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Jul 2019 · 295
Pink lips
Two lovely Pink lips
Two big brown carmel *******
Really great ***

Copyright 7/12/19
Richard L Ratliff
Jul 2019 · 273
Cookies
Mom’s chocolate  chip
The cookie jar is empty
She has passed on

Copyright 2019
Richard L Ratliff
Jun 2019 · 269
Father’s right arm
Father's Right Arm    
    

I've been a right arm seat belt
A set of training wheels
A floaty
A catchers mitt    
A steering wheel
A teacher, a scolder, a hugger
I am a father

Copyright 2019
Richard L Ratliff
Jun 2019 · 143
Cookies
Cookies

Does it hurt? Is it painful
Or just a gnawing hunger
Something  misplaced or used up
Going to the cookie jar
And finding it empty
You can’t bake anymore because
The recipe is lost  

Enjoying snacks one by one      
Year after year tasting small bites
Returning to the jar
Always expecting a handful
Until there were none
And you wished you had baked more
Or somehow made them last longer
The recipe is lost

Copyright 6/6/19
Richard L Ratliff
Apr 2019 · 169
Ice Man
Ice man

O’Neil was right he did come
**** I’m old to remember when he came
We had a freezer, but he came to jimmy southgate’s house
In what looked like an old medic truck from WWII
Down the ruts in the unpaved alley to the back door
Those tongs for ice cubes as big as concrete blocks
Scary giant tweezers loading that wooden box

Nice man wearing a dark leather apron
told Jimmy’s mom (Who looked like Peggy Lee)
“Have a nice day”
I think she liked the milkman better
His delivery took a lot longer

Copyright  3/14/19
Richard L Ratliff
Apr 2019 · 167
Sand bag
Sand bag

Life is a sackcloth bag, helically stitched    
And filled with earth and sand

I've carried my self like that sackcloth bag            
Firm yet shifting subtly as it moves    
With small flaws at the bottom stitching  
Leaking a little here and there along this path
Unnoticed for years: mental incontinence

Parts of me here and there left behind
Carried  myself with seeming ease
Unconcerned of the trail I left                
Grains of sand that were hard to follow    
Nothing more than moral flatulence

Just a bag of sand
Slowly leaking as my life moves on
A trail for others to follow or avoid
Grains of wisdom and lunacy
Who am I to judge
Now just a bag of bones

Copyright 3/14/19
Richard L Ratliff
Dec 2018 · 202
Plans for Christmas?
Plans for Christmas ?
Expect me to seep into your dreams
When you are napping I’ll be there
While trimming the tree with thoughts of me
Or rapping presents I’ll be in your mind
This season is your reason to remember me
And all the time we have shared
Decorating each other’s lives

Copyright 12 - 9 - 18
Richard L Ratliff
Check out my books amazon.com/author/richardratliff
Dec 2018 · 248
Python
Python

Python got tied in knots
Pulling Eve's leg about an apple

Adam tried to get a word in edgewise
All to no avail

Who got that apple
After the first bite
Ah that's a tail for later

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
Nov 2018 · 954
Animal Crackers
Animal Crackers
A smal book of illustrated poems in my new book
Animal Crackers
Now on Amazon.com/author/richardratliff
My quirky humor available for all
Order now hellp a starving poet
Great Christmas guilt
Oct 2018 · 336
Kiss across the sea
Kiss across the sea          

Can we hold hands across far distant lands
And share our kiss across the troubled seas
Let us breathe the air from around the world

Can we share thoughts in the clouded skies
And embrace the images of lovers
Carried along by thoughts of each other

Let the words we share warm your heart
And shrink the distance that separates us

Copyright 2017   12/1/17
Richard L Ratliff
Aug 2018 · 362
She Is
She Is
  
She is supple and soft
Slowly quick and taut
She is here – yet not
Elusive and still to touch
To touch --yet not
She is embraced yet free          
Expressive and quiet
She is lucid and opaque        
Earthen yet a lark
She is a smile in the dark  

Copyright 2001
Richard L Ratliff
Aug 2018 · 335
Strutting Out
Strutting Out

I love wearing a well tailored suit.          
Strutting in my sartorial repute.              
Crisp spread shirt collar, matching tie                
And dimpled half Windsor knot
All with puffy pocket square to eye.                                                                                

Dark navy with a faint pinstripe                    
Two button coat and Four button sleeve
Blood red silk lining type                            
British tailored elegance to perceive
Slacks cut just a half inch to the back
Stepping out lady on my arm



Copyright 2014
Richard L Ratliff
Jun 2018 · 221
Got Rejected
Got rejected        

Had some poems rejected today
Some 25 year old editor; with an MFA
Suggested getting rid of some chilies
They weren't cliches or common images
When I lived them 40 years ago
Life experience doesn't change much
But at 25 how do you know
That life is a series of cliches            
So acclaimed they are repeated again and again


Copyright 2018
Richard L Ratliff
Jun 2018 · 224
Hot sun
Lemon drop  

That lemon drop is bearing down
So hot it wilts artificial flowers
And melts my plastic apples
Maybe I can draw some clouds
To soften that blistering orb
And tame that yellow candy drop
Before it melts the rocks
That line my path


Copyright 2018
Richard L Ratliff
May 2018 · 223
Father's Right Arm
Father's Right Arm    

I've been a right arm seat belt
A set of training wheels
A floaty
A catchers mitt    
A steering wheel
A teacher, a scolder, a hugger
I am a father

Copyright 2018
Richard L Ratliff
Apr 2018 · 303
April
April

If April is cruel
May is so friendly
Pleasant and kind
The result of soft winter snow
And spring rains

May is green and pink and red
A teenage year
As summer learns to drive
Right to tulips left to peonies

June's young adult
Searches for July and August
Hoping for a tryst

Then a mellow September
Casting long shadows
To the final quarter

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff

Published in April 2017 Pencil Marks newsletter
Apr 2018 · 194
Bunny Ears repost
Bunny ears

Bunny ears, bunny ear
Down the rabbit hole
How can I tie my shoe
If I can't remember the line
Over under a round an back
I'm just different but it works
Maybe because I'm left handed
Don't know but I'm doing fine
Just a little different, unique  

Flip, flop, tie a knot
Doesn't matter
I've got slip ons

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
From my book "Animal Crackers" available at Amazon.com/author/richardratliff
Nov 2017 · 396
Normal Childhood
Normal childhood    

As I receive more rejections
Of my nostalgic poetry
I must apologize
I wasn't molested, neglected
Or abused in any way
Well maybe I got spanked a time or two
And sent to my room a few
Yes I had my own room
We went on great family vacations
My brother and I were taught right from wrong
Family went to church some
Mostly Presbyterian or Lutheran or such
It was just important to listen

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
Nov 2017 · 269
Father
Father

I saw my father in the mirror this morning
He hadn't shaved for the weekend
There was lots of gray stubble
And I realized he was old  

It was so gradual I didn't notice
Like it happened overnight
I should have paid more attention
Yet here I am staring in the mirror

Copyright 2017
Richard L Ratliff
Oct 2017 · 278
Treadmill
Treadmill      


I recite poetry in my head
To pass the monotony
Of my sore knee
While I exercise anyway          

Words tumbling in my mind
To be or not, it still aches
It's like I'm caught in Finnegans wake  
Surfing words, beginning at the end

Ending at the begining for now
Just time consuming rhymes
In my head, told by mimes
Useless mental gestures

Great words insulted
By walking, iambic strides      
Just to count out time, besides
It's just repeated repetitions          

Copyright 9/23/17
Richard L Ratliff
Aug 2017 · 227
A blank screen
A blank screen
Is this the way it ends?
Just a blank video
Ctrl+ Alt+Del, Esc, Esc
It doesn't matter
The end
Aug 2017 · 249
Giraffe
Giraffe

This lumbering power forward    
with knots on his head    
from bumping the rim        
has a tongue like Michael Jordan’s    
              
You were recruited
to play on the team
with our passing pigmy point guard
not to date his little sister

And that's the long and short of it

Copyright  
Richard L Ratliff
check my books Amazon.com/author/richardratliff
Aug 2017 · 576
Dandelion Wine
Dandelion wine        
                      

When you are dead and buried
Do your thoughts and memories bubble to the surface?
                        Feed the grass?
Do dandelions fluff and carry your ideas with the wind
Mental pollen irritating and pollinating the world
Impregnating others with your mental seeds
                 Both weeds and flowers
Do your thoughts continue and repeat a cycle
            Seed, growth, bloom, and seed again

Copyright 2017
Richard L Ratliff
Jun 2017 · 331
In The Wind
In the wind          

In the wind that ruffles through the trees
I can find thoughts of you whispering to me  
Memories like a great novel, love songs and themes
The morning sun works its way through the tree leaves
Like a taxi weaving through traffic
The breeze delivering a warming kiss to remind me of you
Blowing through the garden of my mind
all the flowers bow to the power of your memory
You tickle the hair on my arms, give me goose bumps
But it is not you; it's just the wind
And the sun makes your shadow disappear    

Copyright 2017
Richard L Ratliff
May 2017 · 1.3k
Animal Crackers
A smal book of illustrated poems in my new book
Animal Crackers
Now on Amazon.com/author/richardratliff
My quirky humor available for all
Order now help a starving poet
May 2017 · 329
Your Words
Your words    

Your words are the fingers
That massage my aches away
Soothing the worries of the day

Your wisdom the arms
That hold my world together
No matter my mental weather

Your laughter the drug
That cures my emotional infection  
And becomes my new addiction

Copyright 2017
Richard L Ratliff
Mar 2017 · 443
Erase
Erase          

How could I have missed it for so long  
Living an Ozzie and Harriet scripted life
Unable to see the reality
Long missing forgetting ignoring overlooking

How can someone erase memories
Make just a bunch of washed out snapshots
Alcohol is good at disinfecting things
It can clean a surface or erase memories

She left me those snaps shots
No usable video
How many things were wiped clean? Sanitized
Sterilized to black and white no color

I don't know, so much has been overwritten

Stumbling in the dark with a small candle
Only now seeing touched up photos
Why have these past memories been blotched

Were those formative years sanitized?
Only to be revealed at the end
Still bitter about the ending ones

Copyright 2017
Richard L Ratliff
Mar 2017 · 460
Pillow EXPANDED
Pillow

You have been the pillow
I lay my weary soul upon
A soft cradle for my woes  
Conforming to my needs              
And nurturing my dreams  

You are the night light
That reassures a fearful mind
Giving guidance in the dark
Keeping demons at bay
While guiding in angels

The blanket that warms  
And comforts me    
That soft cocoon of love  
Protecting my tired wings  
For tomorrow's flight

You are the morning dew    
That cleanses a new day
That kiss of morning light
That offers promise  
For all that lies ahead

Copyright 2017
Richard L Ratliff
Check out my books www.amazon.com/author/richardratliff
Feb 2017 · 627
Hugging up
Hugging up

Hugged my son today
I'm not used to hugging up
He is a man now
Feb 2017 · 209
Awake?
Awake?

Some morning
I will not wake        
I will have learned
Hamlet's answer
Or not

To sleep, perchance to dream
But if I do not wake
How will I know Ive dreamed
It seems a question without answer

Wake up Wake up Wake up
Can I hear that?
Quit yelling not so loud
You'll wake......
Is that white light ice?

Not what I meant at all

Copyright 2017
Richard L Ratliff
Buy my books www.amazon.com/author/richardratliff
Feb 2017 · 515
Clouds
Clouds

Dot dash dot
Clouds in the sky
Morris code

Copyright 2017
Richard L Ratliff
Check out my books www.amazon.com/author/richardratliff
Feb 2017 · 771
Railroad
Rail road          

Making love to the rhythm of the rails

That big locomotive traveling on the rails
O whoosh o whoosh woo woo woo
Clickedy clack clickedy clack clickedy clack
And the bouncing of every joint
Whoosh o whoosh o whoosh
A big base drumbeat as the motion
Gets faster and faster
Making its own sweet music
The journey has its own lyrics
A duet of balanced motion
Whistling along woo woo woo
Pulling into the station

Pulsing pushing pulling pounding prodding
Rumbling chugging moaning in the night
Through the dark night chasing the morning light
That headlight streaming white through the night
That squirting light
Quivering just before the dawn
Slender rails long want to ride
Down the mountains and valleys to the flat lands
And in the dark tunnels
Woo woo woo woo
Panting, wailing huffing .
Struggling up the hills
And roaring coming down  

Copyright 2017
Richard L Ratliff
A work in progress Please offer suggestions
Feb 2017 · 323
Pillow
Pillow

You have been the pillow
I lay my weary soul upon
A soft cradle for my woes  
Molding to my needs
While supporting my dreams      

Copyright 2017
Richard L Ratliff
Check my poetry books  Amazon.com/author/richardratliff
Jan 2017 · 271
Lights on
Lights on
enlightening input
Can't sleep

Copyright 2017
Richard L Ratliff
Check out my poetry books  www.amazon.com/author/richardratliff
Jan 2017 · 303
Grandmother
Grandmother

I miss her for unknown reasons
We were never close
She is just link to history
But she was fun and comfortable
Made great chicken and noodles
I guess she was a life line
Sewing our family fabric together
From me to dad to her
Gave me a sense of continuity
A pathway backward and forward
I think it was a two way street
Especially when my daughter was born
As she was slipping away

Copyright 2017
Richard L Ratliff
Check out my books   www.amazon.com/author/richardratliff
Jan 2017 · 287
When I was 5
When I was 5

When I was five years old.                                
Mister Johnson lived next door.                      
He talked to me at the fence, I'm told.                
He thought it was necessary
To test my growing vocabulary                    

Can you say "****"?
No no it's a bad word I admit

How about "****" ask Sam                            
No I don't think I can say it

How about "*******" he ask.                  
I don't know about that
                            
Better go ask your mother.    
He said with a laugh




Copyright 2014
Richard L Ratliff
Jan 2017 · 340
Hand Soap
Hand Soap


I remember
getting in trouble
While away on vacation
Saying “go like hell” when I was 8, or 9

As an adult,
I remember,

Not to wash my mouth with soap
Because it tastes awful


Copyright 2014-16
Richard L Ratliff
Check out my books  Amazon.com/author/richardratliff
Jan 2017 · 270
Happy ?
Happy    

Someone ask me
Are you happy?
How do you answer
The undefinable ?
The journey from
Happiness to sadness and back
And all the living in-between
It's hard to describe the flow of life

Am I ?
Not all the time, sometimes
Being self absorbed, who knows
My children make me happy,
And anxious at the same time
Do they cancel each other out?
Does laughing at a joke count
Just who decides?

My past provides happy moments
As well as oh **** moments
And just living life moments

If Life is the night sky
All the stars are happiness
The rest is the fabric of life
Everyday life sprinkled with star light
Hidden by daylight but always there

Copyright 2016
Richard L.Ratliff
Buy my books   Amazon.com/author/richardratliff
Dec 2016 · 444
Drip
Drip

Drip drip drip drop drop
The **** kitchen faucet leaks
Those ***** dishes


Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
Dec 2016 · 643
Butterflies and snow angels
Butterflies and snow angels

Snowflakes floating across the sky
Cause such wild seasonal thoughts
Butterflies and snow angels
As the sun shines through the grey
Rainbows and snowdrifts
While traveling from place to place
Convertibles and snow plows
And life near the beach with
Snowmen and life guards
Playtime for children
Snowballs and baseballs

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
Dec 2016 · 326
Ducks in a row
Ducks

How do you get your
ducks to line up in a straight row
If you have only one


Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
Check out my books  www.amazon.com/author/richardratliff
Nov 2016 · 1.2k
Burma Shave
Burma-Shave    

I remember........
Getting hit in the head with the swing set;
Doctor sewing up my scalp at home,        
While setting on the step.
Taking the bus downtown with mom,
Car shopping for dad.
Picked out a Ford with a windshield sun visor.      
A two tone black and cream collage
Mom using it to  "move the garage".  

I remember family vacation:
Driving to Florida before the interstate
Before Disney became a nation
Motels with pools, swimming laps,
And all those tourists traps:
The house that reverses gravity
Burma-Shave signs leading the way        
To where the fountain of youth lay          

Driving to the lake,
Dad forgetting his hat
At the halfway restaurant cafe
Finding it still there the next year.
Those were special days

Weeks at the lake catching turtles
Cleaning fish guts and scales                        
Swimming and skiing on glass.
Great fun and no care of details
No telephone at the cabin


Copyright 2014
Richard L. Ratliff  

Published in The Indiana Voice Journal
Nov 2016 · 403
Twenty again
Twenty again

I wish we were twenty again
I would ravish you
Anoint your ******* with honey
And languish in their sweetness  

You would fill my navel with cream
And ravish me
Like a lioness lapping up the night

And you would ravish me
And I would ravish you
Our world would be new again

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
Check out my books www.amazon.com/author/richardratliff
Nov 2016 · 242
My journey
My journey      

The sun, a flashlight running through the wood  
As I drove to my far destination                    
Autumn removed the shade that shields my hood
From the blinding rays that cause frustration

Can last Summer's sun be so blinding cold  
I'm traveling in search of comfort lost
Time has me chasing distant rays of gold  
I must continue no matter the cost

Speed makes travel quicker than expected  
But the distance traveled remains the same      
No mater, the trip is unaffected  
It does not matter what I overcame

Reaching this place of warmth brings that feeling
Of comfort here that I find appealing


Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
Check out my books  www.amazon.com/author/richardratliff
Nov 2016 · 750
Autumn Morning on the Porch
Autumn Morning On The Porch      


There's a chill in the air
Goose bumps and bristled hair
Morning coffee steaming            
Big yellow leafed hostas turning
Copper tree leaves falling like pennies    
Lipstick red bushes burning                        
There's a chill in the air

Copyright 2014
Richard L Ratliff

Published in Pencil Marks newsletter Nov. 2016
Nov 2016 · 338
Over grown field
Over grown field      

Untended and overgrown
Used to be a field of wild flowers
Sunflowers, daylillies and daisies
Purple sage, crocus and lilac  
But they needed more attention
Than I was willing to give

Took them all for granted
Let others tend the weeds at times
Weeds creep so slowly
Unnoticed until they have overrun

Few showing through now
the fog of weeds prevails
Some butter like flowers
Planted long ago still pop up
And surprise me
Am I ready to resume
The cultivation of this field?

Thoughts of colored petals
Race across my mind
Oh all the effort needed
Will anyone notice or even care
If this field blooms again?

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
Oct 2016 · 652
A Cold Rain is here
A Cold Rain is here

The invading cold rain
Pummels the fall foliage
Punches the dead leaves
Like an angry mob of looters
Stealing color from the trees
Leaving the ground covered with the fallen  
Now bruised and broken underfoot        
Stomped and kicked to the curb
Trampled by the relentless rain

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
Updatted 10/31/2016
Oct 2016 · 633
Bunny ears
Bunny ears

Bunny ears, bunny ear
Down the rabbit hole
How can I tie my shoe
If I can't remember the line
Over under a round an back
I'm just different but it works
Maybe because I'm left handed
Don't know but I'm doing fine
Just a little different, unique  

Flip, flop, tie a knot
Doesn't matter
I've got slip ons

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
Oct 2016 · 266
Hug and a kiss
Hug and a kiss

A hug and a kiss
Can be the language of love  
Please don’t bite your tongue

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
Oct 2016 · 312
Breathless Conversation
Breathless Conversation


       Oh do me --again

(You overwhelm me)

       Again and again

(I can't keep up)

       Coming again and split asunder

(I am too soft for now ---wait)

       Can't wait --come here!
       You own the wet spot

(Let me repose a while)

      Hurry while I'm here and now
      A visible slit in time  

(Let me rest my faculties)

     Remember the batteries
     Shake and bake



Copyright 2012-16
Richard L Ratliff
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