Free Range Poetry


Back in 1997, my wife grew tired of my bashing her country music tastes and challenged me to pen a country song myself, if I thought it was so easy.  I apologize for the results.  I still hear it as a duet with Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton.

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.

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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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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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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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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I Believe

I believe in seven impossible things before breakfast
I believe in the game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth
I believe the roads we walk will never end
And I believe I love you

I believe in the healing power of music
I believe in the faith in a good night's sleep
I believed in the Higgs boson before it was cool
And I believe I love you

But we are all gladiators in the arena of the Self
And my belief sustains me only for so long
We face our fears and doubts in the arena
My love for you is all the shield I hold

We shall build a bridge of hope
          I believe we can
We can bridge the river of our tears
          I believe we can 

I believe that poetry is a tonic for the psyche
I believe in dragons, dashing deeds, and derring-do
I believe that books are visas in our passports of escape
And I believe I love you

I believe you when you say you'll call me
I believe you when you say you'll write
I believe, when you say you love me
And I believe I love you

But alone I am a gladiator in the arena of my Self
And my belief sustains me only for so long
I face my fears and doubts in my arena
My love for you is all the shield I hold

And I believe I love you


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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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