after midnight

Yassy constructs a delicious though painful poem whose form I long have admired. She paints a wondrous moving scene and gives her visual artistic sense a ladder upon which others may climb. Thanks are but poor praise for enriching us but yours nonetheless.


softened whimpers
sparked by tribulation
fingers quaver as tears are wiped
stifling cries break the silence of the night
as clouds move to cover the sky
from lips a moan escapes
bosom heaving

# rictameter

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“Five HayHem Wakeup*”

Sometimes just the start

is all you have to go on:

windup is the key!


*(Earlier, I had cancelled the 6 a.m. alarm.  Saturday would be for a nice Spring laze before taking my bare toes into the garden for a nice weed-pull and some repotting with reading a hibiscus tea drinking thrown in.  But something pestered.  I woke: turned the crank on the “Sidewinder” cell-phone battery recharger device which never has fit any cell phone I – or anyone else I know – have owned but does have a terrific little one-bulb LED light.  I read the SONY pocket radio/weather radio clockface: 5 a.m.!  What? Why?  Oh, yeah: that pestering first line “Sometimes Just The Start…” I knew what I had to do: reach for the pen and pad and scribble under the ever-dimming light the lines and then lay back and grab a handfull of camouflage cool blanket I use to top my pillow and ponder:  thus, the next two lines appear.  I gotta quit meeting me like this.  I awoke next at 7, did some necessary things and shrugged into the backpack with notebooks and space to pick up the book I had reserved yesterday at the library.  En route I swiped some last few branches of Rosemary at the old Grammar School to further attempt cutting-success on this venerable old specimen as but three or five of the first dozen cuttings 10 days ago appear to have taken to root and threaten new growth.  Maybe that’s what prompted the Start of This Tale.)

“EarthDay* 1970”

Pineapples ready

but the field is overgrown:

red splotches on fruits!


*(The nation’s first Earth Day – though we did not know it at the time – I spent on patrol with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, in a little offshoot valley of the Que Son Mountains in Quang Nam Province, Republic of South Vietnam.  It was a beautiful Spring morning, just past the ever-lasting Winter monsoon rains and that gorgeous, melding of mountains, valleys and plains and coastal river deltas country was in full fecundity.  The platoon I chose to walk with as we searched old battlefields left to lie fallow – yet again in an ever recycling pattern more than one millennium pastward, had drawn the point assignment for the company.  I was out front of point taking pictures – as I often jested – of the next guy to get waxed so I could send them home to his mom and dad: lockerroom humor in green.  I noticed as we passed through a wrecked and ruined hamlet’s lone unsurrendered stray hootch still standing albeit with gaps and collapses, a long-since sundered fenceline pointed to a patch of something shiny and somehow familiar gone to wild and irregularity.  Pineapples!  Even though it’s not mid-Summer back in the states, these wonderful gifts to the palate gone gray and grumpy – C Rations and purloined Army Long-Range Patrol dehydrated rations will do that to a chap – were approaching pickability.  The point squad also noticed.  Sent back word.  Soon we had spread out into the treelines and a few brave (or foolhardy) souls struggled through the weeds, the saplings just sprouting and over old mortar and artillery and sometimes around bigger bomb craters to reach the twenty or so surviving pineapple plants, almost all showing fruit atop the spike that came up from the  long, pointy leaves with a sticker on the end and sawtoothed reminders to watch your pinkies – and brownies – as you reached down to pluck a leaf off the top of each suspectedly ripe pineapple – a ready-to-eat-Now! pineapple will yield its innermost top leaf easily, signifying its ripeness.  But when I reached for my leaf I noticed the pineapples and leaves and sticky-spiny lower-body leaves all were covered with red, shiny – though shriveled still recognizable – splotches that only cold be congealed blood.  No dragmarks, no bodies, no booby traps. No clue.  None of us harvested any fruit. Disappointed, yet somehow relieved, we left our field and the squad, the platoon and the company passed by without further comment.)

“First Street* GMOaks”

Our “Special” Oaks eat

the morning sun with relish.

No mustard? Onion?


*(A decade back when Sanford had just finished ripping up First Street in its downtown remodeling – about the fourth time by my count since coming to this Central Florida haven of Americana – City Mothers (and Fathers) planted young oaks to line not just First Street, but the first blocks or so of the North-South arterial avenues as well: I shook my head – “them oaks,” I recalled spouting, “will rip up those new widened sidewalks, push out the pavement and generally hell about underground you guys so carefully and lavishly expensively put in. And that says nothing about the overhead…the awnings, the wires the windows. What were they thinking?” My interlocutor assured me my fears were unfounded. “These Oak trees were genetically modified to grow skinny and tall and not be a bother to the buildings and the roots will not bulge upward along the ground and spread tentacles wide and destructive. They were designed not to.”  I wonder if the oaks know what they are missing?)

“Profile* At 13th & Laurel?”

I thought I could go

around,” explains traffic-scoff

to diligent cop.


*(Big black SUV pickemup truck, too-dark to see in windows and the Sanford City Cop “lights ‘Em Up” before he can know he has stopped a young “black” man with passenger possibly female – I was walking opposite too quickly to note more – and minutes later, rather than a simple warning I see from three, four blocks past in my dowtownward route the lightbar still active and the two vehicles still parked alongside Laurel Avenue at the base of the low, gentle shadetree-lined hill, one of my favorite routes to the library of a Saturday morning.  Good on you, copper!”