The Gas Station

Summer midnight
cruising down the highway looking for a place to stop and get
a cigarette

I stop at a gas station with a broken sign and pull up by the door, turn off the engine, get out, stand and look

the air is warm, no breeze,
and the flickering neon window sign says just one word


No sound to break the stillness of the night on this cigarette butt littered tarmac stained with black and faded by the years except the humm of neon lights and summer crickets buzz

Tell me how
do all the footsteps of a life
come down through all the years
to lead to such a place as this?

Tell me

there’s no one here and I can feel the quiet like a blanket spreading out from this place, and I know I could drive and drive and not find more than here

I should go

I should go, but

I know

the steps will come back here

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An eloquent refrain to a dead horse given on the occasion of an unnoticed beating

This horse

See it there?

This horse which is dead and gone but not yet buried, Horatio, no not yet buried, though somewhat the worse for wear

This horse you see

Why do you beat it so?

It’s dead

and no livelier than any other horse in a similar condition

Let it go, and now forsake this bloody peroration
so free of any substantiation
never resting in elation
never ending in duration

Let it go, I say! and beat this stupid horse no more

It has no wit to see, to wit,
that anything you might say to it
has any merit under it

Let it go! Be done with it!

It’s just a horse

quite dead

and not worth all your steaming rhetoric which here you do continue, seeming unawares of its sad state, to keep on heaping onto it.

It’s just a horse

and you, Horatio, are just the back end part of it

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fishies fishies in the sea
how I wonder what you see
way down deep beneath my boat
can you see the worm I float?

fishies fishies tasty sweet!
fishies fishies fun to eat!

love to catch them litta fishies
love to bring them home
and cook them up so nicely sweet
and eat em for a treat!

fishies fishies tasty sweet!
fishies fishies fun to eat!

let’s go fishing you and me
upon the big blue sea
and catch them fishies
just like wishies

bring them home to me

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darkened sky
rolling thunder
looks like rain
thick and dark and lowering
blown by some unfelt wind aloft
waiting to deluge in sheets and torrents
and it’s Saturday

pictures in gilt frames arrayed on the piano
but May is gone
San Francisco suburbs commuting on the train
who knows where
husband and family and job
who knows why
her face
her laugh
was a long time ago
and it’s Saturday

coffee cups and saucer
a little napkin
two macaroons
sit on the old table by the windows of the porch
overlooking the unkempt unmowed yard
by the dusty old dirt road
with fields and woods beyond
hiding the horizon
beneath the dark
and it’s Saturday

rolling thunder
looks like rain
scattered days
blown by the wind
who knows where
who knows why
and it’s Saturday


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