Dream Logic

When delicious dreams dance

Through your sleepy cerebrum

Do you see ghosts galloping by?

Are angels announcing successful situations?

Or decidedly deadly demons destroying

Your timely treasure trove?

Might competing cherubim choruses clash

Creating unheavenly harmonies, or

Little leprechauns lustily leap through,

Waving windswept rainbows bending

Toward the lavish land?

When unlucky lions lust for

Momentous meals does your being believe

It’s treacherously true, or does

Righteous reasoning untangle gigantic gnomes

Grappling on your luscious lawn?

Carefree cats carouse in your yard

Delirious dogs dangerously stalk prey

As your heavy head haltingly falls back upon

Puffy pillows of dainty down.

Soldiers slash and burn buildings while

Crafty commanders shriek scrabbled sentences

Waving wicked wands that sprinkle sparkles

In the deepest, darkest night.

Vicious venomous vipers sizzle zooed zebras

Lounging lazily behind links while

Porcine pandas ponder bulky bamboo

Priests praise gods in unholy ululations

While communities corrupt into chaos

Rioting right through your lonely life

Mothers majestically cradle crying babies

Born in proud poverty while

Faith filled fathers find superior strength,

Saving all from untimely death

Logic, luckily leaves as soon as eyes

Close and delirious dreams drip

Drop by drop preparing paths for

Dream logic to wind its wicked way

Into your nightly nirvana.

Never can one predict what may emerge

When the eyelids languorously close and

Dream logic descends.

Midnight Blues

Midnight blues sing through my veins

Filling my heart with discordant strains

 

Untamed beats chase away smooth rhythms

Binding my emotions in velvet ribbons.

 

Saxophones and trumpets blaze into the night

Screaming in agony: writhing with fright

 

Discordant voices lost in the devilish din

Succumbing to the mesmerizing power of sin

 

Dreams of orchestras lost in unholy pleas

Drag me down, down, onto wobbly knees

 

Rending sounds screech, moan, and tear

apart my soul; laying my heart bare

 

In supplicant voice, a sweet melody

Springs forth; a personal symphony

 

Gentle flutes settle the lopsided score

As piccolos delve straight to the core

 

Softly discontent relaxes its grip

Into the night, those pesky blues slip.

 

 

 

 

 

Buffalo Dreams

Visions of a long ago past

keep clouding my brain,

carrying me back in time

when herds of shaggy buffalo

roamed the verdant plains,

grazing peacefully on the lush

grasses and thinking of little

except taking the next bite.

 

Nomadic tribes followed the

mighty herds, giving praise

to their gods for the wonders

of sustenance freely given.

Every sinew, every shard of bone,

every inch of hide valuable gems

for improving the quality of life.

 

Brave warriors, dressed in hides

and lathered in specially-made

potions encircle the unmindful

beasts, seeking those best suited

for the entire tribe’s needs.

 

Never taking more than would be

consumed, never wasting gifts

for the sake of one small part,

and always thanking the beast’s soul,

for dying so that others may live.

 

Traditions broken by the arrival

of ungrateful hunters who willingly

destroyed the herds to line their small

pockets with precious gold coins,

in their wake leaving only the

footprints of times long past.

Mother’s Dreams

Mother, with hair tightly rag-wrapped

Settled in the recliner, napped

 

Dreams drifted to far-flung places

Filled with her relatives’ faces

 

Family friends passed in and out

Love scenes soaked with tremulous doubt

 

A new shape, unfocused, appeared

Walking and snarling, horror feared

 

Creature crazed by darkened deals

Upon the rack, its story reels

 

Angels intrude with halos worn

Arrive with blazing golden horn

 

Suddenly Mother does awake

Feeling fulfilled from her short break

 

Forgotten, threat of creature spawn

Instead aglow with love’s full dawn

What Could Have Been

I don’t spend time dwelling on

what could have been

if I’d done this or not done that.

 

I don’t lament those events

I missed or the wrong steps I took

As I floundered my way through life.

 

Instead I rejoice

In what I was fortunate enough to do,

and those things that I was a part of,

no matter how small or insignificant

it might have seemed to others.

 

I couldn’t always see

the sunshine due to tears that flooded my eyes,

sorrow that held my face to the ground,

and regrets that froze my feet in place.

 

Periodically the lenses of my eyes opened

and the black curtain parted

allowing a glimmer of light to break through

so that new horizons appeared.

 

Here I am in my twilight years

with dreams still appearing of things

I yearn to do, places I hope to visit,

without ever thinking

about what could have been.

    All things Must End

Dreamers navigate their way

through shadows deep and dark,

searching for the light of morning,

as they march across dry deserts

 

or over towering mountain peaks

crowned by heavenly angels

whose glittery gossamer wings

flutter fleetingly in a gentle breeze

 

brushing the sleeper’s cheek

as lightly as mother once did,

helping to climb the ladder

of delicious dreams toward

 

a blushing sky, streaked

orange, pink, and baby blue

as the sun, ever so slowly,

rises to greet the morning

 

shirking off terrifying nightmares

of hideous monsters, demons, sprites

or relishing romantic love stories

sung by twinkling firelight

 

in a lover’s embrace,

broken most unwillingly only

to greet the dawn of day,

without thinking, without choosing,

 

unable to stop the inevitable

awakening as all must for

dreamers’ dreams must end.

     A Huge Loss

What do you do when your eyes dim

and gray clouds cover the world

and you live to read and write and

admire the photos of your grandchildren?

 

What do you do with your time when

it hurts to read and the words dance

in crazy swirls that hop across the page

and you have stacks of books to read?

 

What do you do when you feel like

crying about all the lost joys that

you most recently discovered, knowing

that, in time, they will fade away?

 

What do you do when you want to write

but the words drown in a sea of gray

sinking to the bottom of a speckled pit

and fall out of your mind like dandruff?

 

What do you do when the world you used

to see disappears behind a distorting mist

that threatens to take away your freedom,

your driver’s license, your mobility?

 

What do you do when hope seems to have

abandoned you in your time of need and

when you are too young to fall apart and

there seems to be only a steeper fall ahead?

 

You cry, weep, moan and seek the company

of family and friends who will listen and

understand how truly great the loss is

and offer sympathy without comment.

 

You get down on your knees and pray

to the Lord of all, to the God of mercy,

and ask Him to give you a few more good

years of loving the printed page.

 

You think of all the good years that have

come and gone, all the places seen and

friends loved and family times shared,

and rejoice in the Lord’s blessings bestowed.

Awakening

When my eyes closed,
Your image remained
For hours and hours
Afterward

You walked my dreams
Blessing me with love
For hours and hours
Through the night

Your arms held me
Your kisses bathed me
For hours and hours
With tenderness

When I awoke
You at my side
For minutes and minutes
In unity

In awe I stared
Loving your eyes
For seconds and seconds
Beyond time

We drift through time
Missing moments
For years and years
To eternity

Dinner Talk

By the time Stan Ellis was finished mucking out the stalls, he was exhausted even though he’d been doing it for the past nine years. As an eight-year-old, when he first came to live with his grandparents, he hated the smell of the horses’ droppings, the texture of the straw, and working in the shadowy barn. Because he’d been born in the city, he knew nothing about ranch life and hadn’t planned on every living on one. But when his parents died, he’d had no choice.

His school day was followed by a hour and a half of band practice, something he’d recently added after Grandpa Ellis convinced him he needed an elective for college admissions. He’d picked up his grandpa’s old saxophone, and after watching a few YouTube videos, was soon playing elementary songs.

Band wasn’t too hard. It was marching and playing that exhausted him mentally and physically.

It was after four by the time he got home, then cleaning stalls for an hour before he could tackle homework. All of it added up to a lot of work.

Stan thoroughly washed his hands then made himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He pulled out his homework and began studying for a Physics test the next day. Just as he finished reviewing the assigned chapter his seventy-year old grandpa came in. He brought the outside in with him which Stan now found endearing.

“We’re having spaghetti tonight. Is that okay?” Grandpa asked as he pulled a pot and lid out of the cabinet.

“Sounds great. Can we have a salad too?”

“If you make it.”

Stan pulled lettuce, radishes, and cheese out of the refrigerator. He took a tomato off the counter and fetched bacon bits from the pantry. “So, are you going to give me the money or not?”

“Can you explain it to me again?”  Grandpa dumped a handful of noodles into a pan of boiling water and then wiped his hands on his jeans.

“The money’s due tomorrow or I can’t go to Disneyland.”

“Why’re you going there?”

“I’ve explained it several times.” Stan finished assembling the salad, set it on the table, and then flopped into a hand-hewn chair. “I’ve missed every deadline so far. I’m surprised my teacher’s still letting me go.”

Grandpa stirred the noodles with a wooden spoon. “Let’s see. What extra jobs have you done to earn money?”

Stan sighed and ran his hands over his lanky brown hair. “I dug the weeds out of the pony pens and I trimmed the bushes along the drive.”

“That’s part of your job,” Grandpa said.

“According to that line of reasoning, then anything I do around here is my job,” Stan said. “Look, Grandpa, I really want to go. I’ve got to pay the full amount tomorrow or I’m out.”

Grandpa slipped a loaf of French bread out of its wrapper and laid it on the cutting board. He picked up a knife and sliced off four hefty pieces. “Explain again the reason for the trip.”

“The band’s marching in the Main Street Parade and performing on the stage in Tomorrowland.” Stan leaned his chin on his hands and looked at his grandfather with sparkling eyes. “I want to go.”

After popping open a jar of sauce and pouring it into a pan, Grandpa sat at the table.  “How much are we talking about?”

“We’re flying, so that’s about $300. No hotel costs because we’re staying in a high school gym. They’re feeding us breakfast and dinner. Admission to the park is about $100. The only other cost is for my lunch.”

“So about $500?”

Stan shrugged. “Yeah.”

“I don’t have that kind of money.” Grandpa walked over to the stove, poured a little oil into the water with the noodles and then stirred the now simmering sauce.

“You sold a foal last week to Mr. Newton for a thousand dollars.”

“I paid bills with that money.  We owe Smith’s Hay and Feed over two thousand and Bill’s been asking for his money since he fixed the truck.”

“But everyone else is going.” Stan flopped his head down on his crossed arms.

“Set the table.  We’ll be eating in about five minutes.”

Stan shuffled to the cabinet, and with exaggerated effort got down two plates and glasses.  With an audible sigh, he set them on the canvas placemats that were always on the table.

Grandpa strained the water from the noodles and then dropped in a slice of butter.  He tossed the noodles, poured in the sauce, and carried the pan over to the table.  “Let’s talk.”

Stan scooped a mound of spaghetti onto his plate and sprinkled on a heavy layer of Parmesan cheese.  “It’s during Spring Break so I won’t miss any school. You filled out the permission form that had all the details. I even left a copy for you to keep  My plane ticket’s been bought.  I can’t back out now.”

“I can’t recall filling out any form.”

“Well, you did.”

“What was I doing when you handed it to me?”

“Washing dishes.  You told me to put the form on the table.  You filled it out and handed it to me.”

“I’d never have signed if I knew how much money was involved.  You can’t go.  I’m sorry.”

Leaving behind his dirty dishes, Stan took the stirs two steps at a time up to his room.  When he slammed the door he knew it would shake the whole house, a violation of the rules, but he didn’t care.

After using a napkin to wipe off his mouth, then refolding it and placing it next to his placement, Grandpa cleaned the kitchen. Like always, he then went into the front room to sit and smoke his pipe, but before lighting up, he unlocked the small safe embedded in the wall behind his desk and pulled out a rubber-banded wad of money.  He carefully counted out the bills.  He locked the safe and went upstairs.

“Can I come in?” he said after knocking on Stan’s door.

“Sure.”

Grandpa extended his right hand. “Here’s the money.”

“Really?”  Stan’s face glowed with surprise.

“Yeah.  I was hoping you’d changed your mind and didn’t want to go all the way to California.  You’ve never been that far from the ranch in all these years. But just in case, I put the money aside.  I’m selling this weekend Misty to Steve Carlson.  I’ll use that money to pay off bills.”

“Grandpa you’re the best!”  Stan, even though he was a little too old for hugs, jumped up off his bed and wrapped his arms around his grandfather.

“One thing, though,” Grandpa said as he stepped away.

“Anything. I’ll do whatever you want.” Stan’s eyes gleamed.

“Have fun. Play well. Be careful.”

Stan nodded. “I will. I’ll even find a way to call if you want.”

Grandpa smiled. “That’d be nice. It would make me feel better knowing that you were safe.”

Stan hugged Grandpa again. “There’s supposed to be a pay phone at the school. I’ll call when we get there the first night, call when we get back from Disneyland, then call right before we leave for the airport.”

“Come downstairs. I bought strawberries and shortcake.”

Stan enjoyed his dessert, even though he understood that his grandpa had intended to give him the money all along. All-in-all, it was an excellent dinner.

Cloud Watching

When I was young

I spent hours lying on my back

Staring at the clouds

And wondering what they were.

Sometimes a rabbit or cow.

Maybe an old man or woman.

Occasionally a car or truck.

Most importantly,

They represented an ability to dream,

An insight into a creative urge

To make sense of the world around me.

 

I still love to look at clouds

Even though I am officially old.

I no longer see shapes.

Instead I see beauty.

The wispy feather-like clouds

That streak across the sky.

Or the piles of cumulus clouds

That signal storms coming.

Or the thin stretches of clouds

That add depth and color to the sky.

They still represent creativity

Because they stir in me

A desire to put words to paper,

To make sense of the world

Through story and song.

 

I hope that I will always be able to see

Wonder in clouds.

That they will continue to speak to me

In verse and narrative

And help me to tell my version

Of what the world means.

 

So I will keep on watching clouds,

Like I did as a kid.

And keep on trying to make sense

Of the world.