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2.9k · Sep 2016

Morning constitutional
What does it have to do
With the Supreme Court?

If it's been a few days
While siting reading the news
It's a great ruling coming down  

Vacating the lower courts ruling
And wiping the slate clean
Is a release to enjoy
I'll start my day
Flush with success  

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
1.4k · Jun 2016
Aging Gracefully
Check out my books
Aging Gracefully
It gives you clarity, perspective and appreciation

Always thought cataracts were rapids in a river
Or a boat or something: fuzzy thinking
Don't think they give clarity
Even bifocals don't help

As a kid I wanted to be a king like Arthur
Didn't realize getting a crown would be painful
Like a poke in the eye: going down the canal
And not a canal in Venice either

Always enjoyed a smile with dimples
But time adds wrinkles to the smile
Causing ever so slow changes
As my dimples turn to jowls

I found out that PSA
Isn't a pro sport authority
Doesn't regulate the rules of golf
But It can affect my game

Copyright 2016
1.3k · May 2017
Animal Crackers
A smal book of illustrated poems in my new book
Animal Crackers
Now on
My quirky humor available for all
Order now help a starving poet
1.2k · Nov 2016
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
954 · Nov 2018
Animal Crackers
Animal Crackers
A smal book of illustrated poems in my new book
Animal Crackers
Now on
My quirky humor available for all
Order now hellp a starving poet
Great Christmas guilt
771 · Feb 2017
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
750 · Nov 2016
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
696 · Aug 2016
Thursday Morning
Thursday Morning  
Check out my books

Morning comes now
With no alarm no razors edge
Splash of warm water and a brush
Yesterday's slacks are clean

Instant coffee then
Inhalers, pills stool softener
Morning news email and Facebook
Breakfast from the drive through

Trash set out at the curb
It must be Thursday
Unless yesterday was a holiday
Have to ponder this

Must exercise on the treadmill
Twenty minutes slow walk
Some days more some less
Just keep moving is a goal

Guess I'll work on a poem
At least for a while
Till its time
To get my poppy seeds
From television for the afternoon

Evening news
It is Thursday
Better bring in the cans
Before harvesting the poppies
On tonight's cable

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
652 · Oct 2016
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
643 · Dec 2016
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
633 · Oct 2016
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
627 · Feb 2017
Hugging up
Hugging up

Hugged my son today
I'm not used to hugging up
He is a man now
576 · Aug 2017
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
559 · Jun 2016
About today
Check my books
About today

What can I say to you about today
It moves along with slowly rising grace
Leaving all my thoughts of you still in play  
Around and around but still in this place

No matter what other thoughts may arise
You cast a shadow over all others  
They all compete but you are still the prize
That towers above all mental flowers

Come along with me, soar above this fray
Clear your mind and rise, rise as the sun does  
Each and every day without thought this day  
Will be different no matter what was

Each day is always breaking out anew
Aspirations swirling round what you do

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
529 · Jun 2016
Fathers Talking
Fathers talking
When did it happen
Try my books

I don't know how it happened
Really my friend, I don't know
I had to stop and get diapers

You were just supposed to pick her up
You know, at daycare on the way home

Has it happened to you before?
Perhaps returning from brownies

You too? Were you
Going to softball, or soccer practice?
Playing catch

I know, I know, I was coming
From the junior high fundraiser

Well I'm confused, I was
Saying "easy, easy on the breaks!"

Nice to met you
Be back by eleven

Come guys come on
How did this happen

Only yesterday
I had to pay tuition

So he ask for what?
Her hand, quaint
A tear

Now I'm at the bar
Paying for everyone's drinks

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
515 · Feb 2017

Dot dash dot
Clouds in the sky
Morris code

Copyright 2017
Richard L Ratliff
Check out my books
484 · Jun 2016
Number one
Number  One  reviewing

Bath powder on your *******
That I caressed
You felt like silk

So surprisingly timid was I
Our first time you so gently
Helped lead the way intently.
Did you hide your experience
While letting me seem victorious ?

We parked so many places
We could have used a valet  

Win Schular's was class
But mosquitoes in the Michigan woods,
They made love bites on my ***
No room in the canoe even for that

That house I hitchhiked down to
A warm bed of your softness
Football weekend at a brothers place; times too few
Where your scent lingers after you

Memories are sometimes fleeting
But not your first love
I cried after you.  ........  still needing

After ten years strong and vivid
After two decades still exquisite
After five they begin to fade
Just flashes here and there
A whiff of your scent somewhere
A lingering synaptic flash decayed

Copyright 2013
Richard L Ratliff

Win Schular's is a famous restaurant in Michigan
471 · Jul 2016

Buy my book

Picked up my sons cap and gown
At the campus book store in the college town
The clerk was so thrilled                      
Congratulated me and ask    
Is a masters gown to get down
No a bachelors I said
You should be so proud
Having graduated after all these years

Couldn't spoil her confusion.              
I just went along with her illusion
Told her it took nearly 40 years
Had to work full time and such
The effort was almost too much
But I finally made it
I then put it the trunk
Of my alumni plated Benz
Heading off to my son's graduation

Copyright 2014
Richard L Ratliff
460 · Mar 2017

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
444 · Dec 2016

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

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
443 · Mar 2017

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
440 · Jul 2016
Silver bridge
Sliver bridge
Check out my books

As the sun sinks
It casts that silver bridge
Across the lake
If I run fast enough
I'll reach the other side

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
428 · Jun 2016

If April is cruel
May is so friendly
Pleasant and warm

May is green and pink and red
A teenage year
As summer learns to drive

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
421 · Oct 2016
A warm sweater
A Warm Sweater    

You are a warm sweater
I wear like a second skin
A warm gentle breeze that lifts
Away the melancholy
A nod, a glance, a kiss hello
Brings comfort
As I move through time
Yesterday today and tomorrow

Hand on your soft waist
Rubbing hip to hip
That swelling inflating light headed reverie
Half real, half imagined memories
As homemade perfect dreams

Visions of the night
Floating away like a kite
Making love in the clouds
Sharing a laugh and a smile for no reason

Simple shared joy of a song,
A dance, a hug, holding hands.
We are philosophers of our time
Floating in the moon's evening glow

Copyright 2013-16
Richard L Ratliff
403 · Nov 2016
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
402 · Jul 2016
Expected you'd be there
Expecting you'd be there

Took for granted  
Did I ever ask for a date
Think I just assumed knew
You'd be there
Don't remember ever asking for a date
We just seemed to be
Could you read my mind from afar
You never broke my heart
Hope I never broke yours
I knew you'd be there
I knew you'd go
I knew you'd enjoy

Came to visit on my bike
Knew you'd be home

The movies :Doctor Zivago
Knew you'd like a love story

Home from college
Visited your modeling
Knew you would smile

Made plans for your prom
I knew we'd be there

Dinner at the Union
Football games at college
Knew you'd root with me

Frat parties
Motel night
Knew you'd stay

Stewardess job
Took you away
Knew you'd be back

Returning home visit
Knew you were there
Airport kisses

Then I knew you went away
Digital visits
What's next
Ethereal visits?

You were my safety net
I knew you were
And yet I know you care
And then you weren't

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
396 · Nov 2017
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
389 · Jul 2016
Check out my books

Met my friend Gopal at the bar where he sat
Las Vegas has lots of places to sit and gamble
He showed me his fifty thousand dollar hat
That baseball cap had a big "S" on the front angle
It didn't look expensive but it was he shared
His daughter was graduating from Stanford

Copyright 2013
Richard L Ratliff
362 · Aug 2018
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
349 · Jul 2016

Check my books

Ripe old age: *******
Sounds like you'll spoil if you last much longer
You're done, ready for picking
That's a bunch of crap
I'm not ready to quit
I'm quite alive and kicking

Copyright 2013
Richard L Ratliff
340 · Jan 2017
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
338 · Nov 2016
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
336 · Oct 2018
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
335 · Aug 2018
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
331 · Jun 2017
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
329 · May 2017
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
327 · Jul 2016
As my hair thins
Buy my books at

As my hair thins

As my hair thins
Should the barber charge less
Give a seniors discount?
Or charge more because there is less to work with
Not enough to give creative expression
You know they are called stylists now

Copyright 2015
Richard L Ratliff
326 · Dec 2016
Ducks in a row

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
325 · Jul 2016
Shower built for two
Shower built for two
Buy my book

Got into the shower to explore.
Come in, please close the door.              
Rubbing together making soapy bubbles
Four hands at work with rapport.
Hands chasing bubbles all around
Slippery Soapy bubbles washing                    
Backs, shoulders, sides and bottoms
Lubricating warmth is splashing

Hands chasing bubbles all around                    

A downpour of warmth
Washing away the evenings dew                  
Grab the bar, foot on the bench
Legs to wash and more we knew

Hands chasing bubbles all around  

Slipping together face to face
Let me be your wash cloth.    
And you mine, guide me to that place

Rinsing bubbles down the drain

Copyright 2014
Richard L Ratliff
323 · Feb 2017

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
312 · Oct 2016
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
310 · Jul 2016
Check my books

Sky looks like cottage cheese
Spilled on a blue table cloth
Needs some black pepper

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
303 · Jan 2017

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
303 · Apr 2018

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
295 · Jul 2016
In the hay
In the hay
Check my books

How about a roll in the hay
Just for old times sake
Let's turn back the clock
If only for an hour or a day

Let me hold you
Like the young lover
That I remember so well
Though this time would be anew

I'll put my arms around your waist
So kiss me with tinder hungry lips
I'll kiss you back
And trace the the contour of your face,

You taught me how to read  
The words of curves and valleys
That make a complete book in brail  
A story I love to read and reread

Copyright 2016
Richard L Ratliff
295 · Jul 2019
Pink lips
Two lovely Pink lips
Two big brown carmel *******
Really great ***

Copyright 7/12/19
Richard L Ratliff
287 · Jan 2017
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
278 · Oct 2017

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
273 · Jul 2019
Mom’s chocolate  chip
The cookie jar is empty
She has passed on

Copyright 2019
Richard L Ratliff
271 · Jan 2017
Lights on
Lights on
enlightening input
Can't sleep

Copyright 2017
Richard L Ratliff
Check out my poetry books
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