Uncle Bob's Words

Words, poetry, stuff like that

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I have a problem…

I have a problem with

“Smart as a whip” and

“Works like a charm”.

 

Whips can’t tell you the sum

Of two plus two.

Dumb.

 

Charms are just a type of candy.

Here take this “charm” and

Go frolic in the traffic.

<slight pause>

How’d that work…

Hello?

Draw!

If you want to draw,
Firmly lay down one true line
Draw all else from it.

 

If I Were a Vine

If I were a vine, a convolvulus,

I would wrap me around you to keep you near.

Of course, I could squeeze dangerously close.

But that’s probably not going to happen.

 

 

Oldie

Accuradio just laid out a song, an oldie, golden.

I know it well: every note recalls those memories.

Memories of then, memories of you.

 

Summer: windows open to the breeze.

Lying naked on the couch.

Your silken skin, your careful hands.

 

Ah, I tried to go on a bender after you left,

But I just didn’t work.  I don’t do wastrel well.

I rearranged the furniture, got a cat.

And after a while, I found another you.

But that song always gives me pause

As I get that familiar frisson, a tingle on the tongue

As I watch the scenes.  Then, I laugh.

Got me, you mnemonic fox-trickster…

 

Wasn’t a bad thing, though, not really.

Bury Me Not

Bury me not.

Please,

I’m still alive.

Bemused, I read

In a local rag

A 50ish person termed

“Elderly”.

I’m nearly 70.

Literarily, then,

A grave evader.

But,

Bury me not.

Go Away.

Let me get this straight:

I’m to fish or cut bait?

Well, actually, neither (sorry).

I’m going to take a breather –

And go over there to sit,

Close my eyes and fade a bit.

 

Here’s what you need to know:

You’re not running this show.

No, not ever, never. (regrets)

I’ve got options; I’m quite clever.

Go over there and sit.

You’re powerless; live with it.

 

But, thanks, anyway.

The Persian Doctor

“He was ordinary.  Longish white hair.  Friendly in the way

Of a person who had no fear of anyone.

He was what Gran wanted.”

Dad’s gaze went past me, seeing those long ago events.

“I  had gone that day to visit Gran.  She wasn’t bedridden,

But age and arthritis seemed to wear heavy on her.

‘Dirk,’ she said, ‘I need to see someone and soon.

Put out the word for a Persian doctor.’

Her hand gripped my arm and she pushed me

For emphasis.  I said I’d try.

Dad smiled.

No internet then.  I had to go into town to

Find the people who had knowledge.

The pharmacist just laughed.

‘You’ll not find a Persian doctor in these parts.

They’re gone, long gone.  And good riddance.’

The librarian looked puzzled.

‘You mean a doctor from the East?  And where

Did who go?’

I never did think she was very smart.

The newspaper editor nodded.

‘Carl Stoneman.  Out on Linebach Road.

Blue trimmed home on the left.  He’ll know.’

So, I went.

Knocked on the door.

A tall, elderly man answered.

‘Yes?’

I explained.

‘Come in,” he said.

He sat in a well-worn chair and motioned me to the sofa.

The room was bright and clean.

No mirrors, no pictures, no radio.

He settled into his chair.

‘There were originally a couple of Persian doctors

Who lived in this area. They vanished some thirty

Years ago.  Don’t know where they went.

Honestly, I miss them.  They were wise and helpful.

Disliked modern things, though.’

He cleared his throat.

‘Of course, if it’s the esteemed Mrs. Trent who’s

Asking, I’ll put it on the wind.’

I asked what I needed to do.

‘Wait.  Shaman knows your grandmother.

He’ll come to her.’

A day later, I was at Gran’s again.

I asked her how she happened to

Know the likes of a shaman.

There was a light rap on the door.

‘He’s here!’

He was ordinary.  Longish white hair.

And friendly in the way of a person

Who had no fear of anyone.

He made a slight bow.  ‘Bess Trent,

Why did you wait so long to call?’

She touched his shoulder.

‘You’ve set things in motion, haven’t you?

I want to see the start of it all and

I want to be comfortable about it.’

He made a sign with his right hand and

Touched her on the forehead.

She jerked slightly, then straightened.

‘Ah, thank you, Raymond.’

‘It was the least I could do, after all your help.’

‘You and Gabriel were my only concern,

And I hope you have found peace.’

‘Indeed we have, Bess, thanks to you.’

He looked at me.

‘She’ll be fine now.’

He bowed again, turned and left.

What just went on? I asked.

She stretched.  ‘I feel well oiled again!

Come in the kitchen. We need some coffee.’

She got out the can of coffee, put it down

And stared out the window.

Shook herself.

‘Memories.  Oh, my.  Sit down, I have

A story to tell.’

She talked as she got out the percolator,

Filled it with water, put in the basket, filled it

With measures of coffee, set it all on the stove.

‘Back when the first radio stations went on the air,

I found that I could see the waves of energy in

Their transmissions.  I found I could go away on them.

Just ride.  Scared the daylights out of my mama, but

She had the sight, too, so she just wanted me to be careful.’

The coffee began to perk.

As more and more stations, powerful stations, came on,

I could ride nearly everywhere…and did, by golly.

Oh, what a time I had.  And the people I met,’ she added

With a wistful look.

‘Raymond had been a friend of my family.

He took on Gabriel as an apprentice, but soon it became

Much, much more than that.  And the talk started.

A Baptist preacher who, I hope, is now rotting in hell,

Got everyone stirred up to drive Raymond and Gabriel

Out of town.  Even though they’d done so much healing

And good works.  The preacher coveted their power

And, I swear, lusted after Gabriel, and hated them

All the more for it.’

She poured the coffee and sat across from me.

‘So, I taught them how to ride the wind, the energy.

And, one night, they left. Vanished to everyone

But me.  I watched them wave at me as they left.

The preacher said the devil had come and got them.

But nobody ever really liked him after that.

And then, I had the family to raise and work to be done

And I just let myself go with the years.

When my dear Edward passed on, I got depressed.

When you came in that day, looking so much like

Edward and your father, I knew I had to see

Raymond.’

What now? I asked.

‘Dirk, I’m going to go away.  I’ll stop by

Now and again, when you’re alone and you

Can catch me up on the news.

My will leaves everything to you.  I can’t

Pass you the sight.  I’d need a woman for that.

Goodbye, Dirk.’

And she got up and just walked away, out

The back door and was gone.

I stood there in shock for a few moments.

Then, since I can handle things, I called

The police, reported her missing.  Called Carl.

‘Just like her,’ he chuckled.

Dad looked back at me.

She’s been around a couple of times.

You know that, don’t you?

I said I did.  I have the sight.

And that’s the story of the Persian doctor.

The film that was us

There’s this movie that runs when I think of you.

It’s a swift, smooth sequence in cool colors.

It’s sort of a trailer

For the film that was us.

 

(Just the highlights, not the longueurs of those days)

 

But, there’s a parallel edit of the fights, the spites,

In rapid jump cuts in spikey colors.

And these were also true

For the film that was us.

 

Maybe it wasn’t you

I didn’t realize it was you

Until I’d sped past, heading south.

I just caught a glimpse.

Maybe it wasn’t you, anyway.

No matter, I’m gone and that’s that.

 

Time was that you’d fly past,

Lean, tan and On the Way.

Then, you ran into me.

We bounced off each other

For a time, just for us.

 

So, if that was you I saw back there,

You’ve aged.  Hell, I know that trip.

Nobody bounces anymore, not off me.

Maybe it wasn’t you, anyway.

No matter, I’m gone and that’s that.

 

Haiku #5

Twilight and raining.

Gusts usher in cooler air.

A good night to sleep.

The bare equivalent

It was the bare equivalent of love.

A picture of a kiss; a DVD of a hug.

Yet, it was something.  So he smiled

As he slowly danced to Ravel.

 

No one touches. No, not yet.  Not just yet.

He can only imagine the drag of a finger

Across the weave of the fabric.

It was a minor price.  He had cash.

 

This, a homeopathic decoction of love.

Barely a shadow of a figure, lacking color.

Lying in the dark, wrapped in a sheet.

He shrugs. More has been spent,  for much less.

 

DeSoto’s Pigs and Other Buzzkills

The names are lost forever.

Those warriors who floated down

These waterways that converge

And converge and converge

To augment the Mississippi.

Millions of Native Americans,

Hunting, fishing, going places.

Yes, millions.  Multitudes lived

And multitudes died from

DeSoto’s Spanish pigs.

Fat, tasty disease vectors.

For every vainglorious doof

We honor for being a “hero”,

We dishonor the true braves.

The names are lost forever.

1:1.29

1:1.29 is a ratio quite puissant.

It calms the askew irrational world

In surprisingly curious ways.

It’s the Golden Mean, you know.

I mean, it’s mean mathematically.

Not average, just mean.

You see it everywhere these days.

You can’t apologize to the dead

You can’t apologize to the dead.

Your exegesis of the received text of your life

Blows away in the wind, unheard.

The memories, though, are indelible.

They wait to ambush you

In unguarded moments.

Thich Nhat Hanh said to think of the lost

Smiling down on you and forgiving.

Nice image and balm which doesn’t make up

For your having been such a dick.

Lit up

We’d passed through the rain and fog on Unaka Mountain.

Now, in East Tennessee, the clouds were breaking up

And the sun setting was lighting them up like some

Dutch master agog with pushing mad paint.

Vermillion, cadmium orange, with ultramarine blue

Of the afternoon sky floating above it all.

Payne’s gray, raw umber, lavender, mauve, the white

Of some angel’s snowy robe.

“Ain’t nature purty?”

Nod. Nod.

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