evils
Of casting my vote for Mrs. Green

This all i ponder
From a seat of ease
As I have no one
To overthrow

I look to the horses as
Surely a worthy foe
But hay and flies
Seem a poor booty

I look into the window
To more cats
Occupied in a fight
Not worthy of my join

My wife comes out
But that battle
Was Korea'd long ago
And we honour the DMZ

The dog barks
At a plastic bag
Ghosted in the autumn breeze

"shut up stupid!"

The dog retreats
Victory is mine


~rick

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cafe


I don't care for restaurants
They're all shoney
And crackerbarrel

Buffets and chemical cones Check Spelling

The waitresses have clean
Green skirts, matching aprons
And name tags

Tightwad teachers meet here
To tip poorly
And compliment each other
For doing their job

All the pie crusts are stamped
Sysco, and a regional dick
Strikes fear, twice a month

Some restaurants are lovely
And the pies from Deflor's bakery.
Teachers don't go here
But neither do i
As i always feel like I entered
A church
with too much God
And not enough sin

But a cafe, yes,
Where the cook
Bellers and belly laughs
At the
Clumsy girl
Who couldn't get into Shoney's
Cuz of that damn tattoo

She's wearin jeans
As full of holes as
Her manners

She ain't going to State
In the fall
Like the girls at crackerbarrel and
Her apron is filthy
And her hair
Is in your chili

There's a counter
With some stools
Where the plumber and
Electrician perch
Cuz the dice are
Just below the counter

You have to bang the
Salt shaker, and in the corner
Is a juke box that never heard
Of eminem

Teachers won't come here
Cuz they failed
The cook and waitress

And there's worse things
Than hair in your chili

But here, you can laugh out loud
And tip because you want to
Cuz she's your friend
And you take care of your friends

Here, dreams are small
But dreams just
The same
The til stays open to round -offs
And Sadie bakes the pies fresh
Every night
~rick

Monday, October 4, 2010

Whoosh!


I lie on my bed and look up.
Whoosh!
I am sucked upward at the speed of silent scream high above the clouds.
Then, and with not the pause a roller coaster offers to catch one's breath, I am thrown down hard upon a river of concrete.
Thwack! No bounce.
I feel myself dragged, helpless as a hummingbird in a hurricane named Earl.


Over fields of stone, through a field of trees, into a deep ocean where I, the dredge, write new history of disregarded lessons.
This I imagine, as I lie upon my bed of comfort and thought.

For God's sake why?
The readers screams
For God's sake,
The thinker replies.

You see, religion teaches us this- commandment and penalty.
The commandments hang like another's gum from my shoes, having long ago lost its flavor.
That leaves penalty.
Five for fighting
Ten for fucking
A thousand, for just being me.

But another has swung from your rope
Haven't you heard?
Yes, but i don't trust this convenient license to kill.

The children cry
The old man hungers for the loneliness of his youth
And the gun claims God as its trigger


If one has died for the sins of all
why do the sins multiply in the closet of our knowing?
Those that say they don't, lie
And those admitting they do
Are condemned by the liar's parchment.
A conundrum of perfect reply


If choose i could,
One and done would be the smart play
But i know better
And the gum hangs heavy from my shoes
And i lie upon my bed
Whoosh!
Thwack!

Absolved


~rick

Sunday, October 3, 2010

hmmmmm

I'm always amazed to find that anyone would read me. I wouldn't. But, and cuz it's free, not cuz I'm homeland security, I have tracker on my blog.
I almost never check it, maybe every couple months, just to see if anyone's still there, but today I had a moment and so glanced. Yes, unbelievably, a few still stop by. But what struck me today was Franklin, Ky. Huh?
dang, that's awful close to where I live! hmmmm Franklin, nice to meet you! Drop me an email and let me know how ever you came to find me. The other few of you, thank you so much for finding some value in my posts, at least enough so that you stop by from time to time.
Franklin, My email is posted on Manx; hope to hear from you.
Love you all,
Rick

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Up


When she was smaller
Or younger
Not really sure which

She would run to me

Little warning
Beyond its own surety
She would sail
On the springboard of love
And trust and God,
How she'd fly!

The only word, "up!"
And her legs would tie my hips
And her arms would fasten
My neck
And then the squeeze
Of nothing left over

Even when she grew bigger
Or older
Can't say which

I would expect the "up!"
And it came without fail
Til one day
I wobbled
Ever so slightly
And the springboard broke
And a hug was waggled
In the compromise

~rick

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ken


When first I met him, Ken was sixty-eight I believe. We were driving back roads looking for a house to rent, saw him in his yard and stopped. It was that simple and random.
Talk turned to coffee and coffee to stories. He and his wife Norma had moved to Kentucky from Alaska and like many of us, couldn't really remember a good reason for doing so. In his yard he had sled dogs with thick coats that seemed out of place in the hot southern sun, but I loved seeing them anyway.
He showed us the buildings he had constructed, their garden and other projects of great ambition, or at least to me. We became friends immediately.
Even at sixty-eight, Ken was a strong and solid man standing six foot-five, with a small pony tail that seemed strange to his conservative ways but perfect nonetheless. His mind was whip smart though he pretended otherwise and his humour was slow and smooth.

He had made his living overseeing the state park system in Oregon. Norma, the same age, was and still is, a great beauty- tall, smart and graceful with gorgeous red hair. They had been high school sweethearts but Norma's parents never approved and did all they could to firebomb the relationship. Only problem was, Neptune in all his glory with Apollo as side-kick would stand no chance in overthrowing them, and married they were.
They raised children, lots of them. Twenty-three, I believe, and a few of them were even of their own lovemaking.
They told us stories of state parks, young love, adoption, foster children and Alaska. And as I lived briefly in Alaska and held a deep affection for it, I hung on every word.

There was the time in the deep bush when there were no less than eight of them living in a tent while they constructed a small cabin. The children were mostly ethnic minorities that had come from bad inner city experiences.
I've since had the pleasure to meet several of them and they seem much better for the wear.

Ken's not much for sitting still. His way is to find a place full of nothing, build it up to something, then move on.
Alaska to Kentucky, Kentucky to Alaska, Alaska to Oregon, Oregon to California, then back to Kentucky. All in the seven years since I've known him. They now live one mile from the nothing they built up the first time and sold for loss. And once again, just a piece of grass not fit for mowing has barns and gardens and fences and animals and porches and much beauty.
I would go there and Ken would always have either a post hole digger gripped sweaty and dirty or a hammer that would never miss its mark.
I would implore him.
"Ken, you're not that young anymore, why don't you take it easy, maybe three posts a day, and contract out for that addition"
His only response was to look at me like he didn't understand the question

Why, just in this past year, they've considered another move, back to Alaska.
Where he is now is complete, so to him, there's no reason to stay. They even had the place on the market for another loss but times ain't what they were and a bargain's only a bargain if you have the money to make it so. He called real estate people "up there" and scoured the Internet. His eyes would light as he showed me pictures and dreams of possibilities out of nothing.
I don't really know if Norma wanted to move but she liked to see his passion and that made her willing.
But seven years is seven years and seventy-five isn't sixty-eight. This I'm learning.

The changes were somewhat subtle at first, more bewildering later.

He came to our house for his birthday. We sang happy birthday and he sang and laughed childlike, just a little too much so, and we all felt awkward as he clapped his hands to the candles going out.
He didn't get up as early either. The post hole digger learned rust. His jaw hung just a little too loose and Norma took over his sentences a little too often.
I now remember the headaches of two winters ago and wonder. But little matter, Ken finally went to the doctor.
Alzheimer.
Funny thing is, he knows but he doesn't. The doctors say with good drugs the next two years shouldn't be too bad.
He mostly just sits now and the place don't look as nice. Norma's worry of the days ahead is evident in new lines and gray as she takes over the care of the hobby farm. Geese, pot bellied pigs, goats, chickens, dogs, cats and now Ken.
There won't be another move, not one that Ken knows, anyway. And it won't be Alaska.
The man who all his life only knew how to build and care for, be it children or land is becoming a child who will need great care and can never be rebuilt. And it's painful to watch. Just ask Norma.

I don't yet know what I think about all this. I know I wish he would just die tomorrow while digging a hole or chopping a tree, but it's too late for that. I wish he had died in Alaska, but that chance too has passed.
I almost wish Norma would die to spare her the horror to come.
I think of suicide and how maybe it's not such an easy condemnation; better to fall on the sword than let the enemy take the final cut. I think of my own life and the shortness of days and sunsets unnoticed. I think of much but the answers elude me.
Mostly I marvel at a man among men so cruelly taken down by the worst disease he could know.
~rick

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Red Light


I don't fear heights
Only falling from heights
The climbers of rock walls
All jangle and chink
They pause now and again
Taking inventory


Their red light

The prayer before a hanging
Grace before the meal
The look before a kiss
All red lights


A place to rest
And take inventory

We try to run them
But we shouldn't
Watch the guy next to you
As he remembers
How sweet it smelled
Between her thighs last night

They don't last long
And too many
In too short a span
Only gather to ambush
The one you need

Too many or too long
And you'll remember
Halfway through the feast
She got her period


~rick

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jeanine

Where's your ticket?
What do you mean
you haven't got it?
the show starts in twenty

Jeanine was supposed to get it
Yes, quite sure
Damn it

I like her, I really do
But really

Oh yes, this isn't the first time
I swear she thinks only of herself
Why, one time
-and you can ask peter
But no, that wouldn't be right

She loses things too
Yes, but only things she's borrowed
But really she's sweet
Most of the time

She should've called you
I would've
But Jeanine's not me

I heard she might get fired
I don't know, always late I imagine
I think she drinks quite heavily
At home
Or so someone said

Oh look, there she is now
And she has your ticket
Dear Sweet Jeanine

Doesn't she look lovely?
But Don't tell her I said so
it'll go straight to her head
"Hello, Jeanine! over here."

And still fifteen minutes
Til show time

~rick

Friday, September 17, 2010

Small


Ever been to a carnival?
Throw the rings, pick the duck
Knock down the milk bottles


Behind the barker
Floating near jupiter
Are the big bears
-The one Mary Ellen wants


Below, on a stained board
Are the chinese trinkets
Mary Ellen would never kiss for


And only the star quarterback
Will get the bear, and Mary Ellen

I'm in the kitchen now
The women are cooking
And telling tales
Of perverted neighbors

I reach up
To tug on their skirts
Not even knowing
What i'd ask for.

No matter,
They don't feel my touch
Nor sense my needs

I go outside
Where a billion stars
Commiserate above
But they're so many
I so one
They so far
I even farther

Right now
I feel so small
To what plays out around me
The thimble
In a box full of bright
Tangled yarn
Not knowing
How it got there
Or when it lost
Its legs


~rick

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Shaman


He looked so wise, so serene
Sitting there naked
Cross legged before his fire

No, that's a lie
He looked pathetic and pompous

I thought his balls would be bigger

He didn't look up,
Just waved his incense
As an orchestra
Of mosquitoes played

Can a dream be overthrown
I asked, without prompt
No
He hushed

I see
And spit into his fire

Says who?
I hissed in reply

The universe
hmmm, I see, how convenient.
I went to my haunches
And blew smoke through him slowly

Yeah, continued I, well fuck the universe
to which he smiled
And said nothing

Will my dream come true?
I riddled on

Yes, his eyes said

Well, we'll see about that
And I rose,
Surrounding his wisdom
With my human glory

Do you not want the dream?
He cornered

No, I lied

Then why did you desire it?
He delighted

I didn't, I lied

I then passed through
His smoke of wise lavender
And sat cross legged
before him

What makes you so wise?
And I threw my head up at him

Knowing, he said softly
As his eyes drifted back
Into the embers

I put a finger to his arrogant face

Yeah, said I, well
Two and two is four
But that doesn't make me
A mathematician,
Because you see
There is a place where my knowing ends
But the questions continue

That is wisdom, he nodded

Well, I continued, perhaps
Your knowing, along with your wisdom
Ends with my dream

He looked up from his dancing flame
And found my eyes wanting

But the dream was another's ,
He exposed,
Who made it yours
only through your knowing
of its meaning

Then he tilted his head slightly
Why do you resist that which you most desire?

Again, I spit upon his fire
And my words hissed upon him
In sparked reply.
Because I wont be ruled
By the chicanery of
Another's indigestion

Now you deny the validity of an equation
Within your knowing,
That is foolishness
He humoured

Yeah, replied I, well last year in a dream I flew around the moon
on a purple moose
Should I now search out
A purple moose with wings
And begin my journey?

He snortled to my query

Not all dreams are alike
-some are prophetic
Some are symbolic
And some are indigestion
The art is in the knowing,
The wisdom in acceptance
Of that knowing

I then stood, kicked his fire closed
and pissed upon his sad balls

Well I sure as fuck ain't ever gonna
Get married in Ohio. You can bank on it.
to which he replied, we'll see about that
And disappeared into the smoke
As I once again found myself
Sitting on my toilet


~rick

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chickens


Went to a petting zoo cuz the sign said "fun for all ages"
Liars.
And they had these chickens that could sing and dance-well, dance anyway.
There was one with a tiny white glove on his foot that could do a mean moonwalk.
Another wore a top hat and had a tiny cane duct taped to his claw while he did "singin in the rain" though i think it was the tape that gave him his quick feet.
The point is, though, (yes, there is a point) is that these chickens were trained with just a little corn!
Fuck! Learned behavior.
We're talking an animal that's just as smart without his head as with it.

I saw on TV this guy who had a headless chicken for a pet, called him (it) mike and fed him by stuffing corn down its (his) throat with a pencil.
The damned thing lived years after his (its) head had been lopped off!
The thing either didn't mind or just never noticed. Whatever, Dude!

I once suffered a nasty wisdom tooth for nearly a year before pain finally knocked the shit outta fear.

Another time I had something really bad I had to tell my parents as they were gonna find out anyway, and I moaned like a love sick hound for a month while I drug it out.

Went to court once (had to, the warrant said so) and took the latest date i could. As if the judge was gonna grow old and kindly in a month.
Shit, how i sweated that one!


The point is, (i said there was one-remember?) is this;
Dumber than a chicken
Me,
Fucking dumber than headless mike


~rick

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Berheim Forest


There are woods and there are forests. A woods says come in and play. The Sun will always be visible through the soft maples and ash. A forest shivers you with a challenge from a blackened archway leading down to where no Sun dare shine. Such a place is the Berhheim Forest.




it travels deep
and narrow.
long and down.

not the forest
of little children
in jumpers and skips,
but of wayfaring spirits
in search of lost spells.

it is here,
where bogs were born
and hope died
along with maps
and good sense.

it is here,

that
the wind
pleads brave
but dares
foolish
as honour
begets death
in twisted
malfeasance.

wars
have angled
and flanked
to avoid the snares
of her invisible darkness
but fall in,
just the same.

no creatures scurry
or bound here,
they hide and creep
and plot
and ghost
in shadowed silence.

if you enter on Monday
and stay so through Wednesday,
your horse,
they’ll auction on Friday.

without black
there is no white
without the Berheim Forest
all we know
is sacred light

and dreamless sleep.

~rick

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The long Ride


I was ridin in from south fork
The noon sun crackin the dusty clay
Below me, the way too much cold does
A frozen lake

Lady kept her head down
And her thirst fell in gobs
From her bit
While I talked her through
The sage brush


I needed a drink
And buffalo pass held one

Boredom hangs heavy
In august and the stew turns thick
in restless pants


So when the short stocky one left
To fix a wagon
I sat in
Don't rightly know why as
Winnin n losin's all the same to me
but like I said-

I held my own without really tryin
Mostly just sipped the warm beer
And watched townsfolk pass
By out the smoky window

Then the one fella with the torn hat
Got edgy,
desperate,
as his feed money disappeared.
I shoulda walked
I knowed I should've
But i took another drink and threw in
Same as the rest

Funny thing is,
Blazes to hell,
Is i drew aces full over jacks
Without even carin

As i looked around the sorry table,
I remembered winnin hands from afore.
They never led to no good
And weren't nothing i needed anyhow

So's i slip an ace up my sleeve, see,
Slide down a deuce
easy as a sneeze
And call, just like the rest,
An easy way out i figger

Well sir

Damned if two pair didn't
Sweep the table

I lit a smoke and looked to the window
As my rotten luck laughed
And the others grumbled
And sauntered home to tell lies

I didn't buy a round
No sense encouraging fools,
But i slipped the bar maid with ratty hair
and torn stockings twenty bucks
and went out to find lady quenched
And sleeping

Now here i am

sure as snow in the sierras,
Snake bit in hell's gulch new mexico
With a purse full
Of fool's gold
and Lady spent


~rick

Monday, August 30, 2010

Implosion








Somedays, I feel old. Worn out. Faded. Somedays a white flag is all I can do. I wrote this on one of those days.




















brick to mortar
steel,
straight and true
girth to height
stars racing from my grasp
a moon
that found rest
upon my pillar

argyle socks
and cardigan blue
a wisp, a nod
a point
a place
a power

ah,
but rust
and ten dollars worth of time
found weakness
and crinkle

a sway
a lean
a sigh

the old wolf
can’t mask the limp
and the gray rains
upon spent fields
of forgotten prey
and bitches
that yielded to his bite.

boredom
a pocketful of youth
in tattered
yesteryear
and a cane
for tomorrow’s
dreams

and so it is
and so it goes

no drunken planes
to knock it down
just well placed
charges

by fresh pups
on wild wind

slow motion
almost
the dust must rise
before it can fall
covering
the trails of my time
the tracks of my hope

I’ll gather my bricks
broken
my steel beams
twisted
and finger the grafitti
that tarnished
my glory.

I’ll draw it in
hands to lap
pull it in
line upon line
as the moon finds
another
and the stars
fly free
of threat

no phoenix
no fire
only ashes

what fools
they are
who believe
in time
and bank
the riches
of their blessings.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fred In The Morning


This was inspired by a conversation I had with my good friend, Annie (she cringes). Fred was mentioned and away went my mind to the possibilities of his real life. My apologies to all who will be offended and to Annie for tagging her.



The broken twisted blinds let the dirty sunlight in once again and his bloody eyes clenched in terror.
"fuck"
Rolling over, he tried to focus as he surveyed the ruins.
There was an empty wine bottle lying prone on the dresser. In the corner, a bottle of Jim Beam balanced itself precariously on the edge of the TV.
On the filthy floor, in between, was a soggy pizza box with a slice turned upside down a few feet away.
Straining to look over to the door, he took note that a slice had been ground into it and now, below, two cockroaches feasted on what remained.
"fuck"
His bed was just a single pushed into the corner under the window overlooking third avenue. The flashing neon didn't effect his sleep and it was a place for the cigarrette smoke to escape.


Someone now layed on the horn on the street below and yelled. He cringed and leaned to the window.
"Hey Dickhead! People live here, ya know!"
He got up to get a smoke and looked back to a bed that hadn't been made in months. Hell, he couldn't even remember ever washing the sheets.

He was naked except for the lazy white-grey briefs that long ago lost their form. He scratched his balls and staggered to the small stove.
"That bitch!"
His smokes were gone.

Reaching under the cabinet he fumbled and found the one he had stashed. It was sticky and he sneered at it.
Closing the white cainet door that hung crookedly before him, he found a message scribbled in lipstick staring back at him.
"fuck you ass hole!"
He gave it the finger and glanced out the window as he lit the cigarrette.
"Shit. Nice ass." he whispered through the first exhale as he grew hard watching a young woman on the sidewalk.
When the phone rang, he turned and stared at it as if asking, "Is that all you got?"
After a dozen rings it gave up.

Walking to the tiny bathroom, he paused to finish off the Beam before it crashed to the floor.
After brushing his teeth and peeing mostly on target, the phone rang again and he interrupted his search for more smokes to answer it.
"Yes, i'm sure that'll be fine, Kids love trains and engineers." then, addin after hanging up the phone, "maybe one will fall on the track. Now THAT'D be a show!"
An hour later, smartly dressed and hair finely combed, fred stepped out onto third and flagged a cab.
The secret life of mr. Rogers

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stones and Birds



It's funny. Or not so. How the industrial age has made something as beautiful as a killdeer appear foolish while we marvel at the Corvette. Yes! By all means, let's rush and impress and crush and pass by. Birds are only poop to our window and stones an insurance report. I live sixty miles from the Corvette museum. Wish it were farther.


I throw stones
just to.
I skip them
poorly
and judge them
badly.

but I like stones.

they won’t sell you a car
in crooked haggle
they won’t call you
in the middle of supper
and they can’t pretend
to be anything else.

and they taste good.
I know.

I like killdeer.
I stoop and talk to them
and offer my hand
but they yell
and call me foolish.

they nest in rocks.
right there!
in the middle of parking lots.
in driveways.
in roads.

rocks and eggs
all look alike
in perfect sense.

hide a jelly bean
in a barrel
of jelly beans
safety in the blend.

but a killdeer’s squawking
and feigned
broken wing
cannot detour
the machines of Ford.

nor the mean of
mis-taught children.

so we run them over
and crush them under foot
in a cruel carousel
of manifest destiny

survival of the heartless

I like stones
and I like killdeer
not so sure about Ford, mean children,
or anything else.
~rick

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Peddler

(more old shit from last year that didn't make the first team)


There are people and occupations that demand respect though why I'll never know. I guess it's them what made the rules.


Then there are the others. Those not regarded or noticed like an old tobacco stain on a grey shirt. You try to rub it out, then you just shrug and ignore it. I've always kinda liked the peddler.





no buckboard or horse
just a crazy ol' cur,
a calico cat,
and a dirty bag
of faded green

he didn’t come in
on the dust of others
but through the bramble
and along telescopic streams
bordering the dreams
of others misfortunes.

a strange loyalty
these three
of no past
nor future

he knows a fiddle
from a farmer who
had need of a mule
and a fiddle
was easier to lead
and nothing to feed

he would trade here,
buy there,
sell as needed
learning the trades
of necessity
along the way
of the way.

a little hard bread,
a little tea,
a little whiskey
some for she


and some for me



he knew cards
and how to win
he knew tricks
and how to entertain children
he knew women
and the ways of their wants

he never feared the night
unless in town
he never felt the heat
unless in town
he never felt hungry
unless in town

yet to the towns
he went.
to buy, to sell
to play
to a necessary gain

the calico would disappear
for days at a time
to collect his scars.
while the dog knew only
his shadow
and the length of his stride.
but the fiddle
contexts them all
and told the land
of their passing
in melodies mostly haunting.

they painted pictures
as they went
pretty pictures
while mapping the land
of empty,


with dreamscapes plenty

the blacksmith
bends the iron,
the clerk
tends the fabric
and the preacher
keeps them honest

but
the peddler
births a poem


from a heart full of spirit


eyes full of watching


and a lengthening


shadow


~rick

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happiness


Where do we search for happiness? In the approval of others? In manuals written from the wrecks upon coral? Is it things? Or others? Or all?
Does it come from without or within? Can happiness be justified of itself regardless of ships tossed in the wake? For some, it's speed. For others, a slow waltz. Some procure while others shed in empty delight. The pond is only so big; perhaps tolerance is necessary.
if I watch a sunrise
from maiden sand
with knees abreast
in doubled rise
would I be one
with the sun?
the day?
or the sand?

can I be one with all
in harmony’s breath
with the burden of jealousy
riding squalls
of parched leather
as it whips the foam
of how dare you?

having known
the peak
of another’s dream
with my flag
waving trespass
in braggadocio,
can my footing
hold it’s place?
or merely know it’s turn?

is the next best thing,
destined
to yesterdays mash
and tomorrow’s fairy tale
on a scarlet coloured
lap?

to know your place
and the place
within the space

to siphon your dreams
from the pollutions
of storied blends

and to accept
that no one
can be worst
or best
but simply unique.

maybe, is a
way to happiness
~rick

Monday, August 9, 2010

Improvise


I like the zipper
the slow pull
the quick zip
the sound before
the blossom and bloom


but she had buttons
three silver buttons
they slid slyly
through the slits
like a portent
-improvise

a good cigarette,
talking cherry smooth,
will smoke your ass
for eight bucks
and tax

and a good beer,
talking ahh slippery sweet barley!
means overtime and cheaper diapers

but cheap beer is
a twist off
and no one bums L & M's
cept bums
so improvise

I've tried
the straight and narrow,
directions, manuals
and bibles
til my eyes bled
goblets of sorrow

I've measured twice
and still cut thrice
and obeyed the laws
to my own destruction
in stubborn strangle

I find now my crooked trips
through life's bramble
are weighed with mercy
cuz my flailings and faults
make you the hero,
or so you believe,
-so be it

I could fish
in rain and sun blister,
I could golf in a hurricane's bluster,
and I could love you
as you want
and think I should


or I can accept that failure
goes down better
with cheap beer and cigarettes
and I'll never be anyone's hero
so I improvise


~rick

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Leak


There's a hole in the earth
Where our soul leaks out
Drip by smoky drip

No, that's not right
That's all used to been
When we raped the last unicorn

Shot the last dodo
Drove buffalo
Herd by fucking herd
Off the cliffs
For their worthless tongues

Drip drip

Click
Let there be light
Rca
Let there be music
Zenith
Let there be ed sullivan
I wanna hold your hand, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah


Drip drip



There's a hole in the earth
Down there
On the flooded floor
showing steady stream

they say-

No, that's not right
it was a stream


When lewis n clark
Shot the indian-so called
When jim crow
Squawked proudly of baptism
When gold bought blood
and al carved the atom
For all to taste
and savor


When popes
Pretended not to see
The blossom of their fruit
and the furnaces burned forever
enough


then it streamed!
Oh the pretty flow

There's a hole in the earth
Where our soul
Gushes out
The black stain of greed
Hate
Power
And the lust for more
The hunger for faster
The fatter cigar
in the larger portrait

hung on tinsel walls

There's a whole in the earth!

cries the little boy

the only one who sees
What can't be fixed
Or washed away
As our soul gushes out

Belly up to the bar, boys!
Drink your fill
Plenty for everyone
Its been a long time coming

but always

just around the bend.

~rick

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Match



Shadows
in a tunnel of worn out light
fist
just a glimpse of
pump and jab
pheshew! pheshew!

then the shadows part,
obeisance to the light
a ghost
mystery shrouded
in gray ducking hood
- a golden robe
shouting dominance
in vibrant silence

shuffle and dance
on a false floor
in a four corner ring

just another rematch
jester
to my own defeat
again

I've seen it Harlem attitude
Northern mountain latitude
the mocking waves
of piss tangle sea
and the rush of regret
that wont let me be

I've known it
in the wasted tears
of my last breath
choked
in whispered hope

heard it
in the rage of
my own impatience
to right
my forever wrong

suffered it
in the blow
of another's pompous storm
tearing the roof
from my hide

always forlorn
in hooded shadow
greying the worn out light
milking my fear
to boil its blood
for cause
yes,
which and whose?

mene mene tekel peres

yes, upon the wall
tag my soul

i'd like to find it
on the corner
smoking a last cigarette
ah!
then could I barter!
then might we reason
tired eye to tired eye

but wisdom banded in thunder
and judgement written with lightning
is a fool's fight,
for only one possesses it
and that
as if nothing

but still I stand
foot upon step
finger upon reason
tired eye
to a blistered sky
and hear only
in banded thunder

mene mene tekel peres

and know it is so,
just a little too late

~rick

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Whippoorwill and The Window




There's a room, I think, where she exists; where she is she alone in bare truth. Where a bath is drawn and no curtains block the moon. Where she looks to the streetlight, the moon mottled leaves; where she remembers him, and is silent in summer still. He wonders of the room and of its power. Of the towel and of her lean.
If only he had wings to fly and a right to do so. But he has neither.




I flew beside the whippoorwill
because she ruled the night
she took me to the edge of sin
that skirts the edge of light

the way was lit
by smokeless adder
while slipping curtains
coloured true,
I sought to find a bed of green
but only found the failed blue

her call became
my perfect sight
my weakness shown
within her plume,
she landed me upon the sill,
I felt the steam of water rise
from deep within the lighted room

she looked to dark
and forest green
and I to yellow's secret shown
each of us being drawn away
to the things we once had known

her shadowed green
that played the roof
and tickled the frozen pane
masked my impropriety
and hid my tears of shame

at last, the yellow light went dim
the forest green went still
she called to me
and I followed her
from the lifeless
windowsill

but now, I find
twas only a dream
a thought but never true
I walked beneath the nighted green,
stood beneath the pale light,
and
she called
as if she knew

~rick

Monday, April 26, 2010

Possum Squat Birthday


It was a sleepy little town.

Naw, bullshit, this town was fucked.
Mayberry was a sleepy little town. A hick sheriff porch picking his guitar to his old fat Aunt that would never know the clutch of sheets in tightened fist with her legs spread wide. Not even Floyd would touch her and he aint touched nothin but himself in forty years.
I been in Detroit, Gary, Philly. Even lived in New York City, practically.
But those I get.
I know when to swagger and when to hang low. I know the looks, the colours and the code. I know the time and so do they. Our eyes locked narrow in passing say so.
But here, in Possum Squat, Ohio. I don't know anything. Can't figure out their code.
It was my birthday, another one on the road, and it seemed as good a reason as any for legging a saloon. The neon trip ticket I needed punched on this, another bullshit Thursday.
It was early; pre pork chops and mashed potatoes early. The sun wouldn't clear the edge of town for a couple hours and the highway guys were just taking off their orange vests out on the big road.
But I'm not on the big road. I'm walking the edge where ghosts hang and smoke, where there might be a sidewalk but isn't.Where crickets whisper in shame and fear. Just a lumpy stretch of grass along the old factory that now pierces discount nipples and rusty clits behind the red brick framing plywood windows. I look away in trip and stumble to the other side of the road.
A young knucklehead with two arm loads of bad tatoos is sweeping the sidewalk in his stupid as shit cutoffs with no idea why he's doing it. A big ugly dude rolls up on his hog while knuckleheads wife strolls the four little ones to the neighbors porch and fires sharp darts back over her shoulder.

I decide to retreat to the red brick and four times a year grass.
Knucklehead sees my retreat and mutters to the biker wanna be. Mrs. Knucklehead throws her hair defiantly and openly wonders. In this town where grass bristles the tension and the moon looks away in shiver, my cover is already blown and I'm unsure how to recover. But I'm thirsty, so press on I must.
Where am i going? To town, or where a town should be. How do i know where town is? like a turtle to muddy river, I know.
Porch hangin seems to be the big hobby here and they do it well. Wyatt Earp would walk this street unstrapped and sober. Women with too many small children chatter and bitch about how they got em and where the hell is he anyway?
The fucker.
I pretend my phone needs attention. Give it the fondle and shake but really am looking up out of the corner of my eye like Wyatt would.
This goes on for miles it seems as I zig zag dodging dogs and little girls holding torn rag dolls in a head lock.
"Hey, Mister. there's a cat over there."
"Oh, yeah," I spit, all hardened nails. "Is it dead?" Like I hope it is.
The little girl recoils as if I might take a swing at her. A total misread. In New York I'd a been spot on.
This town makes no sense. Octogenarian Buicks and banged rods on blocks. Dope smokers giggling over the fence at neurotic clover pullers. As I pass, the talk dims to hush and I either ignore the small herds or cast don't fuck with me glances depending on my reads.
As finally i draw near where a town once might have been, I find boot hill for rotted two by fours. The places open shouldn't be and the places boarded speak ruin for any that might have known them.
There'll be no drinks; no cozy barstool or sloppy horny bar wench to call me Hon. That's clear. Only escape.
If I just turn around I'll look like a damn tourist lost in shitville and an easy target for whatever it is making me uneasy. So I alter course, take other streets in the general direction of my truck with locking doors and dark curtains.
Ahead of me, nasty dogs, loud mustangs with a handful of misses, a basketballs bounce, and over there, a church full of pretenders, just half a block from the bingo hall where blue haired ladies pray for O 64.

But no bar and secretly I'm glad.
When i get to the dank gas station where my truck is anchored, dark is closing in and I breathe a sigh of relief.
Tonight it will be gas station beer as I sit on the back of my truck and look out over a field of neutral turf and try to remember my worst birthday ever.
I also wonder of this piss hole called Possum Squat and wonder how many escape and how they do it.
Do the others let them or do they have to steal away in the early morning?
I also wonder what makes this town dangerous and tense to me.
Then i decide.
Boredom and restlessness are near kin and here they clearly fucked. Hard. Sweating the balls of July.
And its offspring's first word was shit.
Nobody here cares and there is no plan beyond Mary Janes cherry on Friday night and four-wheelin Miller's pond on Saturday.
I've pissed the streets of murder in Detroit because I knew when and knew how. I swagger and elbow Chicago and Philly cuz I know the mood. When to bluff, when to back down.
I've walked into the seediest bar in Albuquerque and barstooled between the glint of sharpened steel because I measured it all in an instant and knew my place.
But this I don't know. Boredom and hopelessness out of control. Somebody's gonna get hurt because there is no plan and nobody cares. The gangbangers and drug dealers have a plan, a code, a way. And they don't need to fuck with me beyond letting me know they can.
But not in Possum Squat.

In Possum Squat the code is simple; why the fuck not? And that can get you killed.
I wonder. Was this mayberry? once upon a future before the moon shivered just to look down?
In the morning I'll move on. Pull stakes, draw anchor, fill sail and move. And I'll look for the sense a city of busy can offer. The safety of felons with a plan.

~rick