Friday, March 30, 2012

wally's dementia

wally seemed harmless enough
and any crazy he had just seemed bluff
but the moon got so full
that he lost all control
and thus began all the stuff

mrs. jasper swears now she saw him climb naked up her apple tree at 3AM
and he took to washin his car in the rain
before mowin crazy symbols in his yard
while mumblin about arabs and nazis
-just a little quirky

he set up that crazy ass telescope in his back yard
and the shades started to fall at dusk, ever so slowly
and when his wife lefty town with the grocery boy
he didn't even notice for three weeks!

most folks pretended they didn't see him
sittin on his chimney at midnight
or jumpin in that frozen river
on that cold December day

they'd meet him in the store and say
"well, hello Wally, how you doin?"
and he'd grab an apple from their cart
take a bite, and say, "just fine"
before crowin like a love sick rooster
and flappin his wings

but this was a small town
and every one has their characters
to keep the talk alive

but he managed like most folks do
and the stories they grew wilder it's true
and everyone says the same
he mighta stayed in the game
if he hadn'ta flown on jetblue!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Maverick

while the apple pie bakes,
all straw hat and suspenders
the amish come together as
an army of ants, raising the barn

at tuesday night little league
i see the proud parents
all bleachered together
shoulders up and pointing

there goes the rv of relatives
headin down to the state fair
passing that bus full of seniors
off to break the casino

would you like me to say i envy
their happy smiles?
is the lie to be advocated?

truth is, i ain't much for people
and their happy birthday sing alongs
or their vociferous chants of
all for one and one for all

i'm just not cut that way

oh, i like most people just fine
one at a time and mostly over there
but handshakes and huggin
is the horse that drives me to tall timber

see, i was born out of time
this i know, and it's my sack to tote

had i been here when i should've
i'd be there! in them clouds, on that clipper,
high and alone in the crows nest
eyein for, yet daring, the stormy weather

I'd be David Thompson in the rockies
swattin bears and skeeters alone
not Jim Bridger, tellin tales to fools

I'd be the one out there, on the
edge of the herd searchin
for the stragglers
and at night, when the others slept
i'd ride into town alone
after the piano player had been shot
when the saloon turns somber

i'll share ya my beans and share ya my poke
but rarely my fire or trail
-just say howdy, and keep ridin on

i'm the ghost, waitin for a train
but only to watch it pass
and this only to remember
i was born before the railroad
and i'll never raise a barn

Sunday, March 25, 2012


"There's more than one answer to these questions, pointing me in a crooked line
the less i seek my source for some definitive, the closer i am to fine" -E. Saliers (Indigo Girls)

i've been accused
so there it is
like a bloody piece of meat
on the butcher's table
or the bloody rag
she couldn't flush

the supposed crime?
pretending to be definitive
while being anything but

so, am i pissed cuz i'm guilty?
or indignant cuz i'm falsely accused?

the world would like me conclusive
my lovers demand it
and my conscience is dressed like moses

i've tried definitive, but
you've notarized my conclusions
and formed them into hammer

remember when you said this?
remember when you promised that?
remember when you said you'd never?
remember when you said you'd always?

yes, fuck yes!
i remember
you see to it always

but i'm not definitive
my heart, my mind, my thoughts
they are not locked in a cage
nor on exhibit at some museum

if a tree was defined by spring
how sad our autumns would be
if our days are defined by blue skies
should we feel guilty when it storms?

when i said i loved you
i meant it
when i said i'd stay
i meant it
when i said goodbye
i meant it

i wake every morning with a fresh heart
a song from the past opens a door to a future
and light comes in more than one shade

so, yes
i am guilty
guilty of changing
growing, learning
who i am
and which trail to explore
and which to abandon

i am not final
not black or white
sometimes hot
sometimes cold
most times
i don't have a clue

you, the salmon, swimming upstream
can't help but mock the small leaf
floating aimlessly downstream
getting in the way
but each of us will arrive
each will know
a destination
a purpose
maybe even

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ed's Yard Sale

like a patch-work quilt
she had been stitchin her life together
gathering squares where she could
but they never seemed to blend well

so one day, when ed was having a yard sale
she went into his tent. and
see, now ed, well, he
had a whole lot of something
for those needing anything
especially for her

this ed, he's a gatherer by nature
who he lives in a tent
cuz he never could find home
except in the friend that
never could explain home

the mystery fascinated him
and his collection fascinated her

the first thing he would do
is put that old crystal ball on the table
as she gathered in her skirt
and leaned close

he never could tell her future
but by looking through the ball
into her eyes, he could always
tell her past

then he would make some smoke
boil some lizard tails,
tell her things were gonna get better
before giving her whatever caught her fancy
from his collection

when she left ed's tent, she'd
kiss him softly and his eyes
would sparkle as he watched her
carry away yet another part of him

the truth is, none of this mattered;
what mattered was, he loved her
she loved his loving her
neither judged the other
and in these quiet, occasional
little get togethers where he
played merchant to the need
she, for a moment, became
his home, and together,
they made a beautiful quilt

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Coronation

This is a work of fiction. And similarities to persons living or dead is merely a coincidence. So there!

i heard there's gonna be a coronation followed
by a grand ball down at the VFW
the pageant won
the race canceled
-due to sunny weather

it was all in the paper
and i got my invitation, same as everyone else
but i think i'll pass

see, i remember this story in its infancy
back when it was a fairy tale
with missing chapters, the ones
that just can never get re-written
without a hollywood twist

the glass slipper will fit
the wizard will have the answers
and the dog will find his way home

but my cynicism is grumpy. and says
she's just on her way to becoming another
fat american housewife with Oprah's laugh
singing the afternoon theme song

i already heard she's making her hamburgers
just like Mrs. Johnson in the cul de sac
and the Mrs. Johnson next door
to all the other Mrs. Johnsons

and there ain't no magic
in a salsa made from indiana tomatoes

and most likely,
the spanish river will stop laughing,
just doze off for another thousand years
while the train stops parking
to refuel it's spirit- and hers

i heard they might give her Geronimo's medal
at the border, with one of
those little flags on a stick
or maybe just a corn dog

oh, i'll celebrate with her,
for her, but not at the VFW

alone, i'll quietly offer my toast
to the island of enchantment,
the river of forgotten spaniards.
the trees she made love to
and i'll tell the sleeping train
that maybe, just maybe,
fairy tales really do come true

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Life On 3rd Avenue

back in the day, long before
google, CNN and blackberry
there was life on third avenue

the young boys played ball
back in the alley
the old men met for ten o'clock coffee
down at Carol's diner
and Roy at the butcher shop
weighed his cuts with his eyes,
eyes that were soft and kind

i'm talking back when starbucks
was still Bobby's Mac's House of Blues
and Ol Miller Jackson could bend
those strings around unknown corners

it would start slow and easy
just like the whiskey,
but around midnight, when
men closed their eyes
and began to sway,
when the holy spirit
began to move in waves
of sodden passion
Ol Miller would feel the fire, too
and he burned us up in the blaze

damn, it was good!

and Marley always sat in the corner
eyes fixed, lips pursed, leg swingin
never payin us any mind,
only the music

until Miller would smile her way,
start to chuckle, then wave her up,
and then, we who knew,
waited for our religion to come

God how that girl could tune our hearts
while Miller took her up into clouds

but that was then, and Miller's long
been laid to rest

and i used to walk past her place
when the club closed,
lean in the dim light,
against the lamp post
just below her window
and glance up to her shadow
drifting behind the shade

and once the light went out
i'd smile, and hum myself home

one night, in a steady rain
while i got wetter and wetter
waiting forever for that
light to go out,
instead, the shade went up,
the window raised open,
and i looked up to see Marley
sitting on the ledge, smiling

"What you doin out there in the rain,
you stupid boy? Aint you got a lick of sense?"
then she shook her head
and laughed into her hands

i threw my cigarette in the street
looked up through the rain
and smiled back
"Well, Miss Marley, I don't guess I do"

it was the first time she spoke to me,
first time i knew her to speak to anyone
first time i knew her to smile

course, that was a long time ago
and her apartment's now a verizon store

but i swear, back in the day
once upon a time
there was life
on third avenue

Monday, March 12, 2012


On Valentine's Day, Margaret Page, and her cat, Miya, were reported missing
It seems Margaret and Miya pulled over and took a hike into Gila National Forest, in New Mexico, and just started walking, before making camp by a river.
They say, Margaret has a history of mental illness
And I suppose, "they" oughta know

Well, alls well that ends well
The sanies have found the crazies
And I'm sure there's a new evaluation on the radar

I wonder, if the sanies rescued the crazies, who drove the crazies into the wild?

i wish i had found them. Helped them escape, or maybe, they could've taught me how better to escape.
Maybe i'da just shared their fire and sleeping bag for a night. Swapped crazy stories. Learned Miya's devotion.
Maybe we coulda just died out there together
that would really piss the sanies off

Today I met an old Mama and her daughter in a back corner of a truck stop
Living in an old tiny school bus, a blanket in the window. They had a couple crazy dogs with them.
As is my way, I ended up at that bus. Jump started it with my big semi truck
They came from nowhere and are going nowhere
all they have is that bus. No family, no future, no history
I fell in love with them, as is my way.
She dreams of college and I didn't have the heart to tell her it ain't gonna happen
They say they're waiting on a money order from a distant cousin but i don't think that's gonna happen
either, though I didn't say so out loud.
I asked the girl, "Where is home?"
She just pointed to the bus.
She's just not a daughter, she's my daughter-and yours


there are no crazies
but what would the sanies do
without the lie?

how would the heroes
know who to save?
know that they're sane?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

my porch light

does the ant see the stars?
at night, when the work is done
do they come out
sit in their ant chairs
and ponder?

do the lazy ones
lean against the ant hill
cross their ant legs
put a sprit of grass in their mouth
and dream?

or do they only see to the moon?
maybe only to the porch light

and do they call this God?
my porch light?
has the old grey wise ant
returned from my porch light
with his staff to preach salvation?

how big is their universe?
they've never seen beyond
my sidewalk

yet they have order and purpose

i've just read that finally
we've seen beyond our solar system
to the matter outside
and it don't look nothin like
the matter inside

do we see far enough?
are we the ant?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Find Me

have you seen them?
low in the sky?
the sparrows, in waves,
dancing like a celestial
musical note
in perfect harmony

dip, swirl, rise,bank, fall
then rise again, all as one

and that eagle there,
high in the branch
lording over the cliff
chest out, eyes like stainless
shaking off the wind

there's a bear in the brush
with nothing to do and
no one to fear
as he ambles, trampling the berries
claiming the brook
and snorting
just for the hell of it

the wolf wrapped in himself
opens his ancient eyes,
inhales the cold night,
then stands and trots off
into the fresh snow
cuz it's too quiet to sleep

somewhere in the canyon
there's a stallion
who's known hunger
and lust
but never a rope

there is a night
that speaks a cold that cracks
and a virgin sea before man

there, look there, but not with eyes
feel me, but not with your dirty heart
taste my solitude, and understand it
but all from a distance

then might you know me
then can i love you
then may we walk
in a sweet silence
never awkward

Thursday, March 1, 2012


i've never wanted to be a farmer,
but now i know how they feel

when they lean upon the weathered
rail and look out over row after
perfect row of crop
worked to maturity

in winter, the field
was a sleeping bear
waiting to feel the plow
scratch his back

spring and summer became
a labor of hope
fertilize, plant, protect

and now, though still there
is work to be done
there is a moment to pause,
to reflect and know well-being

i've never wanted to be a carpenter
a cook, a designer of bridges,
but i know how they feel
when the table is set,
the house first knows life
and the bridge carries
her first car to the other side

maybe the potatoes will know lumps
the house, drafts of cold, and
the bridge, a bump or two
but perfection was always fantasy
ten dollars short of character

i've always envied the man
who sits on his porch watching
his lawn of weeds grow ugly,
watches the world go by
in passing

so i became him
losing the seasons
and the purpose in them

until my neighbor became
a rose
and i rediscovered
the labor of hope