I don’t claim to be no renaissance man
Dancin' through life, doin’ the best that I can.
Jack of some trades, I’m the master of none,
Living my life 'n just having fun.
Sittin’ ‘round thinking ‘bout right ‘n ‘bout wrong,
Making up poems 'n singing my songs.
I like to cook, ‘n I just love to eat!
Play my guitars, Man! This life is a treat!
I like drinkin’ beer I enjoy sippin’ wine
Love bein' with my wife. 'n every day is just fine!
Verses from the Lake
A dove, feathers puffed out like a softball
Against the fog and chill near the shore,
Belies its mythos of 'Peace'
By charging, wings-raised, at a chipmunk
Encroaching on her sacred space
Beneath the bird feeders.
A Pileated woodpecker,
Perching on a tired birch tree,
Drops more suet than she eats
To a waiting scarlet-capped Crossbill
New to the vicinity and obviously
Happy just for scraps.
Harbinger is the ‘word-of-the-day’.
In the foggy Minnesota morning
Just outside the cabin door
A single silent wing flap
Atop an oak tree at the shore.
An eagle rises in the autumn sky
Till the eye can no longer see
The epitome of Majesty
Two eagles arrive just before dusk
As we sit lake-gazing, wine in hand.
They silently appear, wending their way
Into the shoreline trees.
One, a dark-feathered adolescent, lumbers
Onto a decrepit, dying birch
On weakened branches.
Its mentor, with wizened white head and tail,
Perches in majesty in a sturdy oak.
Suddenly, both rise in simultaneous circle
Reassessing the lake-potential for supper.
Upon return, the youth chooses a better limb,
Perhaps seeking some sort of avian approval.
With another silent extra-sensory communication
The two birds soundlessly disappear across the lake.
Beneath the branches
In silent sleight-of-hand,
Myriad tiny occupants of the leaf-strewn carpet,
Chipmunks, squirrels, the variegated family of birds,
Having fearfully disappeared
Reappear as if by magic resuming their forage.
Woodland life returns to peaceful normalcy.
An eagle passes overhead, fully grown, but
Sans the white head and tail of adulthood.
Twitchy, furtive, perhaps adolescently impatient,
Impulsively, the young bird lands, splashing,
Floating for several minutes
In the shallow water by the lakeshore.
It fumbles for a moment.
Wings lifting, it walks on the water,
Rising to the sky, and back into the treetops
Again, watching, waiting,
'Til it disappears disappointed
Back to its nest on the far lakeside.
Bangkok versus Minnesota
Hell hot and steaming
And sweat-soaked silk shirt
Beats stone cold and shivering
‘Til finger-bones hurt.
Down streetdog-filled streets
Beats slipping and sliding
On snow covered feet.
Sweet corn in a dish,
And friends and cold beer
And home-made smoked fish
And lakes, crystal clear…
An expatriate’s wish.
I live a life of languid loneliness
And sail from shore to star-kissed shore.
Oft off’ring thoughts to fools and thieves
‘Midst the nurture of buds and leaves,
And wonder what this all is for
And what means the somber
I bask in love of one so fine and fair
The years can not this truth deny
The pulsing pounding of this stricken heart
That sometime seems prepared to fly apart
At word of love or oft-heard heartfelt sigh of
I ponder weary, worldly chores and curse the
Fool who sails to other arduous shores
Fleeing from the fleeting feeling
That his dazed mind holds, reeling
In sad demure unseeming
‘Til his fruitless life lies
On the Streets of Shanghai
From Istanbul across the border to Thessanoliki
In a battered, yellow Volkswagen Beetle
As the sun begins to set, we drive through fields of fire
Burning the spring wheat to create the firik, a smokey bulgur delicacy.
Just ahead of the advancing flames, storks leap on gangly legs
Snatching insects of all sizes and shapes
And retreating just before the line of fire.
As the sun descends, dragging the dusk into dark,
Silhouettes of avian gourmets prance in the firelight.
Gorging advantageously, perhaps to return to the nest
To regurgitate sustenance to their waiting newborn.
Ominous Portent: 1983
In the back seat of a restored ‘54 Chevrolet taxi
On Istiklal Street in urban Istanbul
A sulphurous yellow fog constricts my lungs.
I gasp for breath and ponder death
In a country I both love and fear.
I am asthmatically immersed
In the miasma of the burning lignite coal
That heats the winter neighborhood.
Later that night
In sleepless bed
I listen to the whistle
Of my respiration and
The drumbeat of my struggling heart
Awakening in panic, I stumble to the kitchen
Opening a tap to fill a glass with water.
In the sink a red-legged centipede
Fully eight inches in length
Stares glaringly at me,
Defying, daring me to intercede.
Grabbing a dirty kitchen knife
I sever the interloper
Into wriggling partitions
And return to my sleepless bed.
The early morning
The muddy ground
From brown to green,
Willfully speckling the yard
With scattered dandelion-yellow.
A change in the light
Awakens this sleepy-eyed city
And sun-warmed buds
Turn coyly into
Blossoms of white.
The wind from the west
Will soon send the pollen in swirls
And maple tree seeds
Will twirl to the earth.
Birds and squirrels will
Nest and procreate while
Spring peepers peep
In the dew of the night
And in the early morning
The Black Bowler Hat
In a roadside café a tired old man
Gazes grimly at his breakfast.
Eggs over easy, hash-browns, kielbasa sausage,
And a mug filled with a tepid hint of coffee
A black bowler hat
Is politely placed on a chair next to him
As his mother had taught him to do
A blast of cold air ruffles his thinning hair
As twin six-year old girls hold open the door.
A pale woman with red, winter cheeks
Pushes a husband-filled wheel-chair
Festooned with oxygen and breathing tubes
And seats him next to her at the table.
When the family’s food finally arrives,
The old man watches as the woman
Holds a coffee cup for her husband to sip
And then lovingly spoons some egg
Into his bird-like mouth
The twins giggle as they fill-in a coloring book with Crayola.
Whipped cream mustaches from their hot chocolate
Leak down upon matching red outfits.
The mother assists one twin with her drawing
Then bends over, gently kissing the other’s curly head
Crudely crafted with crooked corn-rows.
The waitress brings the old man his bill
And as he stands to leave.
The little girls look quizzically at him.
He places the Black Bowler Hat on his head,
Tips the hat as if to say good-bye, and smiles.
In bashful return
The twins shyly flash Chiclet grins.
In a visit surprise, two old buddies stopped by.
50 years back, they were young. (So was I.)
Time disappeared as we talked of the past
And our youth reappeared, recollections amassed.
Glasses were filled and guitars were uncased
And old songs were sung and our cares were erased.
And, the problems of present-day, everyday life
Dissolved in the dust with our troubles and strife.
Yet it seemed, in an instant, the swift moment passed
With promises made. This would not be our last.
But, who knows what happens? Who knows what will?
Who knows what wishes our hopes will fulfill.
Hey, folks! Here's a couple new poems written by my pal, David Ralph Johnson, with some additions and changes contributed by me! The Dave and I like to bounce ideas and suggestions about each others efforts in hopes that our co-mingled parts make a better whole! 8^)*