Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On the Hill

I was looking through some pictures the other day. I’m trying to determine the ones I want to use in my next chapbook. In the process I found some pictures that I have always called On The Hill pictures.

That’s one of them on the right of this entry. They are all taken in Kellen Hollow, and on the only spot with a good background, the hill just above the road, and near the rabbit hutches. The hillside has changed over the years. There was a garden there, an apple tree, and the chicken house stood just out of sight on the right. The building on the left is the garage with Granddad’s workshop.

The house was a brick building originally built for use as a store with living on the second story. It is where I sat on the steps and learned the stories of my family and friends. Where I became a writer and artist.

Whenever the family came for holidays or weekends, and if somebody had a camera, a picture was taken on the hill, more times than not.

The people in this picture are my Father and his brothers. I don’t know who that is peeking around the corner. I’ve written poems about all of them. Two of them are gone. I think this picture was taken just before I was born. If I could, I’d love to step into this picture and tell them all just how much they have meant to me over the years, and hold them in my arms one more time. Each one taught me something that made me who I am.

I’m sharing this prose poem with you today about what I imagine happened with my Uncle Ray (second from the right) when he saw my Aunt again after many years. She was special, and so was he. I miss them very much. As time goes on I’ll share more about these brothers with you.

Whispers To Marge
When tomorrow never comes, I think I will know you when we meet again. I’ll walk up to you on some crowded street, maybe an outside market that we were so fond of visiting. We’ll not speak for a few moments. I’ll tip my hat because men will once again wear fedoras, and you’ll see me as a younger man, dressed in a white suit like in a Humphrey Bogart movie. You’ll still be as beautiful as you were when I saw you that last time in the hospital. For a moment you’ll not recognize me, because I’ll be dressed unlike I was in that other place, but finally you’ll smile, reach for my hand, and we’ll walk around the corner, to the house we always dreamed would be ours.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Looking at My Notes

Hi Friends.

Well, the notes and words I wrote in the mountains have given me some good ideas for poems. I also have spent some time over the last week transcribing the ideas I recorded while I was driving. So, now that I have all of this information I guess I need to get down to some heavy writing.

This morning I was playing with some Sedoka I started in the mountains. Remember, the poem with the 5-7-7 5-7-7 syllable count? They are fun to write, and they keep the words at a minimum, and the pictures sharp. It’s a good way to getting back to writing if you’ve been away for awhile.

While doing that I have thought a lot about this blog, and what I might do to change it for the better. If you have any ideas, please let me know. If something’s not working I need to get rid of it. I’ve been thinking about doing an audio file of each poem I have here, and having that available when you visit, so you can hear the poem as you read it. Might work, so I’ll see what I can do.

I’m working on a new book of poems, and since the first book is out of print I’m thinking about doing an audio book with those poems and stories. I’m keeping busy. I hope you are writing also. I’ll see you the next time.


Shifty eyed rascal
Looking over your shoulder
Your reputation follows

Keeps getting closer
I hear you crying at night
Lamenting your shameful life


Aspen leaves turn up
Elk move to sheltered valley
Wind screams through high pine branches

The storm closes in
A wolf pounding at the door
I dream of you beside me

Monday, September 14, 2009

First Day on the Road

A little over a month ago I packed my “stuff” turned on an alarm that didn’t need to be turned on, and at four in the morning I kissed the wife, patted the dog, and headed west. In an hour or so I was through the gorge and headed for the Mississippi River crossing. In the early afternoon I was in the rolling hills of Arkansas, and by the time I decided to stop for the night I had driven 800 miles. The excitement had resurrected the child in me, and I had made notes for poems and stories all day, and my recorder was full of my ramblings.

There had been wonderful moments during the day. The passing scenery, and the thoughts of loved ones and friends, that I wouldn’t see for some time, brought ideas that had been hidden from me. Birds I had hoped to see sat in the fields and trees along the road, and sang at the rest stops. I met an old man sitting outside a camper reading his bible, and we talked about his trip to see his children in the east, and how his wife had passed a while ago, and how much he missed having her on trips like this, and I knew there was a poem there just waiting for me. Those moments were special, and others stick in my mind like the one time during the day that the world slowed down as a car came at me across the road divider, and I looked into the frightened eyes of the other driver as the wire fence caught him and began to shred his vehicle, and the few moments after when I stopped and gave thanks that the fence was there at just the right instant to save me.

That night I spent time in the worst hotel room I have ever been in, and that’s saying a lot because I’ve been to 33 different countries. I didn’t think it was that bad until I rolled over and fell into the hole in the mattress. It was like sleeping on the edge of an abyss all night, but heck, I was on an adventure!

The next morning I headed for the flat lands before turning north toward the high mountains and trout streams. Driving across the plains I watched the fences flash by, and remembered a poem I had written when I first made this trip, and saw the debris hanging on the barbed wire.

I’m happy to be back on the porch with you, and I’ll have more to share later, and a few new poems.

Barbed Wire

There are some days I feel like a fence.
A strand of barbed wire for every year.
Different debris on each level.

The lower strands almost unseen now,
covered over, or rusted away
all memories back into the weeds.

Many are bent against the other
from someone climbing up the years
taking it all, unbearable weight
unable to keep the tension.

Seems like everything that rolls
everything that could happen
hits me square and sticks there.

They’ve not been all bad.
There’s been great moments.
Golden flags in the solar wind.

I guess that’s life.
Catching moments as they roll,
keeping some, letting others go.