Poetic Abilene, Texas

Abilene, Texas is a city of over 120,000 residents. It has a plethora of churches, several religious-based universities, is quite conservative, and a buckle of the southern USA bible belt. It also features a dry, hot, and in my opinion, an extremely unpleasant climate. It’s also the subject of The Abilene Paradox.

This poem expresses my feelings about the area. I’m not sure how many friends I have around Abilene, but after this I’ll assume fewer.



See the circling vultures waiting,
To claim their carrion, ready for plating.

Watch heat rise from the desert collage,
Shimmering around some distant mirage.

Feel the sun’s brutal and forceful heat,
Touch melting road tar beneath burnt feet.

A Pumpjack

Smell the black gold under rock and stone,
Hear pumpjacks mock with their painful groan.

Satan’s throne room would surely be here,
‘cept for the churches, so many so dear.

God’s centers of learning are in control,
No secular center may present you a scroll.

Shudder against winter’s north winds, so cold,
Survival’s unlikely for the sick and the old.

Tumble brush and briar, lowly mesquite trees,
Prickly pear cactus among the parched weeds.

Too hot or too cold, too dry and too bold,
On Abilene, Texas, I could never be sold.

~ by Bill Reynolds

Look both ways and mind the gaps.
Also, mind the heat, the cold, the snakes, the scorpions, the fire ants, the prickly cactus,
the sticky briars, and the annoying thumpers.


Tuesday’s A-to-Z Update

I have not posted in over a week, since my A-Z Reveal. I want to post a brief update because my reveal plan is morphing, if only slightly. Things are not going as planned.

I hoped to include words provided by others in the poems. In writing my first few little ditties, I now realize that writing any poem is a sufficient challenge, especially for a rookie. Adding complex, unfamiliar words to a poem may detract from any bits of quality in the piece. However, I have discovered a different approach.

My son, Steven, suggested onomatopoeia. It is an interesting, six-syllable word that means the name of a thing or action from a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it, such as buzz or hiss. Onomatopoeia in poetry refers to a word that phonetically mimics or resembles the sound of the thing it describes. Shell Silverstein’s work provides excellent examples. Like this one.

Joey Joey took a stone
And knocked
And Whoosh! It swizzled
Down so hard.
And bloomp! It bounced
In his backyard.
And glunk! It landed
On his toe!
And the world was dark,
And the corn wouldn’t grow!
And the wind wouldn’t blow!
And the *bleep* wouldn’t crow!
And it always was Night,

All because
Of a stone
And Joe. ~ Shel Silverstein

I decided that I would use poetic forms, or literary devices, or types of poems, or methods of writing as the subjects. In other cases, it may be the title or the topic of the poem.

Where I can, I’ll still make use of the words for the letter of the day within the poem or poems. But if it wonks up the piece, the word goes the way of defenestration (yes, that’s one).

My first poem, Abilene, will publish in my blog on Saturday, April 1st (no fooling). Saturday also marks my completion of two years in (laughable) retirement. I have learned that being retired truly means that I am no long paid for my work – not less work It does not mean idleness, luxury, or boredom. However, I do get to call my own shots, pretty much (wife, children, grand kids, friends, and many others get their share).

Look both ways and mind those damn gaps.