Imaginary


What is imaginary? Except for distorted stories, embellished lies, and mathematical impossibilities, imagination is a loneliness changer.  When I was growing up in the verdant hills of Oklahoma, I had a lot of time to think alone and invent playmates.

There was no television set, radio, or big city lights. I did have a younger brother who was my shadow.  He followed me around and we studied snakes, insects, farm animals, and people.  Life was exciting when we let our imaginations take over.

We played marbles, climbed trees, invented implements of destruction, captured crawdads, knocked down wasp nests, and read.  Sometimes I thought my brother was the lucky one because he was two years younger.  Because of his age some of our neighbors thought he was entitled to life’s little extras.

One neighbor, Mrs. Olson, lived alone in the house next door.  Once or twice a week I would go to her house and draw ten to fifteen buckets of water from her well for her cooking water and her bath water.  While I worked, she would read to Billy.  Often she would get out her family pictures and show Billy places she had traveled. I was envious that Billy got to use her viewer because the pictures were 3D.  Although I was irritated, I also noticed he was given cookies and ice cream.  I believed in fairness and this was not fair!

We moved every two or three years as my dad got a new job.  There were always new neighbors and new friends and new things to discover.  I was in the habit  of picking up little sacks which had been thrown on the ground.  The sacks originally contained bubble gum and were always empty.  On a string looped at the top of the bag was a small cardboard circle.  When I pulled on a circle the bag would tighten and the contents remained inside.  My intentions were to keep my steelies, cats eyes, boulders, and other marbles in a bag without losing them.

But one day when my imagination was running wild, and I was bored, I told Billy he could collect ten of those circles and the people at the store would exchange them for an ice cream cone.  I watched him rushing around gathering the circles, pleased with myself for playing such a prank.  After ten circles were in his possession, he went into the store. I expected Billy to come out of the store mad or crying.  Instead, he was carrying and eating a huge ice cream cone.

“How did you get that cone?” I asked.

“Just like you said. I traded the circles for the ice cream.  Thanks for telling me!”

My mouth fell open. Then I raced around picking up circles.  When I went inside the clerk said, “Sorry. That was the last ice cream given away. Maybe next week.”  I was disappointed but forever hopeful as week after week I stopped at the store looking for my ice cream.

My world was small and yet it was filled with ghost stories, constellations, woodland animals, insects, and warm gingerbread.  I did not have to imagine family love.  It was always there.

June 3, 2017

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FRIENDS


I said, “I want to be friends.”
“Don’t you think I’m attractive?” you asked.
“This has nothing to do with that,” I replied.
“Are you rejecting my love?” you asked sadly.
This conversation was already going badly.
We had met two weeks before and shared poetry,
Hers was light and fluffy, lifting the soul.
Mine was darker with shades of gray, all details told.
I expected her opinion, constructive criticism at it’s best,
but I froze when she answered,
“When I read yours, I lost respect for you,” she said matter-of-fact.
“Shades of gray has no place in poetry or prose.
Your poems are disgusting when you have scenes like those.”

“Yours were still beautiful,” yet between the words I said
were my feelings trampled and left for dead.
if she had offered hope for better days
I would be more careful and change my ways.
but I felt condemned and hurt, no turning back.
I thought we were friends. This was a personal attack.
Friends forever, I would still try to do this.

BOY HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT


I was the boy who hid in plain sight,
my outline blending with branches in tall Oklahoma oaks
watching the sunrise break on crisp mornings,
learning how I fit into the scheme of life.
A mother skunk, leading her kittens into the barn,
alert to sounds of intruders, knew I was there,
but dismissed me with a quick sniff,
as if I had no business being near the hawk’s nest.
the pigs ignored the skunk family as long as they stayed
on their own side of the wall as if it didn’t matter at all.
the chickens always made an uproar and called for help
if the skunks turned in their direction.
but in the mornings the skunks stayed tight,
checking for insects and mice, and it didn’t seem right
but I had plans for her this night.
we had to protect Billy and his family from a ghostly crew,
and I didn’t know what else to do, I had no gun,
wasn’t allowed to have one, because I might start a fight.
I had heard a group was coming to get Billy and his kin,
and they might never be seen again.
the skunks were my friends, but I set a trap and captured all three,
gave them water and food and waited until dusk
took the mother skunk out and into a gunny sack.
she wasn’t happy, as a matter of fact, but she calmed down,
my parents were off socializing at a pie supper,
and my sisters were telling stories before they went to bed,
I’ll be back in about an hour,” I finally said.
they eyed me with suspicion until I lied about playing kick the can.
Mother skunk and I made it safely without being seen.
I convinced Billy and his family to hide in the forest,
because I knew they would protect all they owned,
but somebody would die, either black or white,
and there would be a swarm of officers making things right.
but who was I to interfere, a world of hate was coming here.
three lights in the house were purposely left on,
and I wondered out loud, “Lord, what have I done?”
Six cars and trucks without lights started up the drive,
tomorrow the news might say, “There was a shooting! Nobody left alive!”
the cars lined up facing the house, men in sheets got out,
I could smell the gas as they prepared their torches,
I knew these men. earlier they sat on their porches,
drinking rye whiskey and gin,pretending to be civilized men.
they waited for the signal and to give the Dixie cry,
I thought it was time for me to slip away and let mother skunk fly.
I was behind them when I threw her into the air,
better than expected she landed on a car roof, angry and tired,
she sprayed all around, and the first inebriated man dropped his can to the ground. he screamed and ran spreading the flames, of course the torches and sheets got part of the blame, the middle car blew up, then right down the line,
a fiery wall of flames separating men from their escape,
some were sensible and rolled in the dirt, they were lucky to receive
second degree kinds of hurt. and mother skunk didn’t trust me for a long, long time, but Billy and his family are doing just fine.

catapult


A WOMAN WHO NEEDs TO LOVE
I met a woman who needs to love and be loved,
But I find her heart to be a castle
Fortified against implements of destruction,
Designed to protect her from lovers
Who could hurt her once again.
She keeps intruders out,
Refuses to be vulnerable,
I could never give her my heart,
The way I want to,
Until the castle’s gate is lowered
And the moat is crossed.
How could I enter such a fortress?
Should I use a catapult to overwhelm,
Hurling huge chunks of my heart at her walls
Breaking them down with force?
Or will her heart be like the walls of Troy,
Impenetrable until the gates are opened by choice?
Can it be done with flowers and sweet words ?
How can I be tender enough,
For her to breathe again
Without believing I am her enemy?
A catapult would leave destruction on both sides,
And might cause a collapse of all.
My heart waits impatiently.
Can’t we just fall in love?

May 23, 2017

QUICKEN


“Do you believe in love at first sight?”
There was nothing I could do. Every time I saw her my heart would quicken and I would sweat profusely. My reactions were uncontrollable. I had no reasonable answer to her question. I tried avoiding her by misinterpreting what she meant. “How about them Yankees? Isn’t it a beautiful day?”
Of course, I could have simply said, “I agree with you that love at first sight is powerful and can knock someone for a loop.”
“Yes,” she said. “That’s the way I felt when I fell for your brother. It happened so suddenly I couldn’t hear, couldn’t see, and for a few wonderful moments I couldn’t breathe. That’s what I’m talking about.”
This changed my whole perspective. She wasn’t interested in me. I relaxed mentally but my heart was pounding. This was wrong. My life had been planned out for a long time. She didn’t know that my heart quickened and skipped a beat each time I saw her or even heard her name. This couldn’t be happening. I wanted to yell, to curse, or to take her into my arms and kiss her.
“Excuse me. You aren’t talking about you and me? You don’t like me? You are in love with my brother?”
“I was thinking about you, and considering whether I liked you just a little bit when I looked up and saw him. Now I can’t imagine being with anyone else.”
Now there was a problem. I had spent several years enjoying my bachelorhood. Yet I was tired of being alone, tired of going through the endless questions and answers pertaining to my future. I just wanted to find THE ONE, settling down into a comfortable life, and loving forever.
She had recently invaded my dreams and I was slowly falling in love with her. No, I didn’t fall for her at first sight. I enjoyed her friendship and in my mind connections were made with a concrete foundation. I never anticipated she would find someone else, especially my brother. I couldn’t stand being around her while she gushed about him. She was my friend, not his.
“Yes,” she said slowly, “I thought I was in love with you but you ignored me and pushed me away. I’m glad we can still be friends.”
My anger flared. It was a flash fire out of control. “I can’t be friends with you,” I said. “I need much more than that. I want passion, not love at first sight. I want a love that binds, builds, and creates. I want my heart to quicken each time I see you. I want to hold your hand on long walks, kisses after we talk, and sharing moments of joy. Don’t you want the same?”
(To be continued)

MISSING PIECES


MISSING PIECES

In a basket on my desk there are twelve coins of various values,

A few handwritten notes jotted down when things began going wrong,

Seven unclaimed keys, one left behind after a few drinks too many,

Three keys meant to open padlocks of long deserted farmhouses,

And two keys from a car missing somewhere on the back roads.

The stately clock in the hall ticks steadily along,

Unaware that the weather has changed and a cold storm approaches.

It’s raining outside and my arms are empty.

But I know my destiny is calling and I must answer,

The rain will turn into snow and cover my tracks.

Tonight she’s with someone and I wait impatiently,

My rage contained and hidden behind a smile and a promise.

I know which farmhouse they’ve been visiting,

And I know by now they have had too much to drink.

The missing car is lost forever, just like my love for her.

If we could have kept our love unblemished,

We could have grown closer instead of apart.

If she had been faithful and remained committed,

Those keys would have rusted away without being used.

It’s snowing now and I know I’ll miss her warm embrace.

The blanket of white is so appealing,

All the ugliness will be covered until spring.

All that I’ll keep are the coins to remember,

Erasing the pain from my broken heart,

Each coin represents a lover. Why did they all go wrong?

By Dan Roberson

You Took My Breath Away


Lover I Don't Have to Love
Lover I Don’t Have to Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You Took My Breath Away

You were not the most beautiful girl there,

But your eyes were expressive and deep.

I did not hang on every word you spoke,

But inside I made promises to keep.

Somehow in those first magic moments

My world stopped and you took my breath away.

Your eyes, your hair, your sparkling smile,

Each silently dared me to dance and stay.

In your presence the crowd no longer existed.

You had changed my point of view.

I turned around and blinked my eyes

But all I could see was you.

No longer alone even in my dreams

You were always by my side.

Together we shared our new world,

Your love filled me with pride.

Your mind was on something else,

But not on our love each day.

I thought we’d love forever,

Long after we turned old and gray.

You smiled and said you felt great,

And you insisted you always will,

You looked so serene and so sure,

It’s strange your heart stopped still.

Each day you took my breath away,

But you never shared your pain.

And I still love you with all I have,

But I may never breathe again.

by Dan Roberson

The Garden of Diminishing Returns


The Garden of Diminishing Returns

There were cantaloupes, squash, tomatoes galore,

Green beans, watermelons, green peppers and more,

Growing fast, trying to crawl out of sight,

I swear I could hear the garden growing at night,

But in the mornings when I checked the plants,

The vegetables were half eaten and covered with ants,

 

No matter what I tried or wherever I turned,

The results were the same—-diminishing returns!

I sat out in my chair with my dog on the lawn,

Hoping to see some critters, I’d wait until dawn,

Ground squirrels were scurrying, rabbits came dancing,

Cicadas were chirping, deer were prancing,

Everywhere I looked there was some kind of motion,

The garden was alive with activity and commotion,

Chomping new flowers and munching new shoots,

The animals were all dressed in their evening suits,

There was a call to order and they all sat down,

The biggest rabbit was worried, I could tell by his frown,

“We’ve got to control the rabbits at school,

There’s been multiplication against the rule,

Not everyone stays seated until a lesson is through,

This is outrageous! What shall we do?

Deer have been entering and then going out,

I’m not sure what’s that all about,

And the squirrels have been going nuts,

So there you have it, no ifs, ands, or buts,

We’ll have to move on and find new grounds,

This garden will be tagged as “out of bounds”,

But if we destroy too much we’ll soon learn,

One small garden yields diminishing returns,”

They thumped out a vote and gave him a hand,

It was clear they agreed with his conservative stand,

The majority was liberal enough to see,

If they harvested carefully enough there’d be,

If each did his share, working part of each day,

There would also be time to sleep and play,

He explained if they wanted, they could help him with stuff,

So they planted, watered, and did more than enough.

He told them that they still had lots to learn,

Because no one wins with diminishing returns.

That old rabbit spoke with authority before he disappeared underground,

I’m glad I stayed alert and wrote it all down.

That garden was a life source to all, including me,

It brought a new way of thinking for us to get along,

And I really like those critters, don’t get me wrong.

But if someone thinks I’m feeding that complete herd,

That’s way out of line, kind of crazy, absurd!

Okay, just a nibble.  I grew tons of stuff.

If all of you are careful there’s more than enough!

 

The sprinklers went off and woke me from a dream,

I can’t quite remember what made me want to scream.

But now I have a peaceful feeling way deep inside,

And when I look at my garden I have a sense of pride.

Every row is trimmed, organized, and neat,

But I could almost swear I see some little feet.

My garden is growing right up to the sky,

And on my doorstep this morning was a strawberry pie.

I always thought gardening would be hard to learn,

I knew there was a problem with diminishing returns.

 

 

 

 

You Took My Breath Away


Lover I Don't Have to Love
Lover I Don’t Have to Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

You Took My Breath Away

 

You were not the most beautiful girl there,

 

But your eyes were expressive and deep.

 

I did not hang on every word you spoke,

 

But inside I made promises to keep.

 

Somehow in those first magic moments

 

My world stopped and you took my breath away.

 

Your eyes, your hair, your sparkling smile,

 

Each silently dared me to dance and stay.

 

In your presence the crowd no longer existed.

 

You had changed my point of view.

 

I turned around and blinked my eyes

 

But all I could see was you.

 

No longer alone even in my dreams

 

You were always by my side.

 

Together we shared our new world

 

Your love filled me with pride.

 

Your mind was on something else,

 

But not on our love each day.

 

I thought we’d love forever,

 

Long after we turned old and gray.

 

You smiled and said you felt great,

 

And you insisted you always will,

 

You looked so serene and so sure,

 

It’s strange your heart stopped still.

 

Each day you took my breath away,

 

But you never shared your pain.

 

And I still love you with all I have,

 

But I may never breathe again.

 

 

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