Uncle Bob's Words

Words, poetry, stuff like that

Dancing Around

I’m dancing around in my mind like this

Because it’s what magicians call misdirection.

I’m pretending to see the blur of my feet

Not the fear in my heart.

I’m grinning and joking around like this

Because it’s what comedians call comedy.

It’s the silly, clownish face, radiating.

Not the sad one beneath.

I’m moving slower and slower like this

Because it’s what mages call meditation.

I see my fear that shivers, hidden away

And move to embrace it.

The Choice

Ever since my Muse, that louche bastard,

Hared off to who knows where

And never returned, I feel I’ve lost a hand.

But I was never all that good at art, anyway.

In my early 20s, I had to choose:

Pictures or words.

I chose art.

Fall back.  Regroup.

Moving on.

It Takes Ten

Put a tenner in that body’s mouth!

Pennies no longer suffice to charm Charon-on-the-Styx.

You know that he’s been the ferryman for souls

At a penny a pop, non-stop, since Day One?

That’s a lot of pennies.  Charon’s loaded.

He vacations in Death Valley, palling around with Scotty,

Hood thrown back, drying out in the desert air,

Before he returns to the soggy bottom land

To receive the gifts of the endless psychopomps.

So, make it a Hamilton, make sure the way to Hades

Is as well unencumbered

As you might expect from

This guaranteed ultimate trip to Hell.

Doggerland

My ancestors lived in Doggerland, Doggerland, drowned by the sea.

They hunted deer and mastodon in the cool Mesolithic climes,

And nighttime fires, tended with care, marked out their borderlines.

On the land they never called Doggerland, Doggerland under the sea

In Doggerland they lived, not knowing England, not knowing France.

They wore warm furs and hats of straw but, probably, seldom pants.

Such was the life in Doggerland, Doggerland under the sea.

 

Bye!

I remember teletypes with their bauded paper ribbons,

Telephones and forever fixed addresses, typewriters (ugh),

Press type, sticky jars of rubber cement & vapors,

And those crepe rubber blocks for cleaning up layouts.

Blue pencils, red pencils, photofaxes, the smell of paper

And ink, the rumble of those massive presses.

Pneumatic tubes that fascinated me as a kid.

La la, gone for good.  Clear ‘em all out. Bye!

Oh, Word, I am not worthy.

Then there was: darkrooms, chemicals, Tri-X or Plus-X,

Velvia…American or English photo paper?  More silver,

Blacker blacks.  Light meters.  Cameras weighed a ton.

Don’t even think about those glass lenses…weapons!

Then, in Rochester, evolved a sensor and a Bayer array.

Double K, seemingly oblivious, let it all slip away.
Bye!

 

The future?  Bring it on.

(no title)

Everything in me once social

Is compressed into a tight little brick

That only warms infrequently

By memories served up

From my default mode network.

I savor the old movie (seemingly

Shot from just over the refrigerator).

Two now dead, three still living.

Vertical, breathing, warm.

Remembering.

Electricity

Why Thomas Alva, sitting there in Menlo Park

In his fancy genius pants

Would find that his major tinker’s dams

Would only thrive through the genius

Of Nikola Tesla?

Thomas Alva could have electrocuted

Every dog in New Jersey and every

Elephant, if he could find any,

And Tesla would still have come to eat his lunch.

DC or AC

Any hayseed could tell you

That electricity is the bomb

Without knowing what Carrington

Saw when TAE and NT were mere babes.

Current runs through the veins of the Earth

But the million-times-larger Sun

That white star magnet just 93 million miles

Off to the right runs the whole show.

Bread

I admit I was wrong.  It happens all the time.

Maybe more now that I’m older.

Maybe more now that I’m dumber

And quicker to fact-check before posting.

Like this:

This is a photo of a sourdough boule I bought

At a local farmers market.  Locally baked.

Six dollars and I got it home and thought

Leaping lizards!  There’s only three bucks of bread

Around all these gaping cavities.  I bin scammed!

Well, no.  I looked up the baking process of sourdough.

It’s supposed to have all these holes

Like Swiss cheese.  Holes are where it’s at.

Sort of the way life is, no?

 

Oneness

It is a clatter like dueling drumsticks.

A cold wind jostles the bare branches

Of endless trees, stark against the night sky.

A chevron of wild geese faintly chatting

Passes over, between the autumn moon

And the young man who shivers

With the absolute oneness of it all.

 

Bear in Miller Yard

There is a bear in Miller Yard.

A small teddy bear

Strapped tightly to a brake stick pole.

Little bear is grimy and balding in spots.

But it keeps watch.

Empty Hoppers

As we drove along, we saw the lines of hoppers in the yards.

Empty hoppers that should have been chock full of coal.

Now sitting idle waiting to be moved to busier yards.

And Southwest Virginia watches them go.

It’s the economics of the industry, it’s said.

Sitting on hundreds of years of coal, the miners wait,

Made redundant by natural gas and automation.

For over a hundred years, coal brought good times.

Now, for some, only the opioids do.

There are not enough pages in the Book of the Damned

To inscribe the names of the ones who did all this –

Who took the black and paid no price.

The ones who used bullies and bullets

To keep their dollars squeezed out of lives.

And then pass on to let Great Pharma

Glide in on soft woozy painkillers, legal,

By prescription by the doctors, often desperate

To give their patients some ease and comfort.

Leave it to life to make the bad ones good

And the good ones left with few options

And the poor out there alone;

Just them and the coalmine kudzu.

Dad

I am standing at the ledger stone on my father’s grave.

I had never seen it before.  I am 70 years old.

He died when I was 10 years old.  Took 60,

60 years for me to go the 65 miles to here.

 

I had been scanning and cleaning up old fampix

When I was intrigued by one shot of dad;

One of him and mom taken the month I was born;

Dad looks amused at whoever is holding the camera.

 

I thought I’d feel something standing here, but, no.

Too far away, too long ago; I wasn’t imprinting well.

Only vague memories, maybe just phony shadows.

“’Bye, dad,” I said and quietly walked away

 

Good Night

I remember my mother standing at the window, looking out

At the trees waving in a cold wind and a light flaking of snow.

“A good night to sleep,” she’d say.  And, sure, it was.

Under blankets. Safe and warm. Even now,

Every once in a while, when in winter’s grip, I think,

“A good night to sleep.”  It’s that sleep grows fragile

As I age and ache and really need to get up to pee.

Even then, sliding into the residual warmth again,

I sleep a good night.  Good night.

Hapax

Perhaps the Word of God is a hapax legomenon

Waiting for us in the dark of the night,

The kiss of the wind as it sighs by our ears.

The one Word, only one, only once, a hapax

In time and space, anchored there and strong.

All around it flows the else, always moving

To the beginning at the end of the end.

The Word just waits.

We’ll find it.  We’ll say it.

And nothing will happen.

We’ll say the word again, louder.

Now it’s no longer a hapax.

God has moved on.

Sheet Music

Sheet music.  That’s what we called it.

The enthusiastic and athletic love we made

In those heady early days. Good days all,

Even with those satin sheets that kept

Sliding us off the bed.

Slide in

Slide out

Sheet music.

Post Navigation