Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Endings

30 days poetry

The Writer

Observers, those who see
beneath the surface but stand
outside of things, the world

made real only on pages
filled with right words, these few
believers find what inspires
in tractors up on cinder blocks

and the musty scent of sand
floating on the ever-present wind.
The gaps between the rose pin Mrs. Penny

wears to church every Sunday
and the ’57 Chevy she drives once
each month, the writer fills

with details gleaned from sunsets
where the clouds turn purple
and ground hog cities more
active than any Mesquite Bend weekday.

The great American novel lies
in moments spent outside the DQ,
propped against the hail-dented hood
of the only car the family owns,

licking ice cream as it dribbles down cones
in the West Texas heat, the waves
of warmth hazy in the midst of friends
you have known since diapers,

those few who are the only ones
to understand the meaning
of a coyote howl on the darkest night,
the stars twinkling in a black sky,
the wind stealing your very breath,
drying your tears.

Ramona Levacy
April 30, 2015

Poet’s Note:  Thus endeth 30 poems in 30 days for 2015.  For those of you more used to seeing my thoughts on Christian living, thanks for your patience as I participated in this April challenge.  My Mesquite Bend was no Spoon River Anthology, but writing about one town in poetry is something I have always wanted to do.  These poem drafts might just be a good place to start on that project at some future date.  Thanks again for reading.  Have a blessed day!  ~ramona

Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Mamas

30 days poetry

The Quilters

These women cook three squares
from scratch, from before the sun
peaks over the long horizon
until it sends its last daily blaze
setting west.  They grasp

gleaming counters despite the glint
of dust hanging ever-present
in the air around them.  Kids

home from classes start chores
as constant as the clock
ticking away the days over the sink
in every kitchen.  Bingo

and bake sales, simple pleasures,
like potluck dinners Sundays
and the sound of husbands
tinkering with tractor or car engines
mean more to these than the trend

for short skirts or platinum hair.
Saturday afternoons, they circle
in the basement of the Baptist church,
a round of quilters making memories
for the town’s babies and newlyweds,

these patterns, more than swatches of cloth,
but fibers of blood and tears
that pulse in their very cells.

Ramona Levacy
April 29, 2015

Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Revival

30 days poetry

Salvation and Dust

Each summer since 1920, the white tent
rises from the dust, its gleaming poles
polished smooth by sand carried
across a thousand miles.

For five nights, Mesquite Bend swells
with hymns and brimstone, whispered
promises of forgiveness, and Spirit-filled
prayers.  Faith brings most who sit

in the stiff, folding chairs for hours
each night to listen to Reverend Grady
ebb and flow the Gospel for them,
sweat trickling down his bulbous nose

as he points in all directions, his words
full of holiness and damnation.  Others
bring stubbornness with them,
the need to hold on to the self

outdoing the call to step out,
childlike, into the abyss where reason
gives way to belief.  These few mock
the courage of those who freely fall

into the arms of the dry, hot air
that builds to a mighty crescendo
of cicada song and amens.  The time
fifty souls returned to Jesus

even the mockers felt goose bumps
crawling up arms that raised heavenward.
In a landscape of darkness, these nights
shine between fields filled with cotton and coyotes.

Ramona Levacy
April 28, 2015

Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Readers

30 days poetry

The Library

This building has stood since 1922,
a two-story brick with fuzzy glass
that first served as the home

to the richest family in 50 miles.
When the last Bailey boy died
on Normandy sand so like

his West Texas grit, the house
went to the town, who watched
the dust blast the brick through

two more decades before a girl,
just ten, longed for a library.
Mesquite Bend baked pecan pies

and frosted cupcakes until Twain,
Hemingway and Jack London filled
shelves hand-built by the Carpenters’

Union League, who sacrificed three
weekends of baseball-playing to pound
nails into pine and polish mahogany.

Mondays, the tall English lady who once
acted on the stage in Salisbury read
Shakespeare and Seuss to anyone who gathered.

Friday nights brought the sounds
of violins and guitars trilling through pages
about farming and ranch history

as musicians and bands came
into the usually quiet walls to share
word-love of a different variety.

Summer reading contests encourage
discovery, take FFA students to jungles
in the Amazon and on adventures

where the good guys don’t always win,
and the sunsets compete with the sky
that turns orange and blue outside their windows,

rainy afternoons spent curled up
on Mama’s favorite sofa, the scent
of her lavender mixing with the dramas

about love, war and rites of passage
that help all who crave stories
face a world where joy meets pain.

Ramona Levacy
April 27, 2015

Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Intersections

30 days poetry

Where Lives Collide

This town of very few streets
has many stoplights, the places
where more than roads
cross each other.  Bob Briggs,

the first man to put an oil drill
where his cattle grazed,
raised voices with John Brown
for 30 years every morning

as they ate Fanny’s famous pancakes
at the small restaurant Fanny’s family
ran for generations.  Her booths

steamed with more than the steaks
and fried potatoes she served,
as customers argued politics,
when to plant, and the need
for the first stoplight just north

of the high school baseball field.
No one forgets the scalding cup
of coffee Milly Brewer threw
at her cheating husband one
Saturday morning while her kids

were home eating up cartoons and cereal,
or what about the proposal,
when the rotund sheriff labored
down to one knee before the skinny,
blonde beauty queen who said yes

and gave him three, pudgy children?
No one driving through ever stops
at Fanny’s, where no highway goes.
Only the faded stop sign a block

from where she flips burgers
over a red-hot grill points
to the need for intersecting lives,

the places people meet
to share love and discord,
as well as the scent of burnt coffee
and pies mile-high meringued.

Ramona Levacy
April 26, 2015

Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Founding

30 days poetry

What They Know

These tough trees grow like weeds,
dotting the world in all directions
like gnarled, black claws.

When the dust blew like oxygen,
painting its sandy fingerprints
deep into the knuckles of the farmers

who worked the land here,
the mesquite’s pickled branches
set on shelves laid bare

of all else edible.  Mesquite digs
itself into the dirt, holding on
like death.  Those who call

these plains home know
the need to cling, to plow
even when your blood

mingles with the dirt.  This town
sprang up among these trees,
its gnarly fingers gripping,

ever gripping, a world
that flies by them
like no trees are rooted here.

Ramona Levacy
April 25, 2015

Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Homecoming

30 days poetry

And So They Dance

The brisk, leafy wind carries
with it the march to mums
draped in multi-colored ribbons,
the musty scent of sweat and Gatorade
that marks football and Fall
anywhere in this great state of Texas.

Even blink-in-the-road towns
like this one have rival teams
they have faced off in battle
for generations of touchdowns
and field goals that sail through the uprights
as the last seconds fade into destiny.

Lee Perkins, who has no children,
places posters in his shoe store window
a full month before the big game,
his stray moments, of which there are many,
filled with small talk about halfbacks
and the never-benchers, those players

who have more than a love
for the pigskin, but the skill
to loft themselves as skyward
as the passes they have thrown
since before they could scribble
their own names.

Lee tracked the equipment
when he was 16, playing
from the sidelines, holding up
the walls after the big game,
as he watched the football captain
slow-step with Nancy Wright,
the only girl Lee would ever love.

Ramona Levacy
April 24, 2015

Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Trains

30 days poetry


Two lines of rusted steel run
parallel to the highway,
veering two miles south of town
just where the old blacksmith shop

once stood and, rumor has it,
Mr. Murphy shot his wife
and her lover at the turn
of another century.

Except where they slow
for the intersection by the school
and cemetery, the trains

rumble past the houses and shops
that make up Mesquite Bend
from early in the morning
until late at night.  Mike Keel,
who lives just yards from the tracks,

takes an hour every Saturday
to straighten the pictures his wife
has hung on their many walls,
only to wince as the next rumble

inches the frames just a little
more sideways.  The Reiser children
like to count the cars streaming by,
dreaming about the pretty things
locked away behind the graffitied boxes.

One time, a train with two engines
and more than a hundred cars
came to a stop on the tracks
for three hours, as children
from all over town scurried
around the caboose, making friends

with two conductors
and the engineer.  Many kids
have tightroped these tracks
running away from home
or a whipping, but true as steel

the tracks always
lead them home.

Ramona Levacy
April 23, 2015

Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Bubba Blue

30 days poetry

True Colors

All who drive by the blink
that is Mesquite Bend notice
the yellow and orange house,
a ranch-style built in 1962
when the mini-oil boom swept
through this Texas county.

Bubba Blue bought the house
from his grandmother’s estate
five years before, when the house
gleamed white with a tan border.

Bubba, who stands six-foot-four
in pin-striped-stockinged feet,
looks like a light pole in his pastel shirts
and crisp, starched slacks.  The tassels
on his dress shoes almost jingle
as he stands behind the counter
at the local bank, his bright smile
the highlight of many an old woman’s
day.  Bubba loves Zane Grey,

romcom movies and ice cream,
but only his female corgi knows
Bubba sleeps on pink, Egyptian cotton
sheets in a room painted red.

Colors, Bubba’s true loves, draw
the eye to the house where his family
have come in and out of the world
since a 17-year-old Blue brought
his bride to the new construction,
as sure of himself as the West Texas wind.

But Lucy Lind thinks she loves
Bubba enough for both of them,
her five-two frame the round
opposite to the man she set her heart for
the moment he stooped to touch

her cheek, ever so gently, the day
in junior high school when the girls
first called her “porky.”  Fridays, she
cooks Bubba’s favorite casserole,
serves him on her Fiesta ware, laughs
and cries with the video in her rusty
machine.  Bubba’s lean arm
wraps around her pudgy shoulders,

a silent apology for the unspoken
truth of it, his need to be free
outweighing his love for even
the kindest woman Mesquite Bend
has ever known.

Ramona Levacy
April 22, 2015

Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Borders

Only 9 more days until 30 days of poetry is complete.  Thanks for your patience as I took part in this "challenge."
Only 9 more days until 30 days of poetry is complete. Thanks for your patience as I took part in this “challenge.”

The Fuel of Feuds

Even a place as small as this
breeds enemies.  Bill Mason fought
Howard Breeley in the street,

in front of the Five and Dime
and Mary Ann back in 1952.
Bill swung first, rounding a left
into Howard’s jaw that made
the larger boy’s teeth rattle.

As Howard shook the strike away,
Bill raised his knee into Howard’s groin,
a sissy move, except Bill stood
six inches below the other boy’s head.

Howard’s first strike sent Bill
sailing over the ’48 Ford parked
parallel to the drug store,
the crack of Bill’s collar bone

echoing down Main in the awed
silence.  No coward, Bill rose,
blood spurting from his bulbous nose,
and head-butted Howard, knocking
the wind from the giant in a whoosh
that smelled of the White Pig’s burgers
and greasy fries, the lunch favorite
of every high school senior.

As Sheriff Brady gazed from his pickup,
Mary Ann scurried from the general store
where she sold nylons and bobby pins
between the pages of the romance novels
she secretly read.  One slender,
manicured hand was all it took

to sway Howard from his next blow,
as Mary Ann rushed to Bill,
peppering butterfly kisses
on his pimply forehead.

Half a century later, Howard sells
used cars to put his seven grandchildren
through university.  No Breeley
nears a Mason, not even
Bill’s youngest grandkid, the girl
who is the spitting image of Mary Ann.

Ramona Levacy
April 21, 2015