places to read in your towns

December 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

out of curiosity, I was wondering where are cool places to read at in your towns. Open mic nights, bookstores, bars or wherever. One of these days I might plan a tour/vacation to read my work in towns other than Buffalo. Let me know of some places.

bone trader

December 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

he is there,
among piles of bones,
sleeping the sleep
of one long comfortable
in the business
of translating relics of saints
he can rest in the
knowledge that he keeps
proper inventory –
keeps lines
of communication straight
ready to transfer
what needs to be,
into other hands,
if gold weighs correct
or negotiations
by quieter means break down
he sleeps easy
as bleached frameworks
await elevation
by prayer or pleading
as they have
since the time of their
by a race
that depends upon
and has no explanation
for their existence

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

trash night

December 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

it is
the kind of cold
that halts your breath
advance and retreat

everything crackling
including mutterings
and hesitant footsteps

a dog, busy
cutting through the wind
with his head down,
caught up in a mission,

stops to watch
as I struggle the garbage tote
through the snow to the curb

his territory

he seems to make
a mental note
to address the business
of the new object on
his next check of
the perimeter

I balance it on the pile
thrown up by the plow
and consider the
benefits of becoming
an ex-pat
under a Panama hat on
some banana republic island

where the only ice
is the ice in my rum

and all the
dogs are lazy

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead


December 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

when I catch a reflection
of my soul rippling
on the water of my years
I focus on
a familiar scar

remembering well
the wound that caused it

in moments of stillness
I explore
the events
that led me here –

they are
starting to make sense

there is comfort in knowing
that pilgrimage
to a particular memory
will offer
promise of clarity

now that I’ve
the strength
to make the journey

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

small talk in a breezeway as Billie Holiday sings on the radio

December 21, 2013 § 2 Comments

I just thought
you’d like to know
the cows
never did come home

and the day’s just as long
as the day is long
I thought you’d like to know

now you know, that’s
a story I never tire of
when sleeping

I’m down two dogs
and the night calls for three
that’s something
you should

I’ll unwind the clock
if you unbutton
your corset
lace up your sneakers
while I pace the wall
call me tomorrow
I’ll answer you

in case you
want to know

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

belly up

December 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

I realize
it is a daily struggle,
trying to stay happy and all,
but the way I see it –
if I’m happy most of the time
it puts the odds in my
favor to achieve that
often talked about wish
which is:
to die a happy man

so, as long as I don’t croak
while changing a water pump
when it’s 25 degrees outside

or go belly up
during an argument
concerning payment for poorly rendered services with a corporate representative stationed in a call center cubicle in Mumbai,
I should be o.k.

landing face down in my
yard on a warm June morning,
the scent of the
fertile soil of my garden
being my final
of this world,
that would be alright I suppose

laying the on the couch,
a book sliding from
my dead hand
to signal, with a thump,
the shedding of my
mortal coil
would not, in my opinion,
be a bad exit either

the irritation of a flaming crash
caused by a texting
teenage driver
would never do

nor a fall from the roof
because I was too
much of a tightwad to hire
a professional to patch the chimney

but, a clot silently pulling off
a nefarious hit job
while I’m walking by the lake
or actually
busting a gut laughing,
sure, that’ll work

of how I am sent
into unknowable beyond,

if I’m lucky to have
the last thing I hear be
a gentle “good night”
in a familiar loving voice,
that alone will
be plenty enough
for me

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

permission to start

December 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

listening for the sound
of light
being born
a signal from the edge
a gentle

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

the viewing

December 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

to fully witness wonder
(the inference being
that the trick
is not to accept
phenomenon from
palm of the palmist)
when eyes turn
to crystal indifference,
is a challenge
best undertaken after
ridding oneself
of one’s

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead


December 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

winter’s reflection
on icicle surface grows
here, our days compress

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead


December 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

rising out of stream
beautifully challenging
fisher reel rod creel

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

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