Harlan

July 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

that afternoon
we bunched up in
his barn and
waited for Harlan
to reveal exactly
what it was
that he had learned
by dragging heavy things
around
behind him
for all of those years

but he never showed up

about four or so
someone called up to
his brothers place and his
sister in law
said he was sleeping one off
on the porch slide

we finished his beer
and left the lesson go
for another time

on the way out
I put a ten in the pocket
of the jacket hanging
by the hay fork

Broadus killed the lights
Langford latched the doors

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

on the outer

July 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

how these distortions occur
I will never know
so I’ve learned to
accept them
as lacework over
windswept eyes
and again I wake
to sand scarred landscapes
and pray for
sleep
at the feet
of heaving northern seas

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

a pond slippage

July 25, 2013 § 1 Comment

when my skull made contact
I heard hoof beats
the pain that
spiderweb’d throughout
my brain
mirrored the cracks
forming in the ice
under my head

as I lay there in
frozen agony
I had thoughts of
Astro Boy cartoons
and how the combination
of peanut butter
and mayonnaise is
glorious alchemy
on triangles of Wonderbread

the hoof beats
grew louder
but where were the horses?
there should have been
horses

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

show me

July 20, 2013 § 2 Comments

show me

show me where you
bumped your head
show me where you’ve landed
show me how
to bare my soul,
my throat, and
the cadence of sarcasm
show me how much
to shove off
the cliff
how much to lift when
the proprietor is drifting
show me the exit
show me the road
show me the cards
that you’ve been handed
show me again how much
you cared
in seasons of indifference
and I’ll show you
the drawer where I’ll keep
your things
waiting for your asking

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

so, the waiting

July 19, 2013 § 2 Comments

is there a special
dedication for
surviving in the land
of the atrophied?
perhaps a name
etched on a wall or
an honorary star
imprinted in concrete

do you picture this
the same way I do?
as a collective of
bad days shaken out
from the rest

I’ve listed the reasons to
keep moving, I
have held up for review
maps
with routes clearly defined
but all around I witness
expanding rigor as
the ground beneath
us groans as roots
lodge deeper

is this the outcome of not noticing
a window closing
on the arc of the sun?

so, the waiting continues and
soon, the only light
offered
will be that
which can be imagined
remembered
or wished for

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

tiki

July 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

they have,
since the time
of their
Polynesian birth,
spread to taverns
anywhere oceans
kiss the land

even here
in old New England
Kane is pouring
Kanaloa drinking

it wouldn’t be surprising at all
to see them watching over
a crowded bar in Omsk,
where palm fronds
and ushankas mix
in a pineapple and rum haze

over time
they have been smuggled
inward to infiltrate
landlocked bars

so that the likes of Austin and
Edmonton, Berlin and Bucharest
can partake equally
in the nectar
of tiki gods

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

boxed doves

July 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

a basket of sand dollars
of different sizes
and prices was
placed strategically near
the register

an easy grab for
someone looking
for a simple buy for
somebody back home

I first learned of
this fragile marine currency
from the lady in the corner house
on the street where
I grew up

she gave me a few
which I kept in a cigar box
some intact
some broken with purpose
to set free the doves within
though their migratory route
was like that
of so many of us

covering only the distance
from one end of
a box to the other

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

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