The Break of Day – Lugubrious Fall Evening – The Walk

GREG HUTESON’s poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Orbis, The Honest Ulsterman, A New Ulster, the Alabama Literary Review, Trinity House Review, BigCityLit, and various other journals. For the past 20 years, he’s lived in China and Taiwan.

The Break of Day

Though still, I’m ringed by flocks of middling angels,

smudged guardians of no specific rank.

They are half-bored and overlook

my seafood porridge and my tilted chair,

even the cautious pigeon on the ledge.

Now with these spirits, there’s no need to quake

or craven urge to fall and then revere.                                                                                     

They are too simple, motley and too dull.                                                                              

And while they stand and watch, these lax recruits,

they sometimes shuffle in their stained white boots.

Once breakfast’s done, ceramic bowl aside,

I tug my leather Bible from the shelf

and knock the Songs of Innocence askew.

The woolly beings start to twist and squirm

despite the faces, wings and dervish wheels.

They yawn at these symbols in Ezekiel one.

The languor of familiarity

is my conjecture of the likely cause.

Impiety? Who knows, for they are not 

inclined to speak, these dingy, fretful ones.

The Lamb and golden throne are more their choice

than a pine desk and scruffy leather book

illuminated by an alley light.

The yellowed rag quilt, it discomfits them

as do the tiles and drifting strands of dust.

I fear that they aspire to a raise,

a quick promotion to a senior rank,

a place, say, in a holy man’s small guard.

That or the ranks around a seraph chief,

a speedy end to skirting my divan.

The Bible closed, I stand and lift my hands

to pick the firstfruits of the autumn day,

then shuffle to the door. The angels wait

in twos and threes to file out and grunt

half-heartedly of lethargy and doom.

Lugubrious Fall Evening

And still the sun, it does not slant or slope.

The flame-licked clouds, they neither ash nor fall.

The moon withholds its ice-flecked eyes and hope.

As squirrels scramble from the oaks then crawl,

the split-tongued crows scorn each other’s croaks

and roosters – hellions – strut, prepare to brawl.

The sombre hounds are slouched among the folk

and shorthair kittens crouch and glare like thieves

while hawks abide on draughts and stare at smoke.

Pecan trees slough their nuts and jagged leaves.

The chastetree stands all twisted and all bare.

The rose’s prickly branches lack safe sleeves.

The while the grass lies staggered in fraught air

and sandburs’ seeds await a heel or toe.

Cicadas are long burrowed on a dare.

The wind is up. The barometer is low.

The storm drain cracks its narrow yawn

as twigs and tattered things jig to-and-fro.

Old toys are littered on the dirt-patched lawn.

A chair tossed crooked near a rubber ball,

a garland draped across a metal fawn.

And still the sun has not yet found its fall.

The clouds still hesitate to tear and drain.

The moon may rise to a salubrious squall.

The Walk

We walk not glad and ramble on.

A white-haired lady hums and strides along.

Half-tugging at a wagon in the street,

a toddler halts to study grey pecans

when, randomly as coughs in crowded trains,

a rusting Chevy pickup backfires twice.

The toddler and the lady start and stare

like us. The sky is flecked with heedless clouds,

all blithely butting, heading east and glad.

We talk not sad and stumble on.

A pecan-filled tree, anomaly among

the junipers, is stacked with cracker crows.

A broken trike’s upended on the lawn.

Quite nonchalant, some flop-eared Nubian goats

stand tightly packed on doghouse roof,

the droopy watchmen of this dreary place.

Their yard is marked by sagging wire mesh,

a mongrel barrier, neglected, sad.

We gloat not bad and bumble on.

The braggart crows would swagger if they could.

Yes, they would hook and tug their belt loops hard

while closely eying one or two pecans.

When three hop down and spit their brownish chaw

in narrow streams into the checkered dust,

the others wildly thrust their heads and caw.

And if they could, they’d slap each other’s backs

for this is their new-seized demesne. It’s bad.