T. k. splake






"it didn't take long to get old, . . . . "

                                   backwater graybeard wisdom

                  rich, poor, fat, slender, tame domestic, feral
             creature roaming,

                  death sneaks up from behind, quiet black nights,
              early morning shadows,

                   sinks teeth into soft neck flesh, penetrating
              sensual rush,

                   soft purring alternating with pained ecstatic
              moans, thinking this is how it is,

                   sudden surprise, alone, cold, body half eaten,
              shredded bloody carrion,

                   far from home that seems cruel, unreal memory,
              first dawn lighting distant horizon,

                   desperately hoping to crawl, rest in tall grass,
              cool shade of low shrubs, small young trees,

                    before hot sun racing high scorches everything
              below, blue bottleflies come buzzing.


              little tommy, bawling small life, doctor's
         whack, strange noisy consciousness, son for older
         mother, father sudden generation from farming,

              ten-year old lost, sky darkening, black trees
         growing closer, threatening terror, demons dancing,
         forest shadows, taunting,

              traveling through canada, thorazin-molsons
         nightmares, to climb a maine mountain, driving
         all night, early morning chill, afraid to stop,

              young father leaving home, curbside pickup
         truck packed belongings, young son's sad face
         staring through screendoor,

              motel morning dry-blood caked brow, mad night
         wrestling wife over 357 magnum, wondering she still
         alive, police looking for you,

              cock, dark bloody ooze, graybeard years, heavy
         booze damage coming due, desperate attempt not to
         lose young love, loneliness return,

              late nights quietly waiting final kiss, sucking
         leaded ticket to ride, fiery rush beyond absurdity,
         escaping dementia, nursing home hell.

                                after the storm

            ages, lifetimes past, lecturing on hegel's "dialectical" process,
       students furiously scribbling notes for future bluebook date, potential
       exam question, explaining a thesis in contrast with contrary anti-thesis
       after thorough contemplation yielding to a greater understanding ident-
       fied as the synthesis, later reading the line directly from the text,
       the philosopher, "being" versus "non-being" creates the "becoming,"
            chilly early saturday morning reflection on past friday's bitter
        one-sided argument with mate, eventually deciding to separate after
        savage feminine attack, all-day sunday pacing, moving from window to
        window, staring past clipper driven "long white," body shaking, uncon-
        trolled gut-wrenching sobs, warm tears running down cheeks and face,
        sunday before first dawn listening to "greensleeves," old standard
        christmas selecton, suddenly feeling calm, at peace with myself,

             old grizzled poet living in exile still the tarot card "fool,"
        and innocent, giving himself unconditionally to pretty young girl,
        chancing dangerous may-september passions, seriously wounded by
        rejection, love offered and taken away, yet still with the courage
        to continue, pursuing understanding, searching for a sacred human
        relationship, while others laugh, call him the "old goat," and, "silly
        clown," his dreams still real.