chuck a stetson

Alarm Clock Jam

voices in my head
sing unfamiliar rhyme
their coda whispered
while the fuzzy faces
scroll left to right
up and down
zoom in and out
dragging the lines
where faded scars squiggle
last morning’s dream
fading with the mad hatter’s
“la la la la la la — ”

© chuck a stetson 2015


Shits and Giggles

My aunt comes to me, her angry brown eyes cut me; her cancer
ridicules me. I slip and fall backwards on the decades holding
my secrets, sliding from old man towards young boy, a young boy

I imagine to be but never have been. Neither she nor I say anything.
We wait for the dream’s drama to unfold: plot points to twist and turn: I hurt,
I cry, I take flight, I pray Jesus understands the wicked. From somewhere

my uncle snarls. He is young, muscular, years from becoming the jovial rich man I remember: “Jesus? Shit, boy, he ain’t gonna forgive you,” he says, accentuating
his presence with a familiar laugh —

My mother would say my aunt and uncle are angry for the way I’ve ignored her,
but she is not in this dream, she is not of the death playing out in this dream,
she isn’t in my head living in some unrecognizable space where shadows play

host to familiar voices — this night: my father, my first wife, a Jamaican mental
patient struggling for breath as a forefinger and thumb crush his Adam’s apple.
“Shits and giggles,” my father says, but I don’t laugh. His Old Spice fumes

repulses me: “Go away, fucker.” He stays. He introduces my first wife. She is
nineteen, chunky; I apologize for never loving her. She weeps a remembered cadence, before erupting into a mania many years misdiagnosed.

But the Jamaican mental patient confuses me. His name? I can’t remember his
name. I wait. I focus. I see his face: bulging eyes, they are familiar: hauntings from a profession I long ended. Is that my forefinger and thumb? I don’t know.

My violence lingers in echoed thoughts, rapid visions, churning storms, hopeless prayers chanted by disappointed children waiting for their father to surface…

It won’t be long ’till the hydrocodone kicks in.

© chuck a stetson 2015

Raining Rocks

Small white rocks fell from the sky. Me and Harry-Gary were caught between panic and boner-producing exaltation: we had discovered the stick of dynamite in the explosives shed, placed it halfway up the mound of crushed gravel and lit the fuse.

We figured the fuse had a 60 second delay before the mound of small white stones exited Videtta Sand & Gravel in a hail of all out craziness. We figured wrong. Nothing happened for what seemed an eternity: enough time for me and Harry-Gary to weave our way through the woods, back to the front porch of my house where we planted our childish asses on two Adirondack benches, lamenting the dud we planted.

The boom threw us from the benches. Windows cracked. Voices screamed; some cursed. Small white rocks fell from the sky like hail during a July thunderstorm. Soon sirens sounded in the distance. My mother came to the front door in a panic. In that first eye to eye moment, I knew that she knew what we did. She asked: I lied. Harry-Gary ran home.

Crazy is in my DNA. There have been many explosions that have rocked me. Some I take the blame for, others I look to the heavens and wonder the “why” of it all. Boom!

© chuck a stetson 2015

Pulpy Perfection

crouching in soft light
she gathers the orchard fruit
vivid in color and sweetness

she tastes my offering
skewered on the knife
dancing in my hardened hand

pulp massages her tongue
skin sticks to her teeth
wetness swirls back and forth

amid fallen fruit she smiles
her sweet scent blossoms
lingering on the blade

© chuck a stetson 2015

Singing Grace

“One less pill, will the fog abate?”
I asked Alice: she didn’t know.
“Silly her,” said the dormouse.
“Her mind is moving low,”
a man on the chessboard said;
he wouldn’t tell me where to go.
“She’s usually ten feet tall,” said the White Knight.
“How so?” asked the Red Queen, convinced
logic and proportion remained sloppy dead —
a hookah-smoking caterpillar pondered my eyes.
“Watch out for the one that mother gives you,” said Alice.
“It does nothing at all.”
“Off with my head,” I motioned.
We all laughed.

© chuck a stetson 2015

Melting Ice Dams

calm comes with the falling snow
white blankets the ground, heaviness the air
I want to return to the child
sleds, tobogans, Jackson Hill
my first kiss under the pines
Susan Jackson running away
her laughter a remembered song

© chuck a stetson 2015      

Jello Jive

Down lifts up once again. The view through the pines remains cluttered. The rain begins; memories fall like a new emotion. Walking in the open wind, the rain cries and worries. No such thing helps solve the once again.

Trying to change, words kept falling. Breathing hurt. The oceans rolled backwards. All was silent. Moonshine ceased caring. The artist’s etching festered on the wrist… kind of funny.

So much for promises made. Shattered dreams ran away. Emptiness offered nothing. Softly, the sunrise cried as if the music stopped whenever hope appeared like a child offering affection.

Far away is insight. Oblivion is remembered. And the view through the pines remains cluttered: blue skies, fat clouds and all dreams passing through the same old song. On the road to somewhere, we try to understand.

© chuck a stetson 2015

When My Memories Leave Me

I will be sitting in a canoe
bobbing down a river
it’s name forgotten
my destination confused

No one will look for me
I won’t search for myself
instead I will ease my breath
contradict my fears and float

© chuck a stetson 2015

In My Head

You are there:
young, old, terrifying
a kaleidoscope of faces

I hate you
you know this
I love you — are you surprised?

How long has it been — our battle?
This eight year old is now sixty
you’re long gone: dead

buried beneath yellowed grass
molted wreaths prickling the sky —
a veteran’s placard: Army veteran World War II

What of our war?
there is no ceasefire
peace talks ended
when God called you home —

or did he?

 © chuck a stetson 2015