Saturday, July 14, 2007


Here's two poems fer the price of one blog.


"The Cricket King's Grand Medicine Show"
copyright 2007 by charles shaver. all rights reserved.

After the last of the snows
I delve into the basement
to return with rockers
to sit on the porch
watching the world sighing
under a sun
futilely fighting the night

Sometimes there's kids on bikes
or running
or playing
or whatever
one or two will
but usually
they're too busy to notice
me much

There's an old guy
across the street
sitting in a plastic chair
watching the world
sighing under the sun

The neighbors on either
come and go
at all hours
but always

I'm happy to wave or
nod and

Then sometimes
the kids can be heard
but not seen
the old guy across the street
goes inside his house
probably to watch TV
the neighbors on either side
come or went
I'm left alone
with the evening breeze
the maples, pines, poplars
all chatting
at once

Then there are nights like tonight

The children have gone
to a faraway
of their own making
the old man's chair sits empty
no blue flashing
from his windows
all neighbors have gone
there's no wind

Only my lonely rocker creaks, speaks to me

Everything is quiet, quiet

I am left so very alone

What an odd creature am I
content with a wave
and a nod
hating conversations
happy to watch children playing
fine with old men staying away
enjoying welcoming neighbors home
yet nothing more

Here now I sit
an alien frost creeping in
under my skin

A cricket
hops oddly
to achieve the stairs
and when he does
he hops up next to me
and gives me a look
and I swear
if he had a top hat
he woulda tipped it
and said, "Hellooooo, up there!"

I laugh
doing my best not to stomp
my feet
for fear of squishing the little creature
leaning over
I wave and say
"Hellooooo, down there!"

He begins to clean
much in the way
a cat does
I watch
his odd, struggling hop came from
a long
wrapped about one of his legs

"Poor guy,"
I say

Reaching down
I catch him
unravel the thread
he struggles
little legs kicking
I'm surprised I remember
how to catch and hold
a cricket
the thread comes away
with a final pull
I set him down
placing the thread in my pocket

He stares at me a long while
before returning to his cleaning
paying particular attention
to his once-caught leg

He looks at me
he looks and cleans
looks and clean
then starts his engine

He looks at me a long while

I imagine his graditude
I imagine him returning to his friends
and like a barker
calls out,
"Come one, come all! Come see
the Grand Cricket King!
Cures all! Loves all!
Gotta cough? He's got an elixir!
Gotta troubled love life? He's gotta potion!
Hurt? Injured? Ailing? Or just generally down?
He'll be a friend!
Come one, come all!"
waving his top hat at collected crickets with sweeping flourishes
'til one and all are convinced
and he returns
a cricket army
behind him
hopping, hopping
onto my porch

The neighbors would arrive home
I'd not wave
the old man would venture across the street
but stop
half way
seeing no room on the porch for him
to sit
and visit
the kids would bike by
"What's all that noise?
It sounds like a million crickets!
Or a thousand chainsaws!"

There I would be
smiling, waving
not needing friends
or neighbors
or kids

But I know that can never be

The lone cricket at my feet
without a look
without a "Goodbyeeeee, up there!"
off the porch
into the grass
and is gone

I am once more alone
no neighbors
no kids
no crickets
the trees look up, away

The world is empty

I am alone

I pull the red thread from my pocket
and as I examine it
an alien frost creeps in under my skin

what an odd creature am I

"The Saints of Dort Highway"
copyright 2007 by charles shaver. all rights reserved.

I know this guy
named Joe
at least that's what I call him
he comes into the strip club
every night
driving his big metallic blue Hummer
he's always dressed like some
important guy
we are complete opposites
in appearance
where he's young and broad and muscular
I'm old-ish and growing in the belly
he's always clean-shaven and faux-tanned
I've got perpetual shadows on my jaw
he's loud and fun-loving and carousing with others
whether he knows them or not
I'm silent and defeated
on the surface we're complete opposites
then one night
he came in quiet
though still loud
but quiet for him
and after buying the usual round for the regulars
he came and sat
next to me
we sat there
all quiet-like
at the stage
music booming
everyone but he and I
partying it up
he drags at his drinking
not noticing the girls
and says,
"Ya know, one of these days I'm gonna die"
"yeah," says I, "me too"
we sip our drinks
a girl appears
rubbing against his thigh
"how'd ya like my dance?"
"fine," he says though
neither of us
saw it
"how'd ya like ta see it again, up close and personal?"
he says "sure" and they were gone
i throw a dollar on the stage
girls dance for me
and others
the world outside
is going to hell
but in here
is safe
and these girls are like nurses
healing, speaking softly
chasing away pain
and every goddamn one
of them

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