Thursday, November 7, 2013


He’s like riding a bucking bronco—
There at the Chase County Fair
Cinching the saddle, getting ready

Then the gate opens up—
And all hell breaks loose and
Just hanging on is everything

RFD Poetry—
It’s like riding a bunking bronco 
Sometimes you just gotta hang on

Sunken Garden

The Sunken Garden

“I only give you back
what you imagine”
—D. A. Powell
“The Fluffer Talks of Eternity,”
Useless Landscape

Just call me poor Alma—
In Tennessee Williams’ flick

There in the Sunken Garden

It was a lot more sunken then—
Back then in the late Fifties

I sank to my lowly knees—
Worshipping Earl Holliman types

Lots of bushes and privacy—
For those of us in the know

That’s where I got to meet—
Myself in the lovely night

I got to meet myself—
Alma Winemiller in the dark

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Summer and Smoke


Is there any way to describe it—
Alma there in SUMMER AND SMOKE
Dealing with her pent-up love-life?

Geraldine Page as Alma Winemiller—
A straitlaced Kansas minister’s daughter
Una Merkel not helping out very much

The same with hussy Rita Moreno—
Putting the make on Laurence Harvey
So tres typical of closeted Kansas yuk

Like with other Hollywood films—
Sitting there in the Granada Theater
The classic old film palace knew all

Tennessee Williams knew even more—
Reading my beads as if he were there
I became Alma & Alma became me…

To Kill a Meadowlark


To be out here—
Out here in the middle
Of Fly Over State Nothingness

Back again I suppose—
Not really wanting to be
But then here I am standing

Looking down this—
Gaunt lonely country road 
Here in Chase County

My lover buried here—
In the Cedar Point Cemetery
My young now old lover boy

Saturday, November 2, 2013




Waking up, another day—
Urging myself to get going
Pulling the sheets back again
Covering myself once again
How strange it is for one’s 
Heart to be loveless in the
Cold Arctic Kansas morning


A slinky shadow rules me—
Cocteau’s chauffeur takes me
For long evening dream drives
His gaudy Cadillac convertible  
Cruising late at night there 
Downtown on Commercial St
From college to the tracks


Nights are for dreaming —
Beneath the glowing lights 
The Dream Bijou marquee

No more Sat matinees—
Like back when I was a kid
Virgin in the Strand balcony

Elegant Granada Theater—
Not a dead Film Palace anymore
Movies & class reunions


All I wanted was to be alone—
Alone in my back room with its
Bamboo shades and books

The rest of the house—
I left alone, my parents dead
I was left alone back then

Family photos tell it all—
Divorces and grandchildren
But I stayed single

Beneath it all obituaries—
My job as a college librarian
A desire for oblivion


Sometimes I wanted to just—
Shrug my shoulders & leave
Quietly without a goodbye

I hated home I guess—
And having to be there
The same little town

But everybody died—
Moved away, so I became
A male Miss Havisham

I’ll die someday anyway—
Reprehensively perfect
They’ll say so knowingly


The sun’s occasional light—
Down thru the naked twisted
Elm branches along the street

Small college town full of—
Retired folks & old widows
Brittle and stiff as reeds

Each little home full of grief—
Along unhurried one-way streets
Like Constitution Street

Many of my teachers lesbians—
Their minds like drawers of knives
They were the less deceived


Flying high over Kansas—
Sighing and sipping my martini
“Emporia, that’s where I was born”

Smiling my friend said:
“Where you grew up and
where you had your roots?”

“No, just my unspent—
Youth and most of my manhood
Finally I couldn’t get out of there”

It was like dying down there—
Boys all biceps, girls all tits
Lonely wheatfields forever

Nothing much happened down there


I digress though however—
I never did get out of there
I stayed there instead

Same sky, same streets—
The highway glutted with trucks
Railway tracks heavy with freight

Midwestern towns that way—
Rotting away from the inside out
Slipping down into oblivion

And above it all hanging—
The long summer nights
Nothing but prairie silence


Swerving east and west—
Gaunt Highway 50 moving
Through the little shithole town

Past grain elevators, haystacks—
Scarecrows, muddy snowy
Downtown spectral streets

Dead-straight thru town—
Isolate dingbat little hellhole
All the way to Colorado

Cheap suits, kitchenware—
Sharp knives, old brick
Commercial Street ruins


Loneliness clarifies everything—
Because there’s nothing left
But Flint Hills nothingness

Purple-bluish dead horizon—
Ending the land way out there
The range doesn’t talk much

Everything is out of reach—
Here cattle roam the range
Old limestone fences 

Silence ruling everything—
Negating anything human
Stoic Kansas prevailing


Saying anything at all—
Means nothing to the ones
Living out there in Hills

Birth and death come—
And go slowly like seasons
Life is one long silent dying

Cattlemen like Jones—
Z-Bar Ranch Millionaire 
In Prairie Grove Cemetery

People in Strong City—
Don’t remember him much
They only think of the rodeo

Friday, November 1, 2013

EHS Fifty Years Later

Emporia High School Auditorium

Fifty Years Later (1962-2012)