Telephone Salvation (Encore Presentation)

seance 2

One size fits all, misfits

Screamed, indulge me!

Make me happy!

Boys from Possum Junction

Veronicas from Pecatonica

Sat around the parlor table

In a séance, for miscreants

Conjured spirits, of

Recently departed ambitions

Contemplated, turning points

Of contention, where, how, when

Relationships went askew

Deliberations, starved

For attention

Couldn’t make up, for

What, wasn’t there

Folded arms–a few stifled yawns later

Cautious glances, at watches

Last words, soon forgotten

Boredom ended, with

Telephone salvation


truck stop at nite

Crickets chirped in happy unison.  It was a pleasant summer night.  Elmer was oblivious to it all.  They’d watched spaghetti westerns together for hours.  Lee Van Cleef was her favorite actor–or was it a lie?  …Along with the other lies.

“So, you’re a painter?” Luann’s mother asked, when they first met.  “You’re not a frustrated artist are you–like Van Gogh?”  “No ma’am, Elmer answered.  “I paint houses and buildings.  It has ups and downs, but I’ve never been tempted to cut off one of my ears.”  It was funny then, but not anymore.

Luann wanted a handsome prince to sweep her off her feet.  What she got, was Elmer, the frog prince.  Their relationship was doomed from the start.  After eighteen short months, Bobby Ray Tompkins came along and spirited her away.  Closer in age at twenty-two, he had swagger–knew the right things to say.  Bobby Ray personified bad boy mystique, with slicked back, dark hair.  There’d been a few minor scrapes with the law.

Elmer suspected something was wrong.  It was much too late.  They were probably both laughing at him.  What a stupid little man–she’d say.  Yeah, what a dumbass–Bobby Ray would answer.  After downing a fifth of Jack Daniels, it made complete sense.  His face flushed an angry beet-red.

The showdown happened later that night at the Wrangler Bar-T Truck Stop and Cafe.  Elmer found Bobby Ray–leaned over a diesel truck engine in the service bay.  Elmer grabbed the back of Bobby Ray’s shirt from behind.  Bobby Ray swung around off-balance.  He thought it was a prank at first.  Elmer got in a few jabs-then a respectable left-hook.

“I know who you are.  You’re the cheatin’ S. O. B. that took my Luann away.  And I’m gonna’ make you pay!”  Bobby Ray deflected most of Elmer’s punches.  “Elmer, you’re stinkin’-ass drunk.  Why don’t you just go home?  She doesn’t want to be with you anymore.  Get it through that thick skull of yours!”

Bobby Ray held Elmer at a safe distance.  His arms flailed helplessly–like a whirling dervish, until the Sheriff arrived.  “Let me loose!  I’m not finished with him yet!”  Elmer screamed as he was handcuffed and escorted to a squad car.

Elmer calmed down on the ride home.  “Elmer, you and me go way back.  Why did you go and pull a crazy stunt like that?  You’re lucky Bobby Ray didn’t press charges for assault.  Do something stupid like that again and you’ll spend the night in jail!”  Elmer knew the deputy was right.  “Stay away from Luann and Bobby Ray.  If Luann doesn’t want you–you’re better off without her.  Do you understand?  Because I’m only sayin’ it once!”  “Yes, Sir,” Elmer answered.  Elmer was the first and only person banned from the Bar-T Truck Stop.



seance 2

One size fits all, misfits
Screamed–indulge me!
Make me happy!
Boys from Possum Junction
Veronicas, from Pecatonica
Sat around the parlor table
In a seance, for miscreants
Conjured spirits, of
Recently, departed ambitions
Contemplated, turning points
Of contention, where, how, when
Relationships, went askew
Deliberations, starved
For, attention
Couldn’t make up, for
What, wasn’t there
olded arms–a few yawns later
Cautious glances, at watches
Last words, soon forgotten
Boredom ended, with
Telephone salvation




prison 2Merciless eyes stared
Through the darkness
What were they looking for?
Echoed shouts and cat-calls
Diminished after midnight
Guards paid no heed

All night in lockup, surrounded
By numbness, cold and gray
Cantilevered, steel shelves
Served, as surrogate beds
Thin, green, vinyl pads, poor
Substitute for mattresses
Smelled of sweat, and
Countless, unwashed bodies

Adrenaline, ran its course
Prodigal memories returned
Long after, the battle was lost
Humiliated, in a desperate struggle
Against the knight of darkness
Handcuffed by local gendarmerie
Dignity, left on the roadside to rot

Pushed, shoved–led away
Like a dog on a leash
Faced the magistrate
Hands trembled
Struggled to write
Words blurred
Bruised face, split lips
Spit up blood
With, every painful
Cough, and breath

Fought for honor
And a maiden fair
The fair maiden
Refused rescue
Ran away, into
The darkest night
There, had ever been
Vowed, never to return
Strip searched, down
To flesh-and-blood
The frog prince
A, frog remained

By outward appearance
Still a man, by God!
On the inside
A shy, skinny kid
Wanted a chance
To love–and be loved
For, what, he really was
Where did frog princes go
When, there was nowhere to run?


Unrecognizable state of mind

Driving with the windows down

Hair tousled in the wind

Better together, than apart

Hopsack and expensive tweed

No compromise like before

Feelings rushed and quickly left

Just more pictures on the fridge

Living on the emotional edge

Why was the sky blue?

Did fish cry?

Like well-worn, faded, blue jeans

Not good or bad, just in between

Painted backdrops went flying by

Moonbeams of reality

Rivers of poignancy

Almost good enough