Poetry: Eight is Number One

October is my favorite month
after September, until
it is November, which then
becomes my favorite month
before December. Then,
January changes everything and
I begin to dread July—

Which is when I start to yearn
for October again and
I look at the calendar and
I’m fixin’ to bitch about
the miserable Texas heat,

When my wife asks me where
I would like to go and
I answer, anywhere with
air conditioning, or where
it is October and she says,
it’s October now and
91 degrees outside.

I decide to go look
at the thermostat and to
think about Thanksgiving,
a good economy, and global
warming. She refuses to
live where it is cold.

Look both ways, but time is unidirectional
and never stops, until it does.
Gaps in time are cosmic to the mind.

Poetry: Cut Throat

After being an Air Force officer for several years,
after being an enlisted dude for four years, and after
the oddly trainee controlled officer
training school, then flight training,
survival training, combat crew training
and many other experiences
that I have long since forgotten,

I was assigned to the Training Command
as a flight training instructor and commander.

An old instructor of mine was still there,
but he had been away to USC
to get his PhD.

He described command
flight training as a thousand officers
standing knee-deep in chicken shit,
stabbing each other in the back.

I found that description to be
remarkably accurate.

Look both ways in competitive careers.
Mind the gaps and where you step – and check six!
(motherfucker)

Sammi’s Weekend Prompt #127 (3 Poems and a joke)

Click to link to Sammi’s site.

I prefer to write Sammi’s weekend prompt on Sunday. When I looked at it on Friday, I wrote a poem. It just happened: oops, a poem. I decided this weekend’s prompt could be for each day of the weekend, including Friday. My three on replace:

Going Home Again (Friday)

I’ve tried to go back home,
to the place where
I was born.

It was the right place,
but I was not the him who
I was when I left.

I was unable to replace me,
and you weren’t who
you once were.

No longer was I one of you,
not of the same tribe,
only a memory.

Once you leave, it’s done.
You can never go home again,
we can’t go back in time.

What was is finished,
only the whisper of memory
holds us in the past.

***

Irreplaceable Love (Saturday)

If you lose someone you love
you can’t replace them
nor the love you felt.

Each love is unique. It may
change or flat-out die,
but most love remains in us.

We can’t feel so much love
that we wear it out,
like an old pair of shoes.

The love we feel is at least
for as long as one shall live,
I hope all my love lasts forever.

Be it a pet or a person, family
or friend, music or memory,
no love can replace a true love.

***

Relief Strategy (Sunday)

Planning battles, reserves
are replacements,
part of the relief strategy for
casualties and the weary.

In basketball they are the bench,
In football, second string,
baseball has relief pitchers from
the bull pen that replace starters.

My Dad referred to men
as being on relief. Years later,
I learned he meant welfare,
not to replace.

Then there is that personal relief we crave
during difficult or painful times, like in
the Jerry Clower story about coon huntin’—
I been coon huntin’ and lemme tell ya,
it’s just that funny.

***

Look both ways in them Mississippi swamps.
Mind the gaps for Lynx.

*

Jerry Clower’s most famous story was his coon huntin’ story about the time he and his friends went hunting that evolved into an entanglement… if Jerry don’t make you laugh, you need relief. If you got the time, he’s irreplaceable.

Poetry: Shots and Jabs

I was 18, standing in a line or queue up of young men like me,
Kennedy was dead and LBJ faced off with a cool-named
guy called Barry Goldwater. It was basic military training
in San Antonio, Texas, near where I would later spend
more than 16 years of my life.

Up ahead stood four medical corpsmen with what looked like
space age weapons called jet gun vaccinators, with small
deadly vials on top and compressed air hoses attached.
Later they learned these were spreading diseases
like hep-c, luckily not into me.

When the corpsman’s aim was bad, a sliced bleeding arm
could send a sad lad to fainting, out cold, falling,
rolling down the nearest bloodstained hill.
We got so many shots
we had to keep a little yellow book as a shot record,
that included things like typhoid and yellow fevers.
And other shit I’d never heard of or wanted.

They call it parenteral since you don’t swallow it
(remember polio vaccine on the sugar cubes?)
so the names are always intra-something like
-muscular, -venous, -cardiac, -articular; and get this,
intracavernous is a jab at the base of a man’s penis to
check and treat for erectile dysfunction.

I’ve had so many shots and jabs, most required for my job,
as military we go to places folks have such diseases.
Now, I’m a walking pharma needing boosters for old men.
I took the second of the new shingles jab last week, next month
they will shoot me with the flu (extra strength for old farts),
a disease I may get anyway — like I did last year.

I saw an advertisement for old people to get whooping cough shots
so as not to infect the young ones, who spend a good bit
of their time infecting the older ones. I think my whooping
immunity was the hosting of the disease itself, as it was with
mumps and measles and who knows what all I got into.
The chicken pox never really left, ergo shingles.

Nowadays, I get my shots at the grocery store along with
bread and milk and maybe some wine. No white clad corpsman,
no jet guns or four shots at a time. I decide. Three different
shingles shots and six weeks with a case of that pox-related
nightmare virus, I sure hope my immune system
fends off any of that painful shit, shingles.

 

Look both ways and thank science and immunity for better health
at the cost a poke. Mind the gaps,
a compromised immune system invites trouble.

Poetry: Boys Only

Jimmy and me, and his sister June,
all about the same age
of seven or eight were standing
in the alley behind my house.

On that day I did not know
that in seven or eight more years,
me and June would share the experience
of lost virginity, the one and only day
she did not spurn my teenage romantic advances.

We three friends were all shirtless and discussing
whatever pre-pubescent children talked about
in the 1950s, when the shrill voice of their aunt
Dorothy demanded June not remain shirtless.

June did not get a satisfactory answer to her ‘why?’
(did we ever?), only that girls don’t do topless.

I looked June over, brown hair to barefoot toes
and could see no reason but forced socialization
of such things was commonplace and
in some circles probably still is.

Jimmy and his aunt died years ago. June is
a great-grandmother and we don’t keep in touch.
That’s too bad. I wonder what June remembers.

Look both ways before removing your shirt in the alley behind my house.
Mind the gaps, not the nipples, and aunt Dorothy, too.

Poetry: Dog Poop

From my screened in back porch
I get to see the sun rise,
it’s better in fall and winter.

The neighbor’s yard is being watered
because it’s Tuesday and grass
will die in the heat, or the shade.

And I see people pass on the
sidewalk, across the field which needs
neither water nor mowed,

but it is mowed twice each year
and then persistently grows back
waist high and only
Mexican mowers walk on it.

Dogs walk people so they can
sniff, pee, and shit; and old people
pick up dog poop and tie their shoes

while they’re down there. Few
run or jog and the mockingbirds mock
purposefully and others mock back.

The dogs don’t care and
the cats aren’t there and
the mower would upset them

and the walkers walk, maybe
to stop and talk. It’s somebody’s birthday
before it gets too hot,
it’s a dogless walk day for me.

Eat healthy, exercise, walk the dog, and look both ways.
Mind the sidewalk gaps.

Poetry: August (Augustus)

Gaius Octavius Thurinus—
Augustus Caesar, got the hot one.
What a shitty deal.

I suck in August, I don’t want to face it.
The heat has gotten banal, too much sun,
too damn hot for the effort of having fun.

Into a whiny puss I turn, give me
the wonder of AC. Make three-digit days
go away. The days and nights just wrap

me into a victim swallowed by the fangs
of the most miserable month of the year.
The best thing about August is September
which is the ninth month, but means seventh.
All my favorite months
have wrong unimaginative
Latin number names.

As seasons transition look both ways and love it, if you can.
Mind the gaps. They may be a Roman mistake.