Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Trains

30 days poetry

Tracks

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

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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

Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Mornings

The 50-Centers

This clatch club, 65+ years
in the making, gathers
6 am every morning
for Senior coffee, just 50 cents
and stimulating conversation.
These men have flown crop
dusters and fighter jets, sold
tractors and F-150s, cried
only twice in a long lifetime,
buried spouses and even children.
But each morning’s stories take
them to better places, to voices
filled with gravelly laughter
and the puffed chests no one
shakes a graying head at.
They talk, flirt with Flo,
who has worked this beat
for fifteen years or more,
remark on the cars that zip
in and out of the drive-through,
and shuffle from the familiar booths
just in time to avoid the pimply
teens who take up residence
before school, their young eyes
roving over what is just in front
of them, the wisdom of the 50-centers,
as if the young know everything.
Only Harley Lee, 15, who works
the shift with Flo, knows
how life lessons like gold
can be found at the bottom
of a Styrofoam cup.
Ramona Levacy 
April  20, 2015
Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Musicality

Student Concert

Only twice each year they gather
in this great hall where Elvis once
twisted his hips to hear the best
Mrs. Tilly’s music students have
to offer.  The high whine of first year
violinists mixes with the rapid chording
of bluegrass mandolins, the classic
keys of Chopin pounding to the high
tin ceiling in minor keys.  These children
whose days fill with horse trotting
and races up and down cotton rows
are testament to the power of rhythm,
the will of music-loving mommas
to drive the ten miles past the outskirts
of town to Mrs. Tilly’s dull-green barn,
the home to cattle, felines and feed
Mr. Tilly remodeled just before cancer
silenced the happy man forever. 
From September to May, the notes
waft across the open fields sunup
to well past sunset until Mrs. Tilly feels
the sounds in her very cells
that will welcome summer to the town
she has loved since her beloved
drove her to the family homestead,
newlyweds in a ’44 Ford hoping like
the world churned by war around them
for days of sunshine, clothes drying
slowly on the line, and decades
of dancing to tunes of love.
Ramona Levacy 
April  19, 2015
Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Twisters 

Stormy Days

The blue sky that stretches
forever turns green and black
as quick as blinking somedays,
the steady hum of cicadas
suddenly gone, replaced
by a quiet that makes skin
crinkle with the coming storm.
In this flat land, the thick, gray wall
of a cloud most folks know enough
to stray from looms across miles,
shooting bolts of white light
that threaten to burn the dried out
tumbleweeds and gnarly mesquite
cascading in all directions.
The wind blows sand with the thick
scent of what is to come, rain drops
the size of nickels followed by chunks
of ice that cover the ground like mid-winter.
Twisters sometimes follow the rain,
their wind the sound of freight trains,
holding the screams of the dead.
A hot, still day turns cool after,
the crisp reminder of the promise
that follows on the heels
of any storm.
Ramona Levacy
April 18, 2015
Posted in Poetry

Mesquite Bend: Letha Kyle

30 days poetry

So Sweet Potato Pie

Letha Kyle bakes a sweet potato pie
people line up to buy each holiday,
a pie just the right balance of sugar
and butter, a crust that flakes
to melt in watering mouths.

The recipe, guarded more
than even Letha’s darkest secrets,
is rumored to pre-date the Civil War,
when Indians and buffalo ruled
this part of the country.

She reeled in the town’s confirmed bachelor
with her cooking, but the pie caught him,
married thirty years and counting,

no children, only the twin dachshunds
who eat grilled steaks that fill the house
with seasoned scents Letha and her man
forego cable television to buy.

No one will ever know
that Letha clipped her pie
from The New York Times when she
was twelve and Mama first let her
use the large, gas stove that marked
Letha’s womanhood.  Mama proved

the power of femaleness, 90 years
of opening cans with her thick knife
and creating food from dabs, pinches,
tea cups, from the smells of her mixing bowl,
from touch.

Ramona Levacy
April 16, 2015