The Land of the Brave

today,
you’re on your own
stay where you are
and don’t move
you won’t stop me

from writing a poem…

I’ll travel
today
to a picnic table
in a scenic overlook
by the Interstate
where I can look down
on
the traffic pushing
west toward
Ohio
and Indiana

and Chicago
and snaking east
toward New York

and Boston
and Philly
and I can watch the
Kenworths rumble
into the
last rays of the sun
and the Peterbilts
tumble into the

dark

and I watch
the headlamps
of a hundred cars
an hour
pan the twilight
all of them on

their way

to somwhere

and

before I leave

I watch
a solitary
Winnebago Brave
limp along
in the slow lane
like a wounded
water bug

heading west

crawling toward

the Continental Divide
two and a half days distant
(at fifty eight miles per hour)

…then

I watch
the sun sink
over the Delaware River
and I smoke an
afternoon pipe
and drink coffee

and I paint the words

rushing up

from late day

onto the back of

a past due

water bill

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On Collins Avenue, last week

on Thursday afternoons
Emily drinks vodka gimlets
with a guy
at the Fountainebleu bar

…he’s a b-grade actor
who is 3 times her age
…he’s a ‘has-been’
…a forgotten relic…
with silver hair

…a guy
who has fifty grand
left in the bank,
a guy who has
a cancelled
AmEx Card
in his wallet
and has recently had
his powder blue
Bentley repo’d

…a guy

who has a
house in The Gables
that’s in foreclosure
and a wife in Palm Springs
who is on the move…
and a daughter in Betty Ford
recovering…

…a guy
Emily has ONLY seen
in reruns on cable tv
late at night

…that guy…

but Emily delights

in the fact
that a tourist
from Montreal
walks up
as they finish their

gimlets

and asks b-grade

to sign his cocktail napkin
and then
Montreal tourist asks
b-grade actor
if he’d ever met Pablo Escobar
and asks if he knew
Ronald Reagan
back in the day

and

if he’d ever met
Don Johnson
on the set

old actors die hard
this one smiles politely
drains his gimlet
and signs the napkin.

 

east of Coos Bay

the last time
I talked about David
was 5 or 6 days
after the service

Leo and I
talked about
the last fly rod
the guy ever
owned
and how his third
wife left town
six months before
it happened

… and we discussed
the disappearance of
his truck
from a non-descript
stripmall
in North Las Vegas
and the eventual
disintegration of
his new outlook on life.

then

…we talked about

the end

and after that I

never

talked about David.

 

So…
… about 10 years later
i heard
they’d
scattered his ashes

by the lake

where he used to fish
…a long way
from Long Beach, California
…so far you’d have
to take
six buses to get there
and now
they say

he’s somewhere east of Coos Bay

 

“forty five”
is too young
to have done
this sort of shit
to himself
says my cousin

Margie…
…she didn’t even know
that he had a gun…

…he was too
young to have
died fishing
but he did…

…and he
didn’t tell
anyone
he was going
(fishing)
did he?

almost

after dark
he knows
his way along the animal trail
that crosses my back yard
better than
my neighbor, McDougal
knows the way home
after midnight from
the Black Thorn

both of them push along
with long noses
pressed to the dirt
but the marsupial
…the aged opossum

…this one…

…the one I wait for…

has escaped
for a year.
Now I hear him
rustling in the fence row
darting past
the 4 volt landscape lites
hiding for a moment
behind the hibiscus
sensing, maybe
the shit to come
but he makes
his move

…he darts up into the
bougainvillea
then in careful
avoidance of thorns
he appears on the far side
of the property
atop the fence and

HE’S
closing in fast

…I am careful, though
I’m sitting on an overturned bucket
wearing a bathrobe
and
flip-flops made
in Okinowa

AND I have
my sister Muriel’s
22 single shot
sighted carefully
as I,
in silence wait
for him

…and then he’s upon me
six, or seven feet away

Keep the dogs in, I yell to Leah
he hears me and
then he freezes, teeth clacking
eyes flashing

I squeeze off a shot
it misses by 2 or 3 feet

later, Leah asks
if I got him
and I say
almost.

I discuss my poetry book and give away a few copies

The other evening at a writers’ meeting, one of our members, who is also a reader here at EEOTPB, asked if I had any new writing projects in the works – apart from the sporadic poems that I post. I told her that in recent months, my day job as a technical writer had left me creatively drained, and that the last half of 2014 had been especially demanding. For that reason, I hadn’t been able to spend as much time on some of my personal writing projects as I’d liked. Several projects that I should have completed by now have languished — sunk into the proverbial electronic dustbin, now  nearly beyond retrieval. Even blog posts that I wanted to write – intended to write – have grown stale under the heavy foot of “The Man” who puts food on my table, gas in my tank, and keeps my golden retriever Bailey supplied with expensive ‘all-natural’ dog food. I mean, even blogs I want to read I haven’t gotten around to reading.

Then my friend told me that although she had enjoyed reading some of the poems on EEOTPB, she was a bit confused by my blog’s title, as there appears to be nothing about Ed, nothing about the end of the planet, and nothing at all about books.

I replied by saying that there is a great deal about Ed on this site if you read the poems carefully, and although there has been very little about the end of the planet (since that Mayan calendar scare that was freaking us out back in 2011 turned out to be pure rubbish), there is a bit about books…here and there…

It was at that point that I mentioned that I had collected about forty or so of the poems (many of which have appeared here), into a small volume of poetry, put a cover on it, and made it available to the reading public for a nominal fee. The name of the book is “outrunning the storm” and I shall provide a link here. But hold on! You needn’t rush to buy a copy. I’m going to give it away…right here…well, at least I am giving five copies to the first five people who email me at wepatt@hotmail.com. No postage necessary. I’ll foot that bill. Just put “ED – SEND ME THE BOOK” in the subject line, include a mailing address in the body, and I will send you a copy. And don’t worry, on down the line I won’t spam you with any ads or gimmicks, or give your email address to some shady internet marketing scammer who wants to sell you a time-share in Belize. In fact, you won’t ever  hear from me again!  And don’t think I’m going to ask you to write some flowery, fancy-pants book review either (unless you want to). I don’t work that way.storm.cover

So back to my friend who congratulated me on the book, but then politely shook her head and told me that it was unlikely that I would sell any copies.

“Poetry does not sell,” she said flatly.

I nodded, recalling how few six figure positions for “Poet” I’ve seen listed on internet employment websites.

After that I left and went home and did a search for the 10 top selling poetry books this week. Without giving you a glimpse into my next blog, I will leave you with this teaser.

The top 2 are:

“I know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou

AND

“The Odyssey” by Homer

…and they say poetry isn’t selling.

–ED