September 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

capture joy
in a jar
supra serp
tine serf surf
pine scurf sure
pin shark scarfs
it as made
as it is made
it is
as it
is marked

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

we pray for change

September 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

so here we are
to speak of change
I must say it seems to me
most people are not particularly
comfortable with it,
take for instance
this fact:
the lamp that
belonged to a beloved aunt has
sat atop the bookshelf
great-grand-dad built in ’35,
together they’ve held
the northwest corner of the living room for the twenty seven years
the house has been in your name
so, why
change now?

coffee every morning at 2:38
work boots on at 4 minutes after 3
out the door 3 0 6
satchel always left hand
keys always right

when the sun comes up
ten million Americans may
look to
the sky with raised brow,
when was it
that it changed to a
duller shade of blue?
only a fraction will
be concerned
with changing it back

sports at 8 after
weather and traffic on the tens
then the news
another tale
of waring factions
and the obligatory refugees

we reach past the
kind of spigot these
refugees scream for,
take up plastic plastic bottles,
never asking ourselves,
when did the water change
from pure to poison?

one to a car
as we drive by landfills
one to a car past empty factories
one to a car past the
gates of a zoo
without wondering
about how little time
before the population of
elephants dips below
the point of recovery

telepromted faces change
with every passing season
but we can’t drag ourselves
away from inherited stations
channel 4 at noon 6 and 11
it’s just habit
you know

cigarette butts
out the window
pesticides to keep the
golf course green
steroids for the milk cow
six hens to a cage
kids on the bus to a shitty school so they can learn to the test
cafeteria genetically modified
macaroni cheese mashed potato
gravy Salisbury steak


there is no way to deny
we got a jones for self destruction
no way to shake the grip of
that burning villages regime changing acquiring wealth
safe guarding the oil supply lines
distribution of arms drug channels
black ops vacuuming up intelligence

we aim a king size hypodermic full of
that sweet mesmerizing materializing
sterilizing generalizing
religiosity loving
legislating medicating over populating mandating agitating frustrating infuriating nectar

we tie off
we find a vein

when the numbing flow takes hold
we watch it all go down again
it is all around us
and when it gets
dark enough in our
little rooms we
turn on our beloved aunt’s lamp
take that special book off
great-grand-dad’s shelf
and open it
to whichever multi translated
passage makes us
feel the best

then we do as
we have been taught

we pray for change

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead


September 20, 2013 § 2 Comments


the only thing that
cared for my company
was a light breeze

which wandered in
and out of the yard

I heard not a cat
not a cricket
not a bird

that was
until a man
with centuries pouring
out of him
stopped to

explain it all to me,
having never
come through
something such
as this before

he left me
with a key
a book and
a compass

I will try again

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead


September 19, 2013 § 4 Comments

I feel compelled to mention
that aquatic unicorn of the arctic,
the narwhal

so, there you have it

I always figured I would
one day,
without much explanation,
fit this wondrous creature
into a bit of verse

I mean, what self respecting
part time poet wouldn’t?
while I’m at it
I might as well dreamily add
a bit about
lemon oil,
Emily’s obsession with white
and the phrase
blue eyed, elusive cicada

oh, also how,
while absently gathering material,
I seem to have noticed
that a rusty hinge
chirps like a chickadee,
acorn caps are somewhat
asiatic in fashion
and that I’ve acquired a habit
of moving my arm like a cobra
as I finger
an ancient melody on
an invisible pungi

so, yes,
the narwhal
who may be,
at this very moment,
cruising beneath
pack ice
composing lines
about strange
bi-pedal land creatures
who spend an inordinate
amount of hours
nearly nothing

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

dereliction of duty

September 16, 2013 § 4 Comments

dereliction of duty

at one end of the rope,
an old man’s dog
thin trunk of
plum tree at
the other
between the two not
a blade of grass survived

nearing the end of
my route I would stop,
drop my transistor into
my newspaper sack,
and try to
translate his mournful language
into one which fit within
an awkward boy’s understanding

howls that colored
afternoon’s aura in
hues of despair
whines forming canine
pleas for a measure
of companionship

if the plums were ripe
I would mind his tether,
bend a branch
and take one
then let him lap
the juice from my fingers

he never tried to remove
any of them
though, I knew he had reason to
I came, after all,
from a race of captors,

to take from a tree
the dog was sure
he was assigned
as guardian

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

tenor blue

September 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

tenor blue

it is good to remember
tenor blue evenings
crickets singing of a
a fall and a rise –
a young heart’s tremor,
bookended by dew,
surviving the stall
to be be written in
symbols inscribed
in the clay
of himself –
set permanent
by the heat
of a bond to be

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

the prayer of star builders

September 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

gather up
volcanos sleep deep –
gather volcanos
sleep twenty seven below
walk waterways where
thin kings
thinking up
hothouses for fire orchids
say to you
be within your eyes
be inside your voice
don’t let the dust of mustn’t
linger long on your shoulders

be within your breath
live the pulse of one who knows
how particles cleave
like new lovers
sweep into your arms days
meant for forest spirits
forever set aside time to
be unhinged

be a fountain
that accepts offerings
before offering them back
when the crying is finished
be thankful for what you have lost
and for what you have not
allow yourself to be
smothered in love
spin the universe on your finger
inhale the light of unknown suns

be the long chant prayer
of star builders

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

paternal oversight

September 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

off world
as territorial conflict
threatens drift –
into the living room

he sits at his desk
attending to the pathology
of his own mind

doors slammed distant
to the tapping of his pen
on that mystical
point between his closed eyes

voices ring out malfeasance,
skirmish lines advance
between rooms
he, unmoved, using
as an instrument of indifference

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead


September 2, 2013 § 4 Comments

on this ring-
maybe alongside
the one that unlocks the shed,
hangs the key to my bewilderment –
jingling there
with two or three
that start cars I no
longer own and
an odd shaped thing
that opens towel
dispensers at work

it is there, among
all that have
joined the ranks over the years,
their purpose forgotten
but kept in honor
of their service none
the less –
this population growth
only adds to my confusion
I don’t have the
energy to try them all
so, for now,
I will do what I do best
I will buy
more rings,
gather more keys,
I will,
as expected,
keep wondering

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead


September 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

blink and
childhood awakens
implanted memory
this morning triggered by
something in the laundry aisle
detergents, starch
bleach… maybe

a girl going by
not possible, this is understood
but I went to
look anyway

moving slowly to the
end of the aisle,
leaning out
and looking both ways
as if I was on
my old front lawn again
expecting a friend

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

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