1970s Poetry


Crow’s Old Man

Crow’s old man likes clocks.

Clocks with chiming-miming
Punch & Judy dancers &
Cracked brain birds

Clocks in all the rooms:

Timers in the kitchen
Rousers in the bedrooms
Bric-abrack tik-tik in the living room
Cronkite alerters in the den.

All set in non-sync.

A minute’s difference
between minute time zones.



After Words

After John Crow Ransom’s
“Prelude to an Evening”

last night’s
late movie
was a rerun

And the dream
I had of you
I can’t remember

In the early dark
this new morning.

I sniff the scent
you left
on your pillow

as your No. 11
jersey gown
floats deep

and flip-flops
sound in the halls.

All day
that clock
will tick

you will hear
the low wind
the hiss of pines

(the water in blue bowls
is for muscadines).



The Inner Tube

I’m floating,
an inner tube
In ski-waved water.

There is a buoyant blonde
dog paddling me
in circles.

The air in me
is going out
my skin wrinkles,
toes are in mud mire,
dogs are barking
at the ski people,

children are drowning.

I’m floating
she’s floating,

as if water
is air
and the fire flames
on earth are pines,
their roots jutting
out hot from the bank.

I’m floating
drifting from her –
she’s drowning with
the children.



Carnival Reincarnation

The dead were living
he could tell
by sniffing the wind
and holding the hand
of the wigged stripper
whose garters were the same
every night.

Their walk around
the show tent
went slow
but he knew the dead were living

and would all rise to meet them
when the tent was pulled down
and the show moved on.



Old Marbles

Finding the marbles
of childhood:

aggies,  stealies
clearies and cat-eyes
glassies and smokies,

knuckling down and
remembering a circle drawn in the dirt.

there was Mouse Foster
Golightly, Johnny
Bubba and Sting Ray

And Barbara
Tomboy lady wrestler

Roller-derby Queen
Boss-out and Ring Leader

She can still beat shit
out of any of us

and had the only unabridged dictionary
on the block

and from it she taught me
the definition
of everything taboo.

We didn’t need to play
doctor or house

instead we drained fish ponds
and caught pigeons

smoked cigarettes
and played marbles.



The Best, the Brightest

The best
and brightest
the most eager to please

she grew azaleas
in her yard
attended civics, her looks
and books.

She loved many men
and never found one
who needed her
as much as she them

she took up knitting and
drinking and writing poems
to a lover
in her youth.

She watched with shudders
the colorless tv
and in black and white went
to sleep each night.

Occasionally she would wake up
early and fix coffee
for a midnight lover
who had always to leave
before the water boiled

then with curlers only
she’d sleep til noon
when the sun
would remind her another day
was half over.