(More poetry from Daniel Fitzgerald, Mark Graham, Bob Carlton, Maury Gortemiller, Terry Thomas, R. Anthony Thomas, Robert L. Penick, in the print version of The White Crow, available for $2.50 ppd from Osric Publishing.)
Escape into Innumerable Details
Life, death, it goes on.
I take the shovel in my hands
(it's my turn)
the wood warm, soft.
Odd that it's just canvas straps
that hold it, clever the way
they lower it, the pulleys must be connected.
Slowly it settles, a little skewed.
I plunge the blade into the fresh earth,
swing it over, tilt the blade,
hear the thud of earth on wood.
All those years this day was waiting
patiently, with its grey branches, drifts of snow,
a patch near the fallen twigs already melting.
Even at the end of this long life,
well lived, we grieve,
even though he had been in pain for months,
even though he, himself, had begged it all to end.
Back to the limousine.
Strange to sit backwards,
The snow begins to fall,
a few large flakes
floating zigzag down,
as small thoughts still keep
the other thoughts away.
- Sherman Stein
At The Docks
This sailor I know just
bought a new yacht, so
I went to the dock
and said, "Hey, Todd!
I've got to take a piss,
so I came to christen
He was a bit offended.
"Is that the kind of
poetry you write?" he
Now I was a bit offended.
What the hell did he
mean by... oh, shit.
- Mark Graham
every penny is precious
my sister used to say
when she got sick and couldn't paint
or even go to church anymore
no more oil staining her clothes
it was then that her sight began to fail
soon she couldn't even see the
callouses in her palms
when I cooked she would wheel herself
into the kitchen and
try to guess what spices I was using
it was a way to comfort herself, I suppose
but I hated telling her, no, this one's oregano,
having to see that expression on her face
after dinner, when she tired of the radio
she made me sing and play mother's harp
it was the only way she could sleep
she said, caressing mother's jewels
soothed her, she would kick in her sleep
then, I remember, I wondered
who she was kicking at, who she could blame
once she lost her faith
somebody has to remove the brains
from mammals after they are dead
and before display or burial
there's a tool for everything
including mammal brain removal
the brain spoon is smaller than
an infant's spoon and will slide
into a hole in the top of the skull
so you can mix the gray matter
until it's thick as tomato soup
and then you can spoon it out
if you don't have a brain spoon
you can use a screw driver
and stir it up like a French sauce
and then use a straw to siphon it out
- Larry R. Brooks
During grade school, St. Xavier, across town,
won the baseball championship every year
because they never lost a home game.
Their diamond was downwind from Columbus's
largest meat-packing plant.
No matter how much a St. Agatha
or other opponent's batters
concentrated at the plate,
they could not stand the stench
of slaughtered horses and cattle.
We even tried wearing bandanna masks,
dark glasses and stuffed cotton in our ears
to breathe, combat the glow of the dried-blood field
and deafen the screams of dying animals.
Our coach always swore,
"Damn St. Xavier boys are used to it."
Turned me into a vegetarian
until the end of the season.
- Gerald R. Wheeler
Last updated 05.06.2001