Uncle Bob's Words

Words, poetry, stuff like that

The Fine Winter Coat

My mother was small, four feet eleven on a good day,

Made smaller by an aging spine.  When she was younger,

She made her own clothes, better to fit into, but shoes,

That was another matter and a good winter coat, forget it.

So, when my brother and his feckless wife breezed through;

He taking her to study for a new career in New York,

She told mom that she’d bring her a fine new coat

That would fit just right. Mom eagerly believed her.

Then, six months later, just before Christmas time,

They came sailing through going back to Nashville.

Mom was excited.  She eagerly awaited the gift

She knew was coming.  The new coat, the warm coat.

And they gave her a sweater.  A dumb damn sweater.

Mom was older then and the disappointment showed

So clearly that the heat drained away from me.

Betrayed.  Like a kid under the Christmas tree

Looking askance at, not a doll, but some socks.

My brother saw it, too, but his wife nattered on

About New York and so forth and so on.

My brother tried to jolly mom along, but, no.

It was done and they left and mom almost cried.

I hurt for her hurt.  But, I thought, that’s what

You get for believing and for being that trusting.

Years before, when mom asked two skeevy men

To rent a truck and take it and me to another town

To pick up all the family furniture we’d stored there

When we moved.  They brought me back but, then,

Left with the furniture.  All of it.  All of her life.

Later, the policeman, kindly, but truthfully, told her

“You were very gullible, ma’am.”




So, you spend an hour or so wondering if a certain seme

With a hook for a hand was fascinated by a certain uke Peter.

Weird, no?  Well, Barrie’s marriage didn’t go very well, did it?

And you figure if something like that is a back story, then

Go a little deeper, so to speak, and discover a matrix

Lying on a substrate of, what?  What is a substrate

For a matrix?  Quanta with a plot?  Dark drama?

And just where does dear Wendolyn fit in?  As a beard?

There you go down another rabbit hole as a gravity well

Written by a man who liked to take pix of poppets.

What fun.  What fun that we can do this.  Wow.

Trouble is, change the characters, rename the names,

Make the sword that pierces Peter a metaphor meant

To show that Right can prevail and keep the world

From some young-appearing person who just would

Never grow old, not any more, not any more.

That’s something entirely different.


I’m thinking about photography and about art.

A friend once told me that photography was art.

This was when film required a certain expertise.

Still, I quietly kept from laughing in his face.

The art of an artist is the result of work –

A lot of work for a really good artist. True.

Eye to brain and brain to fingers holding

A pencil or a brush with intent to create.

Intent to create, not content to fail, but often do.

There is no lipstick that can make a photograph

A work of art.  Like, dude, there’s no work there.


(this webpage gives lie to some of the things I wrote above, but it’s a good article.)


The wife of Epimetheus, the fair and curious Pandora,

Unlocked and opened Zeus’s vengeful wedding gift

And released Sadness, Illness, Poverty, Lechery,

And their horrid cohorts onto mankind.  Alas.

Yet, the last one out of that evil box, the last one out

Was Hope.  Someone, I know not who, considered

That something good.

I hope it is.

My Friend Heterodoxy

You will notice, if you look carefully, that none

Of the resplendent, swaggering suits in the news lately

Had a more plainly dressed person trailing close behind

Whispering, “Respice post te. Hominem te memento”.

Roughly translated

“Look ahead, you doof (not in the original Latin), bear in mind

You will die.”

As I grow closer to my expiration date, whatever that is,

The lie grows more apparent, the scrim thinner, the light brighter.

There’s just not a whole lot of anything there.

I will not let the media feed me.

I will not let the myths beguile me.

I’ve seen what they’re all getting up to:

Make lots of money.  Get on TV.  Be “real”.

Meet my good friend Heterodoxy.

He’s foxy.

And he’s got good eyes.

You and Me

You and me.  yeah.

That was a song that played

A long time ago.

The words have faded in my mind

And the melody is just a ghost.

I still have the pictures, though.

Could I recall the lyrics

Bring forth the melody

I could make a music video.


It was a fast run to Gate City in a new tbird

  1. The top down, Kay and Mom and me.

I’m in the back seat.  I’m only 10.

Even in Morristown, Gate City was the place

Where you went to get liquor.

I was along for the ride.  Dad died that year.

I don’t know if this was before or after,

But the memory does not feel sorrowful.

It’s like a five second video clip. I wish

I could save it and open it in Elements

To hear the audio, to slow the video down.

I don’t know the file extension for ghosts, though.

Not Lonely. Solitary.

First, I wanted sex, then a relationship. I had both.

After that, I lost interest.

To paraphrase George Thorogood –  when I’m alone,

I prefer to be by myself.

The Wave

I felt as if I were riding the trough of a huge wave

Moving lightning quick across some anonymous ocean.

There’s a wall of water in front and to the back of me,

But the trough runs quietly, pulling me along.

I sense that the wave will not engulf me; and I am safe.

And when some far shallows ascends, then the waves would break.

I would be deposited ashore, on my feet, of course.

I would stand, brush myself off, and go on.

You see, this was the exact way I’ve lived my life to date:

Being in the caprice of some disinterested force.

Slapdash running, letting time’s arrow, and scant else, guide me.

Now older, I cautiously watch that sea.

The Spook

Father and son, holy ghostly, the spook’s

Gone down the road to seek the ailing king.

Never mind the media, they’re a bunch of kooks

And from their words no truth is gonna ring.


Just watch them now, dad and the kid, spot lit,

Smiling bravely as microphones edge nearer, nearer.

Their spirit’s gonna get etched away every little bit

By the acid rain of questions, the judge, the juror.


A hint of fear, a whiff of truth fills the freighted air

Blood recedes from clammy faces, n-nothing to say.

But then, like bells, the spook comes passing fair

He stops to kiss them both and doubt just flies away.

Heavy, heavy clouds

Clouds are heavy.  They really are.

I mean, they’re water, that’s all –

8.34 pounds per gallon, that’s all.

According to scientists –  thus spake Googlethustra –

Your standard cumulus cloud weighs in at 1.1 million pounds.

120,000 gallons of water, give or take a quart or two.

Looming overhead.  If it all came crashing

(Hahaha!  “Cloud crashing”…a concept)

Down, it’d do more than just mist your glasses.

And then some.

Keep a wary eye on that cloud…


I play Klondike.

I’m used to losing,

Inured to the whim of the draw.

Three card draw.

The game is what it is.

Random action on green baize.

There’s nothing for it,

Just deal the cards again.

A Little Lament

Oh, lord.

Past few days, I’ve had the septuagenarian sweats.

I passed 71 a little while ago.

No wonder.


But, like that town in Kentucky, Pippa Passes,

It passes. Life creaks on.

One wonder.

Time Wall

It’s a time wall going forever from your onceness.

Just a distance, unknowable distance, behind you.

This is the once was, the back-in-the-day, that

Memory that funny feeling, that frisson that both

Is achingly real and breathlessly ephemeral.

All that has passed: the seeing, the hearing,

The tasting, the smelling…

Ah, it’s been a good life and fun.

If I Have Ever Been

If I have ever been anything, it’s low level angry

And low level anxious.  Not always at the same time.

Back in the early 1800s, a person once remarked that

“Southern men are touchy about their honor.”  Got it.

But the anxiety can be so distracting.  It’s like some jangly

Train on a steady loop, going around and around.

And the worry is inevitably because I can’t resolve

The blasted matter at hand NOW, damn it.

I’ve made up long strings of conversations in my head:

Scenarios: Someone says this and I reply this.

Someone says this happened and I have the explanation.

And so on.  Blah, blah.  Nothing ever happens exactly

The way my rabitting brain voice rehearsed.

I do not consider myself devious.

I do not lie.  I am not above misleading.

Funny thing: sometimes if I touch bare iron

Into deep ground, I can be relieved a bit.

I can also, I think, hold onto a ground wire

And dissipate the annoying worry energy.

But that could just me thinking antenna theory.


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