70 year old traffic

i honk the horn, it is silent
the whippoorwill is silent
all about are rusting
and whatever can be done
will not stop the rusting,
it is you time and small rain.

i want aging wheels to turn
and it is you air
that will not allow it,
up in trees and sky
and whatever it is you do,
no one really knows where you are.

here is the metal roof and doors
and dashboard;
springs pushed up through seats
where passengers sat on
road trips; faces remembered
on brownie cameras.

i sit, keeping junkyard relics behind
me from budging an inch
moving about as fast as dead
batteries and headlights
lying on the ground, lying
in old tire treads.

yet, there is the wonder of stars
each night, and of
fireflies lighting up all radio
tubes and big band songs,
and of keychains with a
sweetheart’s photo being held.

i want no world where i can’t
hold a memory
and it once was sitting inside me,
not sprayed on with coats
of a paint, but rather were the ones
who enjoyed the ride.

Copyright © 03/19/2015 Ð Ṝ Ƣ Ñeedle & Ŧhread®

unnamed

The deepest secret

rows of windmills painting the sky

 

With dark colors

with raindrops

 

wet is the water

 

her tears dry as they roll down her face

she sits 

 

statuesque holding a bowl with

stones holding water

 

A goldfish watches and dreams

the bench is wet

 

empty is the sky of sun

water is empty

 

she cries no more.

 

Copyright © 06/27/2014 Ð Ṝ Ƣ Ñeedle & Ŧhread®

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Of love and an innocent moon

when pails filled with moonbeams

 

Sit on painted chairs in moon dust

and are cast upon

 

the world, i shall then write

of love

 

pulling words from heart shaped 

lockets on stars

 

laying in fields of midnight sky

you laying covered with dark purple poppies

 

my fingers beneath you caressing

as meadows do of wildflowers

 

my palms walk through moonlight

on your skin yearning to pick petals of color

 

i kiss the rose of your lips.

 

Copyright © 05/22/2014 Ð Ṝ Ƣ Ñeedle & Ŧhread®

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Mobster squad

Spontaneous (“Market

Street Gang”)

– Irish American

criminals

 

sticky fingers of

pickpockets pinching

officials and

labor slugging

 

they

had the sly scheming

in the (“Newspaper

Circulation Wars”)

 

hearts like flint

often wore “masks”

– used the crowbar

carried the burglar bag

 

buffeted by Chicago winds

building

canyons

gray

 

to the drink of prohibition,

tommy guns spit out

death like old couches

in tenement rooms

 

tombs of the law

 

 

under the table cash with

 

 

 

a blind eye.

 

Copyright © 06/20/2014 Ð Ṝ Ƣ Ñeedle & Ŧhread®

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Of a child and an elephant

For Sumi…

Dusk in an Indian village

closed

out the day, allowed

thimblefuls

of cooler air to spill

Fresh

for the night…

it entered carrying

old wooden buckets 

filled

with darkness.

 

The village slumbered,

yet she remained awake

thinking about her friend.

 

She, a child, had a special

relationship above the

Commonplace

with an elephant of the

forest…

at first, they only

exchanged

glances, not enough of

an escape from

their daily chores.

 

How sweet the early morn,

washed as in a bath

by pouring rain

when they 

Entered

a pond,

she was very brave,

full of love –

both full of kindness.

 

Nothing the village elders

could ever

Observe

would equal the 

bond that

this small girl and

elephant 

felt, the sound it

made muted

leaves

rustling in the 

 

A lonely life it now 

led

after she sadly waved 

Goodbye,

left for another

country…

the elephant 

no longer trumpeted,

no longer saw her

reflection 

in the pond, only its own

slowly aging.

 

Copyright © 06/13/2014 Ð Ṝ Ƣ Ñeedle & Ŧhread®

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See how they run

They walked on twisting rails

through bootblack

souls

they smelled the silence,

the loneliness

steel rivets, each with initials

of a homeless person

– hammered deep into

railroad ties, they

held down

track, held down 

shadows of the fallen.

 

Hobos at the breast of poverty

destitution at their feet,

wrists held together by handcuffs

of the Great Depression,

and fate…

closed freight 

car doors like prison cell doors

in sacks,

carried empty tin photos 

of a tin family

– candles with no

 

Railroad bulls on leashes 

sniffing out musty clothing

and

unshaven faces

– creeping

under boxcars like neighbors

dogs under

porches looking

for stray cats.

 

Inside, hiding, tramps faces

with patterns of light,

splinters

of age

– much as cobwebs

where slants of sun trickle

through.  

 

Sunday morning (faith man

painted 

wet crosses on hobos foreheads)

that none tried to save

them more

– holy water dripped off 

rusted nails

into reluctant

 

POW’s to the shepherd, to the

rails, of vagrancy (waiting for

working papers in the next

town, in the next town)…

see how they run.

 

Copyright © 06/06/2014 Ð Ṝ Ƣ Ñeedle & Ŧhread®

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The spy

She sat in a railway station, silent,

one piece of baggage containing all of

her intricate, imperfect life – she was white 

as paper, skin like ice water, “you can’t

be bored dying in a dignified position;” any

sensitivity left dropping away as

do hairs off a comb.

 

A victor walked by, she thought, “what’s 

the matter, have you no religion… “

and then, a smiling copper – as if he knew

of her keeping a cupboard full of

alibis for all spying occasions, corked up

in old medicine bottles – she had no

proposition whatsoever on using a gun.

 

Sitting there, memories arriving as

do late trains – of when, as an

eight year old, skipped rope with half

a rope… of making someone bleed

regularly when she cocked the hammer,

rather as opening the flap of a tent

and stepping into the cold.

 

Of a nasty little man in a grubby mackintosh,

snuffling through pigeon holes looking

for her room key in a cheap hotel – peering 

through his spy glass in hopes of seeing clothing

draped over a chair – then dark alley waiting, one

round fired… she’ll be there awhile, not forever,

but a little while, holding her ticket home.

 

Copyright © 05/27/2014 Ð Ṝ Ƣ Ñeedle & Ŧhread®

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He was a seafaring man

Set sail on a morn when

the sea         was

its wettest,

‘her’ locket he wore ’round

his               neck,

the shore wears 

the tide.

 

Strong headwinds kept the

tall               ship

along the coast,

in her bow,

a

fragment of wood from

a shipwreck.

 

Clouds, a storm from nowhere,

grabbed the  keel

grabbed her

sails with

barnacled     hands.

 

The sea gave him and his

ship a           frothy

look as mad dogs in

a cobblestone

alley,

put them on a thin line

before

pronouncing sentence.

 

Brusk, bitter and insulting

waves           washed

over her deck and

crew…

were kept mortal prisoners,

in rusted       chains

of the sea life.

 

Shadows lay before her skeletal

remains,       much

as open windows on

the sand,

closed by his sole

survivor         fingers

to silence

the screams.

 

The ship tilted, creaked, a tomb

for the          dead

on a barren beach,

its bell struck eight times,

over and       over

by the wind pulling

on the rope.

 

The sailors roots to the sea pulled

out               where

fallen tress lie in

shipyards…

he walks along the shore with a

fragment of    wood,

a mutinous cane,

looking for a

new ship.

 

Copyright © 05/20/2014 Ð Ṝ Ƣ Ñeedle & Ŧhread®

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The forgotten

Rails blistered by age and

rust

Sweat and thirst hidden in cracks,

splitting

lumber bolted down with gasps 

for

air, blinding sun paid for 

with

broken spirits and aces up bosses

sleeves.

 

Mildewed tents, dysentery in

drinking 

water ladles, dripping much as

rain

off picks and shovels, faces

hardened

Hands calloused from ethnic

ranking

Backs branded by grimaced

looks.

 

Constant digging, like holes to hell

On 

leads to prevent workers from falling

into 

pits, hot air same as heat in drafty

tenement

buildings, tenement camps… nomads

in

search of greener grass on other side of the

tracks.

 

Random diseases ran through canvas

and 

rope, much as a stray, rabid animal

Immigrants 

rattling nondenominational crosses

to

ward them off, nonetheless, fever and

blisters

ensued, like landlords pounding on old

doors.

 

Ailments, starvation and death washed

over

ethnicity as floods of tics, sucking 

the 

life out of them… for each railroad

tie

laid, a whole or part of their existence 

lay

beneath in a grave, a spike, the

headstone.

 

Copyright © 05/13/2014 Ð Ṝ Ƣ Ñeedle & Ŧhread®

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A woman illustrated

There she sat on a sofa,

            drinking a glass of

            forgetfulness,

staring out a dirty window

            covered with

            fingerprints

and scars from kisses long

            ago, getting

            up

she sees parking meter men

            on the north, on the

            south

of the city, dressed in blue,

            dressed in gray,

            writing

out tickets with silver pencils.

 

She hears their whispers tapping

            at the window,

            hoping

for his, hoping for a military man

            undressed from foxholes

            and

four years, now searching for

            her with stray dogs,

            with

half a memory, a knock…

            she looks inside her

            clothes

to see if she is wearing clothes.

 

She sits in her flowing beauty,

            lights a cigarette with

            his

good looks and hand touching

            her face, she turns

            away…

opens up a desk drawer, pulls out

            his letters, all filled with

            jealousy

and broken promises; a deadbolt

            turned like seconds on a

            clock,

he pulls up his collar on an empty street.

 

Copyright © 04/29/2014 Ð Ṝ Ƣ Ñeedle & Ŧhread®

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