I’m below the snowline
biodegradable as hell.
– Red Shuttleworth (“Cafe With Slot Machines”)
When the taxman finds us,
there’s always the argument
over appraisal of this and that
accomplishment, certain failures turned
skyward to face floating white cumulus
with hopes of a more productive afterlife.
The news is too much, poor excuse
for children’s stories peddling common sense.
No Aesop, not even the Brothers Grimm
can keep the future in bread crumbs—
no little red hens to do the dirty work,
no hands-on tools for grindstones.
When he comes, we may be out in the barn
with friends, dusty antiques with loose screws
he may overlook if the dogs don’t
give us away, so far from the house,
trying to freeze time by supposing
we might have made a difference.
Red, Congats yourself for wrangling words
to earn another Spur Award. It ain’t baseball,
maybe more American, more human than
writing poetry—your letter à la vernacular
typed on heavy linen, you and Wolfie (R.I.P.)
in a colored square that looks down
like you’re riding that Irish Wolfhound
across the landscape, visiting the world.
Say hello to Prince George for me,
Barry McKinnon. I’d love to hear you
and your daughter read. It will be chilly
this time of year, that barren ground
in the middle of B.C. where words take root
and struggle to mean more in that calloused
open space. It’s a long ways from the Sixties—
so many more wars and political deception.
We need forty days and nights alone
without Facebook or a smart phone
to get our heads straight, make home living
as richly as we can in this poor world.
cc: Red Shuttleworth, Paul Zarzyski
April 12, 2013
A little left where they spent
time in the car in front of the gate
last night, smoked Marlboros,
ate pork rinds, drank half-dozen
Budweisers out of town,
away from home, when
she leaned against the fence
to look up at the stars, padding
the sand in and the dust up
with bare, little feet – talking
as he dropped empty sunflower
seeds between his own.
They made love, I’d guess,
in the matted grass –
the coyotes howled for free.
for Red Shuttleworth