her words

November 30, 2012 § 4 Comments

on the grass
beside the reproduction
of a roman god,
looking down at her
with his arms extended

palms up and fingers splayed
like he was waiting for
an answer
but she had not a
single one for him

some impoverished
relationship with
the things she tried to say
kept her words
hidden in
colored paper,

torn once from gifts that
were, over time,
as if they
were nothing more than
amulets drained of their magic

she warehoused
her words,
porcelain from
a lost dynasty
waiting to be
unveiled under soft
and handled with
the gloved hands
of the truly

2012 Fred Whitehead

having seen the last mastodon

November 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

another in a series of poems using only the letters of the title to write the poem:

having seen the last mastodon

the light,
shining months on end,
is the last to see him
as he nods
his head to a meal

he has a song of loss
as he is lost
in a land old and vast

then the song is gone –

the light,
having seen the
die alone

2012 Fred Whitehead

you can’t see it

November 27, 2012 § 5 Comments

you can’t see it
from that vantage point

no, from behind
of Proper Status
and self promoted
renown, you are blind

I am, of course, talking
about the way your
children, raised in finery,
polished to reflect
your carefully
structured image
are so drawn to
the unglamorous

you do not see them
as they slip back into
your shadow –
dawns break on the doors
of their indoctrination
doors opened as silently
as possible after nights
dodging guards patrolling
borders of caste

a bit disheveled, their lips
glossy with the wet of
the unwelcome
dragging dirt of dissent
across your marble floors
leaving crumbs of their
curiosity for you
to follow

trails leading to the
of your intolerance


November 26, 2012 § 2 Comments

whenever spoken to
he, at first says nothing for
the first second or two,
like he is just emerging from
a dream
or waiting for the rest
of his body to return
from wherever it was

distant, they said –
that was
the laurel placed
on his head

you never knew
how he was going to engage –

the kind of man that

came at a subject
from odd angles
in speech so slow
that the listener
tended to rush past
the meaning in his words

as if they
really had
anywhere else to be

2012 Fred Whitehead

such is breakfast with a Buddhist poet

November 24, 2012 § 6 Comments

often, when I’m
alone, my pen
holding back in
indignation, I have
a vision

in which
I am at a table
with Milarepa
who isn’t paying
attention to anything
I have to say about
world affairs or
the point spread of
the Bowl game
or the latest offering
from Detroit, in fact

he doesn’t even acknowledge
the waitress
as she
hovers the bottomless
coffee pot over our table,
the geriatric choking
on his home fries
in the booth beside us
or even my request for him
to hand me the pepper sauce

he just sits across from me
a strangely blissful look
on his face
as my eggs get cold
and go unseasoned

his right hand
cupped to his ear
the sound
of emptiness

2012 Fred Whitehead


November 24, 2012 § 3 Comments


I never saw you through
the tormented years
of your youth
as you never
saw me through mine
and yet
we navigate around
them still
a perfect invisible
pyramid of dead rats
and horse shit
in the middle of
whatever room we are in
its apex pointing
the way to Drago
the method of its
a mystery
and its dimensions
a mathematical twin
to the combined
length and breadth
of all
we have become

2012 Fred Whitehead

the stack of you

November 23, 2012 § 2 Comments

when your are ten
your fears are
addressed by adults
the way the concerns of
the colonized are recognized
by those in charge
of the colonization
your objections to the
way bed times are scheduled
are ignored, the choice
of dinner and the amount
that is to be consumed
is not yours
numbers and letters
are forced on you
as are gods and devils
you know how things are
how things should be
but, when you are ten
you are invisible
except when the photographer,
hired by the school board
by way of a low bid,
spits in his hand and
tames your mane
and tells you to freeze
your frenetic world
for a moment
so that you can be captured
for Aunts and Uncles
and Grandparents,
you at ten
placed in the same frame
as you at nine
a stack of you that will
grow until you reach that
magical age when
they pin the badge
of adulthood on your lapel
and the children behind you
fade into
the world
you once ruled

2012 Fred Whitehead

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