Autumn Painting


On days when the sky is that color blue and the trees, faded and turning color, I remember that picture  on the wall in Mr. Rockene’s room.

The sky a pale, autumn blue.  A young man, black hair in braids, crouches behind some bushes, toward the front of the picture. He watches a flock of big fan tailed turkeys.  He holds a bow and arrow. I imagine falling into the painting.

March Snow – an exercise from 1998

The week ran vivid, surreal, inevitable.

The woman lives alone. One Saturday morning she got dressed and put a knife in her purse.  So many years had passed since they met.  The leaves were just coming out of the buds.  A large rift opened in the ground, leaving jagged sidewalks, mud and moist, shrouded apologies rendered useless.

The man lived alone in the old church.  The church was in the West End, over grown now.  A shaggy pine stood hiding her.  She was a young, no more than sixteen and very pretty.  He whistled an old Praise Song. “My Mama used to sing this song, but I cannot remember the name.”  He beamed as the face of his guest registered surprise.  “I just bet.” She turned and walked away.

He listened to the throaty grumbles from the tugs as they struggled upstream.  The low hills were covered with green pines and a 700 year old cannon.

The gate stood open, it’s rusting frame caught in the mud of the path.  The woman walked in.  “I don’t think you’ve spoken to me twice.” she said, watching the roof sparkle in the sunshine.  She scrapped the mud from her shoe.

Sieges are history but the canons remain.

Two brothers in a shack. One builds a fire in the stove.  The air was filled with smoke. A pile of magazines sat on the floor.  Should he subscribe? What purpose would it serve? Better to create one of his own.  They belonged to his brother who sat drinking in the corner. “Is there any of that chili left?” he said rummaging through the icebox. Clouds slid away and sunlight poured through the window, through the frozen silence in the room.  he wished he could trade those words for others.  Create a different day.  He waited, drawing into himself.  The blood roaring in his ears.

A dog, one light eye, began to plow. outside snow falls.  A dog, one light eye, starts to plow through.  Geese fly south. registered surprise.  “Please don’t hurt me,” he started.  Sieges are history but the cannons remain.

The air was filled with smoke. Outside wind and snow blow, roar over the dog, his one light eye gleams, his strength gone, he can see. The geese fly south.

The Witness

claimed he couldn’t


a party, eating

fried chicken, watching

Booty Call.


couldn’t remember feeling

suicidal. a

Smith and Wesson 38

shells in

the chamber traded for



couldn’t remember

a black t-shirt stuffed

inside a disgarded Christmas

tree. a gun

shot wound to the

head. His daughter’s



I wrote this poem using words/phrases from a news article in the Baldwin Star on March 1, 1998.