Children’s Pay (b. 1954, d. 1973)

This beach of happy debts
……….On crests of sunny days
Our laughter out of breakers
……….One trilling voice to mine
Spendthrifts of our innocence
……….Before we have to save.

When afternoons wore endless
……….Our tides without a mood
The crimson brands upon our backs
……….As blessings of a god, peeling
Skin more seraphim announcing:

A nook of Our Selection
……….Twice we sought for shade
A crawl space sandy laden
……….We crawled on our bare knees
Footfalls just above us
……….Compact spoke in braille.

We returned to find our fathers
……….Drunk but not as blithe
Fearing   sheepish   Baptists
……….Our guilt we had betrayed.
“Th’sun es red!” Dad slurred instead.
……….“Dis Tonkin mess means war.”

“Johnson’s dawn it!” slurred her dad.
……….“Yer son will ave t’pay!”
I touched her hand, our glances met,
……….We grinned along the way
Back to our nook of kisses took
……….Before I had to pay.

You Globalist Swine

I was not born
For wage for work
Mortality is nuf a yoke
So leave me be
To breathe the green
And soak in summer reveries
The never-ending grassy plain
The deep woods cabin
Where I sleep
Not this life of applicant
Begging for your shiny dime
But as a roaming Cherokee
Or Hottentot, the adult child
Or yeoman farmer in the South
To toil my simple dignity
As simple as my acre plowed
Before you scaled me out of means
Dragooned me into Babbitry.
Oh you golden mogul pimps
That put my honor up for bid
I’ll hang you by your balls
You’ll see and hang you
By your balls and shares
And hang you by your

Pine Straw

I made up my mind with pine straw
My first sane thought at age 3
On the way back from Luray Caverns
All the primordial stalactites and stuff
Which only took me in—too much
Underground with time.
Pine straw took me out
It was just a glimpse, at Sunset,
From the back of a station wagon
Under some trees in the median
Fleeting fast but forever signal
In my mind.
Later I would rake it and place
It around the house, or fall flat
On it walking in woods, then, later, with her,
And mix it in her hair. She’d laugh.  I probably
Should like to die on pine straw
Excepting the wild animals tussling for a thigh.
So just, if you would, line my casket with it.
Pine straw takes me out. 

The Social Contract (1985)

I without a compass
A tramp unto the wood
Destiny by chance
Manifest for one

Nor in my distance fathom
That as our feelings go
Nature can contemn a man
Care even less to know.

The green envelops, thickets
But process steals it all
Until the ground beneath your feet
It jerks before you fall

It’s the human mind, gifted,
Devastating scythe
A crop outside the quota
Customary sweep

Alien to the turkey
That scurried at my call
Alien to the deer that fled
My beauty of intent

Eight miles in I rested
A gut at river’s edge
Cutting the alluvia
A stream of freshet age,

Slicing the primordial cake
(My birthday after all)
Cutting down to further crowns
My turn as fossil tooth 

I fled before the terror
Eight miles without pause
Followed west the sunset
To the city of Nabob

Met there a man who asked me
Why I didn’t have a job
And why no gal to salve your pain
As handsome as you are.

I brooked his sneer contented
Even snapped him to my soul
Derision by a word preferred
To derision by the soil.