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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Through the Magnolias

In his backyard
There was an old car
A '54 Buick I think
It was faded black
And the guy who owned it
Used to sit in there and drink

It smelled like ancient upholstery;
springs busting through the seats
and a musty melting plastic odor;
the thing grown up in weeds

Under giant magnolia trees
Part sun and partly shaded
I wandered there on July days
To a young boy's secret haven

The sweltering summer sun
Baked the enamel
The tires were rotting away
But it wasn't driven anywhere
It was parked and parked to stay

There were clear pint bottles
In the floorboard;
the headliner hanging down
He used to let me sit in it
and pretend I was driving around

He was a friendly man
But gaunt and old
He never caused any hurt
With bristled whiskers
And sweat stains
Soaking through his shirt

My daddy said, "He's just a drunk."
But, "He doesn't mean any harm."
And I'd sneak out to look in the trunk
near the barn behind his farm

One hot day in August
I climbed in there to play
And was promptly chased out by hornets
I barely got away
The old guy was watching
On the porch out of the sun
"Be careful boy, them bees is mean.
Watch out you don't get stung."

I later learned the old car
Had once belonged to his wife
But she had suddenly passed away
And he never learned to drive
So he'd sit inside and sip whiskey
Remembering her that way
To me it was all a mystery
Just a young boy wanting to play

Years later I reflected
How he had always seemed alone
But took the time to share with me
the grandest thing he owned
I never went back to the old car
Afraid as I was of the bees
But I still remember the summer sun
Through the magnolia trees

Monday, May 14, 2018

Dancing in the Light

A single shaft of light
Penetrated the Venetian blind
Upon it danced a thousand motes of dust
The particles in celebration
Seemed to cling
To an arrow of the sun's bright offering

The room, behind dark velvet curtains
Had been sanctuary for the night
In darkness all things become uncertain
Void of will and subject to suggestions
Scattering like quicksilver in the light

The black fades into purple brown
Shadows creep away to secret corners
Were I to rise and pull the curtain down
No doubt the dark would burst with morning
But I sit perplexed and ponder
A mystery that makes me wonder

A shadow in a crevice holds no fear
It only lies in wait for discovery
What is this shaft of light doing here?
Did it come to rob the night of something lovely?
But look! How the darkness flees!
Even from a single pin so bright
What does it mean; perhaps or might?

Only a bit of day has changed the darkness
It wakened in me a thirst for all things bright
For where once I found comfort and solace
Behold! I saw weakness and cowardice!
I became determined to catch the sun
And so, into the east, I began to run.

But as I traveled and ran and did my best
The great star rose above me
The noon poured heat upon my brow
And now, the turning of the earth has
Sent me west.

We can not catch the sun except on our skin
Or perhaps we may harness a bit in our hearts
But there are things, that if pursued
Will only turn to leave us in the dark
Still, there will be smaller stars there

They will be there to remind us
There is always light
No matter how fast we travel
Or how far we put the past behind us

So I begin to cling, like some other earthly thing
Like a most of dust, not knowing what to trust
But looking forever forward to the light
And I begin to dance, if only on the chance
That I may, in some small way
Help to make the wrong things right

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

When the Rains Came

When the rains came they washed
Windows and asphalt
With pebbles on the beach

They exploded on lakes and rivers
Like fingers on piano keys
In a flurry and haste of abandon

Cascading down red brick chimneys
Onto black tar shingles
Swooshing through metal gutters

Spewing from drainage pipes
Roaring through culverts
And all the while, glistening

For days the incessant drip
Echoed through rooms
Muffled by music on the radio

Sounds of a thirsty dog
Lapping from a sloshing bowl
Waves and sheets breathed and shushed

At night droplets tap danced
Like water color blues
Tambourine puddles in the soul

It sang an endless lullaby
Soothing the world with whispers
Making the earth remember

Primordial floods and deluge
Leaving behind the clean-swept
Rock faces of canyons to drain

All the colors were brighter
Grass became green and moist
Trees stood more erect

While roots rushed downward
Retrieving what was lost
In subterranean pools

The monsoon returns again
In dry seasons we recall
Wet footprints on the floor

And now the cane grows tall
Rice grows in flooded fields
Because the rains came

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


Looking back to a railroad track
I walked in late July
In the summer of nineteen seventy six
And how the time flew by

I worked a job and paid my way
Walked home all through September
Before a good friend took me in
And I was thankful in November

Rain would soak right through my coat
Or the days were hot and dust blew
With honeysuckle and creosote
A man does what he must do

We rode in a nineteen forty coupe
A candy apple Chevrolet
Winter evenings we'd have soup
At his mother's house along the way

Through the years, friends and miles
I've seen along with autumn gold
Summer days and warmer smiles
Turning gray... as I grow old

Lost many lovers and best of friends
But still I cling to this;
Every heart on trust depends
And not some fleeting goodbye kiss

To the friends that honored me
With friendship through the years
And to the ones that have passed away
And left my heart in tears

I wrote a bit of poetry
And this, for the world to see
I've cherished you as you cherish me
Though some, I cherish in memory

Through the years I've kept some things
From friendship that are tokens
Some bits and baubles, beads and strings
That remember love unspoken

Thank you for the good times;
The swimming in the creek
The long days filled with sunshine
The kisses on my cheek

Thank you for the memories
Like children being born
Thank you for being there for me
When I was feeling lost and torn

Thank you for sharing in my work
To make my burdens light
And allowing me to help with yours
And thank you for the nights

You put me up on a cot or bed
And wouldn't let me drive
Or you offered me your sofa
So I could make it home alive

Thank you for sharing my laughter
And thank you for sharing my tears
Thank you for being there after
All these years and years

It is said a man knows not
What will come or how life ends
But my life was made from your love
And I owe my life to friends

So if I've forgotten some trinket
Given to me in youth
Remember my years and don't think it
Ungrateful of me for in truth

It was those very same memories
Of which I have not spoken
That are the treasures kept in me
Like promises, never broken

When my years fulfill in me
The time that brings my death
Please remember in certainty
That until my dying breath

I treasure mementos of friendship
And I treasure our memories
For the best of love and life are made
From tokens such as these

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Death Eater

I saw a vulture walking;
hopping a staggering dance,
along a length of railroad track
void of pretense or romance.

Wings protruding in caped shoulders
above his bald and pink-gray head.
And upon his long, sharp beak I noticed
a smile waiting for things dying
and dead.

His head was heavy on his long bent neck.
His claws gripped the gravel in earnest.
Singed pinions and grizzled hairs
formed a collar, black as a furnace.

He was one of a company that journeyed;
a ragged band of vagrant beasts
spreading wings in the breath of oblivion,
the foul stench of decaying things.

His dance was not that threatening;
not so much as purposeful, with intent.
Other birds made way for him
as along the railroad track he went.

Presently, he came upon some carnage
of unlucky carrion left by the train
and folding his wings as if in prayer
he dined upon the grim remains

He held the visage of an undertaker
who went about his work with calm;
dressed for mourning by his tailor
but to devour rather than embalm.

Most would find this business gruesome;
the brutal wrenching of decaying flesh
while he sees in death not something futile
but seeks his own life to refresh!

I saw a vulture standing
and he spread his great black wings
over the shadow of death demanding
his life from wretched, detestable things!

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Yellow Cotton Dress

Dancing motes of dust
Rise and fall in shafts of sunlight
The secret music of souls plays through the window
It is the pulse of blood and beauty
That angels stir with silent wings

It is not for mortals to know such things

Life and death are imposters of truth
They limit the song of space to time
We knew the lie when we were young
But grew to fools as years passed by
Now we hear in rain the rolling of the hearse

While the symmetry of snow freezes still the universe

Ah, you do not know; you claim amnesia of innocence
But you once believed and once it held you in a trance
You were hypnotized by the power of wonder
And later you heard the thunder from the lightning of romance
And you hid because you were scared

I know…I remember because I was there

The wind chimes were tinkling on the porch
And a breeze came and whispered soft your name
You hummed a song from a dream; you had forgotten the words
You felt a shiver in the sun and all your nerves
Were alert on end

You knew someone was there…somewhere, watching

One night you tried to count the stars and wondered
If someone was out there counting you
You felt so small under the open sky
The vast velvet ocean in day was a canopy of blue
At night you were a mote of dust caught up in the dance

And you rose and fell like sun and stars with every chance

You became so predictable but inexplicable
Dependable and expendable to yourself
Like an antique bottle that sought its worth
You poured out the wine of your precious soul
Like blood that was mingled with the dust of earth

But long ago the breath of God gave Adam birth

We cannot climb again the thread to the womb
The umbilical is cut and we are left alone
We can only hasten our retreat to the tomb
Saved by the grave; shall the meek inherit the earth?
Shall love bear us out even to the edge of doom?

City streets and buildings are screaming for more room

Visions are useless pictures to the blind
Pearls are of no value to swine
Poets are slaves to reason and rhyme
The reader may not comprehend a single word or line
They may not care another soul dares to open
A forgotten past that they have closed

But deep in your heart, your spirit knows

You feel me in your heartbeat; rising, falling
You hear me in your dreams; whispering, calling
Your name in chimes rings on the wind
And you stand on the front porch listening
You might remember a song you can’t express

While in my world you are a little girl…in a yellow cotton dress

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Death in the Afternoon

Murmurs of the crowd
Wash in waves of distant thunder
Late afternoon in the month of June
The arena; damp with rain and wonder

Bodies in boxes with glasses
Binocular visions of Spanish lasses
Dressed in vermillion and gold
Waiting the tragedy to unfold

Below, there stands the matador
Surveying a slight expanse of sand
Upon their horses, picadors
Lances ready in their hands

Into the barrera comes the bull
Released from inside his iron cage
His appearance; terrible and dreadful
Snorting drool in fearsome rage

Fandas passing magenta and gold
Capote flourishing to tempt and tease
As picadors drive home the lances
Blood on the dusty Spanish breeze

Horns and shoulders, lower now;
Toro focused upon the cloth
The matador with each passing suerte
Brandishing his sword aloft

The flash of red, the glitter of steel
Dash and dance at his command
His steps, a close ballet of sorts;
The waltz of assassins and noblemen

Beneath the burning Spanish sun
The gasping crowd awaits the doom
The final thrust of the sword bears witness
To death in the afternoon

About Me

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Poet and musician Fabian G. Franklin invites you to join him on a poetic journey through the soul and nature.