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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Siren's Song (Painting: The Siren by Waterhouse)

Upon the black and brine washed crags
She sits and sings her song
Sparkling in her sequined gown;
Rainbows glittering in the dawn

A chorus of heavenly angels;
A choir of prepubescent boys
Compared to her are toneless
And their efforts are but noise

She unveils her temptress treasures
Wooing the warrior from the sea
Sailors see her celestial beauty
The ship is doomed upon the reef

Stop your ears oh brave Ulysses
Enchanted by her music fair
Cover your eyes from her nakedness
With bits of seaweed in her hair

Even the heart of Odysseus trembles
Like the tinkling of silver bells
The ringing song of golden cymbals
Lures the heart and mind to hell

Neptune’s daughter scoffs the brave
Men who set out upon the deep
She tempts them to a watery grave
And sings them softly still to sleep

Thus enticed by lustful notions
Crooning voice and woman’s charms
They are swallowed by the ocean
Who long to be held in her arms

She is Poseidon’s wicked daughter
All the sea nymphs fear her wrath
Her song rules the bright blue water
A guilty lilt plays in her laugh

Foolish mortals who ride the waves
You are not fish and don’t belong
And do not think you will be saved
Once you’ve heard the Siren’s song

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Three a.m. blues,

thick as smoke

Creeping slow

as sweet sorghum

Dreamy clouds

of steaming coffee

Delicate wisps

of summer jasmine

Lucinda Williams

moans soft and low

Crickets sing in

black ghost grass

Far down an empty

gravel road

The heavy night

is eerily still

Distant highway

life, on pause

No lights or background

engine growl

The stars seem to

twinkle louder now

Blinking out

a useless S.O.S.

Air so solid

I can feel it

Warmth resisting


Sleep lead weighted

to eyelids

Hot liqueur in

guts of doldrums

Breeze that

refuses to blow

Despite the window’s

open invitation

Lone light bulb

hot enough to sweat

Night almost gone

hangs around to drag

© 2010 Fabian G. Franklin

Monday, November 29, 2010


The eyes of the infant alter
With shifting forms of color and light
Listening to the tinkle of the chime

Never does his attention falter
Transfixed by the beauty so bright
On his face; a look of happiness sublime

Simple shapes of twirling plastic
Suspended by a bit of string
Tied fast to a rotating music box

The effect borders on fantastic
Wonderful to this tiny being
In his cotton blanket and knitted socks

Beauteous treasure underrated
For just the few dollars it cost
Hours of amazement entertained

Innocence lies fascinated
In dreams of rapture lost
Perhaps that is poetry explained

Friday, November 26, 2010

On Windy Bay

I dreamed last night of Windy Bay
When we were there one April day
The sunlight bleaching out your curls
A different sun, a different world
The ocean seemed to call your name
On every rock where water came
The breaking brine would crash and hiss
We shared a wet and salty kiss
Our blanket wrapped around us both
Held our bodies warm and close
We sipped coffee by the fire
And watched the morning star retire
Let’s go tomorrow or today
Back to our love on Windy Bay

Leaves and Last Goodbyes

The chill of late autumn mimics the chill of my soul.
Since you left, my heart is broken.
There’s no place left to go.

I walked down to the lake today, sat on the bank and cried.
The dogwood that you planted there
Is withered black and dry.

Only a few sparse leaves are clinging, like memories in my heart.
As I hung my head and sat there
I could feel the teardrops start.

Hopeless and helpless, I held my knees, trying to get a grip.
Talking to God and begging please
As useless prayers spilled from my lips

I told Him I was angry because He didn’t keep you alive.
He didn’t answer why the cancer
Took you at only thirty- five

I have to go home to our children now and tell them mommy is gone
I wish I could stay here somehow
I feel so lost and all alone

A gentle wind blew from the lake and caught a burnt black sail
And a dogwood leaf filled with grief
Trembled silent and fell

I remember you lying in the hospital bed saying I had to carry on
I love our children but I’m to how
Now that my love and life are gone

The hour is getting later and darker; endless tendrils of tomorrow
Like the dogwood’s tiny fingers...lingering
Clawing the hem of heaven in sorrow


Silent pear-shaped world of water;
Ocean of pain trapped in a drop
Sliding slow as frozen glaciers
Down the cheek to trickle stop

Saline bitter; sometimes sweet
Always salty as the sea
Where emotions mix and meet
From the hearts of you and me

Soothing balm to pain and fear
Sadness caught or rapture’s joy
All contained within the sphere
Encapsulated by the envoy

Messenger of pride and pain
From young child to dying old
They are drops of our heart rain
From the windows of our soul

Blood is life so oft is said
It goes unchallenged when we hear it
Clearer than the crimson red
Is the bearer of the spirit

Offering this wisdom now
For every heart and soul to hear
Sacred as the wedding vow
Is the shedding of a tear

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Troubadour

Man With The Blue Guitar...Pablo Picasso

The Troubadour

Across the bronze wound notes of my being
A calloused thumb strums the music of my soul
Perhaps the song is sad today remembering
The happy sounds of youth as I grow old

All the worn down grooves along the frets
And hollow canoes ground into the neck
Where blues were played and life was stretched
Now but silent visions which I might reflect

And the shining pearls I cast before swine
Mark the chords of every absent song
I played for the dance of every painted mime
Knowing that they had no words to sing along

Play me a tune like wine by candlelight;
Like a book beside a crackling fire in winter
But if not romantic; make it gay and bright
I would be the revelry to cheer the happy sinner

I’m an old guitar but I still stay in tune
To the hearts that love me for my song
I would play the stars and the harvest moon
In autumn when the nights grow cold and long

I’ve been aware without reverberation
There is trembling tremolo at my center
Where the pick was placed in adoration
Like the bookmark by that fire in winter

Perhaps it marks where the last song played
And we might pick up the music yet again
My life is but a song, no matter what is said
Pray, do not let the music sadly end

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sun Drenched Love

So long ago I remember when
The smell of sunshine on her skin
Drove me mad; intoxicating
Any plan we had of waiting
Damp and tangled auburn curls
Brushed away the worried world
The rise and fall of eager hips
Sea salt kisses; tender lips
Smooth brown skin drenched in sweat
Forbidden sins with no regret
Such, the reckless ways of youth
Memories enhance the truth
As summer did those many times
Sundresses hid bikini lines
Dinner at her parent’s house
Silent as proverbial mouse
Tried to be cool but wasn’t able
She winked at me across the table
To be excused I had to beg
Her bare foot rubbed against my leg
Sitting there between mom and dad
How bold the love my lover had!
Still I love to remember then
The smell of sunshine on her skin

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Long Distance

Those long distances;
whether years or miles;
tears or smiles,
that separate what we feel
from what we think;
that urge us to drown the real
in drink
or find some new nepenthe
in the amnesia of pills; the dark and lengthy
painkilling process that kills the infection;
the affection,
by draining the abscess
or the excess
of our hearts
or parts
of our minds that refuse to let go
is in and of itself; painfully slow.
The only solace to our sorrow is
in remembering
what has not been...and hoping…
looking forward to tomorrow.
The distance can be crossed
and all is not lost
unless we choose to lose it
and would we choose it
if our pain; our joy, our lust
were just as much a part of us
as our clear logic instead of magic?
How tragic!
We can’t hold on to youth
or truth
or beauty
because of responsibility to duty
but shall we be just as cynical;
cold and clinical,
in our amputations
of relations
that once meant something to us?
So it costs
a few more cents
to call;
we should have the good sense
to make the effort after all.
And in those suffering
pauses of silent instances
we can learn to shorten by practice
those long distances.
Perhaps we can’t hold
on to youth
or find any universal truth;
beauty fades
like plans we’ve made;
the best laid schemes
of mice and men have failed
and flailed;
drowning while jumping
from a sinking ship;
struggling to swim to the distant
shores of heaven.
How will we cross the vast
and infamous chasm
from earth below to heaven above?
There is no bridge but one.
Poets and philosophers have agreed
in need
to call it love.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Upon the sea; wind fills her sails;
Swollen belly of starving ghost
And from the west she lifts her veil
Pulled by breath of Zephyrus

Ocean cradles her wooden child
Gently rocking; her song unravels
Gulls screech high above the beach
Along the coast she swiftly travels

A sailor’s hand; hard-muscled, lean
Calloused from the yard ropes pulled
Steers the lonely Barkentine
Where the gentle wind has lulled

Let her wander where she will
Across oceans vast and blue
Keep her from the doldrums still
Sweet the breeze that blows so true

Great sailfish will spear the air
As dolphins school about her
And jellyfish without a care
Will dance upon the water

She will brave nor’easter’s blast
Pitch and woo the mighty waves
Until she finds her port at last
With trembling cargo she has saved

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Illusionist

The magician has the lady floating on air
He’s always so careful to mention
There are no strings attached
The audience sits transfixed
Her friends and relatives unaware
The assistant is in danger
The lady seems too stiff to be relaxed
He puts her through the hoops
But never puts a ring around her finger
She’s hypnotized by this illusion
For a moment she’s the star of the show
His tricks are only slight of heart
And perhaps too late she’ll come to know
When he disappears like the rabbit in his hat
For now, he puts his cape around her shoulder
They bow together to approval and applause
But there’s no real magic here
It’s all done with smoke and mirrors
Once revealed, the audience feels
Slightly foolish for believing
Anything they saw

The Big Chill

I watched The Big Chill the night of the freeze
The temperature dipped below twelve degrees
Halos on my window; hot coffee in hand
Reflections on snow; ribbons cross the land

Barren trees stretch up like crow’s feet
Clawing the sky for vacant summer heat
A yellow coin of moon slipped the grey
Flipping a nightlight switch; imitating day

Dust devil clouds; dancing ice and snow
Whirl and twirl in dervish fandango
The winds cry bitter; sad mournful notes
Wailing, frozen wasteland ghosts

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Heart is a Soldier

My heart is a soldier in the open
Not knowing when to take cover
For all the dreams it goes on hoping
Until shot down by an enemy lover

My love; a ship on a stormy ocean
Tossed and adrift on a mindless sea
Where it believes the foolish notion
I might be loved for only me

My hope is a prisoner in a cell
It paces the cage made from my ribs
Confined by a heart of living hell
It only longs to love and live

Give me shelter from the storm
Make my spirit bulletproof
In your arms both safe and warm
Teach my heart your loving truth

All the lies that have been spoken
Left me wounded on the field
All the promises that were broken
Will take time to mend and heal

My heart is a soldier true and brave
Not afraid to go to war
If you believe I can be saved
That’s a love worth fighting for

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Art of Drifting

We are fiery autumn leaves
Adrift on the river of time
Carried by reckless currents
As our colors burn and shine

Wash the earth kaleidoscope
Brave as merchant ships
Though we cannot change the course
Let us still enjoy the trip

We are only dandelion seed
Swept by summer wind
Sailing to unknown destinations
Guided but by chance and whim

Let us plant a seed of hope
Wherever our lives touch
And leave a trail of flowers
Along the rocky and the rough

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Woody's Song

You know this land is your land baby
Little Sadie take a whiff on me
I’m gone to smell the wildwood flower
I’m bound for the pastures of plenty

Gone on the trail of the buffalo
With the mule skinner blues in the dustbowl
I followed Jimmie Rodgers to the rodeo
And wrote Jesus Christ for the radio

This train is bound for glory; this train
This train don’t run on worry and cocaine
Little Arlo’s on the City of New Orleans
Dylan’s walking round in old jeans

I got my bed on the floor, I’m a deportee
I met a Danville girl up in Tennessee
Tired of waiting on a hesitating beauty
I’m way over yonder in the minor key

Better get ready for the worried man blues
Jesus had sand in both of his shoes
He never taught John how to pick and sing
John couldn’t undo his sandal string

Through the flood and the storm I’m gonna sing
Sowing on the mountain while church bells ring
My battle might lead down Satan’s black alley
Past mountains to kneel in some lonesome valley

My flying saucer is a merry go round
My flowers grow green till the sun goes down
The things that I’ve seen; boys, I’ve been around
Hangknot, Slipknot, don’t push me down

Heaven, my home; on a highway of light
If I’m everything on earth I’m nothing tonight
Got a brand new Caddy and amazing grace
I’ll stay home with daddy; he don’t wash my face

My mamma’s not afraid and neither am I
Cause my daddy flies that ship in the sky
It’s been good to know you, so long from above
Just wink at the stars when you think of my love

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

When the Music Stops

Beautiful clown of porcelain and silk
Gold fabric and silver filigreed lace
Wind the key in the center of his back
A sad song plays delicately
A single tear lies motionless on his face

His head inclines; arms outstretched
He looks as if he is longing to embrace
Soft is the whir of his machinery;
The music box invisible
As he moves with awe inspiring grace

When the song ends he stands frozen still
Gone the tinkle of his beautiful chime
Silent, the whir of his mechanism
Silence is louder than music
It speaks of the life within the mime

He is one of many in the collection
But his is the favorite song
Trembling with sadness and beauty
Only he can make you close your eyes
And weep silently for his perfection

That I could have been a porcelain doll
With only a single tear I might cry
Your hand would have wound my heart
I would have played the violin
As the painted sadness slipped… from my eye

The jester will quietly cease moving soon
His embrace comes to a coda and stops
His efforts of animation ended
His beautiful music silenced
They will carry and lay me in my box

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Playground

The sun scraped his knee on the playground of heaven
Bleeding freely across a turquoise eggshell of sky
And though he is a big brave boy, a few tears of rain were shed
But he’s sure to return in the morning, warm and bright

The August moon came following, as baby sisters always do
With a glow of admiration on her face
Chasing the tears of the sun across a vault of midnight blue,
Wrapped in a veil of tattered yellow lace

The twinkling stars sang nursery rhymes in silver shades of silk
Their chorus number; grains of sparkling sand
Skimming stones across the sky through puddles made of milk
And winking at the foolishness of man

To the Mountains

Vast and rolling ancient hills of smoke
The drifting steam of cobweb dreams
Weaves a web between your green
And wraps around your shoulders like a cloak

The pink of dawn upon your rosy cheeks
Rests there like a maiden’s blush
Painted by exquisite celestial brush
Through your veins wind tiny streams and creeks

Rise like mother’s bosom; breath and heartbeat
Teats where I was suckled as a child
Nourishment that made me free and wild
Your wandering paths were velvet on my feet

Perfumed musk of early woodland dawn
Drifts through branches; intoxicating
Drawing the traveler deeper; waiting
Smell of wood and moss and leaf and loam

Lichens, mushrooms, ginseng growing
Laurels thick as honey round the lake
Birds sing to the music that you make
Your arms are full of history and knowing

Oldest, grandest mountains of the earth
Not so high that you are cold and bare
Pioneer settlers raised their children there
Mothers offered offspring from their birth

To play in the woods with Cherokee friends
They were here three thousand years
Until the infamous trail of tears
And whites replaced the noble Indian

Daniel Boone fished and hunted these trails
Before the signing of the Declaration
Before the war that helped to build a nation
Legends and heroes walked among your hills

Though much is recorded in history
Collected in eddies like swirling foam
Bubbles resting green and white as home
Fade into abstraction and mystery

Snows of more than a million winters past
Have melted into your flesh and bone
The bones of men who died lost and alone
Are cradled in your loving arms at last

More beautiful than gentle in your fashion
Glorious are your vistas in the dew
Mountain mornings make all things new
How I love you my dear Appalachians

Saturday, July 24, 2010


You and me have been a little out of tune
When I got drunk I couldn’t blame it all on you
But there are strings to this relationship
And you’re going to have to play the blues sometimes
If you want to keep hanging like this

My six string friend, you’ve always seen me through
No matter what women or the smoke and the whiskey do
You’ve never made an enemy but made me quite a few friends
And I’ve begun to feel that you’re the only one
That I can trust when it all depends

You remember that girl we met up in Buffalo
I wanted to stay but you wanted to play and go
So I left her behind and I can see her crying that night
But I wouldn’t trade you for her, old friend
So I guess it all worked out alright

Lost in my luggage on an airplane to New Orleans
You were busted in customs with a bag of something green
I claimed you even though jail is what it meant
And convinced the judge that taking you
Was too cruel of a punishment

My six string friend, you’ve always seen me through
No matter what women or the smoke and the whiskey do
You’ve never made an enemy but made me quite a few friends
And I’ve begun to feel that you’re the only one
That I can trust when it all depends

Times I feel like we’re never going to get to rest
But before I die I’m going to write a last request
That they bury you along with me and my songs
And when we get to the pearly gates why we’ll
Just get them all to sing along

My six string friend, you’ve always seen me through
No matter what women or the smoke and the whiskey do
You’ve never made an enemy but made me quite a few friends
And I’ve begun to feel that you’re the only one
That I can trust when it all depends

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I do not have a heart of gold
I grow weary as I grow old
The young will never understand
The loneliness I speak of
When I was young I dreamed
Some alchemist would come
Along and turn this lead
Inside my chest
Into something precious
But the art of alchemy is dead
The sorcerers are fresh out
Of new apprentices
The last wizard died in Oz
I can not pull the sword
From the stone that is my heart
And I am still alone
Arthur had Merlin
But what good did it do him
When Guinevere loved Lancelot
Magic healed not
His broken heart
Heavy is the burden beneath my ribs
They are a cage of iron bars;
A prison for a thing of worthlessness
How the pulsing throbbing ache
Keeps my spirit wide awake
So I can no longer dream
Though lead melts low
The blood runs cold
From ancient bergs and winter snow
And I am trudging without snowshoes
Mountainous terrain;
The mounting pain of abuse
Perhaps if I only had a staff
To lean upon
Then I could laugh
In the grim face of adversity
When the reaper brought
The hearse for me
I know in my mind my time is short
Do not trouble me with sympathy
Or words of pretended empathy
Can you know my sorrow
And hope yet for tomorrow?
Will you become a martyr to my cause?
Yellow riches run in veins
Throughout the caves
Within the mountains
But I am no miner with pick and shovel;
More gypsy wanderer than lover
I walk alone the drifting snow
Like pilgrims on Kilimanjaro
I wonder at the many dead
From bursting hearts
And aching heads
And I wonder what you would do
To reach the summit of Uhuru
I can no longer make the trek
I rest rather than break my neck
Though illustrious are stories told;
I do not have a heart of gold
This leaden thing inside my chest
Need die before it can find rest
As of yet it knows regret
It cannot find one alchemist
To turn its worthlessness to gold
And I grow weary as I grow old

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Photo courtesy

When the world began in dreamtime
And the earth was formed by songlines
Each place on earth, water and sky
Was marked for the dreamer’s inward eye

There each man is connected by spirit
And the song if he can only hear it
The words are in the language of men
The music comes from without and within

We are closer than we dare to believe
And less real than true reality
Where the passion comes from to create
Is in that dreaming, creative state

The power that formed the evening stars
Is in our minds, our souls and hearts
But we have forgotten those ancient times
And we have lost the sacred songlines

We wake puzzled when we are visited
At night and our minds grow inquisitive
We cannot believe and yet we feel
Like the place from which we came was real

It never occurs to us that the land
The sea and the sky are connected to man
But drawn by ancestors on primitive stone
Are pictures of when we were not so alone

We say that heaven is filled with sweet music
But we never sing or remember to use it
To connect the mortal to the divine
And draw upon the source of the songline

Tonight when you close your eyes to sleep
And the dreaming world comes soft and deep
Remember the music which you have heard
And speak to your brothers the sacred words

We may be connected while there is still time
Through the sweet music and beautiful rhyme
If we only will search we might find
Our way cross the earth to heaven’s songline

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Corruption (Song Lyrics)

Author's Note: I could hear the voice of Bob Dylan singing this as I wrote it.

Kick the stones that have no hope.
They’re little more than hardened dirt.
A noose is but a piece of rope.
Kick the chair and end the hurt.

Bullets, blades and bastards too;
Cold hearted sons of bitches
Want the very last of you
Dead and lying in the ditches.

Blood is just a sacrifice.
Bones are little more than stones.
Blood can turn as cold as ice
When a body’s left alone.

You think you know somebody well.
It turns out you were wrong.
A man can burn in his own hell
Long before his life is gone

And I know all these things
By my brother’s suffering
I know all this truth
For I learned it in my youth
And I’ve met the angel of destruction
I have hoped and dreamed in vain
Driven my poor heart insane
It’s not like me to complain
About corruption

You cry and scream and pray to God
I don’t think He’s listening
You think I’m a little odd
You don’t know what you’re missing

Churches, schools and governments
They’re full of higher learning
They’re full of tyrants and hypocrites
The world just keeps on turning

Send your children off to war
Send them off to college
Don’t know what they’re fighting for
Their minds are void of knowledge

Their blood is just a sacrifice
Appease your higher powers
But do not take a friend’s advice
If he’s not one of ours

And I know all these things
By my brother’s suffering
I know all this truth
For I learned it in my youth
And I’ve met the angel of destruction
I have hoped and dreamed in vain
Driven my poor heart insane
But it’s not for me to complain
About corruption

Oh, the poor and weak are gathered
By the strong and wealthy hands
To their footstools they are tethered
Cannon fodder for this land

Look around you, you may see
Prophet there a walking on the water
Before they point your gun at me
They’re aiming at your every son and daughter

I leave you to your hangman’s noose
Stretch your neck and close your eyes in sorrow
I’m giving up for its no use
You won’t do a thing to change tomorrow

So kick the bones that have no hope
They’re little more than skeletons
Their hands are tied with careful rope
By all the cruel and jealous ones

And I know all these things
By my brother’s suffering
I know all this truth
For I learned it in my youth
And I’ve met the angel of destruction
I have hoped and dreamed in vain
Driven my poor heart insane
It’s not like me to complain
About corruption

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Moon in June

She peeked between the fingers of clouds
and scattered gold dust through the shadows;
whispered words to the warm wind and
wrapped her shawl around her shoulders.
Morning glories climbing the garden fence
trailed love letters in heart shaped leaves.
They never speak to her or sing their song
but trumpet their colors to the dawn believing
she’s still there but her light has gone.
The veiled brides of June are soon to wed;
trellised arches of flowers for their vows;
pillows of lover’s lace upon their beds
and wreaths of expectation on their brows.
They shed their innocence like moonlight;
soft as whispered promises of love.
When the morning comes, will they be wise?
The moon will not be shining from above.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Among the stones on windswept rim
A fragile flower grew
Painted like dainty butterfly wing
Drinking the morning dew

Gossamer tendrils stretch from birth
Beneath the arid ground
Seeking sustenance from the earth
Moving without a sound

Through the gray-green filaments
Blood of ages pass
Dazzling colors and nutrients
That spill in bloom at last

We are become much like the plant
Among the sand and stone
Who by survival must supplant
Infertile flesh and bone

And let the spirit’s winding roots
Sink deep into the soil
Producing green and vibrant shoots
That stretch through time and toil

Then our soul’s true colors seen
Among the brittle clay
Might be a fit bright offering
In heaven’s rich bouquet


In a deserted empty house
The middle of the night
Footsteps in an adjacent room
As I turn on the light
No one there, I lay awake
All night listening
For creaking floorboards
Bumping furniture
The footsteps come no more

Walking home on darkened streets
A foggy mist of rain
Footsteps soft on forest leaves
Breaking twigs inside my brain
I spin around in misty halos
Bats flit by the streetlamp
Nothing there, I walk again
Listening in the damp

Again, again, the hairs on end
All along my spine
And down both arms, a shiver runs
Footsteps keeping time
Across the roof under the moon
The dog whines on his chain
The click of patent leather shoes
Impossible to explain

What sort of creature silently
Walks rooftops late at night
But disappears in mockery
When I turn on the lights
Outside my bedroom window
Just before the dawn
I wake to sounds of breathing
I know I’m not alone

Footsteps pause behind the curtain
A dragging, shuffling fright
Madness messengers, I am certain
Footsteps come for me tonight

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Del Rio 1915

I miss the creak of leather under me
I miss the saguaro on the Sonoran
I miss that goddamned half-breed quarter horse
Son of a bitch was more mustang than anything
Now my Winchester just sits in the corner gathering dust

I miss old Talking Crow
First by God blue-eyed Apache I ever seen
Claimed he was full blooded Chiricahua
But I always thought there was some white blood
He was mean on his whiskey so I never pressed the matter

I miss pulling off my boot and thinking
That the rest of my leg was going to come with it
My hind end never did bother me much
But by God my thighs ached enough to make up for it
I miss drinking coffee that still had grounds in it

I miss sleeping out in the open under the stars
I miss damn near freezing when it got nippish out
I miss having a saddle for a pillow
And borrowing Choctaw’s blanket to go over mine
He didn’t need it without his saddle no way

I miss eating beans and beefsteak for breakfast
And the fried tortillas Jose’ used to make
I miss spending the spring out on the great divide
Getting the herd all fattened up for market
And I miss the feel of my Colt strapped to my hip

I miss spending a month’s pay getting drunk and laid
Half the time ending up in a fight or a poker game
I look at the scars in the mirror and I have to smile
Damn them sure was some fine times
But it’s all gone now, like me pretty soon I reckon

They got a newfangled thing called a “horseless carriage”
Damn stinking, noisy, rattling, bone shaking contraption
One drove through a puddle and splashed mud on my boots
If I’d have had my pistol I’d have shot it
Hell, so much is gone that ain’t ever coming back

Granddaddy used to talk about the buffalo like that
He remembered they was all day crossing the prairie
A man could sit in one spot and never see the same bull twice
The government starved out, killed or civilized all the Indians
I reckon they ain’t that much worth living for anymore

Me and Charlie Mendez going into town tonight
And get us a bottle of tequila and get drunk
They make us hitch our horses off of Main Street
Proper modern folks don’t want to step in horse shit
Some kid said, “Hey, mister, where’s your horse?

I said, he got old and died but I’ve got a mount
It ain’t Mister Ford’s model T but it’ll do
“Say”, he says, “Are you a REAL cowboy?”
No sir, no sir I ain’t but my daddy was
And I gave him a dollar to water Charlie’s ponies

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Prayer

Give me the comfort of Saturday sleep
After the toil of work soaked week;
Of winter quilts in a world of snow;
The still of white when tempest blows

When hazy, lazy afternoons
Drift with honeysuckle in June
Give me friends and family there
On the front porch in rocking chairs

Stretched in a hammock between two trees
While apple blossoms buzz with bees
And bright butterflies flutter the breeze
Give my soul colored sails like these

Give me the music of an old guitar
Or the voice of love beneath the stars
When the smiling moon hangs trembling
Like a golden chime on a silver string

Give me the tender words to speak
Like the kiss of a child on grizzled cheek
When I have grown both old and gray
“I love you grandpa”, they might say

Oh, let me bounce them on my knees
God, give me precious gifts like these
And I’ll want not for milk and honey;
Neither for silver nor gold of money

Give me love and a gentle heart
A soul that understands the part
Of life when we must say goodbye
Make me unashamed to cry

But make my every teardrop blessed
With memories of happiness
And all the good times with my tears
Let me not face cruel death in fear

Give me a strong and willing hand
To grow my garden and till the land
As I plant seeds in hearts for love
God, bless my endeavors from above

And in my every sweet pursuit
Let my trees bring forth good fruit
Take from me the spirit of pride
That I might feel your love inside

And with my brothers and sisters share
My comforts for their worried care
Let me do everything I can
To bless and help my fellow man

Make me bold and let me dare
To better my world through peace and prayer
Give me the faith I need to believe
Let not my heart or words deceive

Let me offer thanks and praise
Every minute of all my days
And leave a memory when I’m gone
More precious than mere words in stone

To the Clouds

Gentle stirring mist above
Tranquil floating kiss of love
Upon the frozen cheek of sky
Winter mornings passing by

Forecast rain or sleet and snow
Tell me where your spirits go
Appearing silent from the blue
Vanishing into heaven’s hue

Summer doldrums breeze might stir
Hoary tufts of rabbit’s fur
Magic tendrils disappear
Into the vault of nervous air

Great anvils in the heavens hang
Bruised purple anger flashing fangs
In bolts electric and exciting
Rumbling thunder with your lightning

Children lying in green meadows
Imagine shifting animals
Fantastic creatures and unicorns
Are there by fantasy reborn

Not a place to have one’s head
Like angels for their blissful bed
Bellows of the wind might billow
Sails of rest; celestial pillows

Ethereal white; your wedding veils
Listening for the golden bells
From the sun to shine and sing
In morning like the bright dove’s wing

The black and gray of rainy days
Has sung your darker harmonies
But sweet the pink of soft reflections
Cotton candy spun confections

In my mental predilections
Make you nearer to perfection
Heaven your lovely curtains shroud
Blanket me with covering clouds

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Green; fresh grass against bare skin
Tomatoes and apples ripening
A Luna Moth’s dusty and delicate wing
Green is the color of spring

Yellow is daisies and dandelion
The sun in full glory and gold refined
The color of riches beyond all compare
Yellow is mellow and fair

Blue; the open freedom of sky
Endless heaven beyond the mind’s eye
Turquoise stone, sapphire and sea
Blue is the color of purity

Pink is roses and dogwood blooms
Baby girl dresses and nursery rooms
Delicious mixture; strawberries and milk
Pink is a lady’s bedroom silk

White; the innocent bride in her gown
New fallen snow and duckling’s down
Old country church and hairs of old age
The hunger for words on an empty page

Orange is flickering fingers of flame
A fruit that bears that beloved name
Autumn leaves and misty sunrise
Orange is warmth in children’s eyes

Red; sumac and holly berries
Christmas lights and candied cherries
Embers from a long spent fire
Red is the flame of desire

Purple is mountains and amethyst dreams
Eggplant and thunderheads burst at the seams
Bruises of long suffered loyalty
Purple is the robe of royalty

Brown; stained wood and sun baked earth
Winter coffee and chocolate syrup
Suntanned skin, the smell of leather
Brown is a thrush and his feathers

Black is the velvet robe of night
Deep and endless absence of light
Clothing of mourning and Sunday best
Black is the color of rest.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Little Things

A grain of sand
A flake of snow
A drop of rain
A soft hello

Summer beaches
Winter skiers
Growing gardens
Friends for years

A needle’s eye
A piece of thread
A button lost
A robin’s egg

Mended pocket
The poet’s purse
Holds together
The universe

Monday, May 10, 2010


Rolled sleeves, he pulled his glasses down.
Rubbed his nose where little indentations were.
His head heavy and fingers stubby
His mind tapped lettered keys.

Where would this silent journey begin and end?
A leopard lie buried in drifting snows.
His mind floated in the thin air of Kilimanjaro.
Each breath came heavy, swirling in vertigo.

Harry has a gangrenous leg. Vultures are gathering.
She wants to read to him again; dreaming of rescue.
A pistol lies in the opened desk drawer, just in case.
Harry wants whiskey. His own glass is empty.

He loves the bitch but love is just a pile of dung.
Floating pink petals remind him of Paris in spring.
Death is imminent and his talent wasted.
Why couldn’t he simply write that down?

Love Rules the Universe

Is love but a beautiful dream dreamt by beautiful souls;
Seeming to fade like dreams from grasp as ever they grow old?
The kernel of love is growing; leaving only a husk behind.
Eternal souls reach; knowing, though love has been called blind

More than ideal or beautiful dream is this thing which fools entice.
Love is not tempted by foolish schemes and beggars in paradise.
Though mountains crumble and seas boil; love remains steadfast
Pain and worry; lust and toil with life fade but love will last

Death and time hold court convicting mortal flesh and bone;
Accusing wiry fingers lifting; love still sits upon its throne
Those who come to value earthly pleasures find death terse
Wait on heavenly treasures knowing that love rules the universe

If one has no hope or faith and declares no one can know it
Love smiles and sheds amazing grace on prophets and on poets
The prophets prophesy in part and every poet writes his verse
The muse that stirs the caldron heart knows love rules the universe

Friday, May 7, 2010

Raptor's Cry

I am not a candle;
No flickering flame on a balmy night
Caught by winds of change and chance
I am a forest fire:
A raging inferno
Consuming beauty
And burning romance.

I am not a songbird:
No sweet dove cooing beneath windows
Of those I would woo with words
I am the great horned owl;
Gliding swift and silent;
And fear of other birds

I am not an author;
No man of books and learned discourse
Pontificating things he learned at college
I am a vagabond poet;
Worry lines my leather brow
I know
Sorrow comes with knowledge

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I’m the dying of the day; the restless, churning night
I’m the dark in shades of grey; mingling with the light
I’m a thing of mystery; well hidden from your sight
I blind men so they might see; their vision was too bright

I’m the color of morose; the funeral Sunday suit
I lift my glass and give a toast from Eve’s forbidden fruit
The knowledge of good and evil; within my cup bereft
I make the bravest soldier tremble. I’m the horse of death.

I’m not the black of equity who balances out the truth
I’m not blind justice weighing in the sins of wayward youth
I’m the pale and sickly steed that tortures you in dreams
In my orchard; trees of need I water with your screams

I’m the painter of deception; author of confusion
I’m your mental predilection; all your life’s illusion
I’m temptation on the vine; I depose from thrones
Noble kings like Solomon; I guard my post alone

I laugh at fallen angels where beneath my hooves are trod
Even hopes of demons with their burning prayers to God
Hell is not my stable; though I have pulled its hearse
My form is fairly able to transmute the universe

I count starvation in my ribs while wars I’m giving birth
I smother nations in their cribs and poison all the earth
Your horrors, goblins, witches, warlocks; none compare to me
In pride they call me “ally” but I am more their destiny

Satan seeks my council; by my hand the goat was made
When he would have repented; I schooled him in his trade
I shake the world above me from its fiery burnt foundation
I reward all who love me with death and consternation

I split the heavens asunder and rain both fire and hail
I stoke the furnace of the sun and light the stars as well
Riches of gold and silver; diamonds, emeralds, pearls
I pull from my pockets; shiny trinkets for the world

I need not reveal my name but many have called me Hunger
Greed, Lust and Treachery among my names are numbered
I am the unmaking which makes the shadow cosmos turn
I am Desire that feeds the fires of heaven so they burn

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Tiny wrinkled thing
A yellow ladybug

Dry and dead as stone
It rested in my palm

I buried it beneath
The black leaf loam

From the grave it rose;
Green phoenix stretching

Lifting striated wings
Worshipping the sun

In months, taller than I
It rustled against the sky

Golden hair flowing
Over full robust arms

Beneath rough sleeves
Cobs bulged with life

Children nestled close
Growing in the night

Standing tall like Kali
Glorying in her might

Rebirth from destruction
Born again from death

Multiplied like stars
Reformed and alive

Such is spirit reborn
Like a kernel of corn

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Along my dusty summer porch
A mysterious visitor climbed
And turned her head to look at me
With unblinking onyx eyes

Slender and graceful; this lady fair
Perfectly mimics the motion of prayer;
Recognizing her intent
She might belong in a convent

Her jaw is wide and perfect
In seemingly endless smile
She waits her breakfast of insects
With just a trace of guile

Transparent wings stretch along
The contours of her form
Death lay waiting just inside
The embrace of her arms

Little more than three inches long
She is the goddess of fate
Her hunger knows few boundaries
She probably consumed her mate

A cricket which was skipping past
Hopped onto the wall
And died within her lightning grasp
She ate him, chirp and all

Nature’s insect femme fatale
Wiped brutal mouth and hands
And disappeared into the air
Across the arid land

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Meaning in the Moon

Restless wandering specter stalking slow about the room
The ghost of Dylan Thomas round the old White Horse Saloon
Searching for a whisky glass, an ashtray or a broom
to sweep up broken bits of April scattered round in June

How the smoky blues fulfill the places where we yearn
The empty, sad and fractured spaces longing to return
Can we place a sweet embrace like ash into an urn?
Or trust youth’s fiery passion once the memory is burned?

Sweat on asphalt steaming, people screaming for more room
For souls to grow and fools to know the meaning in the moon
And not the words of two young lovers singing different tunes
When laughter born just yesterday fades away too soon

Are the craters simply Braille for angels who are blind
Wandering round the galaxy not knowing what they’ll find?
Or maybe they are roadmaps to a place we’re coming soon
while searching for a whisky glass, an ashtray or a broom

Pour the empty, dusty glass all full with shades of blue
Kick the broken, lonely pieces of April round the room
Sweep the floors and lock the doors and light a cigarette
Liquor, darkness and sad music mix well with regret

All the simple answers to hard questions I have learned
Are simply foolish notions foolish people have discerned
The truth is settled to the complex corners of this room
Searching for a whisky glass, an ashtray or a broom

A Country Romance

He crushes the violets in his hand and clover beneath his feet

Her eyes are blue like shining rivers

She saw him coming as she swept the porch

Dust sparkles in the sunshine and swirls with her persistent stroke

She wipes her hands on a gingham apron and leans her broom to rest

He removes his hat with some difficulty even though he has a free hand

Sweat stains the collar of his chambray shirt

A black ribbon hangs from his bullish neck

“I brought these flowers for you.”

She accepts them with a soft smile

“Come; let me find a vase and some water,
would you like some water as well?”

“That would be nice mam, thank you.”

“Granger, if you’re going to come courting
you might at least address me as Emily.”

His feeling of ignorance is confirmed in the tops of his feet
which he studies like the meaning of life was there

“I thank you very much for the lovely flowers,
it was thoughtful of you to pick them for me.”

His past sins are forgiven and the faux pas “mam”

“Emily, you have such a beautiful name, it’s almost as pretty as you.”

“Well, I must say Granger, what you lack in grace you more than make up for in content.”

He smiled at that and it felt like the world lifted from his shoulders.

Nursery Rhyme of the Sahib

In times lost and beyond, dear prince
there was a ravenous tiger in the jungle
and it ate the souls of men.
Many confronted the beast with violence
but violence only made the tiger grow.

The cat went about destroying everyone.
He increased the misery of women.
He made children cry on lonely nights.
And the name of the tiger was Pain.

Krishna planted a forest of bamboo
The tiger found the blessed stalks
He lay down to sleep there and
the forest grew in the shape
of a heart around him.

When the wicked cat wakened
the bamboo was a thick prison all about.
And there was Pain; trapped inside the heart.
Then Krishna called on heaven for rain.

The forest of bamboo began to grow.
The heart stretched and spread
like a waking child from its bed
and at last the frightened tiger escaped,
never to return.

May the prince’s heart also grow
like the sacred forest planted as a prison
Once grown with the rain of mercy to give freedom
and release from suffering.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What Women Want

I rang the bells of freedom from the highest hills for all to hear
But they only tinkled like silver chimes inside the shell of her ear
I swung the hammer of justice pounding the gavel like thundering Thor
She tilted her head and said, “Did you hear that? Is someone at the door?”

I whetted my glittering sword; flashed yellow lightning across the sky
She yawned at me as if she were bored and closed her sapphire eyes
I brought the beauty of Eden, untouched, and killed the serpent there
“Do you think these shoes with this dress are too much?”
She asked as she curled her hair.

I poured out my heart like burgundy wine and begged her take the cup
She never touched the fruit of the vine, not even so much as a sup
I bought her gold and diamonds, enough to fill her jewelry box
She said, "I’ll never understand why men can’t match their socks."

And so I sat frustrated then, head in hands; staring at my feet
She said, “You should have made dinner plans, you used to be so sweet.”
And then I cursed her vanity till angels plugged their ears above.
What women want, a man can’t be and damn this thing called love!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Island Dawn

A white marble of a sun
Stretched its pink reflection
Down the blue-green waves
Across the sand
A fiddler crab stepped sideways
For pedestrian
Sandaled feet
Warning the approach of man
The clip clip of
Brine washed footsteps
Echo into
The rush of tide
Sea oats bend
In shell caked, wind swept
By the ocean side
A jellyfish lay shimmering
Dying in dawn’s first light
Somber terns march crying
On spindly
Matchstick legs
Away from the sight
Sandpipers gingerly
Stalk the surf
Retreating before the foam
Diving for burrowing clams
As waves wash
Down the empty shore
Seagulls soar pin wheeling
Cutting wind with cardboard wings
Tapered tips; stiff unwieldy
Unyielding troughs pitch
And dip
Squawking scavengers
Above the beach
Their disapproval send
I continue my trek
Until I reach
Open bay
And island’s end

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The orange ball of the sun burned into the shadowy mountain mist.
The fog surrounding dark pinnacles shifted uneasily.
I have seen fires on distant waves wax and wane thus.
It is the glow of charcoal embers seeking breath to catch flame.
My mind wanders and remembers; a tiny infant’s grasp around my finger,
a little puppy snuggled against my cheek on the pillow,
the broken sadness in my father’s hazel eyes.
I see the face of my best friend. I feel his hand upon my shoulder.
But, now, how many years has it been?
He is gone and I am slowly growing older.
At noon, the day is clear and bright but I am full of dreams.
Far away beaches with swaying palms and snow white sands beckon me.
Shimmering trout are jumping in the swift current of cold clear streams.
I am carried far away on the wings of thoughts and memories.
The pain of lost love is like an arrow through my heart.
It is a shifting glacier of ice drifting cold to the pit of my stomach.
I feel the burden of sin on the back of the wretched creature I have been.
It is like the addict’s monkey, a slave to death and destruction.
There was something I wanted to say and pull the cork from the bottom
of my overflowing heart to let it spill out in ink on an empty page.
There was advice to my daughter; there were prayers to God,
There were things unsaid like the love between two men who were brothers.
There was healing and pain, hate and love, joy and suffering, patience and anger.
But it all lay behind a blanket of mist like the diffused disk of this morning.
I wanted to see things clearly as the rainbow fish living in his liquid dream.
But my eyes were blurred. My smile was grim. I wanted to laugh and cry.
I wanted to say things from my heart no mortal ear has ever heard.
I wanted to reach up from the well of my soul and pour the cup of music full.
The salty taste of my own tears tells me I am but a fool.
Only a fool or poet would dare to try when... all I have are words.

Sunshine Warrior

Teeth have torn the calloused skin
From blisters on his rugged hands
Wrinkles carved around his eyes
Make him look more old than wise

Grey hair peppered, temples streaked
Thinning as his dreams recede
Ragged holes in old blue jeans;
Shaggy mop yarn at the seams

Muddy work boots caked in clay
Bits of leaf with mulch and hay
The smell of power saw gasoline
Mixed with oil, grass and onion

Tee shirt stained with sweat and dirt
From the garden and his work
Sunbathed arms; bronzed and dark
Leather sunshine warrior

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Specters of the Flood

Night thick as tar; boiling black
Stars are merely a rumor
Ethiopian ghosts stretch
Shuffling restless from tombs

Magic dark rhinoceros horn
Swallowed moon on Serengeti
Billows in western sky form
Clouds; ripe and threatening

Lightning ripping edges jagged
On heavens skirt… blue eyes weeping rain
Bursts of furious wind
Reveal her hurt in flashes of pain

A tormented sky of agony
Weeping her injury through a cloud
Waters of death surround the huts
Specters of the flood cry out

Creole Soul

Island crayfish swim in hot sauce
Conch salad sandwiches served at noon
Palm trees sway while boats are tossed
On gentle waves in quiet lagoons

I was born with a Creole soul
Bubbling over like a lobster pot
Brine soaked sand where whitecaps roll
Spitting in fire like a Pelee god

The pirate in my bloody dreams
Longs for the blue of open sea
Below the port of New Orleans
Into the land of Caribbees

Every childhood dream I had
Dolphins swam round coral reefs
From Bahamas to Trinidad
Set to shore on black sand beach

Umbrella drinks and fat cigars
Sun browned men in Panama hats
Ceiling fans stir heavy air
Peacock chairs where tourists sat

Bogey and Bacall in Martinique
Hemmingway’s, To Have and Have Not
Echoes Calypso steel drum beats
Where air and blood both run hot

Cape jasmine and orange blossom
Rain forest jungles high in the hills
Natives worship the sacred mountain
The volcano’s voice is silent and still

I was born with a Creole soul;
My heart filled with island feelings
Reggae rolls from the radio
I go drifting in the Caribbean

To The Platypus


From the isle of Australia
There’s a fellow I must tell ya’

Who’s so strange; he baffles scholars
A name common in those waters

Little webbed feet like an otter
Swim so neatly through the water

Holds his hind legs straight in line
Paddling front feet all the time

Set to side like boatman’s oars;
Paddles and swims his way to shore

He makes his home among the roots
Where grasses sprout in muddy shoots


You have no ears that we can see
It’s clear you are a mystery

Your wife lays eggs just like a goose
You have brown fur much like a moose

You have a bill just like a duck
And swill for yabbies in the muck

Worms and shrimp and swift crayfish
Fill the brim of your dinner dish

That beaver tail I find quite clever
There’s no creature like you ever

Some say you are ridiculous
But I love you Mr. Platypus

Gardener's Penance

Morning came on butterfly wings
Flittering phosphorescent on the lawn
Trumpeting morning glories sang
Pink and purple colors to the dawn

Milk chocolate earth beneath the spade
Rich with heady musk of loam
Sculpted rows the hoe has made
Green plants in their garden home

Adam had Eden; gardens and orchards
Without the toil of his calloused hand;
Troves of apples and groves of oranges
For which he never worked the land

Fallen from grace, the gardener toils
For hours of sunshine, praying for rain
Working his soul back into the soil
Growing his heart and freeing his pain

Monday, April 12, 2010


Burn my body and scatter my ashes at sea
So I might wash upon a thousand shores
Of distant islands eventually.

And on tropical beaches of black sand;
Soul, imprinted by the feet of children
I will come to understand.

What it is to swell with every tide then
I will settle when the moon pulls me ashore
And I will be alive again!

Dreams In Winter

A warm yellow moon
Melted a hole in frozen sky
It hung between shifting rivers
Of darkness; suspended

Striated ripples of snow cloud
Blanket the lampshade light;
Pray the bulb doesn’t slip
To shatter the icicle night

Trees crouch low;
Old age on their backs
Crystal white hair
And heavy hearts
Full of cold sorrow

Tonight they hold dreams
Of youth; compromising truth
But In the sun
Their arms will be become
Empty tomorrow

About Me

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