untitled 12/22/2016

December 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

untitled 12/22/2016
star cloud rising above spire 

some prelude to release 

northern chill as a finger spider

prowling from

base of spine to base of skull
                    is there plausibility

                    among the trees?
I wonder

if I could ever

care enough to

take up axe
and if so

will I find only regret 

back to stump

fighting sleep

surrounded by the fallen
(c) 2016 Fred Whitehead 

the promotion 

December 20, 2016 § 2 Comments

after a few years in purgatory 
middle management there

assigned to me a stool

handed me a clipboard and

said I was in charge of new arrivals
as they were

researching the best deals

on flights and resort packages

and packing up golf clubs and such

they handed me

the key

to the executive washroom 

and hurried through a rundown 

of the purification process 
there are rules to this kind of thing

one of them said 

as he adjusted his tie
another one set his luggage by the door


got to watch ’em

a sly lot they are 

always complaining about the hours 

and accommodations
I was warned

as they were stuffing themselves into the waiting limo

that the head office sometimes screwed up the duty roster

said I might have to refer to the manual to see what job is best suited to

which offense
up ’til then 

I was a sweeper of halls and stairwells

the mucker-outer of stalls

the peeler of turnips and taters
now the redemption of souls

was in my hands

I wanted naught of it
when the first bus load

pulled up to the gate

I checked off names

and handed out pajamas
the barracks are that way I said

the mess hall over there

keep the noise down I told them

and the place clean
didn’t give much

more instruction 

beyond that
day after day

I sat there

waiting on the bus

doodling in the margins of the rule book
the bosses never did come back

but things were quiet

things were tidy
just as any salvation should be
(c) 2016 Fred Whitehead 

when I croak

December 13, 2016 § Leave a comment

when I croak
bury me on a slope 

            at an angle 

I don’t want to have to crane

my neck searching


the rising sun
make me a cairn

of bottle caps and pencil stubs

a headstone of cork would be nice

folks might enjoy a convenient place

                  to leave a reminder
of the trouble

we caused
of the love we shared
or all those things

promised to myself
or to others

when I thought time was only

the concern of the incarcerated

or conductors

on trains

heading nowhere 
(c) 2016 Fred Whitehead 

every face

December 9, 2016 § 3 Comments

first thought this morning
            was that it

could be gravity was invented for the sole purpose of reminding us

how easy it is to fall
from there it progressed as usual 

thumb to grinder lid

cats sent a-scatter by the racket 
hair shoved under cap

then out to where

every face tells a story 
                 I used to know that

guy over there pretty well 

I know he

can’t throw off his addiction

to digging holes

I think when we were younger 

             I even


             him a shovel once
I’d apologize now 

if I could remember the circumstances 

that lead to the exchange 
passing the cafe

I see the couple at the corner table

silently spooning sugar 

heard they got their legs tangled up

during the matrimony waltz 

and’ve been

walking with a limp

ever since
I nod to a girl

pacing just outside the door 

every few seconds

she checks to see if the heart

on her sleeve is still beating 

                   oh, it is

                   quite audibly 
at the end of the block

a firebrand beckons 

behind an orange crate pulpit
                                       beside him

                                       an empty tip jar

                              a full suggestion box

and for his eyes

not one unnoticed flaw
this is where the come to feed

on whatever is shoveled into the trough

of codependent driven psychosis 
they flow through the streets here

like tears through a sluice box
all that remains 

are precious trailings

for the kings carrion 

to pick over
(c) 2016 Fred Whitehead 

the dive poet

December 6, 2016 § 2 Comments

I used to see him here
wearing smoke
          monk like


          the honeyed glow 

          of backlit bottles
this was

before younger folks straggled in

driven by legend or curiosity
                – outer ring types

                who took up pitchforks 

                for pristine lungs and the fight

                for a longer measure of time    

                the scent

                of sweet pea shampoo could     

                linger about their

                as yet     

                            unweighted shoulders
the likes of these drove out the smoke 

as well as most of his kind


        or home

        or mad
I’d sidle up to him

when the crowd was thin

and try the small talk
he’d be bent over a beer and notepad

all broken teeth and sideways glances

fingertips as yellow 

as the journalism of his youth
        he never offered up much
an opinion

on the home teams performance 

warnings against

misdeeds and miscalculations

and the debilitating effect

of unstructured thought

       it was enough 
he never talked about his work though 

and I never asked
which may well be the only reason 

he paid for a round 

         from time to time 
(c) 2016 Fred Whitehead 


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