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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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
swim
in the blood of the moon
with the horses
under the water

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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!

Full June Moon

alone sitting under a full June moon
our feet splash the river of time
as we sit on the bank with our bottle of wine
at last you're mine

And the time flows by just as fast as it can, on its way to the far rushing sea
but we'll stay here with our full June moon, my beautiful young love and me

the sun also rises, or so they say,
and chases the moon from the sky
but we face the day with our feet of clay
and our heads full of love held high

And the time flows by just as fast as it can, on its way to the far rushing sea
but we'll stay here with our full June moon, my beautiful young love and me

we chased the moon in our full loved June
and we each ran from year to the next
and those years went by with no thought of why
or the ripples we made in the stream.

And the time flows by just as fast as it can, on its way to the far rushing sea
but we'll stay here with our full June moon, my beautiful young love and me

now it's December, and cold on the hill
and the chill creeps into my bones
rolling months, memories, fade away
and the soft green years of home

And the time flowed by just as fast as it can, on its way to the far rushing sea
but we'll always be there,
with our full June moon,
my beautiful love
and me.

 

Lonesome George

Lonesome George was a lonesome man
lived life longer than most of us can
but he never had sons and he never said why
and he died of a broken heart.

Now Lonesome George made a stop by here
and I asked him to sit and I bought him a beer
And I asked if he'd tell of his life and times
before he went to ground.

Why were you lonesome, Lonesome George?
Why did you spurn your wives?
Other turtles were happy to meet some girls
But not you, for all of your lives.

I'll tell ya, says George, since I'm on my way
since you ask like that, I'll have my say,
before I climb down the Elephant's tail
and take my place in the stack.

I spent my days under island skies
Where the 'guanas perch and the booby flies
and the brave men come in their little brave ships
and they write down all that they see.

They all thought I was a hundred years old,
giving or taking a few
But I had to laugh, cause they were off by half,
and I'm couple years past two!

In '35, in September it was,
that I first met Charlie boy,
He drew my picture and he picked me up
and he called me his pride and joy.

Charlie became my lifelong love,
a man's man and all that
he brought me fruit and he fed me herring
and he told me tales of dash and derring
and I walked for ages with my sage of sages
on my beautiful Pinta beach.

For five short weeks, I knew such love
as a great mind like his can know
but the Captian hailed and the Beagle sailed
and my Charlie boy had to go.

And ever since then I've talked to men
and to turtles near and far
but I've never found one who could nearly ken
to my shining Charlie star.

And I heard long on that he wrote a book
and he made his name 'fore he slipped the hook
of this mortal carapace
and I'm glad he did, but I have to tell
that I'd give my tail and I'd give my shell
for one more measured pace
with my wonderful Charlie boy.

So they found me on Pinta, just across the blue
and they brought me over to Santa Cru
and they hooked me up, and they pimped me out
but those girls didn't care.

What did they know of nature?
Only sun and rock and sand!
And they talked a lot of loving
but what did they understand?
Beefy face and grubby hand...
Ha! What did they understan'?
No, they never knew my Charlie
'cause they never talked to Man.

So I'll take my leave of living,
and I'll climb down on that stack,
and I'll support that Elephant
with the world upon his back,

and I'll dream of seeing Charlie,
of talking to him once more,
and I'll learn more of Nature
on a far and sun-lit shore.

For I'll meet him once again, I'm sure,
my Charlie of great renown:
His world was round,
but where we're bound,
it's tortoises all the way down.

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Komaniwanaleia

I went on a vacation out Hawaii way
I found a nice resort for an extended stay 
(Komaniwanaleia)
I fell asleep one day out on that sandy beach
Dreaming of that girl who's always out of reach

Komaniwanaleia ...
Komaniwanaleia ...

On Komaniwanaleia that's the place for me
Komaniwanaleia baby you and me
Komaniwanaleia by the moonlight sea
Komaniwanaleia you and me!

I'm thinking about moving to those perfect shores
Paradise and surfing when the ocean roars
(Komaniwanaleia)
We could lay out every day under Hawaiian sky
And dine on pupu platter, cream of sumynguy

On Komaniwanaleia that's the place for me
Komaniwanaleia baby you and me
Komaniwanaleia by the moonlight sea
Komaniwanaleia you and me!
Komaniwanaleia you and me!

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On a Friday Long Ago

I walk.  As I walk I reach down, scoop a fire-fly into the net of my fingers.  He stays there a while, crawls up to the top of my middle finger, and flies off.  All the while I walk.  Still walking, I reach down, scoop his cousin into my fingers. 

I walk, looking at my new friend.  As I walk, he climbs to the top of my middle finger, and sits there.  I walk, and slowly I realize that he isn't going to fly off.

He turns around, looking at me.  I look at him.  It seems like we both laugh, though neither of our expressions change.

I am patient, thinking that this may be his first trip on a fingertip.  My gait carries us past a jogger, a couple with a dog, a cat on a high deck railing.  My friend speaks without words, convaying the sense of a fire-fly, phoenix, living again and again, each season bringing death and

the promise of another life; life, and its immortal conclusion. 

I stop, a shaded wooded area, and look at this phoenix, my lightning-like brother.  He turns about, preens his wings and steps off my finger.  He flies to my right, over my head, making a flashy exit.  He goes to tell reletives less distant than I about the strange man he met in the woods, and how he rode him to the other side of the water. 

I walk on, talking only to the trees,

and myself.

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The Garden of our Love

In the early frosted morning sunshine of our love
we laid the groundwork for a garden
the foundations and the walls, the borders of the beds,
a classical explosion of trusting sturdy boxwoods,
bright perennials, risky annuals
their bulbs entrusted to this fertile soil.

Flowers of exotic derivation
and those of timeless grace flourish
leaf to leaf, petals touching stamens
as we dig, plant, tending, cheek to cheek, our love.

Each new planting an experience, and
each new shared experience the planting,
a new species, a new bright blossom introduced into our garden.

We grow our garden fresh and bright,
encouraging deep roots
they demand less maintenance. 
Boundaries and borders so cleanly laid
blur with the comfort of time. 
Inevitable weeds blow in, over strong walls.

Even Eden needed weeding, and the
comfortable passage of years proves our garden
no exception.  Still in all,
the rest are out, and we are in. 
Each weed our weed, each thorn our thorn;
this is once and always our place,
our space to tend, sacred and secret,
this garden of our love.

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Flow Softly

Flow softly sweet river of time
Flow gently o’er rapids ahead
Run easy for all of these children of mine
Asleep and like you in their bed

They dream as they sleep by the fire
Their future uncertain but bright
I dream of their dreams, deeper and higher
As I stare at the river tonight

And if, should the rapids o’ertake  them,
You find I’m not there at the stern
Please cushion their blows, while letting them go
And help them to live and to learn

Flow softly sweet river of time
Flow gently o’er rapids ahead
Run easy for all of these children of mine
Asleep and like you in your bed