Free Range Poetry

A Walk in the Morning

The sunrise is muted, subdued, as if the day is embarrassed about dawning.
A patch of purple-blue there, a patch up of almost-pink here.

Through a sky studded with bruises, the sun makes its slow way to the horizon.

The frogs and crickets have no shame, but the birds are oddly silent, as though they know some unholy secret about the morning.  With their silence, they become complicit in its guilt.

As I pause, I realize that my steps have been careful, deliberate, making as little noise as I can.  I, too, am guilty.  I would rather not discuss it, this black and blue sky, this oh-god-it's-you-again dawn.  I'd rather turn away, talk about something else.

The crickets are without blame; the frogs have no cause to hide from the sun's justice.
The birds hold their song, unwilling to pipe up the dawn a moment before they have to.

A dog barks, and I think my god, what have we done?

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open to interpretation



then again,


I mean, perhaps, on Saturday, if it's fine.
But it probably won't be.

Soon, though. Very soon.  Promise.

And no phones this time.  For once.  For me?  Thank you.

Everything tastes like metal. Joy, pain, despair, delight - all acrid, chewing tinfoil with iron teeth, a mercurial tongue clucking its disappointment in my choices.

So, yeah, sure, why not?  Yes.


But probably no.

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Rain on Seahorses

the rain
from the sky it falls
the beautiful notice it
most of all

the beautiful
up from the earth they spring
they bring us the sun in the bluest sky

the Moon's bright blood flows through the sea

the beautiful people
in the blood of the moon
with the horses
under the water

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fry cook in hell

one fry joint looks pretty much another
they all really sorta look the same
everybody knows you need to work there
but no one seems to need to know your name

the greasy spoon, the diner, and the truck stop
they all attract the self same clientele
they greasy kid, the trucker, and beat cop
the teen-aged temptress with her sales to sell

she walked in and i said, you are an angel
she laughed a throaty laugh and said, do tell
and I'd always kinda known that i had fallen
but I never really guessed how far i fell
that is when i knew i'd found my callin'
that's how i know i'm dropping fries in Hell

old Scratch has got a fryer full of oil
just waiting to find out which way you roll
and he's got that sucker up so hot it's smoking
so he can bite into my battered, breaded soul

i'm cooking here while devils want their munchies
i'm safe as long as the job and tips don't fail
i smile at the girl, hair back in scrunchies
and pretend that i can't see her teeth and tail

she tells me that she started as a fry cook
that she worked her way above the ranks from there
that i could do the same just like a boss
but looking in her eyes, i didn't care
i fell into her gaze and i was lost
such beauty that my soul could never bear
my battered soul reached out for hers, and fell,

deep-fried and golden brown

bobbing in the oil vats

of Hell.


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The Ghost of Old Oxford Road

Old Oxford Rd, Durham, NC

Old Oxford Rd, Durham, NC

The old ghost of Old Oxford Rd,
he "fell off his horse," so I'm told...
But his wounds look quite vicious,
which makes me suspicious
that they just might have been caused by gold.

Jack Hewett, in life, was his name,
and women his typical game.
He'd bet on a horse
And on dice thrown, of course,
But he usually bet on a dame.

Jack came to Durham one year
hunting for rabbits and deer.
On George Clement's farm,
he stayed safe from harm,
and usually stayed for a beer.

He'd come over from Hillsborough way
looking for game, for to pay
for his room and his board.
But, in hunting he scored
more with his staff than his sword.

He rode over to Chapel Hill
(which, you know, is remaining there still),
where he charmed a young thing
into having a fling -
even though she had ne'er inked a quill.

A young nun known as Sister Rowanne,
she saw only a big handsome man!
She'd been wedded to God
before puberty's nod
had changed her, as puberty can.

In the Chapel for which town was named,
that poor nun wound up quite ashamed -
for to do what she done,
while being a nun,
was a sin that was not even named!

Her order did not take it kind,
but old Jack, he paid never mind.
He'd won and he'd wooed her
and rightly he'd screwed her
and he put her straight out of his mind.

She tried to forget the damn stud,
but the moon waxed and waned without blood.
She swore and she spat
when she knew she'd begat
and she cursed that his name should be mud!

Her order said they would disown
when they saw how her belly had grown
With no star in the East,
They declared her a beast
and she reaped what the man Jack had sown.

Her cousin up at Knap of Reeds
could do what a young mother needs
He delivered the lad
but the story turned sad
for Rowanne's buried out in the weeds.

No grave consecrated for her,
for the church said her soul they'd abjure.
Her last words to her kin
were, "commit one more sin,
and somebody kill me that cur."

Her cousin had made goodly pound
and, as doctor, was easily found.
He made known that Jack Hewett
should be hard pressed to it
should anyone see him around.

A bastard named Will Arendell
Was the fellow who first "saw Jack fell!"
But an erstwhile nun
with oven... and bun...
seems to have paid him quite well.

Rowanne's cousin had furnished the purse
but, dying, she uttered the curse:
"Let his personal Hell
be the spot where he fell,
regardless of body or hearse."

Arendell, he knew Hewett from dice,
and had heard that his head had a price.
Out near Clement's farm
with intention to harm,
he startled Jack's horse with some mice!

The horse reared and the rider, he fell,
and the cobblestones did their work well.
On the road to Oxford
William drew knife and sword
and made sure that Jack went straight to hell.

So Jack Hewett haunts Oxford Road
and he will, while his debt is yet owed.
While the sunlight can shine
on his only son's line,
those cobbles remain his abode!

Jack's spirit is seen when the sun
lights this path through this deep forest run.
But when the ghost sees a habit,
he will run like a rabbit,
rather than gaze on a nun!

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Go Home, Winter, You’re Drunk!

The holidays are jolly, hanging wreathes and hoisting holly
with the reindeer and the snowmen standing guard
The Christmas season's calling as the mercury is falling
From Baltimore to Boston's Harvard Yard

T'is the season to be freezin' while we shovel 'round our hovels
And we'll celebrate the Winter, young and old
But the temperature's not dropping, while we're out here Christmas shopping
'Cause this Winter doesn't seem to like the cold!

Go Home, Winter, You're Drunk! I'll toss your coat back into the trunk.
Autumn's riding shotgun, cause Springtime has the keys
Winter's in the backseat with its head between its knees
Summer's gonna hold your hair / while you toss snowballs everywhere
Go Home, Winter, You're Drunk!

Frosty's sipping boat drinks, singing songs about the ice rinks
and I guess the weather's really lost its head
The elves are all in short sleeves and the snowman's having dry heaves
Won't someone put this Wintertime to bed?

This Christmas is so green it's blue, cause Winter's got the Irish flu
and the snowplows and the road crew's out of work
The Solstice and it's 82 / degrees, and I am telling you
Twelve beers has made this Wintertime a jerk!

Go Home, Winter, You're Drunk! I'll toss your coat back into the trunk.
Autumn's riding shotgun, cause Springtime has the keys
Winter's in the backseat with its head between its knees
Summer's gonna hold your hair / while you toss snowballs everywhere
Go Home, Winter, You're Drunk!

Winter just might sober up
the snowfall forecast's climbing
and we might just get some inches after all
It looks like things will whiten up
Shame about the timing
'Cause it ain't gonna snow here till next fall!

Go Home, Winter, You're Drunk! I'll toss your coat back into the trunk.
Autumn's riding shotgun, cause Springtime has the keys
Winter's in the backseat with its head between its knees
Summer's gonna hold your hair / while you toss snowballs everywhere
Go Home, Winter, You're Drunk!
Go Home, Winter, You're Drunk!

My eyes, they are not closing

My eyes, they are not closing
My eyes, they will not close
Until I look for one more hour on your face.

My limbs, though they grow heavy
My limbs, though they grow weak
Will hold until again you're at my side.

This coil powers down, old friend
old bitter, sweet, and lover
lonely sweet and memories that fade

But this I'll never let go
from the daybreak to the get go
'til again I rest within your standing shade

For you were always there to shield me
when the living got too brilliant
you were always there to ease my troubled gaze

My filter and my fetter,
my father and my better,
my farmer and my water and my maize.

You nourished me and hid me
you ordered and you bid me
and you never knew you did it, all your life

so I beseech and now I bid you
as before when we were older, that you
come and one last time grant me your grace

For my eyes, they are not closing
my eyes, they will not close
Until I look for one last hour on your face.

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Amarilla Tower

Hailing Amarilla Tower, this is Major Eight-Fifteen
I'm about to cross your airspace and you know what that could mean.
I got cleared from Montezuma, but I haven't landed yet
Please tell your planes to make a hole - I can't quite steer this jet!

8:15, we have you, you are headed for the drink,
but your altitude is steady, which should give you time to think.
Our local "drink" is also called the Gulf of Mexico,
and if you're low on fuel we have at least one Texaco.

Amarilla Tower, you are really quite a gas
If I could stop for petrol then I wouldn't need this pass
But I can no more stop this car than I can explain
Why this Malibu is flying through the air just like a plane!

8:15, your luck has held, and it's phenomenal
your altitude and vector path are cleared and nominal
We have half the town outside to watch you go on by
It isn't every day we see a car up in the sky!

Amarilla, thanks for that, I'm glad to be a show
but I think that I'd be gladder still to land this thing, you know?
A hundred miles back I had a run in with a goose;
Now the windshield wiper's busted, and the seatbelt won't come loose.

Major Eight-Fifteen, it's a shame about the bird,
Those air strikes can be messy, or at least that's what I've heard;
but no worries on the seatbelt, 'cause I think it's for the best
Local laws demand that they stay tight across your chest.

I hear you Amarilla, and if I ever get her down
I'll make sure I wear my seatbelt while I'm driving through your town
but right now I must confess I'm more concerned about my route
I'm a damn sight more concerned with getting DOWN than getting out!

8:15, we read you, and your vector's changing now
Since we know you can't be steering, we're really not sure how
But your route now has you headed West toward Abilene
By the time you get to Austin, you might manage to de-plane!

Thank you Amarilla, it's been fun and it's been real
I guess I'm stuck a while longer in this flying piece of steel
When I get down I'll look you up, assuming I get down
And if I do, I swear that I will never leave the ground!




Having visions of my
visions of my baby
drinking coffee
making something
out of nothing
making visions
out of coffee
out of
splendid brilliant chasms
filled with coffee
filled with something
that is brilliant
that I blended
from my visions
of my baby's
yawning fissure
which is splendid
when upended
like the coffee
made this morning
cures my yawning
from the evening
I spent dreaming
of the fissures
I had mended
for my baby
filled with coffee
filled with brilliance
filled with





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Forever (at) Always (dot) Love

It was back during the bitter winter weeks of '97, my first wife had started listening to the occasional country song, and I had started to give her grief about the quality of same.  "Oh yeah," said she, "Well, why don't you just go on ahead and write one, then?"

So I did.  If you'd please just fill in the steel drums and guitar accompaniment in your head, I'd be obliged.  Thank'y.


I turned on my computer just like I do every day -
Kick-start to the power and the video display.
I'm waiting for an e-mail from my baby in LA,
Hoping that her little message finds its way.

Well I logged in and checked my mail -
This waiting had my heart in jail;
I sure hoped we'd be together soon.
My server said I had new stuff -
I couldn't download fast enough -
But what I read there made me sadder than a loon:

She wrote:
Do you really need me underneath the Texas moon?
Do you really need me later? Do you really need me soon?
Mister, I must tell you, before to Texas I do roam,
I need to know where your love's coming from.

My heart skipped a mighty beat
I was glued right to my seat
and I felt there, as I read that, I could cry.
My fingers flew right to the keys
to put her nervous heart at ease
and I typed out, through my tears, this swift reply:

I wrote:
I don't wish for you on every star - just the ones up in the sky
I don't need you every day - just the ones that end in 'Y'
My heart burns for you like stars in Heaven up above
And I'm sending you this e-mail from:!!
You're the one girl that I'm dreaming of!
No virtual girlfriends,
No diamonds and pearl friends,
Do for me what you do, my Love.

Well that’s pretty much just how it went,
and I felt much better when it was sent,
and sure to check reply return receipt.
So I knew she’d read it right away,
and I wondered what her reply would say,
and more, what she would say, when next we’d meet.

She wrote:
Our hearts are both like stars above, they burn with equal heat,
And since you really need me, I’ll be moving from my street,
I’ll pack up my computer, and off from LA I will shove,
I’ll see you very soon, my dear:!!
You're the only one I'm dreaming of!
No diamonds and pearl friends,
No Wide Web and World friends,
Do for me what you do, my Love.

You know I really need you underneath this Texas moon!
I really need you now my love; I really need you soon!
My heart burns for you like stars in Heaven up above!
I’ll see you very soon, my dear:!!
You're the only one I'm dreaming of!
No diamonds and pearl friends,
No Wide Web and World friends,
Do for me what you do, my Love.!!






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