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Norman Rockwell weekend
Faded baseball gloves
Slick stones off the water
Fishing for lost loves  

Boathouse Road revival
Rope swing double back flips
Red serape twilight
Rolling back for night dips  

Adirondack north woods
Boy Scout jamboree
Telling age-old stories
Felling age-old trees  

Back seat back road banter
Front seat small town blues
Lukewarm diner coffee
Corner TV news    

Swearing off old demons  
Swearing at red lights  
Chasing down old crushes  
Long into the night    

Headlights on the highway
Headlamps in the mines
Mountains in the rear view
Main Street on my mind  

Norman Rockwell weekend
Corduroy on wool
Campfire snap and sparkle
All-nighters to pull
His left eye
Always gravitates
Toward the constellations

Even though
That prom night
Falling star

First breathed life
Into the weird concrete carport
Down by the water treatment plant.

His right eye
Always gravitates
Toward the earth

Even though
The Great Water Fountain
Out west

First taught him
How to truly
See the sky.
‘Tis a Norman Rockwell evening
In a Norman Rockwell town
As Kaleb reads aloud a timeless novel
His vocal chords ring rustic
With the scent of Christmas jazz
And at his understated throne we grovel

He speaks of Major Majors
And of minor minors too
And the gentle prose goes down like Sunday stew
As on each word we balance
Like seals on rubber *****
Anticipating each new line to chew

(Popcorn lights in trees!
Pizzazz on every breeze!
Pass the three cheese pizza, if you please!
Serenade the stucco!
Speak well to the wall!
Bludgeon deep the deadly High Street freeze!)

Summer is for picnics
And the springtime speaks of luv
But in winter our pal Kaleb paints the scene
In every shift of color
And in every twist of voice
He is our regal upstairs cadence queen
Fixing his eyes on
The purple horizon,
He waits for his ship to come in;
Gazing across
Empty seas at a loss,
Anxiously scratching his chin.

The spray of the waves
Against his worn face
Reminds him that hope has grown thin,
As clouds drifting by
Can hear a soul sigh,
“Will my ship ever come in?”

But just then the winds
Off the starboard begin
To fill flapping sails overhead,
As gazing straight down
At boards, and not ground,
He sees that a deck his feet tread.

“All of this time,
For my ship I have pined,
And searched near and far for a sign;
But such was in vain,
For now it is plain
That I’ve stood at its helm the whole time.”
Thanks for breaking me out, pal
Thanks for breaking me in
Got no reason to pout, now
With the stars on my skin
‘Cause the moon through the windshield
Never tasted so good
And the moon whispers louder
Than the sun ever could

Let’s forget the stale glories
We dreamed up in the day
You’re the king of the night, now
And I’m the queen of LA
(Yeah) I’m a modern day Bonnie
And you’re a latter day Clyde
Never mind my kid brother
He’s just along for the ride

Fire up the Comanche
And gather up the debris
Strewn across the cracked vinyl
Holding down the front seat
Let’s shoot south for El Paso
Then whip hard to the East
We’ll make Denver by morning
Or Grand Junction, at least

Tell a lie to my left ear
And I’ll lie to your right
In the bed of the pickup
On the floor of the night
Here’s your pistol and pick-ax
Where’s my chisel and stone?
We’re the smoking sage bandits
Throwing fate a fat bone
The midway queen
And her glossy posse
Flutter in formation
Up and down the B-29s and the AN-24s;
On the prowl and on a mission
To drop the bomb on Bobby
As they swoop past his snow cone cart.

They call themselves the Wing Women.
They call themselves the Tail Gunners.
They call themselves the Shotgun Girls,
And there’s powder residue in their curls.

Tail Gunners haunt the midway strip at twilight,
Feasting on the fiddle music
And old time pedal steel
That haunt a country boy’s heart.

But the sun has already checked out,
Along with Bobby and his shop pals--
Slipped off in granddad’s Cadillac
With a jug of John Henry
And a bag of M-80’s
Billy brought down from Decatur.

They’ve headed for the low country;
Toward the clinking of green glass,
The hollering of the swamp hounds,
And the flannel sheet warmth of the river folks.

Back on the midway,
Shotgun Girls peel off one by one
Like petals from a flower,
Pedaling back to rose scented spreads
Garnished with chlorinated pools and garden parties.

But the midway queen pilots on;
Around the Stewart’s root beer stand,
Through a cloud of Blazing Swine smoke,
Past the kind-eyed ice cream lady,
And into the seedy underbelly
Where clown grins lurk behind balloon tosses
And rebel flag trailer curtains lace the landscape.

Understanding her defeat,
The midway queen retreats
To her own suburban sprawl,
Places her crown on the dresser,
And gazes through open windows
Into her Georgia sky,
Wondering what it’s like to be a constellation--
Wondering if constellations come up with five-year plans--
Wondering if she should do the same.

The midway queen quivers
In her new found old time way,
And drifts off into a glassy sea
Of crackling Tammy Wynette records
And broken heart banquets.
****** Mary sunset
Soft tequila sigh
Ivory teardrop tumbler
Disregarded sky

Street breeze through the window
Kettle on the stove
Chopin in the parlor
Empty pack of cloves

Resonance of redwood
Essence of the earth
Shrine to Mother Mary
Sacred ****** birth

Portraits on the table
Gazing toward the floor
Cobwebs in the dresser
Tucked behind closed doors

Violins descending
From the upper room
Dissonance impending
Lost in worry’s womb

****** Mary sunrise
Flower pillow sigh
Alka Seltzer tumbler
Halfhearted goodbye
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