Western Dreams

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words iconic, lithe, edgy. Also submitted to dVerse OpenLinkNight. I offer my apologies to both communities for linking when I am not sure how much I’ll be around this week to read and comment on others’ submissions. Overtime, sick kids, you know how it is sometimes. But this just rushed out of me in response to the 3WW prompt, and it had been so long since my last writing. 

Western Dreams
Dad followed a dream
out west, the iconic west,
to do better for us,
success as sure as the sun
rising. I had my own dreams
of cowboy hats and hitching posts,
of lithe flames of midnight
campfires licking the darkness,
but we lived in a house
much like our old house, and I went
to a school where the cocksure kids still
pointed fingers like blue-steel barrels.
So much the same,
yet the soil smelled different,
even the sun felt different
on the skin, like wearing
a stranger’s shirt, and Dad
grew edgy, hitting me
when the zipper of my winter coat
stuck hard in the fabric, frustration
not directed toward me, per se,
but toward life in general
and I happened to be nearest.

Small Talk

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words backfire, embarrass, taste. Also submitted to dVerse OpenLinkNight.

Small Talk
The room was decked
with holiday cheer, full
of strangers sipping drinks
and tasting tiny hors d’oeuvres.
Having never learned the art
of mingling I stood in a darkened
corner, but he found
me anyway.
 “So, what’s your
career path?” He leaned
in close, talking over the
pounding backfire
of dance music.
“I’m on my way
toward death,” I said.
He backed away, embarrassed.
Or frightened. No one ever laughs
at my party jokes.

I Come to Her Room

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words drab, pulsate, tendril. Also submitted for dVerse OpenLinkNight. I know I’m running a little behind for both submissions, but I’ll try to play catch up on commenting this week.

I Come to Her Room
I come to her room once
a week, there in the old
folks’ home, sitting with her
in the windowless
drab room as she tries
to remember me. She stares
at old photographs,
seeing strangers’ faces, her
memory dim as the pulsating
florescent bulb over her
narrow bed. With stiff fingers
she pushes a gray tendril of hair
behind her ear, and I
think of the time she
waved those hands witch-like
around my face, repeating
Sing and dance for joy,
life goes on despite the pain.

For Foy Lanier’s

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words idle, pace, nagging. Also submitted to dVerse OpenLinkNight. Happy New Year to all!

For Foy Lanier’s
The only thing on tap
was Bud or Miller Lite,
sometimes served warm due
to a temperamental cooler;
bathroom stall doors
torn from their hinges
idled against the opposite wall
after some friendly fisticuffs.
The floor slanted hard
to the left, giving
a drunken pace even
to the sober, which we
mostly were, those times
we’d all meet after work to have
a few or a few too many, tapping
out cigarettes and telling lies
about when we were young.
Well before closing time
we’d leave Foy’s to fend for
itself, until we felt the nagging
urge again to drink to health,
good favor, to peace,
prosperity, happy times.
We’ve all gone our separate
ways by now, and today
I noticed Foy’s is just
an abandoned dusty field.

Frisbees and Pinwheels

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words dangle, abnormal, lavish. Also submitted to dVerse OpenLinkNight. 
Arp 188 and the Tadpole’s Tail 
Image Credit: Hubble Legacy ArchiveESANASAProcessing – Bill Snyder (Heavens Mirror Observatory)

Frisbees & Pinwheels
After all, what does it matter, this troubled
hour, when whole worlds dangle overhead,
prodded into existence by who knows
what evasive Power? I’ve seen a picture
of the Tadpole Galaxy, so called for its
abnormal gaseous tail stretched out
280 thousand light years,
caused by some celestial near miss.
In the background other spiral galaxies
are scattered lavishly about. Some lay
flat, like frisbees flung over the roof, sent
flying just to see where they might land;
others stand on edge, like sparkling pinwheels
we used to clench in our plump childish hands,
running. What if God is but a laughing child
spinning pinwheels?

Long Day of Work

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words battle, fluid, harvest. Also submitted to dVerse. I don’t know how much chance I’ll have to visit other blogs this week–work calls me, which may explain the subject of my poem this week.

Long Day of Work
I’ve been told that life
is a battle, and as metaphors
go I don’t think much of it.
I prefer to see life
as a long day of work,
as if each hour
was just one more row
to harvest, some easier
than others. The hard rows
call for occasional rest
under a shady oak,
where there’s no shame
in taking it. At the end
of the day, a cold beer
and drowsy drifting
into fluid sleep.

First Love

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words clench, faint, prod. Also submitted to dVerse OpenLinkNight.

First Love
That Florida summer, the year
you moved in next door, we’d crawl
under the barbed wire fence
to meet each morning
in the hayfield,
prodded by some power
neither of us understood.
With clenched hands we’d
clumsily kiss, and in the faint
daylight return our
separate ways. Summer passed,
and now I can’t even remember
your name.


For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words vision, motion, peaceful. Also submitted to dVerse OpenLinkNight, day late and a penny short.

We put pennies
on the track and waited
for the 2:00 train
to come blowing by,
curious to see
Lincoln’s face pressed
into peaceful copper
oblivion. Scoot, the
neighborhood know-it-all,
had told us that 
if some federal agent
happened to be spying
on us we could be
arrested for defacing
government property
and he hoped we’d all
be happy spending
a hundred years behind
bars. Or, with convincing
proof he explained
that even a penny
could disrupt the train’s
smooth motion, cause
it to jump rail
and dump its freight
from here to Royal Street.
Still we put
our pennies down,
ducked low behind
the shrubs and waited,
encouraged by Scoot’s vision
of cars and coal

piled in our backyards.

The Witness

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words compromise, decision, forward. Also submitted, howbeit late (as usual), to the OpenLinkNight over at dVerse

The Witness
She bends forward, low
over etched granite,
her small shoulders making
a sorrowful tremor
in the field of solid stone.
I did not mean to spy
on her private grief,
as her tears mingled
with the morning mist,
but I could not
turn away, I could
not turn away.
Did she beg
for a compromise, a
“Take me instead,”
while full knowing
the final decision
had already been made?
or was she here only
to make late amends
for past regrets? I did
not ask, but like the
stone bore silent witness
to life and death.