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Then and Now

the years
like a hanging icicle
falls from the roof’s eve
to stab you into tomorrow
and tomorrow never stands still
but becomes the today’s
of all of your tomorrows

as the years quickly age us
we begin to believe
we have become wise
merely because we have outlived
our graduating class
the younger generation
don’t know how to pour piss out of a boot
our attitude
ah, the lies we tell ourselves
are progressively worse
the older we get

my generation heralded rock ‘n roll to the world
an accomplishment
our parents thought it dangerous
to scream and rant
to the devil’s music
as I listen to the teen idols of today
I am appalled
appalled, I’m saying
until I stop
shake my head and grin
remembering Black Sabbath
screaming at high volume
in my sixties’ style pad in the seventies
Ozzy went on to become a caricature of what he used to be

Alice Cooper had a place full
of nightmares

so here I am
trying to be above it all
trying to dig the new crop of shock bands
trying to not be grandfatherly
but hip, don’t cha know, dude, dudette
ain’t working
my trash
in my time
was better’n today’s trash in their time

psst! remember me saying up there somewhere
about the lies we tell ourselves
are progressively worse
the older we get

I think I’ve proven my point

©December 30, 2010 / Jerry Pat Bolton

The Prophet of 32nd Street

he had a vision from God
after he’d starved himself for legitimacy
of the Word
fasting; good for the soul
though it made him quite lightheaded
still . . . if that’s what it took . . .
if that was what he had to do
to learn truth from sham
he would, and did, wholeheartedly give of himself
living on water
sold what he’d worked for all his life
gave the money to the poor
walked away from his woman
his children
fasting mean more, much more
than starving oneself
to the mean streets he went
staked out a corner
sat there
waited for the Message
God would not refuse him
this Message
hadn’t he obeyed his every command
he had nothing left to give
except himself
at first he was a curiosity
the strange man sitting on the corner
street people
shied from him as if they knew
this one was different
TV people
ran daily segments about him
calling him
Prophet of 32nd Street
though he refused to speak
only smiled
nodded, and looked skyward
after a while it was decided
in his best interest of course
to confine this man in a little steel box with bars
so they came to take him away from his street corner

God appeared before him saying
If you make known your innerself to the world;
Don’t blame the world for telling it to those who would do you harm.

©December 29, 2010 / Jerry Pat Bolton

Rooming House on St. Charles

1968 . . .
New Orleans
I’d been in worse
and better
just a room to sleep
sweaty nights
and sit
in the daytime, on the bed
being quiet
not to bother anyone
that is how I was then . . .
how I wanted it
to hide my future, my
secrets which drove me there
in the first place
damn it to hell and back
Downtown Jackson Brown
Minnie the Moocher
all those cats
doing Mardi Gras
outside my window
shuttered and closed tight, my window
because . . . I felt like shit
why not
who was I to think thoughts
grandeur ones
so I sit and sweat
horde my puny little secrets
secrets, like
I am no good
everybody knows it
made me write

Sitting all alone
In a smoky, crowded bar
Life passes him by

What happened to the
. . . . . . . .
hell, I can’t even remember
is gone
ain’t it sad
how did it get this way
when the whole world is partying
made me also write this

Carnival is here
Crowds jam the street with laughter
He plays solitaire

Last night I ventured into
well, I went here

High above the street
A lonely window shines bright
Love is bought . . . and . . . sold

Oh, yeah, I forgot
I have
to tell
if you wanna to hear
you do, huh
don’t you
my, my
what good are secrets
if nobody wants to hear ’em
so I write ’em down
on paper, yeah

Crumpled note on floor
Tells the story of love gone.
A time for dying

©February 3, 2005 / Jerry Pat Bolton

A Cold and Pitiless Wind


A cold and pitiless wind moves among us,
A current of current rising from epochs old.
Can we sleep serenely and without fear when
Amid stirrings of horse’s hoofs he smiles?
Beneath primordial moons deviously does plot,
Time is of no value, eternity has evolved.
Without the ticking sound of the life’s clock,
Snorting Arabian steed’s anxious for the fight.
Poised on every shore, peering into windows,
O, so stealthy, when at last the moon has hid.
And the tide washes up, deposits combatants,
They come, by air, luxury liner, banana boat.
By the soles of their feet, souls of their God,
Like residue from a growing, fanatical storm.
What blood moves through these warriors,
Which provokes bloodlust as easily as a smile?
He is there, over there, here too, right here,
Where the children are at play with yesterday’s
Values, yesterday’s view, yesterday’s excitement?
When the tongue and eyes of the ancient ones
Speak softly, gazing upon the long awaited prize.
The thundering of million’s of hoofs let loose,
Neighing a battle cry to the dead, silent old ones.
And we, well we go about our business of sanity,
Thinking we are good, we are clean, we laugh.
Calmly we do leave the doors and the windows
Ajar for our visitors who are now neighbors,
To finish the ancient martyr’s settling of scores.

©April 26, 2004 / Jerry Pat Bolton

Happy Birthday

I wrote this acrostic poem in Texarkana in the year 1976  for my wife‘s birthday.  She put it in a frame.  I found a four-leaf clover and put it inside.  The paper the poem is printed on is old now and discolored but my love for my wife Dottie has remained the same, although now I’m beginning to become as discolored as the poem’s paper.

Happy Birthday, Dottie,
And may many more be yours.
Please accept this
Piece of prose as
Your very own.

But if you will darling,
Interject your thoughts with the
Real love I have for you.
The real love I sometimes
Hesitate to show.
Dance with your thoughts,
And let your goodness show in
Your beautiful face.

After the Demonstration

we could have been friends
back in the day
before you sour’d on the world
and thought your beauty
was sinful
and damned
when your hair was waist-length
black as road tar
catching the suns rays in multifaceted

I wish we’d known each other
before you decided
you hated the country you were born and raised in
I’d liked to have
been your first lover
somewhere ankle-deep in soft green clover
when you looked at the world
with not so jaundiced eyes
with your rimless glasses
part of your rebellious uniform
the beginning of your severe asceticism
and entrenched anger

I would have loved to have held your hand
with a gentle squeeze from time to time
letting you know
I was there
with you
and would always have your back
I can see deep within you
the fresh-faced, slightly freckled
young lady in your early teens
before you found
hate as your companion
and shut the door on the past forever
as you fought for the common man
spilling blood
as though that makes it alright

you spout your venom
with hysterical speeches
on college campus after college campus
drunk with the sound of your own voice
you quote from Mao’s Red Book
your Bible
as though it makes a difference
I watch as you lie beside me
sleep has returned to you your innocence
your youth
your passion for life
not destruction
and upheaval
I’ll be gone when you awake
to never forget you
and what this night brought me
but I cannot stay
I am your enemy.

©December 9, 2010 / Jerry Pat Bolton

backseat, fumbling with her bra
trying to unhook the damn thing
that first time, soon to be
more than adept
one-handed and cool, man, cool

learning of lust
don’t let it rust

her hand on you, stroking
until you thought you’d explode
lowered her head
soft, warm mouth
my, my, my
she wants to know if you’ll respect her tomorrow

hell yes he will
he knows the drill

walking tall now
the measure of a man
life has been simplified
will take years of tall walking
and falling off mountain tops
before he secretly wonders

women are weird
and to be feared

seems the female brain
come through the birth canal
to say the least
like to keep the opposite sex
off balance, wobbly, confused
what she will do
will make him blue

they can soar with him to the clouds
tender touches here and there
hot summer days
sweaty bodies slithering in the bed
her heat burns through his soul
passion uncontrolled

he thought he knew
of love’s construe

fervor can be snatched
like pennies from a dead man’s eyes
sometimes just as wicked
bad . . . femme fatales
meaning hurtful
in the head

women are mean
Jezebel queens

ah, yes, but don’t she look nice
in her Sunday dress
standing there with her long legs wide apart
sun streaming between
licking those Julia Roberts’ lips
damn, you’d follow her off a rocky cliff

women are like
a gold rush strike

©August 10, 2006 / Jerry Pat Bolton

Roads I’ve Traveled

sleep disturbs me
it disturbs me therefore I sleep little
set the clock’s alarm
hour and a half
through the night
my sleep is unplumbed
full of . . .
not exactly dreams, more like
terrifying reality
traveling down toads
I’d traveled before
back in the day
my travels wound and curved around
huge mountains
(I assume represented my many obstacles I’d faced)
deceiving were these twists and turns
what looked right
turned out wrong
what looked pleasant
the road of love
one example
well, more than one example
ended in hopelessness and misery
for all parties concerned
enjoyment turned to discontent
the roads
I trod way back then
and the same roads I trod now
in dreams
are the same
are exactly the same
a living hell
each step I take
I’ve taken before
I know where the roads lead
there is nothin unknown
would that I could take a wrong step
into unfamiliar ground
would that I could use that misstep
to make up for
things I’ve done

©December 5, 2010 / Jerry Pat Bolton

Circus of Being

Thank you Karen . . .


it matters not the way things seem to be
howling, hungry wolves beckon at our door
take a chance, be someone different today
open that door, watch yourself coming back

pick what face you’ll wear right off the shelf
do your thing, matters not in the grand scheme
a growing ice cube for a beating heart
that sweet smile doesn’t get you very far

I have cried when I was happy
I have laughed when I was sad
bring on the teary-faced clowns
under the big tent scarcely clad

is it this road I should take; maybe not
I’m off course, cannot find my compass
a rusty tangled heart is all I own
I’ve walked through far too many doors

standing ‘neath strings of naked light bulbs
from which all kindness has been drained
chanting like a medieval housewife
with forked tail beneath cloven-hoofed legs

abandoned and denied
an Edgar Allen kind of day
clouds are growing inside
let them stay or chase away

for the right reasons I do wrong things
there’s always yesterday in my eyes
looked under my bed and was surprised
saw my life on the head of a pin

a ménage à trios that never ends
Louisiana two-step with Zydeco
leave guilt and worry on the dance floor
live large, be happy, blues know your place

I have cried when I was happy
I have laughed when I was sad
bring on the teary-faced clowns
under the big tent scarcely clad

©December 7, 2010 / Jerry Pat Bolton

In The Forest Deep

didja hear that
somebody cried out
I didn’t hear nothing
strange sound
who was it
oh, don’t think it was human
what then
maybe animal but
maybe not
what’d it sound like
kinda like a flute
in a way
oh my goodness
I just heard it
what’d it sound like to you
helplessness, someone in great pain
human then
uh huh, a cry for help
maybe a bird
don’t think so, no

we ought to go home now
why’d we come into the swamp anyway
don’t know
something just pulled us in here
that’s kinda strange
yeah it is
I think we’re lost
ssh, you hear that
yeah I did
I’m scared, let’s go
I’m ready, but which way to go
don’t know I just want to be moving
we might walk right into . . .
whatever’s making that noise
I don’t care let’s go
okay right you lead the way
cause I don’t have a clue

the trees around them
seemed to almost take on human characteristics
of someone moaning
both men stopped walking
stared at each other
laughed nervously
we’re lost
everything looks the same
don’t talk, just listen
they stopped speaking
stood stock still
listening for that sound again
they remained still
and listened
and listened
and listened

the following week . . .

“Oh, isn’t it so pretty out here in the swamp, Jimmy?”
“Yes it is, I’ve never been here before.”
“Me either, but I—”
“What? What was you going to say?”
“Can’t remember, but did you hear that?”
“Hear what?”
“Sounded like someone crying out.”

©December 3, 2010 / Jerry Pat Bolton