I dreamed of steel toes and heels on quick feet effortless steps tapping across silver salts When I woke, sleet was dancing on the sill to music only February hears I resisted the certainty of rising from warm layers and choreographed joy frozen in gelatin frames To witness Winter’s stoic silversmith plate the day in frigid resplendence And fistfuls of rock salt to melt his work like images fading from a dream of old movies
Thinking of you and your mini Hubble while spying. A heron hunts What low tide reveals around sandbars emerging Like slick whale humps as the Gulf recedes From the Mississippi shoreline, Cat Island stretches out, purring on the horizon.
Tomorrow, please do not come I don’t need you Wherever you go in your idle hours To plan our joys and sorrows Linger there Today is all I want
Mother’s Day Haiku
Look at your belly Whether hole or fleshy hill You have a mother
Most wade in, ankle deep and no further. I went crashing Past those who ventured up to their knees, freestyle On gall’s impulsive course Far beyond the drowners, I gave out and rolled On my back like a slick otter about to crack a mollusk I searched the sky for a lodestar. I did not recognize heaven. All the jewels were falling One after the other Bright, final moments. Cold and shriveled, I slithered to bitter ground Capitulant among prudent ankles.
The Season’s visage wears a scowl.
Cold smoke moves on specter toes.
Join the lonely wind in howl,
Chant the words in Winter’s prose.
It has been a long, cold winter but the worst has passed. February brings milder temperatures to South Texas. The only sign of the old frigid man is yellow grass, some bare tree branches and pruned crape myrtles. A sense of season is easily confused. Landscapes surrounding office buildings and cul de sacs alike are planted with invasive, perennials of implacable green. The display of chocolate hearts is replaced by chocolate rabbits beside a sale for sunscreen. The new line of patio furniture relaxes in cool umbrella shade, inviting a shopper to sit and consider the sale price on the laminated tag. Everyone should own a grill at least once in their life but no one really needs a leaf blower. Did Washington and Lincoln believe in one nation under God with liberty and justice and 30% off for all? Wait! Don’t buy that, put it back on the shelf. Save your money for a weekend getaway to Port Aransas. The seashore is enticing but beware the Ides of March and the college students who storm the beach in amphibious assaults like drunken Marines. Spring loves to tease but she is just around the corner. Open a bottle of wine and listen to Carmina Burana. You may have to turn the stereo up loud to be heard above the mating call of leaf blowers.
There are some people who look forward to winter. This type of cold weather folk can’t wait for the first report of powdery snow on their favorite slope so they can dress in thermal finery and ascend a mountain where, once at the summit, strap 2x4s to there frozen feet and hurl themselves off risking broken bones and frostbite. The roaring fire and a tankard of IPA in the lodge are the perfect end to a thrilling day of cheating death. In my past, ski resorts were a great gig for a cover band, good money and dinner show hours. But it was always cold and, since I consider anything below 60 F freezing, I never looked forward to Vermont in January. When I lived in New York, I could tolerate winter only because inclement weather was an excuse to stay inside and I could dry my towels on the radiator.
Now that I live within spitting distance of Mexico, I can’t complain about frigid weather too much or use it as justification for being lazy. Except when it is really, really frigid. When the mercury plummets to 18 F and icy precipitation creates a clear candy shell on sidewalks and statues in the Northeast people shrug it off as another nasty day. In the South, those conditions create a sort of surreal pandemonium. You may recall one such day in 2021 when an arctic blast shut Houston down for a week and Gulf beaches were polluted with the carcasses of sea life. It was almost Biblical.
Here is one man’s account in verse form:
Twenty pelicans sail by in jagged formation. The beach is lead and mist. Wind whips the crispy, brown fronds of tropical transplants; victims of the big freeze. Just like the fish that washed ashore to ferment On the sand stinking surströmming. A feast for gulls who turn up their snobbish beaks Preferring purloined corn chips and french fries. The grackles laugh. They are amused by everything: Death Pelicans struggling against a squall Broken glass in a hopping man’s bare foot I get the joke, too. Fish don’t wear sweaters Idiots don’t wear shoes And palms should not wander too far North of Bogotá. But laughing at a pelican is just plain cruel.
Music by the Lost, Words by the Found
I spent countless hours of my youth poring over the liner notes of every record I could get my hands on. No detail, from studio location to assistant engineer, went unappreciated. Lyrics were always a welcome bonus.
As a young, wannabe musician I was particularly interested in the songwriting credits to learn who did what in the band. It was usually: Music by Guitar Player X, Words by Singer Y. But sometimes there would be a wildcard.
The theme of being lost and found again is a popular one in both secular and non-secular music. It got me to thinking what would happen if Lost and Found wrote a song together. Press play and crank it up! Lyrics are included.
The saved will ring the bell
The damned will beat the drum
As this day is lost
So shall tomorrow come
Join me in a song
There are verses for the weak and the strong
We all know the sound
Of music by the Lost
And words by the Found
Let the Angels pluck the string
Let the Demons blow the horn
As we die today
So shall we be reborn
Join me in a song
There are verses for the right and for wrong
We all know the sound
Of music by the Lost
Words and Music by John Truelove copyright 2021
Houston is the largest strip mall I have ever been lost in. I have been trying to find my way around this maze for nine months and I am still trying to comprehend why anyone needs half of the things available to them.
There is plenty of superfluous abundance in other large cities but no other U.S. metropolis epitomize’s urban sprawl better than Houston. I can’t help feeling depressed when I drive through it. Neither can I help feeling that as it continues to metastasize so will modern America’s inter connectivity of abject loneliness and isolation.
Plastic salad sandwiches served on frontage road
Mufflers, brows, tattoos and taxes
Sprout from gardens of immediacy
Planted on the macadam feeding insatiable times.
What cannot be found here drops from the universe
Outside Sam Houston’s perpetual orbit of shining satellites
Waiting to fall inward
Or spin away to Conroe and Woodlands
A gale blows cellophane in from the Gulf
Chaff of sprawl snags in the branches
An arborist cleaves from live oak
Bags once plump with Mexican limes
The heat spawns violent storms and violent people
You can’t outdraw lightning
You can’t hit a raindrop in the heart
That is why gullies flood while bodies pile up
Generations with no patience track their baubles
While in tombs of nostalgia 6 to 8 weeks molder
Old things are discarded casually on the highway
Orange vested misdemeanors collect them for the landfill
A breeze combs a crape myrtle, pink snow in October
I brush a blossom from the page and sigh
The salutation is smeared
I miss writing more than text messages
Nature paints a violent portrait
In a thick impasto of worried gray, bruised maroon, frigid blue
Gulls get stuck in the oil
Invisible wind punishes the sea grass
And blows sand onto the canvas
Blending with the palette’s tortured colors
Half a tube of titanium is squeezed
To frost the curling surf
Endless coils of leaden thunder break
In silence behind rain distorted glass
The stormy world melts with a Van Gogh eye