Graduation Summer 1964

My mind the big screen

Of my past

I watched me

watching you

slumbering in my arms

red hair satin soft

I watched us laugh

driving fast on gravel roads

kissing and so much more

can I find that path

back to those dark summer nights?

Will I laugh again

winking with a certain smile

touching so precious

we could barely breathe

Wrinkles caught

forever in our mirrors

golden years

more brass

than gold.

The Cliff

There you were walking in the snow.

My baby boy grown, a free bird,

a man more than I could ever be.

Needless to say I love you my friend.

I can never find the words, I avoid them,

If there’s a heaven I hope we find it

together the way we used to fish when young.

I changed the hook and you made the catch.

Now, I’ve nearly lost you, just hanging by white knuckles

on a cliff, the cliff only a father and son can know.

My Last Prom

I found you dead on page six

obituaries. I knew those eyes.

I stared longingly many times

as my breath caught in conflict.

I loved you but I didn’t, not really.

Eighteen, dumb, no grasp on aging,

maturing, war was waiting, and loving

you was a leisure I couldn’t pay so I left you

in a storm, dirty pool, wrong headed.

I’m sorry. You’re dead, I am spirituality

gone, stone drop from sanity. I am gone.

Graduation Summer

My mind a big screen

Of my past

I watched me

watching you

slumbering in my arms

red hair satin soft

I watched us laugh

driving fast on gravel roads

kissing and so much more

can I find that path

back to those dark summer nights?

Will I laugh again

winking with a certain smile

touching so precious

we could barely breathe

Wrinkles caught

forever in our mirrors

golden years

more brass

than gold.

“J”

I drove the west side of town,

a skeleton carcass surrounded

by bloated poverty.

The old truck stop where we stopped

to kiss. The ghost of strawberries

waft through my nose, a sweet note,

not gone, never forgotten.

Your name began with “J,”

like Julie, Jackie, Jessie, maybe Jo.

I don’t know. I just know the kiss,

the smile, temptation, and the fire

running through those places

a seventeen year-old boy

explores each nigh beneath his blankets.

Funny how you just burst into my dream

like an urgent steam whistle atop a train

clacking down a rusted track

in disrepair like our old west side

empty of our childhood luxuries,

but the memory of your lips pressed

open like a “J” against my tongue.

Ron

Alone for too long

lost in the middle of myself

I wish you were here

to show me how to smile,

laugh, laugh at ourselves.

It’s what brothers do you know.

We flirted with the girls,

testosterone

ruled our minds,

defined the lines of social morality.

I miss you my friend

I will shed my tears alone

in my midnight neighborhood of gloom.

Milestones

I hid myself in barn rafters with owls and rats

it was a place my youthful mind invented

a place where strangers couldn’t enter

my heart belonged to nothing else

just youthful imaginations

the world stalled so many times waiting

for milestones like thirteen sixteen eighteen twenty-one

now with my eyes wet with disappointment

like stallions I never rode, of the black night

my mind remembers

thinking my future was a rose petal in an eternal pool

now knowing the pool has since drained with truth

death is eternal.

Delinquent

Everyday I sip a bit of my life

though swallowing not always easy

I taste what once was mine,

now just a memory on my tongue.

I remember your ivory smell

so clean, so cleansing to my senses.

You smiled at my pimpled face,

laughed at all my childish mistakes.

You were so much older than I,

so much more to give this earth.

I heard only the words of love

not the blood, sweat, and realness.

Now gone I see your ghost words

on sweet smelling stationery,

the smell of musk and sweet apples.

Juvenile love is all I could give.

Dementia

A star in a mahogany night

shines darker than before.

I can’t remember the last time

I’ve looked up into the ink.

You and I rode this back road as kids

your arm on my neck,

lips burning into my skin

we would stop, lights off

stare into the night

where that same bright star amidst the speckled

meant something different, we dreamt of love,

dancing on a gravel road, and passion.

Now there is something gone

maybe it’s just my fading eyesight

or something I’ve forgotten.

Trains of my Youth

As a young man
I would fall asleep
to the sounds of crickets
whippoorwills, and lonely wolves
but the sound which strikes
my memory most
the trains clawing and scratching
their way up the mountain rails
heading for all points west
Chicago, Chattanooga, to Denver.
I dreamed so often of those faraway names
but dreams are ashes when you’re poor
poor like hobos sleeping
in woods parallel parking near the tracks
poor like tattered cottages
rambling up the mountainside.
Poor is death before its time
and time is never late.
So I dream of travel
I dream a dream so sweet
with a country girl yet to meet
and a straw between her lips
and eyes like autumn
autumns come and go
too soon for me