Poem — 15 April 2021

by Bobby Carlson


I wish I could have met Mary Oliver, I think as I also think about the sources of food In the tortilla wrapped hibiscus burrito from Tanya’s 33.


Watering the garden in Las Cruces Had to wait until the sun sufficiently went down

Flat tire on the Astro Van 20 miles to White Sands

Air conditioner puttering Under the midday sun

The three dogs Bearing three crosses

No, they were just wondering Why we’d want to go to where we did

Trying to eat slower: be present Trying to chew more deliberately

My teeth and the inside of my cheeks Have been trying to tell me for years

I remember having acid reflux back when I drank ten thousand beers or so every single year

That was my body Employing a more urgent approach


Falling asleep in the passenger seat On the way back from Cloudcroft Alton Ellis “Why Do Birds Follow Spring”

There were deer in the Lincoln National Forest And squirrels jumping on the oak Juniper and ponderosa pine Sent a CS Lewis book to my mother for her birthday I suppose I found it to be a middle way Or a cop out

I should have sent

The Angela Davis and Yuri Kochiyama documentary I watched With my love last night


Sitting in bed with a wrecked back Listening to Pharaoh Sanders After a long night of dreams I don’t want to go home Or go to work

Laid off since March 25th Getting to know the woman I love Learning new things Reading

My friend’s dad died yesterday Probably not COVID related I never met the man Seen him in photographs But of course- it makes me think Of my dad, our relationship How much I miss him

I can see him on the hospital bed In dipshit Texas Playing him Beach Boys songs While my step mom pretends not to worry


Spooning honey in my black tea this morning Swirling it around, feeling the weight Of leaving this place


The main thing I get from buddhism is There is absolutely no reason in this world To ever be a dick

But of course We’re all going through our own pain If we can just maintain control When another cannot And give support There is nothing we can’t accomplish

Karma is not a mysterious cosmic force of justice It’s just a synonym for natural consequence


Sitting at the dog park Watching the dogs, people Reading about Chinatown Polanski, Townes Considering my own script This is the last day Not bothering to take note of the time My time How much is it worth? Currently, about 17/hr

7.20.20 Fluorescent lights Digital technology Seven strangers sitting at desks At least six feet apart Due to Pandemic


Leaf blowers blowing Is the opposite of beauty

Learning a copywrited version Of nonviolent crisis intervention

All praise Corporate Amerika


Figuring out a health insurance plan Is the height of absurdity

What human decided that there should be a premium, a deductible? What a lost opportunity for the concept of premium How much these things should be What is covered and what is not?

The human capitalist invents the pre-existing condition

All praise Corporate Amerika


The Sonoran Desert Toad Feasting and bounding So beautifully around The new developments Provided by Rio Nuevo Incorporated Ward 1

All praise Corporate Amerika

7.24.20 Happy 70th, Dad

The reggae neighbor Plays his cheap keyboard And sings the same song Through the wall I can’t make out any of the words


Spiraling concentric mind Birds fly in present time Two coyotes on Bonita Avenue

I have no interest in Focusing on the scope Sequence for the school year


Visible half moon Walking the dog Santa Cruz River Toad hop


Walking my dog at night When the winds blow burning charcoal warm


The rain did Not make it Through All the fake medicine

Crickets on the dead baked sidewalk


Working is weird and dangerous Joyous stress Fluorescent Corporate sky Hums above

Men on cooking concrete medians With cardboard signs Begging to live


Jazz by Ken Burns

The music comes over The music never goes away Call and response of the spirit Spirit to spirit

The churches make perfect brothels The classic American minstrel show Sing the gospel Spirit to spirit

Baptism is a step Like onto the moon Like 1491 Garden to garden

To garden to garden Spirit to spirit Ragtime to the end Plessy v Ferguson

There is a mistress Tracing her ancestry Following her muse Spirit to spirit


North Dodge neighborhood clinic schedules me for an antibody test I arrive on time and everyone is polite They sit me in a chair And look for a vein They settle for my hand

I can’t feel the ice pack they put on my neck I can feel my whiteness I can feel the inside of my stomach They give me peach tea And I complain about the high fructose corn syrup Listed high on the multicolored corporate label

They give me a bottle of water And take my spit


Minor baptism on Mt. Graham Too many human people A hawk takes off from an eastern white pine


The all mighty everunchanging unrelenting Word of god Jammed down my throat Like a grown man’s fist Or a McDonald’s ice cream cone

My sister tells me that my stepmother Knows not what she does I believe her

I was born in a hospital in a mall parking lot That turned into a funeral home Then just a parking lot

When Taco Bells served enchiladas With three olive slices on top And every Christmas I got plastic toys


Bare feet on the stones in the front yard Watering what I think are maybe hopseed bushes Deathly and dry, trying to save them

8.22.20 RIP Turtle

Going out again in pandemic USA can’t figure out

There’s a man, a new one That walks around

West of downtown neighborhood Talking to himself, sometimes yelling

I don’t know How to get him the help he needs

I feel useless when I see him


I called myself a slave Like an idiot Under the fluorescent lights Of the classroom Where I breathe the air During clockable hours And the trans Black man Shamed me as he should And I wonder if I’ll redeem myself


The United States is a scourge Failing and giving up so easily Spreading disease

Fires burn


I wonder if there are Mexicans Proud of their nation state On their special holidays


“Pity the Country” By Willie Dunn Guitar strings echo

Columbo says, “Just one more thing” To a cop that knocks On a no knock warrant

There is no escape, Says a portion of philosophers Contemplating

Not very illuminating The sun goes down On a prideful people That struggle to find love

Maybe one day we’ll sell Enough Bibles and gasoline To say our history

Is no more toxic Than a sea Of plastic We can say

They’re just the boats That bring us our freedoms We’ll believe anything


A response on social media:

That’s all fine. Your argument is that kneeling is disrespectful. Your distaste to the protest is cultural. If people listened to the reasons Instead of making up their own There wouldn’t be people in the street Offending you so With their feelings of hopelessness and rage.

What’s disrespectful is hucking wares in public office. What’s disrespectful are phrases like “good genes” and “racehorse theory.” What’s disrespectful is “Make America Great Again.” Please explain exactly when America was great. Disrespectful is ignoring the reality of white privilege. It’s disrespectful to ignore the insipid everliving history of white supremacy in this country. A history of genocide. It’s disrespectful to look at a woman’s criminal history when all she was doing was sleeping in her own bed when she was gunned down chasing low level drug shit. It’s disrespectful to say that the unlawful bullets were the ones that missed.


The dog watches the lizard Through a fence she can see through The lizard knows it’s safe


My dog loves carrots When I hand them to her She pulls one gently Into her mouth

George Romero saw the future A true Buddha in a dead country Low prices as advertised: Men have skin too

This must really be big Empire Pizza St James Infirmary Make it easy to support local

Corporate overlord I’ve wanted to believe Voting was an important Exercise

For so long As long as I could George Washington Carver Low prices as advertised

God is with us God is with us God is with us Low prices as advertised

God is with us God is with us God is God is with us I have to take a shit


I want to walk around in sentimental Aspen trees And birches and see if I can tell the difference Like crows and ravens


I buy books Full price Because I’m a privileged motherfucker

And my children are not in cages Because I’m a privileged motherfucker

I chose not to have children Based off the education I received As a privileged motherfucker

That didn’t have to start Hustling as a preteen I drive

Wherever I want I’m a privileged motherfucker I don’t know how to fix my car

I’m a privileged motherfucker “He never directly addresses Race, class, or gender”

That’s right I’m a bona fide Privileged motherfucker


The dog eyefucks a fly Tracks it through the room An audible THWOP Everytime her jaws clamp down The fly lands on the VP of the USA


Present self to fifteen year old self:

Music will take over your entire life It will mark your time Crawl into every corner You’ll never get out Of your very own cul de sac

Referential All will be defined By the records that take you To your very favorite Your very very own cul de sac

You will see quite a few shithole clubs Because of your love beyond love In your favorite In your very own In your very own cul de sac


Hopeful No COVID For breakfast Indulgence

The band Played behind Plexiglass In the outdoor Courtyard

Same as it ever was Sleepy Saturday Ladies on the bed Ayurveda


Capitalism creates nothing. Cooperation, knowledge, experience, collectivism And imagination have created the marvels of the world.

Capitalism stole them and choked them and smothered them To get the profit out


What’s it called When the moon Is two days past full Headlight bright In the early morning?

All thoughts blear To the past Or future Instead Of the present moment Missing someone And it still feels Like a dream


The simple things that bring us joy The simple things that bring us joy The simple things that bring us joy

Just a little bit of a wobble in it A perfect custard filling

Time is always against us


Write about The first time you held someone’s hand Your first job Your favorite teacher A time you were lost Why you write Your dream vacation Two friends have a disagreement Outside the window, You see something You can’t believe


I smoke a lot of dog hair I drink a lot of tears My favorite thing is scratching Behind her ears


Universal Donors in a Vampire Culture The Trap Gets Set A book and a song Waiting on a joyous arrival It won’t be long

“Highway Sweetheart” Comes on Waiting for her To pull in

I take a phone call From someone An offer to extend My vehicle’s warranty But they don’t have That information Because I won’t Give it to them


Birds or leaves Tree outside window Las Cruces, New Mexico

It’s not a coincidence Birds and leaves Are similarly shaped

It’s survival And design We’re never the same


Pondering the mind of dog Consciousness of dog Some of us don’t take it lightly Or lesser, even if it’s in a Comic strip or offhand remarks Not to say there’s anything to be Said disparaging about those things At all

Dog state: in the moment To learn, explore, to always Be learning, exploring To care for To know the absolute value Of taking care and caring for Self-awareness/lack of self awareness To know and understand the Knowing of fragility of a Living being


Who the fuck is this Vince anyway? Why’s he hunting for vampires? He just shows up with his cloves

But free enterprise is making money They’re stealing cars for Crazy Horse Among the trees outside of Sioux Falls

#BobbyCarlson #Poetry #DockyardPress