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

how I react to a question when I’m obviously involved in something:

August 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

this distraction, having
stripped me of my defenses
rises up before me

an unwelcome Lucius with
a fistful of toga,
demanding explanation
to a world ready to act
at the signal

I process the inevitable

falling mute
is all I have to offer

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead

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