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
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
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

(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
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
will be that
which can be imagined
or wished for

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead


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

film of a seabird

July 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

according to this
field guide
the bird we saw
diving for small fish
was named by some human
as the Least Tern
unlike him, I’m not common
to the region
so his antics deserved
preservation on
video – waiting for that
moment when
I can hand my phone
to somebody
and say
“look at this crazyass bird”
they will most likely reply with
a cordial “cool” before
returning the phone
knowing it will
be a while before I see the
likes of him again
I’ll play the film one more time
before checking
my mail
my texts
my voice messages
and I’ll call my folks to let them know
we are back safe
and our stay at the shore
was great
even if it was
too short,
by some twenty years or so

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

momentary transport

July 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

the coffee,
or most of it anyway,
stayed in the cup as I
made my groggy walk
to the beach
the mornings here,
devoid of
other vacationers,
is cleansing
if I may employ a term my wife
uses to
describe ridding ones self
of all the crap we tend
to collect
I try to remember where
Nantucket is from the
map on the cottage wall
and raise the souvenir cup
so that its
schooner is
on the correct heading
gifting myself
momentary transport
before turning back
in the direction
of breakfast

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

in the presence

July 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

in the presence

Atlantic foam washes
over my feet
I am looking east

from here, on the crook
of the island,
I see horizons first glow

light that had illuminated
of holy books, mere
hours before,
absorbs me

its declaration
reveling within me
it sings,
is what you exist for

and for a second
or not much more,
I am weightless

the only witness,
a gull
working the morning tide

acting exactly
as someone,
who has
seen this kind of thing
would act

casually turning pebbles
in the presence
of miracle

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

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