Lost In Time

Image by liggraphy from Pixabay

The Blue RIdge, hazy in the distance

Walls off the valley, bulwark against the outside

Cows stand like ancient sentinels

Waiting for history to happen again

Old schools float like islands in an ancient sea

Grounds still littered with grape and canister

They set their own rythyms

Cadences of a bygone era, steadfast

Bugles sing their songs day and night

Up and down the valley floor

Constant as the sun and moon

They are singing for ghosts

Reveille, first call, mess and taps

Melancholy, time upon time upon time

They call the ghosts of old soldiers

They grow fewer and softer

Sunday parades mollify the ghosts

Sabers flash, shakos flutter in the breeze

Drums roll, parents beam

Front Royal to Blacksburg, on all the islands

Pretty girls from fancy schools

Girls you can’t afford

Watch like girls always watch

Then dance with boys in blue and grey and green

The girls are perfect debs

The boys all spit and polish

Prideful and haughty

Heirs of a vanishing realm

The ghosts take us by the shoulders

“Oh Stop and listen to our tale.”

“There was good here. There was grace here.”

But they shot the albatross

The signs remained even then

The signs put the lie to it all

Unrepentant, put it all to the sword

“We reserve the right…”

And so the people were and they weren’t

And they did and they didn’t

And they would and they wouldn’t

Beautiful, she is marked with a scarlet letter

The girls walking on tartan carpets

Eating under crystal chandeliers

The boys polishing their brass

Drilling to ancient rhythms

The misty hills

The rolling rivers

Intoxicate you like a potion

You fall in love despite yourself

The girls grow old, they are your sisters

The cadets grow old, they are your brothers

The valley is eternal, bruised and beautiful

Easier to love with both eyes open

Ode To A Faithful Friend

Image by Q K from Pixabay

You crouch there in your little room

With not else much to do

But you’re not sad or filled with gloom

Cause they’ll always come to you

It could be at the break of light

Before they start their day

Or sometimes even late at night

They might come for a stay

They’ll come to you on bended knee

Or set a spell and read a book

Gasping while they worship thee

Or relaxing in your cozy nook

But come what may you never mind

Cause light or dark or day or night

You don’t mind cradling their behind

For any bottom is a welcome sight

I could sit here and I could wax poetic

Spinning praises like a bathroom rapper

Tapping your vibe and dropping words aesthetic

I guess you’d have to call me MC Crapper

Melvin

Image by Doris Metternich from Pixabay

Drip, swish, plink

Drip off the faucet

The liquid beads slide down her leg

Plink into the water

He raises his head

Swish goes his tail

The drops catch the candlelight

Magnifying the fairy hairs on her leg

Her skin is electric, like velvet

Drip, swish, plink

She raises the glass to her lips

The wine is translucent

He can see her lips through the glass

A permanent pout

Drip, swish, plink

A drop falls from her mouth

Drip

Slides down the curve of her breast

And into the water

Plink

She reaches over and scratches his head

Her blonde hair shedding water on the floor

“You’re a good boy Melvin, I love you”

Swish

© Glenn R Keller 2021, All Rights Reserved

Making Your Own Luck

Image by 정훈 김 from Pixabay

Swelling, because of all you’ve done

You nod to those who helped you

Beneficent, you thank them

Domestiques, clearing the way

On your path to inevitable greatness

But it was mostly you, yes we know that

With brilliant foresight

You picked your parents

With their stable marriage

You saw to it via clever planning

That you were born in a rich country

With a full set of limbs

And superior DNA

Some people live in war zones

They should have planned better

Some people don’t have access to food

Had only they thought things through

Some people don’t have clean water

They need to rise above

Pity the people without health care

Why didn’t they work harder

My my my, the people from broken homes

They should have spoken with you

Before they decided which sperm and egg

They would allow to conceive them

If only they knew what you know

Not to rely on luck…no no no

They should have buckled down

Then maybe they would be up here

On this stage with you

Explaining how you made your own luck

© Glenn R Keller 2021, All Rights Reserved

Who Are You?

Image by Alexandr Ivanov from Pixabay

I don’t know who you are

But I met you in the bar

Then you jumped into my car

And you said it wasn’t far

Now I’m sitting on your bed

With a dagger in my head

Can’t remember what I said

But I’m feeling like I’m dead

Was it worth it? I don’t know

Now the room is spinning slow

And I’m wishing I could go

What is your name? Was it Flo?

I could slip out and be rude

But I can hear you making food

Can smell coffee being brewed

And I don’t wanna be that dude

Now you’re bringing me a tray

And you’re smiling in that way

And you know I’m gonna stay

C’mon dammit…was it Faye?

© Glenn R Keller 2021, All Rights Reserved

Running Through History

Image by Pierre Blaché from Pixabay

I can feel the heat like it was yesterday. It was August and the heat and the humidity were overwhelming. So I got up early, left the hotel, and crossed the busy boulevard to the walls of the Imperial Palace. A God lived there, or so the Japanese believed at one time. Some still do I suppose. That is the thing with powerful beliefs…as long as a few dwindling faithful still believe, they carry their own type of truth…sticky and hard to dislodge. And when the belief fades for good, something is lost.

I didn’t really think about that, I knew it was allowed, they had told me at the hotel front desk, the pretty Japanese ladies. “It is very popular to run there sir. You will enjoy it.” I so I broke into a slow trot as I let my muscles stretch out and reassert themselves after a long night. The sun was up so it was already getting hot. And I could see everything. To my left, always to my left, the iconic grey stone walls punctuated by the occasional white tower and gate.

There were a few runners, hardly a crowd but I wasn’t alone. There were two types; big westerners; muscled and powering through their runs, and the locals; smaller and quick. When they passed me it was like I was standing still and always they gave a flick of the hand, the international runners greeting. The westerners betrayed no sign of noticing anyone else. By the look of them they were from security details…the embassies were close by. They were not selected for being friendly.

It was a little over 3 miles around. Easy for me at the time, even with the heat. At each gate we passed the armed guardians of the Emperor. As I approached the first gate I expected them to be either indifferent, (they must see thousands of runners per day), or stone faced. I was pleasantly surprised as without exception they all waved and some even gave verbal greetings as I passed.

It was over too soon; but the camaraderie of the local runners, the friendliness of the guards and the overwhelming sense of the history in this place made me forget the heat and the effort. Reality set in, and I had to be ready to head out by 8am, this was work trip after all. I headed back to the hotel, grabbed a bottle of water from my lady friends at the front desk and went to my room to wash up and get ready.

About an hour later, I hurried into the hotel restaurant to wolf down some breakfast. I grabbed a plate of toast and bacon and some orange juice. The orange juice tasted like it always tastes on a hot morning in a strange place and I drank several glasses. My travelling companions saw me and slid in next to me, having already eaten and impatient to head for the train station.

“It’s about time. What the heck were you doing?”

I thought about it for a minute and realized they wouldn’t understand. “Nothing, Just taking my time.”

© Glenn R Keller 2021, All Rights Reserved

Wistful

Image by Barbara Bonanno from Pixabay

It is the home you made but can no longer enter

It is the lover that you can no longer kiss

It is the pain that you cannot undo

It is the scar that you cannot erase

It is the rapture you cannot reclaim

It is the mundane

It is the painful

It is the joyful

It is the life that you have expended

Never to recover

You are alone in your backward dreams

They are already dust

Inside Looking Out

Image by Akshay Ranganath from Pixabay

The rain

Saturates the air

Puts a glaze on the street

Traffic lights shine through the murk

Diffused, but somehow brighter

Red, Yellow, Green

The lack of clarity

The air, moist and thick

Amplifies the sound

Diesel engines snorting

Buses picking up and dropping off

Trucks trundling through their rounds

Brakes squealing

Gears grinding

The air, moist and thick

Lays heavy over the city

Lays heavy over him

Hoping where there is none

Praying for a change of heart

It presses down on him

He knows she isn’t coming back

He knows she isn’t coming back today

Just like she hadn’t come back yesterday

And won’t be coming back tomorrow

Where Do You Want To Go?

Image by suesun from Pixabay

Caesar sat in his usual chair overlooking the gardens. It was late spring so they were a carpet of riotous color that fell away down to the edge of the crystal blue lake. There was a sailboat silhouetted against the bright sky, and he wished he was on it. His face didn’t show it, but he was smiling inside. He had always considered himself lucky and here was just more proof. When he could no longer take care of his own home he was faced with living in a sterile senior living tower. The kind with elevators, the kind where everyone decorated their apartment doors to try and retain some sign of their individuality. He loathed those places. Nevertheless, he had nowhere else to go and so he had found the place and was already preparing to move in. That’s when his angel found him.

He was eating breakfast at his favorite diner, an easy walk from his home when he let Sheila, the waitress who attended the local college, know that he likely would not be seeing her again. He was moving away. Sheila teared up. She asked if she could drop something by his house later that day and he said sure, expecting a potted plant or some sort of knick-knack. He gave her his address and she assured him she would be by later.

He was just finishing up the last of his packing and the doorbell rang. He had completely forgotten about Sheila but there she was, standing at his door. But she looked different; freed from her dowdy waitress costume he saw an exotic looking young woman with flaming red hair and piercing blue eyes. She was very pretty, but that is not what struck him…it was her demeanor; she exuded some sort of quiet power…he was trying to put his finger on what it was about her, She smiled and broke the spell.

“Caesar, I have something very special I want to give you. It is very precious and I don’t know if I will ever get another one. I have been holding onto it for the right moment…to give it to you. And now I know the time is now.” She paused for a minute to let it sink in.

“But I don’t think I can accept something that is obviously so important to you…I mean, I figured an African Violet or maybe a pair of praying hands is what you were going to show up with.” He laughed nervously.

She smiled indulgently, “you actually don’t have a choice. We’re all part of bigger plan, we are just players and this is yours. I want you to think carefully, because you will only get to use it once and then it will be gone.” She held out a small brass tablet.

He took the tablet and read the inscription. “Anywhere you want to go. You have one chance only. You will not be returning. She who bears the tablet cannot decide for you. Only you can.”

Caesar handed the tablet back and said “I don’t understand.”

“Where do you want to go? Where would you be happy staying forever”

“Forever?” Asked Caesar.

“Forever”, she replied. “So think carefully”.

And that is how he came to be here. At this beautiful hotel, on this beautiful lake where he and his late wife had vacationed so many times. He was lost in thought about Sheila and how she had came into his life, when he got a tap on the shoulder. “Are you going to sit there all day? I brought your racquet down. Dave and Eileen are already down by the clay courts.”

“I was just daydreaming a bit. I’m ready.” And he looked up at his wife. She looked the same as she had fifty years ago when they’d first come here. Tall, muscular, and fair skinned…with flaming red hair and piercing blue eyes.