My Recent Social Life

I invited a man to dinner;
the entire meal was not a winner.
He doesn’t eat meat that is red,
so the appetizer went dead.
I served crackers with cheese
that really did not please.
Too much cayenne spiced the crab stuffing
for the mushrooms; we both were huffing.
The broccoli was overcooked;
such mush could not be overlooked.
The baguette had seen a better day;
in despair we threw that rock away.
Our dessert was not a key lime pie—
juice never bought by little ole I.
Coffee I just forgot to serve
in my sad state of rattled nerve.
The red wine he did bring
was the only good thing.

The Covered Wagon

Our encouraging mother lent
the three wire coat hangers we bent
and ragged pillowcases;
we lashed them on with shoelaces.

We packed Jim’s Bear way in back,
along with him my dog Mac;
all my dishes, our best books,
grass seedlings, seven fish hooks,
my blue-handled knife, a watch,
two dry sticks in lieu of a match,
three candy bars, water canteens,
last, from Mom, a can of beans.

We left before noon, headed west
with our covered wagon, the best
to hit the trail and brave the worst.
We were bold, proud, fit to burst.
We walked for days across the dirt
and ne’er complained about hurt
feet, hands, and sunburned faces
as we passed through unknown places.

Jim never asked why he should pull
and I should push. I was so full 
of wise knowledge that, of course,
I ne’er told him he was a horse.

At last, after a week or more,
we reached the grand Pacific shore.
Dusty, tired, noble, blessed,
we staggered to a place of rest.
We drank deep from a gold flagon;
thanked our trusty covered wagon.

The Face of My Cat

I open my eyes to see eyes wide, staring into mine

above sunken cheeks astride her pink button nose

and upturned mouth, with whiskers between

that are long enough to measure exactly

the width through which her body can squeeze

when she is chased by an enemy.

The whole of her face rests on two paws,

claws curled under, but I know they are there,

sharp as fangs waiting to rip asunder

any who dare to breech a contract

or cross a stream of consciousness.

As I watch she creeps up my legs, over my belly,

onto my chest, opens her mouth.

Her tongue comes out to my left jawbone.

She begins to purr and lick with gentle ferocity,

with the incredible rasp of a craftsman’s tool.

Once, I let her lick as long as she liked.

Finally in pain, I slipped from under her tongue,

consulted a mirror to see the blood of our bondage.

She looked at me with those eyes,

those eyes so loving, those eyes wide, staring into mine

above sunken cheeks astride her pink button nose

and upturned mouth, with whiskers between.

First Storm

I was eleven the first time

I felt the big wind and hot rain.

The creek was a river.

It rushed like a madman.

 

On the rickety wooden bridge,

toes curled over the edge,

hanging out,

waving my arms,

I welcomed exultation’s flow.

 

It was my first

full-bore, full-blown, hyper-manic;

a welcome discomfort,

scary, beyond control.

I loved it.

 

“Let’s go!

Let the wind blow through me.

Look at that water chugging along,

spinroiling, roaring, chortling,

laughing past rocks,

throwing big limbs up in the air.”

 

I heard crashing rocks,

rumbling that was the whole world

singing itself bigger than life,

groaning: “I am not Mother Earth! I am The Father,

bringing life to all that will live,

flowing My will into everything,

leaving no stone unturned,

lifting each root up unto these hills,

bearing the presents in all things to come.”

 

Old bitch Baxter teacher witch came

screeching like the banshee she was.

Said she was going to tell my Daddy on me;

meaning to put fear of The Father in me.

 

Impossible.

I sent threat down the river.

 

She put disgust,

distrust of humanity

in me forever.

 

I remained

 

high on the bridge.

 

Wordsmith Unlocked

Lively
words that had been lorn, alone,
burst into flower,
gathered new life,
again filled my mind.

Slowly,
words that had been locked inside
trickled past brain cells,
slid through fingers,
tumbled over keys.

Quickly,
words that had been lost in space
covered blank pages,
flew through ether,
trembled with meaning. 

Lovely
words that had been left unsaid
found voice in darkness,
fell on keen ears,
gave substance to love.