Nancy: "Shopping" means a 45 mile drive. Plenty of chance to appreciate the grotty end of winter. Written in the parking lot of the big box store, where the anonymous shopper made my day.
Gritty Wind Blues
There’s no crayon in the box for this,
nothing as dirty as old ice,
nothing as cold as the jagged bay,
nothing as tired as the matted grasses
and the ubiquitous plastic bags
impaled in the roadside branches.
We’re all ground down to a nameless shade
So it’s not surprising that I saw the woman
with the shopping cart as defiant.
Way to go, lady, with your ribbons,
with your improbable rainbow garden
of plastic flowers. Red, pink, orange,
purple, green, a whole fistful of colors.
Just what we needed, spunky graffiti
scrawled on the grit of the day.
Alan: There’s nothing like a long, solo car trip with the radio off to encourage a poem. Here’s one that came out in a rush.
Man with Dog and Cone
A large man
walking the roadside
against sparse rural traffic
leads a small, no-breed, somehow
cheerful dog while holding by its tip
an orange-and-white striped
cone, the cone in his right hand, starboard
so to speak, the dog trending slightly to port,
protected by the man’s heft and maybe the cone
and really as I now see it a step or two ahead:
some rustic Diogenes, it appears, lifting
a blind and useless lantern
while tugged by mongrel hope.
I would not mind
being thus encumbered
in equal parts by bright
enquiring foolishness and shaggy
dog-trot optimism, the more staunchly thereby
to face each on-rushing, deadly truth
or lie, particularly if the alternative meant
to set them down, one or the other
or both, and become then simply
a rather bulky person bereft
of companionship, walking the edge
to nowhere, holding out
nothing at all.
“Gritty Wind Blues” first appeared in Slow Dancer magazine.