Thursday, February 11, 2016

Three Poems by Leland Seese

In My Almost Dead Caprice

The Tremeloes come on the radio
to send us looking back, the way we alwasy do.
We have pulled up to a snowbank
near the lakeside boulevard, walking
with a love, with a love that's oh so fine,
watching ducks crash land on lake ice shining
in the February sun.

Our mechanic's knuckles are perpetually gashed
to let hydraulic fluid fill his bloodstream,
mixed with coolant, vapors, gasoline,
as he goes about his business,
never to be mine, checks a tire's pressure,
wipes a Volvo's windows clean.

When I turn on the engine
heat like cat's tongues licks our faces dry
as I try to understand the cloud bank
now descended on your mood.
It occurs to me my feet,
two slabs of meat latched onto clutch and brake,
hang but a firewall away from hoses cracked
and leaking molten sludge.  Tiny shards of metal
eat the cylinders, no matter how I try-
aye-aye-aye-aye-aye-aye-aye.  Our mechanic says
it's time to say Goodbye.

Mother and Son

Maybe he was asking for a loan
Maybe if she'd listen he could just explain
Maybe he could quit at any time

They had pulled up next to me
at the guardrail by the street end
overlooking derelicts

a trawler and a factory ship
a tug
a decommissioned ferry now a dance hall by the pier

I had my windows up
the ball game on
and couldn't hear a word they said

But I could see his posture
see him close the gap between them
leaning in

Maybe five feet tall she was craning
at his shaven head
his lips as plump as segments

from a blood orange
whiskers like a field of dragon's teeth
on his unshaven cheeks and chin

Her shield was the covenant
between some mothers and their sons
Something still aflame behind her eyes

His shoulders sagged
the slightest bit
a movement such as only flies on walls detect

He turned and slumped back in
behind the wheel of their battered
Grand Marquis

She stood at the rail and eyes the derelicts
daring one to fire back to life
or failing that to list a little more

The Skagit River Tour Boat

Every twelve-year-old on planet earth should wear a badge of dark brown dirt
between their ankle bone and heel to mark their barefoot summers

August afternoon and stranded sprawled across the lawn of someone's
lakefront Craftsman with temperamental fuel pump given out

My swim coach and his friends came back from Vietnam to scavenge parts
while others did their damnedest to evade the draft

Two-hundred bucks in cash plus a Triumph TR 4 in trade for an
Elco flat-top cruiser built in 1929 christened with can of Rainier beer

The Skagit River Tour Boat

Sitting with our fishing poles in hopes of catching sockeyes
breathing dieselalgaefishsmell anchored near the river mouth

Half a mile away my dad in suit and tie enduring ordered repetition at the Boeing plant

Toss me a beer and I won't tell even though I'm only twelve
Happy under blue sky sun when daylight lasts till after ten pm

Girlfriends through summer game as anyone to heave the flywheel till the motor coughs to life chunk-
chunking echoes off the shore

One guy's mother yelling from their dock
Your manager is on the phone and mad as hell!  Have you forgotten all about your shift?

Early morning swim team workout dads drop off their kids while on their way to work
My coach calls out the starts IMs on 1:30  Ready.  Go!  Ready.  Go!

My dad stays and makes a paddle motion with his hands to say Kick harder boy!
then leans once more toward the mother of the little kid her hand rests on his forearm as she laughs at
something he is saying showing off her pretty teeth

Coach hits me on my shoulder tells me I'm a little shit and says I should get ready
We're going on the boat today at two

Dozing on The Skagit River Tour Boat's decaying deck as they pass around a joint though not to me and talk
about pollution Richard Nixon and the war

I am listening to every word they say these older guys
and scratching at the dark brown dirt around the hollow of my ankle bone and heel

Leland Seese does several things with great passion:  parenting foster/adopted/bio children with his wife, Lisa Konick; pastoring a kooky, wonderful congregation of progressive Christians; and writing poetry as a means of holding body, soul, mind, and heart together.  The latter has led to publication in several journals, including Pyrokinection, and a nomination for a Pushcart Prize from the kind editors of the same.

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