Archive for July, 2011

Pelicans

Posted in My Poems on July 23, 2011 by paulscotaugust

Pelicans

The top of my world shimmers with danger
as three black shadows cross the blue-gray
surface of all that I know. We are warned
about the long-beaks, the way they scoop
our brothers and sisters from our ranks.
The elders call them Death From Above.
Yet still I have the desire, late in the day,
to start from the bottom silt, swim upwards
with all my might, and break thru the plane
into the vast unknowing, see for myself all
that the Great One has created and placed,
like a cruel joke, just outside of my reach.

Paul Scot August

Published in Bending Light Into Verse II by Jennifer Tomaloff

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Berries

Posted in My Poems on July 23, 2011 by paulscotaugust

Berries

Hiking along a railroad-track-turned-bike-trail,
we found an explosion of berries along a field
just beginning to find its own way back to life.
They were red, but neither of us cared enough
to find a metaphor, so just red they remained.
You told me how some red berries in this area
are poisonous to certain small mammals, yet
are a delicacy to many birds. Try one, you said,
almost smiling. Our dog ran over to sniff them,
as if his hunger could ever be sated by crimson
little orbs hanging from thin stems. You called
him back, afraid he may eat that which later
will tear at his insides, momentary pleasure
replaced by intestinal regret. But he gulped
a mouthful before returning to us on the trail,
and all that night you watched him, waiting
to see if he would be undone by his hunger,
or if he was testing out the toxicity for us,
trying out something new before we do it,
like just last week when he began sleeping
on the living room couch instead of our bed.

Paul Scot August

Published in Bending Light Into Verse II by Jennifer Tomaloff

Knotty Pine

Posted in My Poems on July 23, 2011 by paulscotaugust

Knotty Pine

It’s been years since the last time I visited.
My uncle’s guitar reclines in his empty chair,
waiting in vain for his fingers to pick out notes
that for years rang off the knotty pine walls,
before becoming muffled by soft green carpet.
But his gnarled knuckles gave up years ago.
This was his favorite room in the house,
built to look exactly like the cabin up north
where he spent his childhood summers.
After he was left alone, he rarely used
the rest of the house. The room is cleaner now,
straightened up to allow strangers to roam
through while thinking about mortgages
and updates. It’s been years since I last
visited, and the room looks the same,
except for a deeper, more enduring silence.

Paul Scot August

Published in Bending Light Into Verse II by Jennifer Tomaloff

Winter Scene, River West

Posted in My Poems on July 23, 2011 by paulscotaugust

Winter Scene, River West

Just before midnight on a Thursday,
and Fratney Street is nearly silent.
Two sounds compete for the night:
the crunch of boots on dirty snow
from a woman walking away from you,
and the insistent hum of a street lamp
on the far corner. The snow plows
have completed their appointed rounds,
the pavement has been well-seasoned.
You stand there with your back against
a telephone pole, and watch her shrink
into the distant past until she becomes
just another blessed stranger no longer
in your line of sight. And you shiver.
The temperature is beginning to drop
names. The street lamp is humming
a Dylan tune. And a red light in the
second floor window above an all-night
laundromat across the street goes out,
fading away to a colder shade of black.

Paul Scot August

Published in Bending Light Into Verse II by Jennifer Tomaloff

Omaha Railroad Depot, Rice Lake, WI

Posted in My Poems, Poetry Readings on July 9, 2011 by paulscotaugust

Got a text yesterday from my friend Brian letting me know he heard me on WUWM radio’s Lake Effect Show reading this poem. I had no idea, but I guess they took an out-take from the interview I did back in February and played a clip of me introducing and reading this poem. It was a pleasant surprise, so thank you Stephanie Lecci and the Lake Effect team. You guys do good work at WUWM and I appreciate you playing this…

Listen to me introducing and reading my poem Omaha Railroad Depot, Rice Lake, Wisconsin here…

Cottonwoods

Posted in My Poems on July 1, 2011 by paulscotaugust

Cottonwoods

A summer snowfall begins on our block.
Cottonwoods release themselves to the wind.

I look up and see them carried
on the updraft, mini cumulus against

a deepening sky. The late afternoon sun
brushstrokes angles of light against the slat-

wood fences, shrub rows, and stumps lining
our street. A car passes by without noticing.

A dog tugs its owner along the cracked
sidewalk and in the distance, a siren cries out.

I want to look upon your face one more time,
but perhaps it is better that you moved away.

A freight train crawls through the village,
adds staccato bursts of air horn, opens up

the next crossing. The white noise of urban
silence envelops the street and seed-flakes

settle onto the lawn, descend over the porch,
drifting into piles against my unlaced shoes.

Paul Scot August

Published in Country Dog Review, Spring 2011