gravity XVIII

poems for grave diggers he said
she said poled herefords if
she had her choice the rain
beat the truck windshield the
gray-crowned mountain
hunkered would you save
a blind man she asked
it was a love gift to a friend
grief labor shovels biting
red clay stories sometimes
a drink he punched the defrost
how could we do this at our age
she sighed pushed her hair
back under the PEACE cap
poems for church burners he said
as lightning flashed their faces

gravity XX

he watched the broken people
on TV shows where cameras
panned zoomed to smeared
blue tattoos ink bark gnarled
as ruined oaks reduction to
a hag's last beauty the oil
on mange elimination spotlight
craven unfixed heartless meat
singer stupid as a rollercoaster
leered at his pox of divas and
muttered an algebraic formula
which includes a lie about
playing football and the camera
zoomed out because
his makeup was flawed
he watched the broken people
he felt their boredom
uncertainty their terrible burdens
and he wished he could shoot them
turn the gas on anything everything
whatever it took to help them
slip away

gravity LX

Bearded men with pushed looks
uncomfortably lugging book bags,
quietly discussing the math of loss,
anger given over to smarter strategy;
teach a man to fish with a keyboard.
Factory fresh, they dip callused fingers
into the unknown ether, spirits that
first beckon frustration, then resolve,
unforeseen compromise, once boys
on small farms, in solitary tree stands,
life simple as a clear shot on a bright
morning, laid out smoothly as
the wheel of seasons, hay pitched,
football games, moonlit girls
by bonfires, now vanities and
years that questioned
before these that answered.

gravity LXXIII

He thinks of her Cadillac body,
blonde mane, limping around
with the monkey man after
the car wreck, the surgeries,
two dead husbands, a facelift,
the monkey man getting
a little crazier every day.
He thinks of her flirting
with the head housekeeper's
ex, running her finger down
the door of his Corvette,
diverting for a moment his
Dwight Yoakam stalker's smirk.
Cowboy, she called him,
waiting for her red headed
sister to finish her shift.
He remembered the way
she turned her hip and stepped
away from the convertible.
He raised the irrigation hose
with his tattooed arms,
dousing the brown hotel sod,
watching the little drama,
betting if he had to
on the monkey man.

     Tim Peeler 2010