Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Let's Get Our Love On

Where does it all come from?
All this hate?
All this anger toward each
Don’t we have more important
things to do than to worry about
what that woman is wearing,
what that guy smells like,
who has what sex organs,
what God is THE God?

Why is it we have so much time
for hatred, but so little time for

I hate traffic, long lines, poor
communication, misunderstandings,
drippy food at a restaurant, broken
shoelaces, bad TV reception, running
out of beer, expensive cigarettes,
and being told what to do.

That’s the breadth of my hatred really,
I’m aware of its futility and sometimes
ridiculousness, I can laugh at myself for
my silly hatreds. They are the mild
annoyances of life that sometimes
deserve scorn, but are in no way destructive.

I just want to make time for love, in the
least beatnik, hippie-ish way possible.
More like, love is simply the way of the
world and the thing we as people all have
the most in common. Rather than hate.
I want to love you. I want you
to love me too.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Never Trust A White Man In A Hawaiian Shirt

“Never trust a white man
in a Hawaiian shirt,” I said
to the nineteen year old Rapper
I happened to come across
during a Saturday night

“Huh,” he said to me.
I had wandered past
a bar with beats and
deep bass emanating from
inside. There was a crowd
outside, talking and laughing.

I stopped to light a smoke
and started a conversation with
a guy who happened to be the promoter of the event.
“This young rapper inside, he’s my new client,”
said the promoter,  “He’s good.”
The promoter told me to check it out.

I went into the bar, sticking out, in
a bright ocean blue Hawaiian shirt,
and an Irish face highlighted red with
drink.  I settled in by the pool table to
listen to the young rapper and his
throaty back-up.

I bobbed my head in time,
listened as best I could through the
thundering rhythm. I couldn’t quite
make out the words, but the young rapper
had talent, it seemed. The song ended.
I clapped with all the other patrons.

I thought I should get a drink at the bar,
so I could, you know, blend in. I couldn’t
make it though because right at that moment,
a young woman with her head buried in a smart
phone crossed my path, she was followed by
Lil Wayne, and then a huge body guard.

“Was that Lil Wayne,” I asked the
guy behind me. He nodded that it was.
Since the bartender was unreachable I decided
I’d go back outside, see that promoter,
and see if that was indeed Lil Wayne.
Because, hey, Lil Wayne.

I went outside and the promoter and
Lil Wayne were talking briefly and before
you could say “Cellphone Camera”, Lil Wayne
was in a luxury car and they vanished into the
night.  I looked at the promoter and I nodded.
He nodded back.

“I should have got a picture,” I said.
I’m not sure what the promoter thought
I said but he goes, “Hang on,” and went into
the bar and came outside with the young rapper.
“This guy wanted to meet you,” said the promoter
to the young rapper.

“Who are you,” said the young rapper.
“Me? I’m just a white guy in a Hawaiian shirt,” I said.
The promoter seemed to laugh.
“But I really enjoyed what you got going on in there
and I wish you nothing but success,” I said.
He looked at my curiously, eyebrows furrowed.

I laughed, explained how he should
never trust a white man in a Hawaiian shirt,
shook their hands and continued on my
Saturday night journey, feeling nostalgic
for the adventures, misadventures,
of my younger days.  

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

In Consideration of Dandelions

“My poetry of late has been rather flowery,” I said.
My shadow nodded.
“I mean, I almost wrote about dandelions. How
banal is that,” I asked.
My shadow shrugged.

“I want to write something of substance,
of meaning, filled with soulful revelations
and creative insight,” I said.
My shadow nodded emphatically.
“Okay then, here’s goes…,” I said.

My shadow sat motionless against the
wall. Slightly leaning forward, waiting,
“So… there’s these dandelions right…,” I said.
My Shadow threw his arms up in the air.

“Right, right. No freaking dandelions,” I said.
My shadow acquiesced with relish.
“How about sexy ladies? Should I write about
sexy ladies,” I asked.
A slow upward shrug from my shadow, palms up.

“Dear sexy ladies,” I said.
My shadow slapped himself in the forehead.
“What, you’re an art critic now,” I asked.
My shadow put his hands on his hips and
turned his head up toward the heavens.

“Fine. No sexy ladies or dandelions. Sheesh,” I said.
My shadow nodded.
“So what should I write about,” I asked.
My shadow curled his thumb and gestured
to himself.

“You? A shadow? What’s interesting about you,”
I asked.
My shadow froze for a long moment. I heard a foot
tapping somewhere.
“Fine. What’s on your mind?”

Friday, July 7, 2017

Road Work

A beetle crawled across the windshield of Dan’s beaten up old work truck. Dan eyed the beetle over the rim of his morning coffee with mild interest. The beetle seemed to be up awful early in Dan’s experience. Dan gently sipped the hot coffee from his cup.  He relished the mild burn of the black coffee as he planned his day.  The sun was just barely breaking the crease of the horizon and long morning shadows played across the old road.

                Dan’s road crew was hired to repave long stretches of ancient highway that were now sparsely used thanks to the newer interstate. It was finally his crew, his business and no one else could tell him how to do the job. It was a wonderful feeling. It was something he hadn’t felt in some time. Dan felt his opportunities were finally turning around after the divorce. Sandra had taken almost everything from him, although he did give most of it up willingly. He just wanted things in his life to get back to normal and leave all the craziness of Sandra and her various lovers behind. He still loved her. He could feel it stinging every time he looked at their old wedding photo he’d taped to the dashboard. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t just rip the photo off and toss it out the window as he sped past the Old Barrel Bar where he and Sandra met, wooed, married and fought for that last time. It seemed wrong to toss the photo aside just as carelessly as Sandra had tossed their relationship aside.  He considered that he might need the pain to fill the space left vacant by Sandra’s leaving.

                Dan took another sip from his coffee and sighed. The beetle on the windshield had stopped in its morning march and was flicking its rear legs back and forth. Dan leaned forward in his driver’s seat to look closer at the beetle. It was a thick little thing, black and lightly hairy; with hints of a reflective metallic sheen to its wings.   Dan watched the beetle do what it does. It paused every so often, antennae sniffing the air for whatever it is that beetle’s sniff for, and then it returned to its dutiful cleaning. He could hear the beetle’s legs clacking together through the windshield glass; a repetitive click and clack, in time with nature.
Morning birds were singing as the sun climbed and Dan was reminded of how he used to hate those birds and their chirping. He used to hate them because they reminded him of how he missed out on so many things. He used to work very late, third shift mostly, and he would never get home until the sun was up.   He’d pull into the driveway of the old house, the one with Sandra sleeping inside, and regret that he never got to spend any time with her. She worked during the day while he slept and she slept while he was working at night. They never seemed to even cross paths for a few years. The birds and their morning songs reminded him of how much he hated to miss time with her.  They were terribly loud and they compounded Dan’s loneliness for his wife; all those morning mating calls echoing across the fields behind the old house.  He understood them yet loathed them because of his understanding.

                The beetle, apparently satisfied with its morning cleaning ritual, started trekking across Dan’s windshield again. Dan sat back in his seat and turned his head to follow the beetle’s path. The beetle got to edge of the windshield where it met the frame of the pick-up truck. It unfurled its thin wings and buzzed off into the morning. Dan tried to watch it as it flew over the near-by field of tall grass but he quickly lost sight. He hoped the best for the beetle. He hoped it wouldn’t get eaten by some hungry early bird. He hoped it would find safety in its journey and he appreciated the short visit it had bestowed upon him.

                Dan checked the dashboard digital clock. His crew was still an hour away from joining him on the job site. He felt glad to have the time to himself, other than his beetle friend, to think and rest and plan. He knew the old highway spur very well. It used to be a well traveled road before the interstate moved the entrances and exits 30 miles away. It needed a fairly cursory repave to smooth over some of the more weathered and rough spots that still gave the locals trouble. It wouldn’t take more than a full day to fill and smooth. It was a good piece of work for honest pay and Dan felt honored to have received the contract. He felt some connection to the road; as if he’d always been on it, or part of it. He wanted to nurture it. 

  When Dan was a boy, he and his father used to take the old spur up toward Bell’s Lake for camping and nights out in the wilderness.  He remembered looking forward to it, for the most part, until his father finished off that sixth beer and things usually started veering into strange territory. His father, sitting on an old stump by the lake, would wax philosophic about love, sex, women, war, and Dan’s mother.  It wouldn’t be too soon afterwards that the woods and silence of the lake would be broken by the bear-like snores coming from his father’s tent. By then Dan was looking forward to the quiet ride back home in the morning with a far grumpier version of his father.

Dan looked out at the road as it was lit by the rising sun and saw the cracks, bumps, holes and weeds spotting its path. He wondered about the miles he, and the road, and the beetle might have shared or if they were ever connected in any way.  Dan took another sip of his cooling coffee and sighed.