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: Outback Cowboy

Where ignorance is king,
where men wear silly expensive hats
and spurs and can hardly put
a coherent sentence together,
that, what I just said is not true,
these cowboys are on top of
their game.
I am always confused
if you’re wearing spurs,
where’s the fucking horse—
or cow? Always confused.

I want to sit on my back porch
on a rainy Wednesday night
with a cool porter
and listen to Seger
and write a poem
about how I feel. About life
or death. About important shit,
like vanishing telephone poles and
parked cars and garage doors
and the Stepford wives or
Beatles and Stones and old dogs
eatin’ chicken bones.

I’m not a branded Texan,
ah got no gun or rope,
no horse, nor spurs
in my immigrant collection.
Just Bob; this notebook,
a few memories and
confused convoluted feelings
about everything except the rain.

And boring people
who are interesting, and interesting
people who are not and why
none of that matters.
On my back porch,
where ignorance is king
an’ old Bob can still sing.

Look both ways when you wonder about what you think.
Look for gaps in cowboy hats, that’s how the light gets in.

Personal Poetry: Monthly Status Report – March Poems

March is supposed to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb — not this year. It’s reversed. It started pleasant enough, but now I am cold (I think I have one, or allergies due to pollen all over), it is cold and windy outside. When I finish all my reading and writing for today, I think I’ll take a sick day. Do retired folks get those, especially on Sundays? I feel the need to heal.

I posted a few of the poems I wrote during March. In addition to the 31 for each day, I wrote about 10 others simply because one does not refuse when one’s muse presents a poem. I also managed to write a few essays, but this month my poetry muse has been more active.

Poem titles for March included:

    • March (posted)
    • Rock and Roll Will Never Die
    • Now What I Was
    • A Touch of Cold (maybe it was cold in early March)
    • The Fire Down Below (posted)
    • Toys
    • At the Beginning of the Day
    • There Was a Time
    • Why We Can’t Be Friends (I can’t love/like everyone)
    • Late Bloomer (that would be me)
    • I Might Be
    • Me Too
    • Stinks (the smell, not the poem)
    • Hear Ye Me and Thee
    • The Dance (what we all want to do)
    • Bacon (the meat)
    • The Irish in Me (Must have been the 17th)
    • Too Much (of what?)
    • Losing It (crazy)
    • The Priest (a man I knew who died in prison)
    • Tank Hill
    • It’s Just Me
    • Handwriting from the Past
    • Confusing Transitions
    • Stability
    • Starting Short
    • Mari Zone II
    • Men Kill
    • Broken Sadness
    • Rouquin (French word)
    • Self Portrait as Poe

Beginning tomorrow (1 April 2019), I’ll continue to write at least one poem each day, but instead of writing to my muse’s ideas, I will write to whatever the National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) challenge prompts suggest. My source will be that website where each day’s assignments are posted around midnight. I’ll write and post the poem before giving up the day to Mister Sandman.

I expect to travel during the final days of the month, so I will be writing on the road (again—now I have Willie whining in my good ear). The world is rich with characters and topics, so I anticipate no lack of subjects (think small towns in west Texas).

Unlike my others, I feel challenged (obliged) to post these. That’s what NaPo is all about. Don’t say no pressure. Yes there is, and you know it.

As for prose, who knows?

Look both ways for opportunity and danger.
An inspiration need not be the creative juggernaut of the day.
Mind well gaps within the gaps.

Essay: I was thinking (some say I oughtn’t)

This past ten days was essentially a good week, plus three days. I am healed from the previous week when I had to deal with some of Texas’ smaller critters. I’ve written about them before, but I know more now.

Picture an orchestra or big band about to play. The conductor taps a stand a few times to get everyone’s attention and raises her or his arms and the musicians get ready. The audience quiets (or should) and everyone prepares for the first blast of music when virtually every musician simultaneously begins to play. Got it? I love it when they do it like that.

Tap, tap, tap…and

Now picture me stepping into my back yard to move some things out of the way. I knew there was a fire ant den over yonder. So, I didn’t go there. I did this, that, and the other thing. I then walked up the stairs to my porch and over to the door into the house. I did not hear the conductor do the tap, tap, tap with the baton.

When fire ants sting (and they do, like fire, thus the name) they play you like an orchestra. These little beasts run out of the den/nest/hiding place and climb onto your body, shoes, up your legs and arrange themselves just lickety-split. Tap, tap, tap, arms raised, then BLAM! Everyone of those little mother-fuckers stings in unison. That’s how it works. It hurts. I had reminders on my legs and ankles for days. Apparently, they release some sort of hormone, so they all get the ‘ready-aim-fire’ call in unison.

Fire ant stings about same as mine.

Last night I lay in bed thinking. Have you ever been to a place where some ass-hole or group of pains-in-the-ass people annoyed the hell out of you? The theater, a restaurant, some sporting event? There are lots of fire ants. Could we harvest a few hundred and put them in a little squeeze bottle thingy? Then, when we no longer can tolerate those people, spray about 20 of our little pissed-off fire ants into some strategic area of the offender’s person: hair, neck, feet, crotch…ideas? We’d get to play conductor. Stand, tap, tap, tap, raise our arms in the air. Let the music and dancing begin.

We’ve had a lot of rain for weeks in this part of (drought or flood) Texas. But it did not rain Thursday of that week. That was when I decided it was time to get back on the rough trails for my walk. I knew the grass was about knee-high tall everywhere they don’t mow. I did not realize how much grass grows on the trails! Since it has been so wet, fewer people have been walking the grass down and they have not mowed out there. I wore long pants tight at the ankle, socks, and a long sleeved shirt.

Chigger bites. I didn’t have so many.

I showered afterwards, but I woke up Friday morning with a dozen chigger bites. I used to think chiggers burrowed into your skin and stayed there. They bite, move, and bite again. Literally they eat skin (me). But they soften you up for dinner with a chemical that causes irritation and itching and lasts about a week.

I have DEET bug spray, and I know how to keep them off, but I didn’t use it. It was a cold, wet morning. I was fresh raw meat strolling through high grass looking for snakes or whatever critters might be hiding in there (ya can’t see chiggers). The hungry bugs were glad to see me. I transported chiggers on my person to my home on my body. For a week the bites mixed well with the fire ant stings for leg and ankle decorations.

The nest is still there in my yard, even though it was recently treated specifically for fire ants. I’ve ordered another kind of treatment for my clothing (permethrin) to deter the chiggers and other bugs, like ticks. I will treat clothing for trails and will apply DEET to my legs, ankles, and exposed skin. Oh, they found a mosquito with West Nile Virus on the south side. I live on the northside, but this should help with that.

I still like the idea of spraying fire ants on annoying people. Just don’t get caught.

Look both ways. Watch out for snakes, scorpions, and tarantulas.
Mind the gaps where hide the chiggers and fire ants.

Poetry: Everybody Has a Mother

52 years ago.

Everybody Has a Mother

I had a mom. And I loved her too.
Then she died, as all mothers do.

Now I have this woman here,
Texas gal and hell-of-a-dear.
Not my mother, no siree,
Nor sister or brother, but oh is she
Mother to the progeny,
who are something
that’s part of me.

She is my lady,
you can see,
love ‘er to bits like a
long-time lover
should.
She’s their mother.
They all love ‘er –
she loves ’em too,
as mothers do.

I love her so,
And likewise them.

Mom o’ my children,
all Texas born.
Now all growed-up
with kin a their own
Tex-bred kids
of one kind or other.

We love ‘em all,
short, fat, skinny and tall.

We love ’em up,
but she Loves them
more than I,
‘cuz that’s what Moms
can do. Love them all
a lot, you see,
more than you and more ‘n me.

Daughter, sis, and cuzin to some,
Wife to me, a very special one
Good sport of a kind and sort,
Mom to three,
Oma to more.

Yolonda,
this poem, my dear lady,
is just for you.

(Bill Reynolds © 12 May 2018)

Y’all be lookin’ both ways cuz Momma be comin’ with a spoon.
Mind the gaps.

Poetry (sort of, again) — NaPoWriMo: Fix’n ta Pit Stop

The 28th day of NaPoWriMo prompted me to draft a prose poem in the form/style of a postcard. Ain’t it funny, how time drifts away? I got local with vernacular and dialog and supported it with a short video clip.

 

Fix’n ta Pit Stop

Ah war-out ‘tween Austin an Waco, west-a the shinry an’ east a’the hill country. Mah butt was plum give-out. Feelin’ a smidgen puny, ah dismounted. Lucky as all-git-out, seen a big’o swait-tay saloon o’er yonder. It’ud be jist the thang, cuz ah was fixin’ to be flat as a cow-patty, ‘n dry as Odessa. Ah jerked up mah britches, an moseyed o’r to Harly’s Truck Stop. Dark as a big thicket, them ‘boys gimme a look’n over. Ah tipped mah sombrero, “Howdy. How y’all doin’?” “Ah’ite, ah’rite,” and “better’n all git out,” an one oh’boy yelled, “How ‘bout them ka‘boys?” Barkeep smiled, “Wha’cha drinkin’?” “I’ll have Shirly Temple.” Bar goes silent. Bar back says, “She jist left.” Ah near got-down with all the hootin’ and a-hall-erin’. “Well then, how ‘bout cold Lone Star? An gimme some’a-dem chips ‘n sausa.” Ah drank-up ‘n warshed-up, “Been good. Nite-cha-all,” and ah headed out fer Willie’s Place up ‘a road prit’-near Carl’s Corner.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/28/2018)

This is where I live folks. Lest you think I make this shit up:

Ride sober, look both ways, take breaks,
drink un-swait-tay, mind the gaps,
and love Willie.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

Poem – NaPoWriMo: Welcome Home…sort of

The day 12 poem prompt of the 2018 National Poetry Writing Month prompt challenges me to write a haibun, which is a prose/poem form that takes in the natural landscape. This one is supposed to be about the place where I live, to bring this area to life through a charming mix-and-match methodology of haibun. Read about haibun here if you care to.

I am not sure about the charming part. Haibun, and the included haiku or tanka are Japanese poetic forms hundreds of years old. I’m not that old, nor am I Japanese. But, I am an old American boomer-poet, and child of the sixties. It’s poetry. I write ditties. Ditties don’t have rules. What follows is my twist on haibun. (No disrespect to any oriental art from intended.)

Welcome Home…sort of

The rocky trail invites my curiosity as it gives me perspective into the central Texas biota detected by my five senses and absorbed into the lungs of my mind. Stubborn life forms which I admire more for hardiness and attitude than for beauty or comeliness. Bright green immature ears grow from dark-gray, near-dead, needle-covered cactus. Big old oaks mix with scrawny mesquite and scrubs-n-shrubs to shade the rough pathway.

Rain strips pollen
from the air
a deer looks at me

So much nature
look, dunna touch
hearing of voices

Life thrives in this arid environ that permits me, a feral foreign pest, to have a limited experience. Flora here is so much like the native human species; tough, resilient, rebellious. Then there are the wildflowers: the bluebonnets, the Indian paintbrush and blankets. Beautiful. For now.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/12/2018)

Look both ways to see it all. Enjoy the scene but mind the gaps.

Texas longhorn in a field of bluebonnets
Click link to National Poetry Writing Month