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.

Ashes

So you broke down,

trying to find peace.

I know you don’t know

me. it happens you see,

you never see my yard,

weeds have taken over,

take cover I am dying.

Keep me somewhere in a pocket,

my family’s not on the docket

you say sardonic taste in my ears.

Go home little one, place my face

in a drawer, in an attic. I’ll see to it

you have part of me for Ash Wednesday.

Amen.

Gray

Last time I spoke to my mirror

things were good and safe.

It’s been awhile since then

so today I decided to have a look,

change has come.

Gray clouds engulf my face

I think I’m about to rain.

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.

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.

Blue Velvet

Six white crosses on a highway curve

forgotten memoriam

forgotten family of six

dirt filled mouth and noses

no seatbelt laws in sixty-four

blue velvet seats fifty-seven Chevy

I can hear the screeching tires

see children flying in the air

with the greatest of ease

as a gnarled Oak opened its arms to greet

a heavy smile in its crotch

six more visitors this night

a long, long time ago

six white cross turning sallow.

“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.