CLOSED CURTAINS


Closed Curtains

Grandma stood on the back porch dispensing advice.

“Don’t meddle with the pups,” I heard her say.

“Anyone who meddles after being warned,

Will have hell to pay!”

I learned my lesson early and then,

I had to learn it all over again.

Our family had moved from Oklahoma

Just two months earlier and were settling in,

But it was San Joaquin Valley hot,

And my younger brother and I decided to go for a swim.

Grandma was watching us close,

As we started walking beside the road.

“Watch out for the woman next door!”

Obediently we moved to the asphalt,

Bare feet on the hot pavement.

Our feet were frying, but neither was crying.

We heard a loud thumping and froze,

Craning our necks and looking strange, I suppose.

The old woman stood on her porch,

Thumping the butt of her shotgun,

In a steady rhythm to get our attention.

“Stay off my property, you damn Okies!” she screamed.

I don’t know if she would have shot or not.

We kept walking, no talking,

Afraid to ask questions.

I never knew if anyone made it clear,

But from time to time the old woman would appear,

And watch as badminton, croquet,

And other outdoor games were played.

We never retrieved anything that fell on her yard.

We didn’t meddle because she was on guard.

We did offer cookies, candy, and cake,

But she always shook her head and would not partake.

Choosing to stay behind closed curtains.

June 20, 2017

VOICES


VOICES

 

Relieved to know the night is over,

I open my eyes and wait.

The voices will be back,

They come at times I can’t anticipate.

They begin their attack,

As morning’s first surprise,

A beautiful time to wake and rise,

A time when I am not afraid.

The voices are familiar,

Voices of people I know,

People trying to stay out of sight,

Usually dressed in white.

There are walls on every side,

Places to hide and yet remain inside.

The voices are back,

This time with music that is too loud.

I am relieved to know it is cartoon time,

But they think I’m out of my mind,

And they don’t watch me blink,

And realize I still think.

If I could cry I would shed a tear,

But I am controlled by hate and fear.

Someone is screaming my name

But I’m not to blame.

It’s always the same.

Why do I need pills?

I’m tired of sleeping

When I know the world is keeping

Vigil, watching armies build and grow,

While I am locked within my head,

Alive for now, but almost dead,

The final war, the war to end all wars,

Is marching, marching, closing in,

Is this the beginning or the end?

June 19, 2017

BOTTLES


BOTTLES

I have a bottle filled with liquid dreams,

Dreams of love, mystery, and power.

When I am lonely, weak, or afraid,

I take a drink, sometimes often in my darkest hours.

This bottle is always half full,

Because dreams should never run dry.

I dream of being king,

With beautiful damsels dancing,

As far as I can see,

Eagerly offering to please me endlessly,

Armies kneeling at the mention of my name.

But it is not destined to be.

I am a twin, born twenty minutes too late,

And I have no kingdom unless changed by fate.

Perhaps if I put a different bottle in its place,

I could be somewhere else to show my face.

And if he chooses the other bottle,…..

There’s been a change of plans.

I don’t know what to say,

He wants to honor me today.

I don’t know which liquid I should partake.

It’s not an easy decision to make.

The king is waiting with outstretched arms,

I’ve pledged often to keep him from harm.

From each bottle I am expected to take one drink.

There’s no time to run, no time to think.

June 19, 2017

 

 

PUNCTURE


PUNCTURE

 

When I was twelve I had no time for capers,

I had a job delivering newspapers

 by bicycle,

Going to the newspaper office at four a.m.,

Folding one hundred sixty papers,

packing them into a bag,

putting the bag on the back

where it would not sag or drag

and riding across town to my route

where I carefully tossed

or placed the papers

on the porches of their owners.

One mornings I was half asleep

And I forgot about the punctures.

There were two kinds,

One kind of puncture was dog bites,

The other kind was the thorns

Of a plant we called “goat heads”

Because they resembled goats with horns.

Both kinds of punctures hurt

And usually stayed alert

 As I carefully navigated the locations

Where the mean dogs hid.

This morning one dog jumped too quick,

I missed him with my stick and

I tumbled head first into a patch of goat heads.

The dog tried to bite, but he lost all the fight

He had inside,

When he stepped on the goat heads.

He whimpered and cried,

Until I removed the stickers in his paws.

I was distracted and did not see the car,

(it was still too far),

Weaving back and forth.

As it approached I wanted to flee,

It didn’t really want me, did it?

The car hit a pole a few yards away,

This was not going to be a good day.

The car hit the back of my bike,

I flew up in the air, no time to say “yikes!”

And the car stopped at a gas station,

After it knocked over a pump.

All the excitement was not over.

An electric line came dancing across the street.

I wanted to run but I couldn’t move my feet.

Somehow the fire department turned off the gas,

Turned off the power.

I’m thankful I’m still here even at this hour.

Demons were angry and stomped their feet,                                        .

They knew they had me in defeat.

But angels were watching once again,

Final score was demons zero, angels ten.

June 17, 2017

 

The Ocean Is Going, Going, Gone!


THE BEAUTIFUL  POLLUTED SEA

 

I must go down to the sea again,

And once more plead our case,

But what more can I say

To defend the human race?

The greenhouse effect

Nature will correct

But will the ocean always survive?

 

I must go down to the sea again

To stare into the sea’s angry eyes,

The gulls no longer scream at me

Or turn cartwheels in the sky.

There’s not much good left on earth,

The spaceships are full of trash

I can’t get away and there’s no place I can fly.

 

I must go down to the sea again,

To count the fish that have died,

I’ll run in the morning mist,

And pretend I was kissed

By a nymph who still has a smile.

I’ve been told the ocean is cleaner

Than when Columbus sailed the ocean blue,

But I’m not convinced; what about you?

 

I want to go down to the seas again

While the sea still has a chance at life,

It won’t be long before life’s all gone

And heroes will sail no more,

One more trip aboard a ship

Before we cast Satan overboard,

Quoth the angel to Satan,”Nevermore.!

 I must go to the seas again,

But I know it’s already too late.

The sea is rising along the shore

And the world will fight its fate

Like a fish it will go belly up

And sing the warrior song

Beautiful world! We who are about to die,

Salute you.

Stack our bodies and start the flames,

The ones who fought , remember their names

Honor them forevermore.

We fought with vigor, and we fought with  pride.

The ocean covers all our friends who lived and died.

 

The ocean is overflowing with God’s own tears

Because of man and his foolish pride.

I must go down to the sea again,

But I’ve long forgotten why.

No one wants to try.

June 9, 2017

 

 

 

UNIFORMS


they stand in the crisp October air,

their uniforms crisp and clean.

their clothing neat,

waiting for the drill sergeant

to release them.

they stand at attention,

expected to remain

all the same, no deviations allowed,

they march by the crowd,

step by step,

turning and moving as one unit.

their uniforms worn with pride,

their training is evident as they

hurry up and wait!

June 8, 2017

LET’S CHANGE THE WORLD’S VIEW


“Go away,” I said.

“I have no time to argue with you.”

Two young men stood at my door.

“May we come in?” one asked,

Evidently expecting more.

“No, I’m busy.  I don’t have time to waste.”

I was in the middle of writing a verse,

Did I need the distraction? No, I wanted to immerse

Deep into meditation,

Fill my head with ideas of things I could do,

Pray for a world that has a different view.

I said, “Let’s get on our knees and pray

For those who are hurt today.

There are bombings, terrorism, slavery, things we might stress

Our children are dying or under duress.

Attacks, wars, famine, disasters in our range.

Help the sick, the poor, Let’s do what we can,

This world is ready for us to step on the stage

Give aid to others then turn the page.

Let all things be beautiful all over the earth,

We can work together and show our worth.

All religions, all dreams, respect for all people

Whoever they might be,

We could join forces and change history.

Wars could be over in the blink of an eye,

I know it sounds strange, but let’s try, let’s try.

6/4/2017