poems

 

TAVERN HOURS

Christmas retreats through January slush –

the tale got told, its body departed,

the season’s melt commenced again

its downhill journey to where it will.

Here in the aftermath I slip into the pub:

 

late-night piano, noble snare, upright bass,

drink orders launched from every corner.

Under soft filaments we keep a sidelong alertness

to what we heard last month, something about something

skyward moving everyone’s way, deny it all you want.

 

Yes tonight feels lighter, the light lengthening.

Despite solstice fatigue, a fondness wells up,

an urge to linger, hard to shake, in December’s wake,

deny it all you want. “A round for everyone!”

I always wanted to shout, and this time I do.

© copyright 2023 Ray Waddle

 

SLAM THE BRAKES

Already in mid-October the couple across the street

are setting up the front yard – the latest spinning Santa,

dog elves pulling holy family on team USA sleigh,

gortex snowman bewildered on the evergreen grass.

Gently they get it all propped up and plugged in,

 

so the holiday can blanket us with its calming courtesy,

the kind it takes to go to this outdoor trouble.

What still circles the earth from long ago always lands

in velvet reds come winter, this curbside misrule

hauled out of stone nativity deeps once more.

 

Now it’s midsummer and the yard scene’s still in place,

blistered in July heat, sagging to one side, and anyone

driving by has good reason to slam the brakes and

take issue with this heedless theological disarray.

Nobody’s going to do that.

© copyright 2023 Ray Waddle

 

A MIND OF ITS OWN

I’m sitting watching morning sun

throwing its light down in one wide bolt

warming the waking greens and blues

this my mighty attempt first time ever

to land nowhere but right here

and own up to my space

in the spillage and spread

the sputter and fail of oxygen levels

my every excuse and delay

a contrail of sulfur and debris

 

There are people to serve assist invite 

and the fury of the news is mounting

if I turn even an inch

but the winter air the known universe

the unknown too with a mind of its own

these are mounting also

their gaze abiding my neglect

taking note of the ruin I contribute

and they are awaiting presently

everybody’s next move and decision

mine too for or against

© copyright 2023 Ray Waddle