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.

Bonnie or Johnny

Nazi lover with cheekbones high and smooth

will you still love me in World War Three?

Will fascist boots break my neck for a color?

Someone wrote human kind are dead, moving dead.

We have lost our daddies, friends try to bring them back.

Daddy went home. He and momma are smoking weed

in the neverlands of purgatory, heaven, hell, maybe paradise.

We don’t know now do we dear? What’s next? What’s not?

Could be cold, could be hot. Could be Johnny or Bonnie

flying in from Montgomery on a six-string or a smooth slide.

We know Nazi girl that no one knows the sound of black boots like us.

Farewell Toto

You gave nothing back in your departure.

I wanted, needed words of comfort, love, wisdom.

I wanted you to use the word “love” just once

in our seventeen years of war, violence, scatless romance.

What a flat rock we created through the winds of nihility.

We germinated from different plants, different cracks you see.

I left it all behind garnering dreams, wishes, hopes. I made my way

back to reality and the cold steel of truth, painful, unhealing.

So have a great afterthought, afterlife, or afterbirth. It’s your call.

George Harrison Visited

George Harrison’s ghost came to me one night

sang a song with his guitar. I listened.

He became my God, my mentor, my reason.

His white robe windswept and crying

for a world gone wrong, a world going backwards.

He smiled at me and played another sad song.

“This is for you my friend, always has been.

Wrap your love around her and weep, sleep

now for all things must pass, so too will this life.”

Dinosaurs

Nothing crystal in Altoona’s

railroad shops, I tried

to grow a flower there

but the bud blossomed inward

for no one’s eyes

an implosion of beauty.

Just now in afterthought

do I see the petals

and from whence they came?

Locomotives came and went

black dinosaurs feeding

on strength only men could give.

I’ve often wondered

about man’s power,

the power of rivets and hot flesh

wrapped in greasy denim

where flowers dare to grow.

The caustic bites of railroaders

exploding in sweat and fumes

wounding comrades

but for just a moment you see

in retrospect no time was given

for healing balms,

just time for slinging spit and tales

of whores and pimps of yesteryear.

So how this flower grew

I’ll never know except

perhaps its roots ran deeper

than dust and acid smoke

down deep where dinosaurs

could never reach.

A silent part of me where maybe

not even I could reach.

Ride Til I Die

Through years of living, traveling,

learning, faking, quitting, taking

stumbling while dancing with strangers,

singing songs I couldn’t sing, I left cracks.

I left holes in hearts, holes too large to fill.

I remember so much love I ignored.

Ignoring those who wrapped me into their hearts.

I kept driving that mustang, 283 horsepower,

black leather, stereo blasting, hair blowing

in October chills, November frosts, baby James

sang soft and stoned. It was a brave new world.

I took no prisoners, no love needed until now,

now it’s all I have, tears in my mirror

I am an empty shell, crusty and unneeded.

Take me to the that gnarled old crab apple,

lay me down so time will take me

by a wrinkled hand and lead me to

the emptiness I deserve.

“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.

Potato Soup

Snow

like bleached bones

crunching beneath our boots

everywhere

from where we came

to where we were going.

Prisoners

of some unnumbered Reich

we didn’t care

being caught in a battle of youth.

My face torn

bramble bush skin  

I was sure to win

golden medals

as we dragged our trails like tales

behind our pirate’s booty

tonight potato soup

would make our war worthwhile.

Still though childhood wounds fester

war only stops on a flat line screen

a doctor’s pronouncement and a crying child.

Guilt

The old man slept

through the rattling,

unsettling

of abandonment

gnawing at him

rat in a cage.

After the wine

was pissed into the winter wind,

he sleeps.

The barn rattles its distaste

for his trespassing,

for such rudeness by the man.

He sleeps with words

and a child’s face,

bouncing rubber balls,

catcher’s mitts,

 words,

God awful words

like batwing whispering

in his liquored fuddle,

but they are as putrid

as the heave lying next to him.

The word goodbye

is forgotten in stench,

stench of another drunken night.

 

His Memory

His Memory

The lantern cast shadows
like so many tentacles
reaching to each corner
in the dank dusty room.

An old woman stared sadly
a young man’s picture
framed and time yellowed
she once loved him fiercely.

Outside wind whispered life
through cracked windows
with eyes vacant
time robbed her of expression.

Secretly she kissed the picture
tucking it deep inside
her heart broken chest
and slowly began to die.