Tuesday, June 16, 2015


by th’creek, th’old folk songs –
you could live in mountain home,
‘n’ hear th’dulcimer all th’time

nine years ago t’day,
th’rainbow camped on th’buff’lo – th’kid
was conceived up there

that kind ‘f nakedness,
ozark folks don’t like – tells ‘f th’year
th’rainbows came for th’fourth

eastbound, little rock
has steamy edge - baked west fades
in rearview mirror

steamy little rock
so pretty ‘n’ self absorbed,
milepost on th’big road


shot up th’rap concert –
guy ‘n th’straw hat says little rock
just as bad as th’rest

little rock at its
steamy worst – she asks him why
it’s so hard t’get work

devil's den campfire,
southern grace 'n' charm, refuge from
th'northern experience

devil’s den campfire
debate – call ourselves arkies
‘cause that’s who we are

couple ‘n th’motor home,
morning picnic, road t’hot springs
they, too, have retired

campers ‘n th’ouachita -
th’north’s so rude, they do bus’ness
b’fore they say hello

certain mean spirit -
ozark exit locusts chirp
t'drown out th'foul language

downtown little rock,
thirty and the arkansas -
wetland summer sounds

abandoned cabin,
deep hazen woods - nap, halfway
mex'co to iowa

imprisoned ‘n jerome
brought th’nisei t’this steamy camp
‘n’ questioned their loy’lty

heat ‘n’ humidity
place like jerome’s bad enough
'thout th’imprisonment


little rock motel –
th’roaches, th’bedbugs, th’guy by th’pool
just happen t’live here

th’old banjo picker
come t’ th’ dulc’mer fest from malvern,
steps on th’fiddler’s toes

two-lane near ozark,
woods ease into fall, old truck
into second gear


f’etteville coffee shop –
refugees from th’high-rent states,
flannel ‘n’ th’time t’do crafts

through conway westbound –
th’splashes ‘f leaves turning color,
be gone soon enough

eureka’s leaves turn
victorians ‘n’ steep cliffs, th’skater’s
sure he’s immortal

hog fans – determined
t’not let those drunken texans
intimidate ‘em

hog fans in th’pickup –
just as serious ‘bout hard drinking
as about football


pickup truck ‘f hog fans,
don’t be swerving ‘n th’mountain roads –
siren lights on th’ridge

little rock train yard –
tales ‘f th’sunshine, th’western canyons,
goodbye t’these leaves ‘n’ trees

hog fans, down for game -
old pickup, eureka swerves,
fumbling all the beers

farmer’s market day,
truckload ‘f pumpkins ‘n th’winding roads –
rough ride t’fayetteville

man from spur, texas
look'n for wooded ozark land-
snow falls on 'closed' sign

light snow ‘n little rock
th’bell rings ‘cross th’playground – how plain
a day ‘n school can be

little rock motel -
six share room, sleep in shifts, work
right through holidays

hard life of drinking
ends on icy glazed park bench
in texarkana

glazed ice ‘n bentonville
not much ‘f an economy,
th’hiker’s not helping

ice storm, th’amtrak line –
in th’card game, deck ‘f presidents,
choice words f’r th’man from hope

has millions, but gets
heet for truck, says 'nice weather' -
and leaves for f'ettev'lle

fort smith freeway bridge
feeling - ice breaks on river,
clear skies to the west

hope waitress' ashtray's
smoke floats to faded ceiling,
another year ends

hope waitress mops th’floor –
in th’street, someone shouts th’countdown,
she just wants to close

off ‘n th’distance, gunshots –
th’hope waitress fills th’salt shakers,
can’t bear ‘nother year

alma turnoff choice –
ride up north a ways, out ‘f th’cold,
he’s been drinkin’ some

rank smell ‘f hard liquor –
th’cold alma turnoff, frostbite,
‘n’ th’quick d’cision t’be made

jonesboro preacher –
strong feeling ‘bout th’human soul,
short ride, icy road

hope bridesmaid's complaint -
church door's stuck, spring rains starting -
it takes a good yank

west memphis bluesman –
from th’city ‘n’ th’swollen river,
draws inspiration

at mountain home sign,
dawn reaches ridge - ride or two
from dulcimer jam

needs gas n'seed money
or a life - an hour from hope,
but four from dallas

thirty ‘n’ th’arkansas,
peepers ‘n th’lowland marshes,
sun’s up – west t’ th’canyons

ozark fiddler’s smirk,
f’etteville magnolia’s fragrance –
she feels right at home

rememb’ring jerome
and th’internment – even now,
springtimes are bitter

eureka skater's
steep venue - staid victorians,
cliffside wildflowers

kicked out of cuba,
small pawn ‘n th’big game – but now, trees
bloom ‘t th’ozark exit

hazen exit woods
rotting cabin, rest f’r th’hiker –
th’mice’re having babies

cabin in th’ozarks
th’floor’s turned t’earth, ‘n’ in th’spring drizzle,
th’birds have come for th’worms

near texarkana,
arm’dillo ‘n th’spring flood, drunk ‘n th’park
picked th’same day to die

comes t’crystal bridges
f’r th’ warhol, she comes f’r a wedding –
coneflow’rs bloom ‘n glory

th’fine art ‘f bentonville,
th’blooming flow’rs come from walmart –
is that a problem?

they ask her ‘bout th’flow’rs,
th’bouquets, not th’ozark wildflow’rs
th’wedding, ‘t seems, is hers

th’bride ‘t crystal bridges
walks past th’marilyns ‘n th’hallway –
so pretty, th’coneflow’rs

bed ‘f ozark coneflow’rs,
th’soft purple, th’forest, ‘n’ coffee –
then, th’western prairies


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