Poetry: Makin’ My Bed

Retired me. Who cares?
Nothing left to lose.
But I make my bed
almost every day, if I so choose.
That means something,
but I have no idea what or why.

On most days, that’s a lie cuz,
for five decades,
Yolonda did
but when she don’t,
I do
if I can get there
first and I wonder why.

I look at the sheets, covers, and depending
on the time of year, the top bed spread
searching for signs of how I slept that night.
I mean. Who cares? Right?

The pillow goes to the floor, I press a button
to flatten the mat before the sheet is pulled
to the tight top where
it is — only when made.
Like a surgeon
I begin the art
of vanishing lumps and wrinkles.

The Air Force gave me Army lessons
on how to make my bed,
more like a bunk or cot.

Rudely rousted at reveille with
bright lights and loud
everything to fall out into
the dark of early morning
in a few minutes for roll call.

At 18, mom’s boy had to be
all bright and spiffy,
a sharp troop at Dress right,
DRESS, attentive eyes FRONT.
A bed made so tight
two-bits bounced a foot
or gigged in for the weekend,
shining brogans, boots, buttons, and brass.
Our racks trashed.

Who cares? Right? I did then.
I look at my bed now,
no olive drab green wool blanket,
tightly tucked with
no fake pillow
too small for a human head,
no quarter to bounce.

Retired but bed made.
No gigs. Weekends free, still. A made
bed is work of art, a memory,
and if nothing else,
it’s ready for me at the end of this day.

Play Retreat first, then Taps, sleep well,
final Reveille sounds early.

***

Both ways begin with dreams at night,
in the morning it’s high and tight.
Look both ways.
Mind the gaps and the gigs. FALL OUT!


Gig is military slang for demerit. Gigged in means restricted to barracks due to excessive demerits. “Gig ‘em, Aggies!” is not the same gig.

Poetry Report: November Poems + Ann’s

I’ve written that the best thing about August is September. Not this year. September brought several personally stressful events into my normally complacent private world. October was a month for healing and action. Gradually, recovery unfolded as those things apparently changed to my favor thanks to the efforts of a few loving people.

I did not win the lottery, but I began to relax. November was the best of the three months—not exactly perfect, but the worries from two months earlier seemed controlled. I’ll take it.

Thanksgiving Day is the traditional time our immediate family gathers. It is our time. Indeed, we had a house full, but I put in my notice for next year. We’re too old for that shit. It was fun and we are all grateful for how things have turned out so far. But there are people out there trying to make a living fixin’ turkey, giblet gravy, cranberry whatever, and all that stuff. I should help.

This poem was written about me writing a poem each day by a friend from my writers’ group. After Ann, who I like to call Barbara Ann (not her real name – long story: Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann and the Beach Boys), read it during one of our poetry sessions. I requested, and she gave me, permission to post it here.

One Poem A Day?
By Ann Bordelon

“A poem a day?” That’s quite a task!
I say that’s wa-a-a-a-ay too much to ask.
One a week might be realistic,
But one a day is too optimistic.
They don’t have to rhyme, you say,
But still, one every single day?
There aren’t that many words in my brain,
I’ll run out in a month, what a strain.
Please tell me that this is a sort of a joke
And the reality is that you misspoke.
Instead of “one poem a day” you meant,
“One poem a week is what we should invent.”

Thanks, Ann. Wonderful poem. I’m honored.

I don’t know if I could cut back to less than one poem a day, much less to one a week. On this coming New Year’s Eve, I will complete my mission of composing at least one poem each day during 2019. After that, who knows?

The titles/topics of the daily poems I wrote during November were:

  1. Dying Dignity
  2. Ineffable
  3. First Reading
  4. Finding Treasure
  5. Poets are Dying
  6. Editing
  7. Don’t Bite Me
  8. Natural Brutality
  9. Liminal
  10. Some Cussing Required
  11. Precious and Rare Days
  12. To PC or not to PC, a Question
  13. Thoughts
  14. Imagined Solutions
  15. Muse Berries
  16. Draconian
  17. Up Your Rolex
  18. My Colorado Morning
  19. Extraordinary Knowing
  20. Lie to Me
  21. Dear Deer
  22. The Gap is Gray
  23. I Hear You Died
  24. The Final Week
  25. My Twilight Swim
  26. Ignorance is not Bliss
  27. Expectations
  28. Cowboys 2.0
  29. Body Gremlins
  30. Morphology

As we enter the last month of the year, I look both ways—to future months
as I wonder what’s next with a curious fantasy about the advent
of a new time and age. I think about past months
with more satisfaction than I’m entitled.
I shall mind the gaps in my life, one day at a time.

Poetry: Fortuna Redux (road trip home)

I woke about eight to hit the road early.
First morning routines of granola and coffee,
then chores of pack and load, load some more.
We drove to the gate, I opened and closed,
to keep the horses corralled inside fences.
Drove to the interstate, soon in traffic—
Sweetwater bound.

Missed the turn at Sweetwater, drove on to
Abilene for brunch and a pit stop, then headed for
secondary roads through towns with cool names
like Rising Star (3 miles north of Falling Star Ranch),
somebody loves irony as much as me,
there’s Cross Plains, a Nix, Comanche
(like the Indian tribe), Bangs, and Indian Creek,
many gaps; Buffalo Gap, Indian Gap, Salt Gap,
and Mercer’s Gap plus more; also a Cross Cut and
a town named Cut and Shoot is out there somewhere,
and a Burnet not like the Carol, but cuz it’s Texas
pronounced Burn-it, as they say ‘learn it, dern it’.

We drove through Zepher, a nice town name, too small for me,
and Lampasas; saw signs for Stink Creek and Noodle Mound Road.
I was headed for Round Rock, named for a round rock
in Bushy Creek, there’s a Woman Hollering
Creek somewhere near San Antonio.

We saw ranches and cows, pump jacks and
by the hundreds those big white wind generators
for electricity. We saw goats and their
donkey protectors. Why do small towns
or family-named cemeteries have directional
signs along the road? Don’t the people know
where to go? For genealogists I supposed.

The drive was uneventful except for the on and off,
never the same, gentle rain which kept me changing the
intermittent windshield wiper setting.

Yolonda was chief music DJ.
She did some gettin’ down with BTO,
and even played Abba a while. All in all,
it was a good trip.

It’s nice to be home.
Fortuna Redux one more time.

Look both ways, add front back and sideways while driving.
Enjoy the music with the beat of wipers, but mind the gaps,
Buffalo, Indian, or Salt.

**Other Texas towns with interesting names are Loco, Bug Tussle, Nimrod, Uncertain, North Zulch, Ding Dong, and Nameless. There are also an Old Dime Box and a New Dime Box, and while PA has Intercourse, Texas has a Climax. Click here for more Texasisms.

Poetry: Sammi’s Weekender, ‘longevity’


I Hear You Died

Letting go of one you know,
or knew, reminders of a finite
life, is not easy as we
reminisce of times when
longevity was forever.

Another man down, life
brought to end before ending,
not here to listen to, no one
hears me talk about you.

When I heard you had died
My mind began to trip and bounce
over thoughts and memories
of our times past,
when we both were alive.

You taught me well.


When faced with loss, look both ways,
your past with them, your future alone.
Mind the gaps for hints of eternity.

Poetry: Figured It Out

He poured the sugared and evaporated
milk-creamed coffee over the side
of his cup into the saucer below,
where it cooled. His eyes rolled back
as he took a long, slow, hot drag
from the short, burning white cigarette,
I could see the pleasure on his face
as he derived joy from the smoke.
Then he picked up the saucer and slurped,
like the king of his court. This was the norm.

I was too young to know how we,
as a family, were so totally dependent
upon that old man, that coalminer with a bad
back and a temper to match. I figured
it out. He did too. In the end,

it was just the end.

Look both ways but accept reality.
Mind the gaps,
but let not foolish wishfulness lead to wrongful discernment.

Poetry: On Being a Veteran

I chose to go into the Air Force,
twice,
and to stay long enough
to eventually be told,
“your service is no longer required.”
So, with that, I promptly retired.

I joined up. Some call it served.
I’ve never been thanked for joining,
only for service,
a word with twenty meanings
as a noun,
five as a verb, and five more
as an adjective, where I fit in;
but not in the three more legal terms
nor most of the twelve listed
as kids definitions.

My service included my promise
to kill millions of them
should they undertake
to kill millions of us, as we
would both destroy more than
half the planet in the process
of a world-wide Armageddon.

My service was learning
how to do that and fully
intending to do exactly that!

It was my sworn duty to protect
and defend the Constitution, and,
as I understand it, still is because
I have not been released from
that oath, and, technically,
I’m still on the payroll.

I struggle even today with
being anti-war, but if
there is one,
I’d rather not miss it.
If a deed needs to be
done to protect and defend,
and if I’m still able, let me
stand in line to join up again,
with others, willing to kill
and maybe to die for
some vague idea which
so few of us seem
to correctly understand.

Don’t thank me
for my service,
or for your freedom,
or for any sacrifice
by my family or me.

Thank the Constitution
for that. Or, better yet,
if you can do for your
country, which is the idea,
join up in a way
that suits your person
and your conscience.

As I watch the guards, I notice they march both ways.
There are no gaps.

Poetry: In This Pen

***

In this pen are words
which form poems
and prose
which makes me feel good
which coaxes me to
pick up this pen
which connects with
the fingers on my hand,
thence my wrist and arm,
which then winds to my
brain and mind,
which connect deep down
within me, and it knows.

Somehow, something goes
clear to my toes.

I don’t love
(or even like)
everyone or everything
and I never will.

Which reminds me,
I love you.
And this pen, too.

***

Look both ways in the moving alley of creative neurosensory discovery.
Mind the gaps. They’re there for you and for us.