A Hole in the Heavens

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Sometime after the War, the big one, the second time

after years of austerity

after years of fear

after years of funerals

after years of hard labor

A hole cracked open in the heavens

and music poured down

and poetry poured down

and literature was born

and freedom expanded

Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Elvis, The Beatles, Steinbeck, and Playboy

danced in the streets

danced in our ears

danced in our minds

danced in our feet

Yes, they came from the Heavens, the place where all goodness is born

but the hole dried shut

sometimes it leaks a little

but not nearly enough

sometimes we need more, much more

So, the next one of us who dies, better leave with a jack hammer

and find where the hole use to be

start drilling, and drill down deep and hard

let the goodness flow down on us

like a flood

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The Last Cowboy In Teller

remembering-the-old-times

Relentless western rain pouring onto soupy gray lanes

horses and cars scare one another as the old world is shoved

aside by a new one

Teller’s emptying out – gone to the oil fields

money…the corrupter and killer of civilizations

(or at least the one he knew)

He nudges the paint pony onward

past the stores out of neighborhoods

very few horses in town anymore

cars, lots of the damn things

the rain peppers his face as he turns his collar up

dark blue horizons on the hills

Been here his whole cowboy life

all he knows

the wife died a few years back and the kids moved to the oil fields

money…lots of money

the old range hand tends to his herd…talks to them

opens the barn and feeds his livelihood as the sun sinks west

he sits on a bale and watches them eat and stick their mouths

into the water trough

be a full moon tonight

back when he was young he would drink and dance

at bar back in Teller when the moon got full

tonight just a fire and beans before

retiring and hoping for an old cowboy’s

dreams

 

I knew Your Father

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I knew your father, a way you never did

sitting at a bar, a little off the grid

He became my friend, a teacher, a time

his stories enthralled me and then became mine

his friendship was real, honest and true

He was consistent, easy to turn to

Like father and more, he became part of my day

drinking and talking, never a cliché

We didn’t always see things and completely agree

but our friendship was deeper, I was made to see

What he saw in me, I never understood

he carved out a table of ancient redwood

Beer and wings, sometimes a little more

I hope we meet again, on a distant mystical  shore

Now he is gone, some days I feel a bother

I’m just glad I can say “I knew your father”

 

 

 

Sweet August

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Ahhh sweet August…the Everest of summer time

hot days and nights – sidewalks chocked with tourists

boats with bright sails smoothly drifting by

the park – ahhh the park

BBQ and wine – guitar strumming and love poems

cool dark movie theaters with giant boxes of popcorn

every day is a gift with an hour glass

only thirty one days – then gone

cheap watermelon and a walk among the trees

a season of reflection – slow down – look around

a song bird tells me how sweet it is and that winter will erase all of it

tee shirts, shorts, sandals – that’s all

bike along the ocean and smell  life in the salty air

memories flood and leave – childhood

dusty old roads and scorching baseball afternoons

fruit and vegetable delights fill the markets

zen evenings watching the sun retreat

full moon madness and tales of werewolves

sweet August and another year going by

 

Taking the Air

old-west-town-by-night

eighteen eighties western frontier bound

late in the evening when only a prairie sound

cowboys and gentlemen in all their affairs

would walk the night streets and “take the air”

a customary routine from a simpler age

to lay aside all troubles, discouragement and rage

today this seems zen like, so Buddha, so rare

to walk down the street and breathe the local air

hustlers and drifters, joined the silent share

to shut up and just take in the night air

profound and so common, anyone could

life would be different, uniquely so good

cool and refreshing, a lesson from the past

to slow down and enjoy, not breeze by so fast

to rise up and leave that comfortable chair

join the old cowboys and take the night air

 

Around the Fire

campfire

Under six hundred year old trees as thick as a car

sitting on the grounds where the Chumash lived for

thousands of years

Cool night air cleansed by the salt water waves

sounds of nocturnal night beasts

City voices silence and die a city death

wild nature soothes the smoky soul

the sun is down and heading for Asia

thoughts are born – thoughts that never lived before

ancient stories come calling – myths begin to chant

and dance

voices from the netherworld

disconnected from evil electricity and opinions

you take notice – things are different

a refreshing waterfall of peace trickles

in a tired blood stream

visions of old wars and journeys burn

in the flames

knowledge prances in the night air

inviting you to engage

put another log on and wait just a

few more minutes

two lane black tops back in the 1950’s

Kerouac – California

Steinbeck upstairs typing away

Kennedy giving speeches and Castro smoking cigars

Eisenhower and Mamie

two tone shoes and Bill Haley and The Comets

Buddy Holly and the crash of the Iowa plane

Polio sugar cubes and flat top haircuts

Cheap gas and high grade V8s

Chrome ideas and hula hoops

the fire dies low and tree frogs croak

bed time

The Car Wreck #5

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Butch Teeterman’s life had become a high wire balancing act. Between his growing business that dealt with daily emergencies and his secret trysts that required its own stream of income, he depended on Edith Clancy, his secretary, to make it happen. Edith had been with him since she graduated high school and was a perfect fit for Teeterman Plumbing. She dealt with the whole enchilada: billing, payroll, banking, scheduling, hiring and firing. Edith also handled all of Butch’s personal affairs, so to speak. To maintain his balancing act, he never went anywhere without telling Edith where he was. Edith liked Butch and was well compensated for her various tasks. She sympathized with his philandering and didn’t like Mrs. Teeterman.

The morning Butch hurried into the Holiday Inn, trouble was brewing. Not anything large, just an ordinary problem, the kinds he handled every day. But there was a combination of other factors. Butch had postponed the last two sex appointments with the school teacher, and it took a ton of begging to get her to agree to this one. The teacher had told the school she had a doctor’s appointment and had to return after lunch. She had already checked into the room as Edith had prepaid the charges the evening before and had a key waiting. Butch breezed past the desk and down the hall full of lust and sexual anticipation. He gently knocked on the door and waited. The teacher cracked it open and glanced at Butch. She opened it wider and allowed him enough space to enter. It didn’t take them long to engage in a passionate make out session and be naked. They stripped the covers off the bed and were getting into position when the phone rang.

Butch froze.

“Don’t you dare answer it.” She muttered.

It kept ringing.

“I have to. It must be Edith.”

Butch stood nude and answered the phone. It was a problem, a big one.

Teeterman Plumbing had installed all the plumbing for Donna Jean Ramsey’s new house. The foundation (which had nothing to do with Butch) was not cured properly and cracked and shifted regularly, causing severe plumbing issues. Butch was going insane with her demands for repairs at no charge. Donna Jean threatened lawsuits and disconnection of Teeterman’s phones, all of them.

Butch, listened to Edith describe what was going on.

The house had another leak and was being flooded.  In the past, Butch would  oversee the repairs, so when another leak would occur, she would always call and threaten him personally, never the concrete company. Butch was going insane with her demands and threatening lawsuits. This morning was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Edith recounted how Mrs. Teeterman’s phone was disconnected and had walked to the pay phone at the drug store and called, very upset. Donna Jean had called even more upset. She had received a call from her neighbor, Old Man Taylor, who was watering his begonia’s, when he heard a pop, and the unmistakable sound of water. A pipe, in the wall of her house had cracked open and a river of water flowed inside her living room and soon cascaded under her front door, across her yard, and into the street. Six inches of water flooded the street. Her newly purchased Italian couches were soaked and ruined along with the exotic rugs they sat upon. Old Man Taylor relayed this to her and was cut off before he told her he had called the city to shut off the water and they were enroute. Her first thought was how she had neglected to call her insurance agent to report the new items getting ruined. Donna had the Teeterman’s home phone disconnected and then called Edith to inform her the lawsuit was on. Before Edith could find the number where Butch was meeting his lover, Mrs. Teeterman called from the drugstore’s pay phone to complain of her lack of service. As Donna Jean Ramsey was burning rubber out of the phone company’s lot, Butch was listening to how many problems he had at the moment. Curses rained down from the woman in the bed as Edith told him to hurry over the Ramsey home.

Butch wore only pants as he ran out of the Holiday Inn barefoot. All the frustration of his life bubbled inside him as he started up the Ford work truck. Donna Jean was doing eighty miles per hour ten minutes later when they met downtown by the Barber Shop. They crashed into each other in a mess of metal and glass,the kind most horrified onlookers had never witnessed, including Uncle Jimmy.

Later on, well into adulthood, Virgil Cherry pondered what could be learned from Butch and Donna?