The Old Ram Rod

I am told,

As I push 70,

That I should show some subtlety,

Some finesse,

Be less obvious,

That it is somehow wrong,

Even unbecoming,

At my age, or any other,

To write of sweet curves

Welcoming thighs,

Glistening lips…

To write of the misdeeds

Of that old, bald-headed rogue,

Who always grins his

You can’t fuck flowers motif.


While that billy still butts,

I’ll give the birds,

And the bees,

And the cigarette trees,

Lovely blossoms waving in the breeze,

And tired old Decency, itself

A bye.



Starting the Blues

This morning I walked, reformatted a digital camera,

Drank coffee, read a book, tried writing, and

Went to Long & McQuade to buy a book on blues,

And booked a lesson

With someone who was probably yet to be born

When I first heard the delta blues,

And hated it.  Ah. In my decreptitude,

Though not, I think, because of it,

I find I must play the blues, as I listen

With worn ears to Reverend Gary DAvis,

And Lightnin’ Hopkins,

And Robert Johnson and Blind Blake,

To John Fahey who unearthed Bukka White,

To Big Bill Broonzy,

Who played the Spirituals to Jazz Concerts,

Filling in for Robert Johnson, dead of strychnine

(Assisted by pneumonia)

Administered by a jealous husband.

I couldn’t write this morning

With Death Don’t Have No Mercy

And Key to the Highway

Making me bitter at my long, easy life.

But, then I remember Mendelssohn

And know that art does not only grow from pain.

So I’ll play guitar in my room,

Not the graveyard, but still I

Hope for a meeting at the Crossroads,

Where I’ll barter what’s left of my soul

For One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,

And one line that everyone knows

Without knowing who played it first.

Deaths in the Family

Laughing is one way of approaching sorrow.  I confess I felt no sorrow at my parents’ deaths.  In each case, it came in its own time, not theirs.  And “about time” was my reaction.  My emotional relationship with my parents was always problematic.  Anyway.  Sitting on the can at Starbucks, I was reminded of my father’s death, and my mother’s, and how each was attended by a kind of grotesqueness.

My father died in the bathroom,

Not, unfortunately,

Sitting on the can,

His soul taking leave,

During a last squat.

No, no, not that, although

It would have made

A great story

To be passed on

During some conversational lull.

He sat on a stool


Death took its time.

As my mother came in,

Wondering why he had not emerged,

He floated to the floor,

Without so much as a goodbye.

Just like him.


The last time I saw my mother,

I had come to pick up her things,

Bric-brac, pictures of family

She had long ago failed to recognize,

Gadgets, books, a crucifix, so,

Imagine my surprise!

She was in rigor mortis, right there

In her bed, lying as if in state,

At the Sidney Care Home,

Her eyes wide open,

Her mouth gaping wide,

As if in astonishment,

As if about to say,

As she never would have in life,

“Holy fuck!

I never expected this!”

talking about my generation

So, there I was, sitting for a quiet coffee at Hillside Mall, and these codgers happed on the scene.  For some reason, I became peevish and ranted this.Talking About My Generation

Published in: on May 25, 2012 at 6:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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