Afternoon Meadow; Rain Kiss (May Awakes); It Was Cold Before You [poems, Suburban Pastorals]


Van Gogh’s crows perched all over this town,
stuck in the updrafts, riding the fog’s hard edge,
doe carcass, possum body, urinary rivers
and the rancher’s overflow all feeding the flying herds
of these great black caretakers.
Defiant on the roadside, jay hunted in the low sky,
yet climbing in from the distance
on a rapid shadow bullet flight, these birds ascend
and dive, rise and hold, and there,
in the hunting climb where meadow, sky and tree
blend yellow, blue and thick green, then the black,
the blue background yellow bottomed canvas comes alive
with the specter’s held in eternal flight…
yeah, that’s it,
the picture holds,
and it’s Van Gogh’s crows all over town.


Rain? Are you touching me now?
I thought I felt rain on my shoulder.
The smell of mushrooms bursting,
thin skinned puff balls blowing
grey smoke in the dry afternoon.
The acrid smell of Comet cleanser and baking soda.
She promises rain, but tastes like perspiration.
I kissed her fingers. Khaki tan and soft.
And it seemed the sun exploded in my eyes.
Turn this over in your heart she says,
and she says there is no price on dusk today.
Down, damned and drained I tease each
lowering cloud with lidded glances
and an Elvis Presley snarl.
Brown needles drop off the sargeant juniper.
Starving bonsai: what is your peace now?
Giving up, I don’t even cut back the bamboo anymore.
And the arid heat is murder here, here on
the banks of the slow Oconee,
here we all sing “summertime….”
She cat licks my left ear lobe.
Breathes into the soft lymphatic skin.
And the vibrations curl, shimmy and shag.
Are you touching me now?
And the cumulus thunder shouts,
pregnant black clouds roll over and foal.
And suddenly, as parched as I was one second before,
here I am, drenched and laughing,
finally, finally my Georgia sky became itself again,
and the late spring rain storms came as promised.
She holds me close, asks if I can smell the grass
turning green again, if I can feel the branches
gathering up all the water they can….
and I just say yes, yes I can.


Looking up into what was October
when the frosted winds came,
and November stepped across the river.
Inside, the house grew frigid
in it’s emptiness.
Then there you were,
as if with me for all time,
beside me here in the living room,
open arms wide in the quilted easy chair,
yes, there you were,
shining like a forever summer.
My warm love,
my smile in darkness.
Today I was up early,
rubbing the Laughing Buddha
on his lucky little belly,
thinking and thankful,
I know no matter what
there are those few things
that are so good, so giving,
even in times that say
compassion is a joke,
and peace of heart is a myth,
and I think, yeah,
sometimes the love stories
must be lived,
like the one that says that I am
glad I’m living this life of mine.

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