“Hey pastor…”

Hey pastor,

Hey pastor she cried,

Runnin’ up red-eyed and blotchy

After the service.

Lookit this she said,

Opening the postcard that had been folded in her purse.

Lookit what he sent.

He’s in Wyomin’ now, she said.

Settled up on a place, she said, hissing

Giving him no time to read the note.

He’s fixin’ fence, he says, runnin’ wire and is that walkin’ horses?

What’s he know bout that? She asked,

With his rickety knees and balky hips.

He’s a townie kid like me…and I never wanted to run off like that.

What’s to become of him?

Of me?

You mustn’t worry about him, little darlin’, the pastor said leanin’ close,

Allowin’ his gaze to hungrily crawl acrost her bodice.

The lord will pervide for them such as him.

You come with me lil darlin’, he said.

I can’t tell you what he was thinkin’, but

I allus thought you were a sweet little one.

Let us git you into the back…

Git some coffee in you….

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Saturday Mornings

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Are you getting up?

Maybe. Christ, do I have a headache.

You almost drank a bottle of Maker’s.

Not that much.

You opened the bottle, now it’s almost gone.

Is it going to rain? Feels like my sinuses are going to blow.

Not even with water. You just swilled it!

There was ice.

Only in the first one!

Musta melted.

You drank a glass while you were asleep, I swear.

That’s ridiculous!

You were sitting there with your eyes closed, bringing the glass

To your lips.

I wasn’t sleeping!

You were snoring between swallows.

That’s ridiculous!

I took a picture-here, look. That’s whisky. That there is drool.

Do we have echinacea in the house? I might be getting a cold.

*sigh*

Vitamin C might help.

*stares*

Wonder if I have allergies…

Turtle Heart

Snapper

Took this a few hours before this guy became a base for an interesting spaghetti sauce. Because soup would have been too much of a cliche. From the period in my life when I had to eat things.

An hour after it’s been shot between the eyes-

Beheaded, hung to drain and gutted-

The snapping  turtle’s heart will still beat.

Cut from its carcass and left on the cutting board,

It will beat, regular and strong-

pumping nothing-

but air.

Until finally, frustrated with nothing to do, it stops.

Doesn’t quit;

Stops.

Old timers-Turtle Hunters- reach into holes along the mud banks of rivers,

Happy that snappers crawl up into their lairs

Head-first.

But all could tell the tale of the contrary turtle that backed in-

Catching the contrary bastard that made a habit of reaching into

Holes in mud banks.

Turtles don’t let go.

They can be caught on a hunk of rope if they’re pissed off enough to bite on it

And be hauled into the boat.

Splayed in their mud cave, they can’t be pulled out.

Shovels are brought and mud banks are torn down to rescue the hand;

Sometimes minus the thumb or finger. But rescued.

And the turtle is still soup.

The brain that makes men reach into turtle holes

Is the same that makes them go into the mines.

Because their daddy did.

Because someone has to.

Because everyone else is afraid to.

Because we’re convinced that peace must be bought

With suffering.

 

TDR-2017

August in Denver

Rainy afternoon coffee on the shitty end of Larimer Street-

The kind of day that always pulled me to brown liquor as a young buck;

Drinking on the boat as we ran the lines-

Slaves to currents and tides then, not weather.

Now, as the rest of the party has repaired elsewhere to

Toast with THC gummies and loaded lollipops,

I sip harsh black coffee less than a mile from

Neal Cassady’s childhood home.

 

Should I have gotten the cream?

Her question threw me.

Still can, but not sure.

Do I usually take cream?

 

The surface of the coffee waves and crests with the

Vibrations of my hand; so I clatter it back down,

Again wiping at the new crescent moon between my

Thumb and forefinger.

My first tattoo-still fresh enough to feel foreign.

 

My dad had an uncle who died on a bar stool.

That meant a lot to him-he told the story often.

He’d also killed five men

But three were in the war so they didn’t count.

The old man never disowned him until his own deathbed;

Far too late.

 

The fucking stories we choose-

The characters we become.

 

I’m getting the cream.

It’s right there-just get it.

Maybe the next one.

Might as well,

This rain will not let up.

 

“…Nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”

-Jack Kerouac, On The Road

© TDR 2017

 

3 a.m.

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What are you even doing here?
The Love of my life?

Hardly.
She’s in Houston with her kids,
And his.
When I dream of her I wake a rock-
Head full of all the soft, wet places.

You?
Gravel and jagged edges-
Broken glass
Desolate highways with no lights,
No guiderails.

You took my heart; never given.
Smashed it, killed it, left it lie.
Didn’t wish you dead, but now that you are,
Stay there.

I’m cauterized-
Like a drunk needing a bottle when once a cocktail would do-
I must dig deeper and deeper to feel the
Pain you used to visit so cavalierly
With a word. A gesture.

I’ll stab at my skin with a sharp spoon,
Drive nails between my toes,
Tear my hair and rend my guts to wear
As braids.

I always feared I would see you in hell
To again be choked on your leash.
But I’d hoped to die first.

Go back to poling the River Styx
Ferrying the damned from sulfurous shore
To sulfurous shore
And leave me be.
I’ll see you soon enough.

Fuck you
Fuck you
And fuck me.

I’d give my left nut for the sunrise.

 

 

 

 

At Dawn

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It was a dream, within a dream
Wrapped in a memory.

The streets were wet and empty-
Deserted in the middle of another rainy night.

Running fast to no end, but as the distance rolled out
Found it easier to drop to all fours and gallop.

Hands clattered along the shiny brick
As a dog’s claws on ceramic.
Slipping left-sliding right;
Gaining precious purchase then sliding back,
Making no progress.

I was telling this to my Aunt Peggy-
Not in her doughy middle age-
But as she had been.
Slim and boyish; twenty-five to my
Lusty Sixteen.

She leaned close,
All overbite and collar bones
And told me that I should.
That she would.

I whiffed flowers
Hyacinth-
At the base of her neck.

You should, she whispered,
Eyes wide open.

Her mouth tasted of spearmint.
Her soft tongue,
Alive and welcoming.

You should, she whispered.