View from the Top

I climbed my first tree before I was five. Got stuck. Screamed. Daddy had to walk two miles home from work in the middle of a hot West Virginia afternoon and rescue me. Like a cat, I finally learned not to climb down head-first. For the next XX years (I'd say how many, but no one would believe it) I spent time in the tops of trees, where I learned some of life's most important skills -- and pleasures. I'd say what they were (and are) but that would be telling. And you know what they say -- writers should show, not tell. So kick off your shoes and shimmy on up. Join me here surrounded by blue sky and little green leaves. Bring a book if you like, or a notebook. The apples up here are crisp and ripe and free for the picking.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A couple of old poems , written for -- well, you know who you are. I love you.


Of the women I know and love
some love each other
in that singular way

the way I have loved men – the few men,
one or two –
and I honor these women

for their self-knowledge
the humor and pain in their eyes
the set of their shoulders.

I have wished in my own hard times
that I could be one of them – fueled by passion
for softness and breasts – with the comfort

of knowing that my lover knows
the bleeding, the insanity
reflected by our wheeling moon.

But I am stuck with taste for that alien breed
have all my life been bewitched
by gruff voices, heavy hands

and a whiskery rasp on my skin.
Though I do not love you, sisters
in that way you love each other

I do not love you less –
your beautiful sex.
Constrained to live your twin-spirit life,

could I have carried myself
with your grace?
Could I have carried myself at all?


In spring
he plants big boys
and bright bell peppers.

By August
tomato stalks reach higher
than his head

their globes hung heavy as sex.
The peppers
green and shiny

clang all day long.
Last fall
he buried our sagging jack-o-lantern

Now, beneath this warmer sun
I find astonishment of wide flat leaves

and dream beneath those skirts
the jaggy teeth
bold triangled eyes

a heaviness of autumn-gold.


  1. Lovely poems, Ernie.

    I especially like these lines:

    "She grows misty seeing a puddle open
    to rain, a fat man in galluses
    smiling at his wraith of a wife
    or a runny-nosed kid
    bent down to tie his brother’s shoe"

  2. Congratulations on your new blog Ernie.
    I love this stanza from the first poem:
    "I do not love you less –
    your beautiful sex.
    Constrained to live your twin-spirit life,"