A poem written on a sunday morning

She called me on the phone to tell me about children’s puzzles.
Connect the dots and word searches till dawn.

I called her back to convey the illustrations necessary for the book she planned to write.
The editor sent back my drawings with red pen marks in the margins.

A usual sight when seated next to me in the car with shaky wheels like my life here on the west coast.
No matter its criticism taken in my usual cool mannered stride.
See it through to next week and no matter with the rest.

She sits back down at the piano and I at the drawing table ours one in the same.
Bring it all right back home
In the pouring rain.

Other days between.

We cooked hotdogs on the coals of the bridge we lit up the night before. I ain’t much for ballpark franks but that was a beautiful morning.
It was my turn to go fetch the water from the river. And I did so with a smile. Laughing about the absurdity of the year.
The sun sat golden in the branches like a glowing vulture feasting on dawn.

I don’t know what else I can tell you about that day. It was good.

Falco peregrinus. (Again probably).

I cracked open a can of cola and laid out the paints I would need. As well as several books opened to pages with peregrines on them. To double check the colors I imagined.
I always start these with some idea but a lot of it I figure out on my way through it. Still learning how to best translate from pencil to paint.
When I got to the wings I looked for blue….I found some in my paint box.
The body through me for a loop, and I sat staring at it for a good bit. In the background I could hear the soundtrack of a movie I was half watching. Somebody was laughing.
A glance to the window and I knew where to go. Like driving in the night and checking the map under a streetlight. (I guess now everybody looks at their phone).
I brought back the smallest brush and approached like it was my micron pen. With the precision of a drunk surgeon with a rusty scalpel.
I like paper maps.
Got it sorted well enough.
No simple highway.

Some folks trust to reason, others trust to might…

Sitting up here in this tree I can see a distance.
From leaving Illinois, to that feeling of being lost and not being looked for.
From stringing her along, to closing the door.
From her lake in northern Michigan, to the western coast I call home.
It seems often that we get lost in the day to day and can forget what moves it all.
I find the easiest way for me to connect to that is to sit on my chair and draw birds.
While I do that I feel I can review my wrongs, and appraise my truths in a manner most fitting for a boy with my middle name.
I'm a big fan of the non-photo blue pencils. I go a bit heavier with them than I need to but I enjoy seeing it through the graphite latter on in the night.

I’m a big fan of the non-photo blue pencils. I go a bit heavier with them than I need to but I enjoy seeing it through the graphite latter on in the night.

And like a desert mirage brought to my bedroom it comes to life before my eyes. and now yours thanks to this series of tubes we call the internet.

And like a desert mirage brought to my bedroom it comes to life before my eyes. And now yours thanks to this series of tubes we call the internet.

So again thank you for taking a look at the world from my tree top.

So again thank you for taking a look at the world from my tree top.

Nothing against coffee drinkers…

I put down my cup of coffee. I was frustrated. I don’t even drink coffee. I suppose though except for that particular day. I like the smell but care not for its taste. A touch too acrid.
It was our conversation rather than the beverage that lead to my displeased state of mind.
Coffee wouldn’t make me frustrated like that, shaky probably, but not frustrated.
We finished our passing back and forth of sentences, and I turned to the door. 
A series of revelations poured over me like a rain of nails and glass.
To say to me what she had said would most certinaly have required;
That she had never read a single poem I wrote, never heard a single note or verse of any song I loved.
She hadn’t looked into any drawing I had rendered.
She hadn’t listened to anything I had said about who I am and what I mean.
It can be painful to learn the assumptions others have made of you.
That’s a realization that’s a lot more frustrating than any cup of anything. Save for a cup of angry fire ants, though that too would be more physical pain than frustration.
What is one to do?
Well I didn’t drink any more coffee, instead I listened to 100 verses of ragtime, and conjured up every imaginable bird under the sky.
Because, all joking aside, I don’t drink coffee, I draw birds.

A poem and a pencil drawing.

That was the summer our kite strings tanged up together.
The one that dragged me through the years and one hundred thistle patches to right here standing on your front porch.
No flowers in hand, just some dried Bull thistle stalk.
Standing before you, I can hear the years start to talk.
I’m lost without you I wish she would say,
truth being I can see without you clear as day.
Nothing echoes for tomorrows sake, no words from either of us.
My mind races towards the first fire escape, looking for a way through the red tape.
I’d rather be anywhere else, maybe in Chicago waiting for a bus, or East St. Louis waiting for a train.
but for this everlasting second staring into her eyes brings an unnerving sort of pain.
I could be in South Dakota, drinking a can of orange soda.
Or maybe a Laundromat in California, counting change, hoping my thoughts could re-arrange.
I look to my feet to curse whichever shoe, for bringing me here to stand before you.
My goodness though, the visions of our shared past.
An idea I knew could never last.
Laid on the desk and ignored until now,
once pausing to wipe the sweat from my brow.
And all the while under the eaves of your front porch.
Where we stood in this unending brief passage of our time together apart.

On a branch in the back of my mind.

I walked to California in concrete shoes,
Midwest boy with the nothing-certain blues.
She walked right past me with a halo made of lead,
I turned to look when I should have tied my shoes and fled,
She looked like spring and I looked like a thousand winters.
whenever I got near her my thoughts turned to splinters.
I’m not often sure who “she” is, but that’s an owl, I can tell you that much for certain.  

It was her again, but it was all right.

She promised me poetry on my grave.
Or at the very least, to try and behave.
And as she stood there in the rain she made good.
I write my own poetry on a piece of wood.
Time yet not for a bed of dirt.
her words only echo they do not hurt.
Sifting through these ashes I found the words,
Bringing to page the largest of birds.
In my noblest of efforts to think ahead of my pen.
My thoughts drift back to her again.

Holding still.

That one summer I made all those hawk drawings.
Hiding from the drought with a glass of wine and a veil of feathers over her head.
She had a halo like a red-tailed hawk.
It could make me stop in midsentence.
Pulling the car to the curb 236 miles from Los Angeles.