[b]so much less than sensual[/b]

this is a picture
or more of
a window into a
roadside bar, where
trucks parked on gravel
a place I know
too well to be tranquil,
a place for solemn meditation,
mediation between my things.

although subtle thoughts get
broken apart by the occasional
loud mouth stepping up,
what he sees as his life’s work,
is a seldom at bat,
and there is peace here
more often than at home alone.

inquiring for a menu with my beer,
the cute as a baby-doll girl that came
for my order
wondered later why I had barely
touched my steak sandwich,
a patty, unfrozen and
fried in a skillet, so much
less than sensual, laid out equally
such a waste of a cow’s life,
and I say, “It’s okay.
I didn’t come here to eat.”
she replies, “I understand.”
but then how could she
know of so many things

[b]our lives[/b]

for my life I could not decide
why you played your hand
in such drastic measures.
corner sac,
dime bag,
half ounce, half pound
your fist down the
clothes chute, your luggage;
though you could too little
take the important things.

it could be you burned too bright
as bright as the sun
and burnt right out,
burnt right out of here.
though we could scarcely go on
so I won’t put this off on the
yourself a mocking bird
myself a deer.
me, I could never fly
but you could too little
help but take flight

how the blood must have
beat under your skin
so that when you were forced
to face life too straight, and
you zoomed after your
desperate needs, and face first
but from behind
with too little time to contemplate
matters that could throw you
so in the end you threw me away.

or possibly I tried to love you
too much, now quite clean, my heart
just couldn’t live in there
inside of you.
though too late we see now
our hearts
need not have cost us
our lives.

[b]Flood Plain[/b]

Water fell down on us,
rain and runoff, with such
utmost precision I would
think it had surely been
this way before. Somehow
melted off, evaporated
and then rained down
with the rehearsed patience
of one drop at a time,
choreographed like a giant
nonstop ballet but
now everything rehashed
has found its way
through your door.

Had I only known
the mess of cleanup,
all it entailed,
I maybe would have arched
into this swan dive down
down deep and pulled
hard until the pressure
per square inch imploded my head
and washed from my body
my blood joined the flood,
rode the surf and
then was bucketed through
fireman’s chain and dumped
back onto solid ground,
where someday,
we might re-convene.

The rain took your
things away, washed
your photographs and
memories, pushed
them onto land’s sea
your happiness sailed off
along with me,
to find others who would
uncaring, shovel them with
the mud past the barriers
of those sand bag walls.

I can still see you standing there
on that shingled roof, and soaking
your tiny cold bare feet
that unforgiving water on your
brow made now of stone.
And right around the corner
we find my little mud hut and
that thatch roof in the
flood plain built even lower in
elevation, somewhere down in
your soul. If my cigarette breath
means a forest fire burning
then the tears you cry are my flood.

by Keith Webb (c) 2003

[b]Author’s Note:[/b]
Keith Webb is a graduate of West Virginia University with degrees in Journalism, Public Relations, and Creative Writing with emphasis on poetry and short story.

Keith placed in The West Virginia Writers Network Spring Competition in the category of Emerging Writers with a story, “Snakes in Heaven” and the Waitman/Barbe Creative Writing contest with a story, “The Chances We Take.” Keith finds inspiration in his job with the Federal Emergency Management Agency doing disaster relief.

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