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.

Reaping

Every picture strikes a chord, a scenario

of years long gone, long hidden.

I’ve forgotten my forefathers, hard

working farmers, victims of Depression,

war, disease, lost friends. You’re gone.

Soon, too soon we follow our own parade.

Someone said once “one day older,

one day closer to the end.” I ask the end of what,

the end of a hard day’s work, shoveling stalls,

reaping fields of wheat, or reaping the dead

from wars declared by the rich, the arrogant,

narcissistic kings living in gold and silver

while their followers sleep in hovels declaring

victory over their hard days, slavery never sleeps.

Moments

Those grave silent moments when thistles

meet feathers and random falling of tears.

This love so mortal, so un-Jesus is this life we live.

We used to meet in back alleys, forest weeds

where thistles meet sky, those moments

feather light and gray as though the sky knows

more than we, we know only those moments,

naked and silky like a blanket of milkweed beneath us.

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.

I am a Starship

I have strolled around this town

sixty years now, nothing new.

No friends to count, just a few.

Doesn’t matter really, friends do

what friends do, sorry if it saddens you.

Sadness gripped me like a vice

as a child after my father’s death, never letting go.

Don’t get this wrong. I found love, adventure,

fatherhood, husbandry, education, and the likes.

Now I have aged, sickened. I now a scavagenger

for words, reasons, logic, philosophy. Deeper

diggings you know. My worries lean towards

Jung, Rogers, presidential follies, hate, love,

things which only made road blocks to youth.

Never went to war. Vietnam spat me out.

That’s okay with me. Didn’t need a Purple Heart,

my pink one is just fine. I have accepted

my final meal, bitter as it may be, but a spoonful

of living will help me fly above the stars.

Going down is okay. I am, as Pink Floyd

so aptly sang “I have become comfortably numb.”

Bus Stop

We stared at the steeple, God stared back.

We knew it was a lie before dressing this moment.

You cried “there’s no god here,” no god here I repeated.

Just beautiful rolls of carpet,

deep painted windows and whispers, the whispers

changing our names, god given names, to a temple guess,

a temple joke, and no one laughed, no God for sure.

A stranger grasped my hand and pulled me through a curtain.

Your passing through heaven’s curtain,” He said softly.

The quiet in our new gateway to god antithetical

to a clamoring noise in our minds. I screamed “God is dead.”

Hushed silence disappeared as we left a fake temple.

Salt Lake City swallowed with relief as we boarded a bus

to leave, never to return. Funny I guess. We never returned

to each other. The world underwent a change for us.

God did not return. He grabbed a bus and headed to Vancouver.

Washing Sheets

It’s hard to bear the memories,

those aqua crystal moments

time lapsed inside my mind.

Your suitcase packed, unpacked,

then packed again

you were never here for more than a breath.

I guess the sheets need washed,

folded to forget you,

to forget the exotic fragrance

you left behind.

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.