Tuesday, January 15, 2013

River resident...

...boiling a potato...no steelhead biting
on the wintry river... near the trellis...
3 miles past the town's midway 
... feet and hands numb..
a man alone stands..
olive green branches reach 
over the leaky shack's roof 
in the frozen rainy gloam...                                                                          
stoking the fire sends embers swirling.. 
but only so far..the blackened coffee pot lukewarm,
it's contents bitter...
an unreeling film of smoke
like a sinuous ballet dancer..
twirls upward....bugs skitter ..
from the bonfire toward the slippery
rocky shore..unlucky... rising water engulfs them..
propping his fishing rod between
dirt packed  boulders,
he puts the lid cover on his bait jar..
removes the drenched slicker..
and....hunching his shoulders..
steps inside..
he sheds layers of weighty wet clothes ..
hangs his belt with his caps .
by the old guitar
he rests his legs on the dumped  worn out 
ottoman...sitting in the found brown 
upholstered chair..
a planked muddy floor catches his boots..
a whiff of urine from somewhere
the last train of the night squeaks 
and rumbles by...
causing his head on the torn pillow
to shake from side to side..
...so the scale had tipped too far at last....
unheard of in hobo lore..
of a man with a doctorate 
living here in this hell station...
he can quote Shakespeare, 
knows his jazz..plays the pipes...
..once had a decent golf handicap
he knows the wetland nearby by heart...
..animal friends hide there.
an aged man, inclined to intoxication..
..his closest neighbors, 
native Americans, live on the 
other side of the expanding river..
miles around the bend
trousers heavily laden upon his body, 
he feels the big melancholy wave rising...
water slaps loudly against itself..
outside, it begins to snow
dverselogo...he laments he lost sight ..made mistakes..
"..but don't we all?"  .....but the darkest days
are behind him.... he had, just in time, 
 saved his soul..
he had seen the world, had a good and varied life
but it took years of pain to shed true light
on his plight and again take control

..then he smiles
and lights a cigarette in the dark..
...'cave men had it better,'  he mused
'Noah had an ark'
One thing,  though, he surely knows, 
as a single heated tear wells...
that pressed in his favorite book 
...is a single dusty red rose..
for him it holds all his memories
..to draw on...
......until life comes to a close                                                                                       

by klr                                                                                                                                                             

I'ts open link night over at  dversepoets.com and there is a LOT going on if you would like to read more ;)


  1. oh wow...you made me not only see but feel him...it's such a thin line.. he can quote shakespeare... i know of doctors that ended up on the street because things started to go wrong, one after the other and they just didn't make it back... wonderfully penned..i'm glad that he's in peace..maybe lost a lot of things but saved his soul...most important...

    1. ..yes, lost a lot of things...thanks, Claudia.;)

  2. I felt this narrative to the bone!Like reading a novel you drew me in and there was a lot going on. Well done, thoroughly enjoyable

  3. wow what vivid descriptions...down to the whiff of urine....dang...he lived, i think there is solace in that...and revisiting that rose occassionally as well...ha...i like his dialogue as well....nicely writ...

  4. You have captured a scene so well here....helped us to know him. Quite an amazing write!

  5. lazy and deep .... good. wonder if he made use of his electric blanket after a journey like that. was there any fish odor in the air?

    1. lazy and deep...like Tennessee Williams almost? ;) Thanks

    2. yes .... and you also make me smile like Robin Williams sometimes.

  6. As good as this is, I expect you will make revisions. The theme is consistent, the imagery is clear, the characterization is vivid, but there is an element in the denouement that could be sharper and tighter. I think and I believe you will find it and bring this from stirring to a depth of Wow!

    1. ...thank you so much for that observation Gay; I felt that all along.. I will see what I can do to make it better..;)

  7. Goodness...you summed up so much of that man's life for us to see and feel. And that closing...with the single, pressed rose that holds all his memories...so powerfully poignant. Straight to the heart. I enjoyed this very much.

  8. You write a beautiful story here. It is tender and though sad, it's peaceful because the man found his peace. Lovely writing.

    1. thanks..story is true..not poetry..must work on that ;)

  9. when I got to the hunched shoulders line I was doomed to attachment... scrolling down to make sure the text was going to be long and drawn out. This is deeply compelling, I would love to read more. I like your style.

    1. glad you liked it...rarely are people glad is longer and drawn out ;)

  10. Wonderful story telling...I can see him clearly with your words ~

  11. You just never know about people do you. The doctorate knowing jazz in a shack.

    I wish he'd play his guitar, that might keep him going longer. Maybe he does sometimes.

    Pretty-darn awesome this.


All comments, constructive and otherwise, are welcome and appreciated here. Thank you to those who show an interest in my quirky style of writing, photography, painting, and presenting a feeling or thought and for stopping by A Dwelling by the Sea..