I’ve seen broken women stand in front of open windows in the August heat as the American flag fluttered in the breeze.
I’ve watched a retired policeman -high on nicotine- walk two young mothers across crowded streets. Past black transsexuals with painted eyes and lips who stand together on corners, pose and snap for the sad old man.
I’ve stood with Mexicans in empty bars in Texas with the afternoon pouring through the cracks. The broken tiles, the poor speakers dangling from chains in the corners as a fine, drunk child picks Chuck Berry over Elvis.
I was arrested for going through people’s mail in the break of light on a desolate country road where the sun scraped the trees and the wind was easy on the spirit.
I smoked grass as I and watched a man of eighty sit in his garden, naked, sipping a tall glass off lemon tea behind his broken, Ford truck.
I was one of four people who mourned over a dead horse. A blue, wool blanket taken from the shed, draped over.
The woman, in tears, bowed at the waist.
The farmer, rolled a smoke, and waited.
The young cop, sturdy, confident.
And I, hungover from guilt, shook at the scent of the dead.
On days that needed no lying
On women without a warning
On time as it was passing
I’m not the only one
Out loud as everyone listened
About who was born together
When anything will ever happen
A beat with no drum
In subtle, ricochet rhythms
Across the waves of wonder
Like hail in a place of storage
I can’t blame her
It was him
That wrote my name in Broadway mirror
That fell down in foreign quarters
The let loose and fought forever
I admit it
I’m not who I appear to be
I spent too much time on what you see
Barroom blues is poetry
It’s the phrase of the century
Paint it everywhere you see
Barroom blues is poetry
When the day broke through the hazy, Tennessee mountains
the ruffled forest swayed in the tattered breeze.
It was Whitman’s breath that turned the leaves.
What would the old man think of the interstates,roaring and bending through the peace and calm along with advertisement’s taller than trees.
How many tears would he shed if, through me,
He breathed the ghastly fumes of an aggravated semi?
Machines by the thousands. Daily. Striving to get from one place to the other in the shortest time possible
I wish he was hitchhiking now.
Tattered cloths and hat. A ruck sack hanging painfully down his shoulders.
His tired thumb extended, reaching for a ride.
Whitman, stopping to pick up discarded value meals and famous soda cans spread in the medians and ditches.
An occasional honk from nowhere. Whitman resting under a six-miles-till sign, sleeping under a six-miles-till sign.
The Short & Sweet
Name: Brett Auten
Life: married, two kids
Employment: Varied since the horse and buggy days of newspapers