The Ballad

September 18, 2009 § 2 Comments

The Ballad is a poem that is generally written with four lines in a stanza, and its rhyme scheme tends to be abab or abcb. The subject matter is often about love lost, things ghostly or events or social commentary. You don’t see the ballad in poems much these days but you can still find it in song, think of “Every Rose Has its Thorn”-Ballad just like something you’d hear around the table in 17th century England. Anyway…
I’ve made an attempt at writing a couple of ballads trying to keep with the themes and the rhyme, as far as meter; I’m terrible at it, but sometimes accidents can happen.

When at the Cafe Don’t Look at Him

No one talks to him
he is a lonely man
sitting in the coffee shop
a coffee in his hand

Poised for conversation
He stares with eager eyes
hoping to make contact
with any passer by

He really has a lot to say
the words rest on his lips
if only one would chat to him
he lifts his cup to sip

When he walks he tippy toes
his sharp nose pointing out
his bones are bent and crooked
but his heart is full and round

He comes here every morning
to sit among the crowed
His longing it is palpable
uncomfortably shifting down

The problem: he’s not normal
not quite right in the head
you can tell by glancing at him
but careful, remember look straight ahead

No one has ever loved him
he’s never been adored
people treat him like he’s dead
Invisible and ignored

He doesn’t grasp these feelings
neglect already ate his brain
He was laughed and left by children
As adults it is the same

His head is knotted and scoured
like custard scraped from a cup
if you did get caught in conversation
he’d forget you as you got up

In a way he is lucky
sitting here alone
like a bird perched on a chip
an old king upon his throne

It is us who feel his sadness
to his loneliness we are prone
it hurts our heart to view him
A projection all our own.

Many of the old ballads were about women loosing their loves or sons at sea, some great loss where they wish to toss their bodies to the vast oceans and join their love or they call to the world to help them mourn. Following that tradition I wrote this one like a love calling to another that is long away never to return.

When Love No Longer Visits

This time it is truly over
This time it is the end
There will be no beginning
no more letters will I send

The heart’s been broke completely
There are no pieces left to toss
There will never be walks in parks
All love of future lost



September 16, 2009 § 2 Comments

It was more than a past time…
She took pleasure in it
a cleansing-

“I’m clean”:

She cut into the flesh
like an apple
her arm a grid
red streets sectioned
swollen neighborhoods
and at the
hidden (the sweetest spot to kiss)
a slice like opening the universe
bleeding as she slept.

The scars will last a lifetime.

Just the thought brings a sigh of

Any Heart can Break

September 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

She speaks to me
with her hands.
Lean soft fingers
curling into letters.
Such an effort
to make
A hearing person understand.

Her voice ( which is rarely used),
strains to vocalize-
Rapidly her fingers spell
She touches her eyelids, mouth, chin.
Her sounds
lifting uncontrolled,
Words peal like wails
And I hurt for her.

She folds her lips, and tounge
Over the vibrations,
Each vowel a tear,
Each sentence a raging river.
Without syllables her story
like the broom of god
Over an ocean,

And I weep
Because I am the hearing one.

Some Fairy Tales

September 11, 2009 § Leave a comment

A Tiny Pea

A princess complained:

Please move me. I can’t sleep the pain is far too intense.
I can aspire to be so,
so small.
I can hide in a crack
In the corner
of a tea cup (in the farthest
circular edge). I could
lie between the mattress,
40 mattresses deep
and wait-
and wait –
Please move me. I can’t sleep.
The pain is far too intense.

A princess complained:



Crow is eating cheese.

Cunning Fox,
Red with snow white tipped tail—

“I sit below your branch
Mouth open,
Wide toothy grin,
And wait, and wait
Would I—”

“Fly to my branch?
Or bring me to your level?”


Kid Wish

I want
to hold
a butterfly
in my hand
and borrow the powdered
as shadow for my eyes.

Just One Freckle

September 8, 2009 § 2 Comments

I wish I could carry you
something small,
something you could live without,
something you would not

Like a freckle, the one by your lip,
I could keep it
in my front pocket
carry it around
everywhere I went
patting my breast
just to feel you there.

We could go to dinner,
for walks
at night, out in the warm air.
When brushing my teeth
I could place you in a small cup
on the edge of the sink,
and smile just knowing you were there.
At night when I’d sleep
I’d put you beneath my pillow
and sleep together
keeping safe.

If I could just have one
small part of you
just a tiny bit for myself
a bit of you
I’d hold you tight
pressed like a flower
close to my heart.

Back from tour

September 8, 2009 § Leave a comment

It’s been quiet for awhile but I’m finally back from the fringe tour, not fully settled but on the way. Here is a new poem:


The summer sun curled the bark of the Manzanita
exposing the soft pulp.
I’d run my fat palms over the smooth flesh
and tear dried bits of bark that crunched
like crisp potato chips
I was pulling back bits of skin,
after sunburns, from playing too long at the public pool house.

With our feet in the cold Feather River we’d
to be Concow women washing our clothes by the bank
and grinding fresh corn into flat cakes
with stones against the rocks.
We cut our fingers
with a stolen jack knife
(the one you snagged from your mother’s boyfriend).
The exposed crevasse of sliced skin boiling,
running down our fingers like red tributaries
kissing and mating
into an estuary between the first finger and the thumb.
We spit
pressed our fingers together
and prayed
now we could never be separated.

I had watched the bubble of our saliva slide over my knuckle,
like a swollen rain drop
it plummeted to the earth
swallowed by the muck that oozed between our sweet toes.

Where Am I?

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