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Joseph E Bird

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poetry

dance me to the end of love

the porch

Home. The theme of Katie’s writing challenge. I failed to get a new story for March. I tried, but it didn’t happen. I could tell you the reasons, but you don’t really care. Instead, here is something I wrote few years ago that fits the theme. Next month, something new.

She sits on the porch alone

as we drive by.

Stop on your way back.

Past the house,

we turn up the hill that’s almost too steep.

The trees reach out and touch the car.

as if to comfort, as if they know.

In the clearing, faded flowers lean

in front of slabs of stone,

forever marking the place

where we visit those

we can no longer visit.

Gospel music from across the hollow

filters through the trees.

Dusk is creeping closer.

Has it been that long already?

We leave because we must.

She sits on a swing

built by her husband’s father,

so many year ago.

We sit in rockers

and talk.

The porch is painted white,

the floor boards brick red.

Once-sharp edges are now round

from years of touch

by those who rest

on the hill above.

The swing creaks back and forth,

a soothing lullaby.

Nearby a bird calls in strong song.

Farther away, another answers.

Still another sings the song of

the solitary bird.

A frog croaks.

Just one, for now.

Others will follow later.

A cool breeze brings relief

from the hot, muggy day.

The serenity of the world

from the porch

is comforting.

All things of youth

are memories now.

He is gone.

Though there are friends,

though there is family,

she is alone.

She embraces the solitude.

I love this porch, she says.

In the mornings

on the swing

by myself.

I am blessed.

The Lord

brought him

to me.

And he brought me

to this house,

this porch.

And now,

though alone,

I am blessed.


copyright joseph e bird, 2016

the ferris wheel

the image is from the cover of carnival dreams, my collection of stories, available at Amazon and the Coal River Coffee Company.

i wanted an image that suggested a carnival and though i found many others that were maybe more festive, this subdued image worked with the cover layout i had in mind.

any idea where this ferris wheel is located?

Pripyat, Ukraine.

does that mean anything to you?

how about Chernobyl?

Pripyat was a city founded to serve the doomed power plant that failed in 1986. the amusement park was never opened. it remains a ghostly reminder of what happened.

the song below, carnival dreams, has nothing to do with Chernobyl. it’s just a story of two people sharing a moment in time.


you said you’d be pleased
to walk by my side
to breathe the night air
maybe go for a ride

so we walk down the shore
toward the music and light
with your hand in mine
feeling good, feeling right

then we stop for a drink
sipping cola on ice
and watch the wheel roll
and a toss of the dice

the carousel goes ’round
with the kids holding tight
never wanting to fall
but knowing they might.

*

and we’re walking the midway
the music is playing
and I’m wishing tomorrow
that you would be staying

my time here with you
is not what it seems
everything that I hope for
is a carnival dream

*

the smell of food fills the air
and it’s prodding my hunger
and your laugh fills my ear
makes me wish I was younger

i’d ask you to stay
to let go of tomorrow
let’s chart our own course
we’ll beg, steal, or borrow.

but our time is just this
cotton candy this eve
a quick kiss goodnight
and then you will leave

i’ll awake all alone
in the morning’s first light
and remember our time
in the carnival night

*

and we’re walking the midway
the music is playing
and I’m wishing tomorrow
that you would be staying

but my time here with you
is not what it seems
everything that I hope for
is a carnival dream


copyright 2018, joseph e bird
image from iStock Photo

tomorrow

this is one of the stories in my book, carnival dreams, available at Amazon, and the trunk of my car.


tomorrow will come

tomorrow will come, and i’ll sing an old song
and think of the day, that the words came along
i didn’t know then, that song was my last
i didn’t know then, that time flies so fast

tomorrow will come, and i’ll look toward the sun
and remember the spring, when i went for a run
i didn’t know then, that it was my last
i didn’t know then, that time flies so fast.

so remember the day, of all that was good
when youth was forever, we’d play when we would
remember the day, of life with no fears
tomorrow is coming, and with it the tears

tomorrow will come, and i’ll think of my friend
and read all the words, that he took time to send
i didn’t know then, that they were his last
i didn’t know then, that time flies so fast

tomorrow will come, and i’ll hear her sweet voice
and laugh at her jokes, her spirit rejoice
i didn’t know then, that her smile was her last
i didn’t know then, that time flies so fast

so remember the day, of our one last good time
when I touched your face, and your hand held mine
remember the day, and when we would dance
for tomorrow is coming, leave nothing to chance


copyright 2017, joseph e bird

carnival dreams – the movie

ok, so not quite a movie.

I wrote a song called carnival dreams, and now it’s the title of a collection of short stories and other writings. available now at Amazon.

kangaroo

old shoes
cheap booze
jumping like a kangaroo

gimme this
gimme that
ink another tattoo

i’m bored
ignored
hatin’ like a warlord

pop a pill
do the shot
headin’ for the psyche ward

the lambs are young and still so
innocent
their dreams are pure and hope is
infinite
the shepherd’s blind and speaks with
insolence
the wolves are close, destruction
imminent

sweet bread
silk thread
actin’ like a godhead

drive your ‘vette
fly your jet
all i got is cornbread

it’s not fair
you gotta share
baby needs the daycare

give me yours
and i’ll have mine
i don’t want no welfare

the lambs are young and still so
innocent
their dreams are pure and hope is
infinite
the shepherd’s blind and speaks with
insolence
the wolves are close, destruction
imminent

low pay
you say
i don’t need it anyway

take from her
give me his
all about the green way

lip sync
group think
preachin’ just a hoodwink

yes i do
no i don’t
throw me in the precinct

the lambs are young and still so
innocent
their dreams are pure and hope is
infinite
the shepherd’s blind and speaks with
insolence
the wolves are close, destruction
imminent

hard rain
fast lane
working up the food chain

i will work
sweat my brow
i don’t want no slow train

take a stand
hold my hand
a better way we should demand

pray for peace
and sweet release
let’s walk into the promised land

the lambs are young and still so
innocent
their dreams are pure and hope is
infinite
the shepherd’s blind and speaks with
insolence
the wolves are close, destruction
imminent


copyright 2020, joseph e bird

the good father

A couple of years ago Larry Ellis made a comment about his father and my father, two men of the same generation, quiet heroes, who without fanfare or drama worked to provide for their families. Larry’s father has since passed; I’m fortunate that my father will join us for a father’s day pizza later today. There will be the Father’s Day card and yes, yet another shirt (sorry to spoil the surprise, but after 90 years, I think the chance of surprise is pretty slim). I wrote the following tribute shortly after Larry’s comment. I’ve published it before, and probably will again.


Most are not leaders of nations.
Most are not creators of wealth.
Most are not icons of sports or entertainment.
Their names will not be written in the annals of history.

But without them, we would be nothing.

Their fathers worked with pride as pipe-fitters and welders and electricians.
Their fathers mined coal and dug ditches and toiled with dignity.
They did what was necessary to provide food and shelter and clothes.
They did what was necessary to provide hope for a better tomorrow.

Tomorrow came, and it was better,
and the sons and daughters of the fathers went to school
and became teachers and writers and lawyers and engineers.
They became fathers and mothers themselves
and likewise provided for their families.

They did all of this
without the need for attention,
without the need for adulation,
without the need for self-aggrandizement.

Fathers persevere and sacrifice.
They do what needs to be done.
They are good and honorable.

No, not all fathers.
Some abandon.
Some abuse.
Some give up.

It’s not about gender roles.
Sometimes the mother is the father.
Sometimes she is both.

It’s not about being the breadwinner.
It’s about being strong for the family.
It’s about providing direction to those who wander
and encouragement to those who strive.

Now they rest,
their work less strenuous,
their lives less demanding,
and they sit quietly,
content to let others lead.

They have lived simply.
They have lived nobly.
They have given their all.
They are fathers.


copyright 2019, joseph e bird

fruit loops

to touch is to risk death
to breathe unfettered is
irresponsible
don’t stand so close to me
because if you do
one of us
or someone else
might die before their time
so let’s live
in fear
or maybe in the hope
that this too will pass
and one day we can hug
and see smiles
and hear laughs
and sing loudly
and irresponsibly

and it’s all so serious
and it really is
and the times are trying
and desperate
and depressing
and stressful
and unsettling
and so serious

so light the candles
for breakfast
and have a bowl of fruit loops
because there is joy
in the freedom of
just being a goober
so embrace those moments
that take you by surprise
and smile at the loveliness
because now
is what we have


copyright 2020, joseph e bird

you’re gonna make me lonseome

Never been a Miley Cyrus fan, but I love this version of Bob Dylan’s classic, You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome.

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