no more knights of
Shined armor ride in on
steeds are all out
to pasture near
Sleeping Beauty’s meadow
No more rescues
From tangled tall towers
all the elevators are stuck
on the first floor
no more damsels of distress
so beauticians keep
Shoulder length and auburn
Aesop is lost in his own
We are left to resolve our
jeweled lost slippers
On our own
At the twinkling gravestones
Of the forgotten fairy godmothers
There’s a spot on the interstate
Between Denver and way out here
Where not a single vestige
Of man exists
Not a fencepost, phone pole, haystack
I get an awful chill there
I feel so utterly alone
In my blue jet.
I’m grateful to see the
Grain bins emerging
On the horizon.
Rachelli says that spot
Brings her the most hope
She sighs there every week
For a moment
Lost in an ancient time
His spoonful of maple flavored oatmeal clatters back into the blue breakfast bowl.
“No, not really.”
“Like Damp Dust.”
“How can damp dust have a distinctive odor?”
“Ya know, like just before rain. It’s low on the scale. Not the 10 of irrigated pollinating corn tassels, or the 5 of Wet Dog.”
I might have been a Bassett hound or beagle in a past life. Maybe working for police departments or airport TSA.
“Oh, there is some actual smell detection scale now? Do you happen have a switch to shut that off while I am eating or stuff some cotton up there?”
“Eww, no. Then, I could smell Hospital. Another 10 on the scale.”
He rubs his forehead and makes another stab at the oatmeal.
I want to moan about a lingering burnt toast air, but it could be from a wood burning stove.
I even smell in my dreams. I hold them close. Lilacs, rosemary, sleepy puppies. I have wished many a time for less in both my frontal lobe and my bright broca speech center. One must be cautious as to what one prays for.
“Remember when I had a concussion in 2002
And every thing smelled like Cheetosocks for a year?”
Sound of Crickets.
Yet I live here.
A place where a sulfuric stream seeps from feedlots and pig farms. Where I can smell hail a half hour in advance. Just after it pounds onion fields in Longmont to pulp. I can smell tornados coming and going in the distance.
“Corn bread done?” he attempts a subject change, regretting it immediately.
“No, but your milk only has 12 hours before it sours.”
The corn bread browns as his car disappears toward town. Toward the acrid sludge ponds by the factory and drive thru windows.
McDonalds or Subway? I wonder. Oh, I’ll be able to tell tomorrow as I slide his shirts into the unscented laundry soap.
French fries. Definitely French fries, with a pile of ranch dressing.
I relax with a cup of plain hot water. I nibble on a rice cake.
Perfect. No taste. No Smell. No nothing.
Everything seems empty
My shoes as I power yoga
On the unsettling warm
Brittle January grass blades
Under the equally foolish
Budding cottonwood tree.
Stores are shuttered
Rows of houses
With broken windows
Paisley couches on the porch.
(where did everybody go?)
Factories stilled. Bulldozers lined up
No drivers snoozing in the cabs.
Car lots are full
Inches of powdered dust from Montana
On the windshields
Savings and loans soured.
Tellers stand at their stations, yawning.
Semis sail past us on the interstate
Roiling dusty smoke
The January sky has forgotten
How to make snow.
Purple mountains lack majesty
Without their snowcaps
Rows of plow blades
Rusting in sand piles.
Even mildly amusing migrating flocks
Forsook us for cooler climes.
The air is still full
Ripe with agriculture fertilizer
A sort of skunky, beet, beef, goop soup
Usually frozen this time of year.
We bottle stuff inside
Seems unlikely but we’re brewing up
A batch of cabin fever
‘a la ague.
The intoxicating mix starts friction
Like the dog days of summer.
So we drink of it.
Since there’s none else
To assuage the emptiness
he spends his days in a continual yearning.
having memorized my lackadaisical schedule,
he sits in the backyard, pretending to doze in the sun
but he listens.
to every indoor sound.
water running, microwaves whirring,
cabinet doors slamming. TV blaring.
car keys rattling.
he stares in expectation at the room window
where he estimates he might catch a glimpse of me
through the glass.
he differentiates between running shoes and house shoes
traipsing across the floor.
the former resulting in frenzy at the door.
he cries out loud, jealously, at the sound of my voice on the phone
talking to any other than him
he whimpers his pleas just under the threshold.
‘Just one more walk among the trees.
One more round of throw- the- ball
I ignore him mostly.
I dread the dust and wind.
I’d rather be on the computer,
Sending emails. Writing poetry.
Until the noon temperature rises to 40 degrees or so.
He hears me gather the trash for the bin.
Tramp down the stairs to start the laundry.
(he is wild about a game of hide and seek in the basement)
He has a relentless hope that I will soon emerge
in my two sets of pants, coats, hats, gloves
with his leash.
I don’t need it really.
he stares at me with his sad weepy eyes
whether he is chasing prairie dogs,
being petted by neighbors, walking
eating, drinking, performing his trick routines.
He waits nervously for our codes, shifting his paws.
A click. A whistle. A hand gesture.
Any mere sign that I approve.
He has a soft, nearly indistinguishable wheezy snuffle
When I massage along his soft vertebrae.
Sentiments and adoration one would hope for forever.
I loved One like this,
So long ago, the memory is dimming.
All I remember is that
the cruelest ruse
The most callous hoax of all is Hope.
on the ice
I know it’s for survival
But seems a tad precarious
At best. Balancing that corn filled round
I feel. One false move in the artic blasts
I’ll list to starboard without time to spread my wings
Seems like everyone else around has this trick down
But I’m a’wondering why we aren’t standing on solid warm ground
And why some evolutionary remnants resembling leg warmers were lost
To shift legs. This one is starting to cramp a bit
Not sure. How long I can Keep Up
always broken inside these four walls.
I believe my house is a mystic
Vortex where kitchen appliances
are sent Out to pasture.
to the tune of $500 a month.
I scramble to pull funds from
Home equity loans and savings accounts.
I redeem scavenged scrap metal and pop cans.
Sometimes, I try to repair it myself
Which usually ends up with
power tools tossed along the tile
And loads of gooey
cement nails from a tube
adhering to plates and pliers alike.
My dad provides advice on
Solenoids, switches and finds
replacements parts online.
He reminds me to check
the conduit for cracks.
And water supply lines for leaks.
I reach a particularly hot point as
The repairmen shake their heads,
‘Oh, this company really made some lemons.
They went out of business last year.’
I wash my dishes and clothes by hand
Hang the dripping jeans
on the fence to freeze dry
In the mild January gloom.
Dad emails Do It Yourself sites
For garage doors, garbage disposals, ovens.
“It’s broken this time, Dad, really broken”
He snail mails schematics for water heaters
He’s not letting this one go without a fight.
‘Sometimes internal circuits just can’t be fixed.’
This time I think I refer to our broken selves.
This time searching for any solution
To the inscrutable phenomenon
of that which Cannot be restored.
I wondered over Christmas Chestnuts about my New Year’s Resolution of complete and total honesty to myself, others and whilst on the internet. The hazard of operating poetry without a permit basically makes me a liar by occupation.
So I says to Satchel, who seems to have a cheeky wisdom in these witchy matters, “How can we bring such truth in every breath, every word we chatter. What action decelerates the reckless tide of words?”
Sharp as a thistle, he moistened his lips, “What if,” he brilliantly articulated, “we are so conscientious of every utterance, that we opt to distinctly enunciate the silent T in those thorny epistles?”
“Even if this word has the silent T?” I protesteth. “Hast thou attempted these acts, for a year?”
He didn’t drop a stitch. “Often.” Says he, subtly, “Fasten your Seatbelt.
I hasten o’er trestle to yon chalet and castle.
I soften my sentiment as I bustle about gourmet victuals.
Mustn’t nestle, Valet, Hustle! It’s your own Mortgage!”
I began to twitch, “Satchel! Settle!” The static on the mobile line sputtered. “How wouldst one, then, pronounce Tsunami or ditch?”
I didn’t catch his retort o’er the whistle of the T kettle in the kitchen.
author's note. This is nearly my 100th post. And I thank all of you
We seem to meander along
slippery slope of careers
The daily grind for a few decades
We swallow it all.
Grinding the grist along our white capsule teeth,
long snowy commutes
endless on-call nights
Interoffice bickering, backstabbing.
Glass ceilings. Sick. days not taken.
Vacation time lost.
Frozen dinners never eaten.
Pay cuts, lay offs, pay offs.
Harboured and anchored by the promises
of the minor gods of Health Insurance.
So close to our retirement pensions.
Suddenly, our grip slips.
We fall into a tunneled abyss.
of our own design.
Now stumbling blindly
Through the once familiar.
Glassy eyes replace clarity.
Our itchy skin and clothes no longer fit
stitched haphazardly by pharmaceuticals,
doctors insist will help.
The anger and fear seem distant.
But so the spirit and the drive.
We sit muddled at our daily planner
Not invested in day or plan.
I guess that’s where
McCartney disappeared too.
I’m the Imposter in my own place.
Will they still need me when I’m 64?
It’s the perfect day for writing
Our standard Colorado blizzard
Outside the below zero window
Circled in ice and frost,
Brave the sharp wind
On the old cottonwood tree
Searching for that I cannot see
Happy to find
What they can
out of dead limbs
I am too lazy to join them
In the search for beauty,
In a blizzard,
Hiding under the cover of duvet
Dreading the icy hardwood floor
Under my feet.
So today’s poem goes
With my apologies
I found a dozen or more fossils
On sand bars of the
Platte wildlife Park.
Perfectly preserved by the silty powder.
Due to my extensive recent expertise
In this matter.
I could decipher exactly the era, origin,
Golden, Colorado pre 1980
Pull off pop top absent.
Every word of the can
Still easily read. No eroding. No rust.
decades in the Platte
Not altering the lettering or icons.
I stuff the razor-sharp fiends into my pockets
Until an emergency room visit
Always I find another vestige
A one or two or ten year old
(It’s impossible to tell the age there.)
SaveMart bag, entangled in the weeds.
I fill it to overflowing.
I’m at risk for a ticket, letting the dog run free
For I can’t hold the bulging bags of trash
And his leash.
I am hoping for some sort of
Get out jail free card
For Anti-littering the once unspoiled river.
These are the legacies we leave the future?
Not exactly Clovis points.
We are ignoring the obvious.
And that just below the surface.
Despite the messages from hundreds of white semaphores.
Streamers caught in once pristine trees.
A worn, wrinkled, oft read telegram,
A massive Great Blue Heron
Stares at me in righteous anger.
She hangs her head low.
I wonder if her belly holds
A cache of bits in bright
non fishy colors:
Legos, happy meal toys,
Or sick fish with bits of toothbrushes
And cola bottles inside.
I pull down all the white semaphores.
but out of reach green
Mountain Dew bottles bob toward the
Mississippi Delta. And the open sea.
tears blur my eyes to the
ridiculous, unlaughable irony.
I come within feet of the heron
so clearly I can see her yellow rimmed
She studies me as she lifts off
slowly in her pain.
The name so sweet
And a bit foreign
I couldn’t resist, though
I live in fear.
Of food, for it hides
Gluten, nuts, eggs, and milk.
I live in a land of rice cakes
Sunflower butter and
There it was
Then the surprising pain
In its heat.
I’m in over my honky head,
I Google Andouille and white pepper
On my Smartphone
For I hadn’t heard of either.
The list of ingredients fired through me.
Red pepper, black pepper, chicken
green pepper, chicken, chilies
White pepper. I got it.
Insidious, that paradox
I suffer a bit more
Clutching ice water.
Clutching watery eyes.
For that unseen, yet
Felt to the core.
Melt to the marrow.
Reminded me of his voice.
Through 35 years of haze and fog.
Trickling through the wires.
January has that deep gray gloom
To its day. worse in the nights
We miss the solidarity of humanity
With the Christmas carols and
Yards and yards of bright lights
We loathe to pull down the indoor tree
It seems to have been a single friend
Through the darkening winter
So She keeps a string of bright white
Strewn across the bannister
Like steps leading to an old friend
Guiding her way
Up the too quiet bannister
We are already deeply weary
when we start another
age old game of Hearts.
we don’t even have to be in a room with humans.
we can joust over the internet.
on a quiet New Year’s Eve
addictively, the Lone Hart and I,
groaning our losses on Instant Emissary,
play a hundred hands,
so computers chronicle for us.
recording pure waste of time.
hour on hour.
the colorful stoic cards
bring us passively into
where sleep will not find us
despite the promise of small white pills.
we spar with the Court.
we play against
Invincible. Invisible. Bedeviled forces of
mute patterns etched into circuit boards,
with the intent to confound.
She argues again over Instant chat.
‘Just one more time.
I know the scheme.’
I remind her, we can’t win at Hearts.
aspiring for 2 out of 3, or 4 of 5.
we cannot hold all.
I will skirmish no more
with the always
her voice crackles through the line,
‘I am drawn and quartered.’
my hands dissolve.
I can only hope
it is Dawn’s welcome light?
no, it is the low battery signal blinking
‘Are you sure you want to end this game?
Would you like to play again?’
I bow to the Court of the King.