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POEM: The Berkshire Blues – one word at a time

A meditation on old trucks, out of gas.

for Matt Tannenbaum


To begin and end with words.

To believe all words given and all words received

From a Universe populated with words

Can fuel the craving to create new worlds

One word at a time.


Trying to encourage words

By reading books and newspapers

Online journals and magazines

Filled and throbbing with the magic of themselves.


Hoping these published words glisten as stars glisten

Transforming a blanket of darkness into tapestries sparkling with song.


And when words escape

Back into the void

I tempt them with my Muse

Wearing well-worn boots

Cufflinks & white cotton shirt.


Like a hunter perhaps sitting patiently in woods

Wired and waiting for the next Buck to arrive.

And sniff. Then stare. Then graze on fresh feed

Emptied from a sack onto glacial rock

Packed silent with snow.


Knowing it’s useless to compare

How other songs are sung.

Expertly compiled. Perfect and precise.

Organic in their composition and truth.


Knowing it’s my soul who reloads the gun.

Before nestling the stock into my shoulder

Before aiming then a breath.

Before acceptance pulls the trigger.

Regardless of the unpaid bills

Crushed on the dashboard

Of a rusting truck

Without tags

No longer insured


Because the gas gauge

Sleeps on empty.


Fueling the habit to meander through

The rural convenience of convenient farm

Grown country raised convenience stores


Armed with loose change scraped off tiled floors

Asking for a pack of smokes and a crate of Big Elm Beer

In exchange for a coffee tin filled with busted Bic razors.


Before circumstances outweigh morals

And digging deeper starts again.


Asking to stay resolute. Stubborn and true.

Until the transcendence of night melts into daybreak

And a thin slice of light appears on the shelf

Translating a world written into a new written word


Before one joins two

Then if I’m lucky three

Appearing helpless and vulnerable

Like a child with a tooth ache

Afraid to start crying

Because tears release pain

Long ago forgotten


Before the first birds chirp

And this sentence breathes complete.

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