Alan Summers

Not when she’s in Kansas

                candy shop
                uncoiling a moon
                in a fragile sky

                               the black & white cat
                               in a black & white photo
                               clouds into rain

                                              painting echoes from an easel
                                              the salt tracks of a mirror

                               trucks in the violin mimicries of D-sharp minor

                                                                            white photographs blow
                                                             doorways back into shadow

                               brittle morning dragons back into clouds

                                                             crow arguments
                                                                                           on a slow river

                                                                                                          as sunshine leaks
                                                                            out of sidewalks
                                                             the rainbow
                                              eats its sand

                                                             tin tacks
                                                                            dot the jaundiced road
                woodpile the snow together

                               midnight the wind picks up through the looking glass
dragons in doorways

                another star
                on the loading deck

The Searchers
       (The Searchers by Paco Pomet: oil on canvas, 70 x 90 cms. 2008)

We could see three wooden single storey buildings,
                                                                                                          I hung back.

My one-legged friends and fellow travelers,
stop at the gateless wooden fence, and just look.
I envy them their trousers, I lack a pair,
but I have a hat in the hot afternoon,
where shadows tighten around my feet.

We’re three sorry looking men, just standing there, frozen.
It’s hard for them to move much, and near impossible for me,
I’m just a clothes hanger with a misshapen coat.
I’ll have to wait for them to help me, but now,
I’ll give them their peace,
                                                       their silence in the afternoon.

I can’t hear crickets in the heat.

I wondered how one of my friends stood so still,
and the others really nonchalant, hands in pockets,
a simple iron stick coming out of his left trouser leg.
There must have been a shortage of spare parts,
I really was just a coat stand,
with three little wooden struts like a tripod.

The breeze is of distant cars, it lifts nothing, sways nothing.
I wish I knew how to cry, I wish they knew how to cry,
that would be my gift, but it’s too much.
I don’t even want to burn the place down, just capture it in my head,
appreciate the quietness of the camp.
No dogs, no sentries, no shouting orders, no gunshots in the hills.

So her name’s Lolita, she’s like a bookmatch girl, when she strikes
it’s like a match and then she folds back into the book,
only to set the others off from inside.

I’d like to leave now, but they’ll stand for hours until it’s too dark
and we’ll be still here tomorrow, dead.
I’ll be standing while they’ll be flat out on the dirt,
but you could make me a hat stand guy, stick me in the corner of a busy bar.

Alan Summers is a Japan Times award-winning writer, and President of the United Haiku and Tanka Society. Alongside poetry he’s been in various jobs from office jockey to security consultant to Maitre’D. He has suffered the various sins visited upon poets who chase money in order to buy ink and paper; beer and wine; and late coffee with Hopper’s other Nighthawks.
He often frequents somewhere called Area 17: http://area17.blogspot.com
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