Grey Matter

At work,

doing the drill,

the everyday routine,

tall, bespectacled, ponytailed,

he pushes a dustbroom at the coffeehouse,

around a not-too-dirty floor,

with care enough,

conscientious staffer,

doing the tasks required of him,

and yet I wonder what engineering

marvels, what artistic masterpieces,

what world-saving discoveries

gestate in silent pools

of thought behind

those eyes.

Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper

A Strange Exhilaration


For Julie


Had she put it in reverse,

the beeping would have warned us,

but instead, the woman on the grocery-scooter,

suddenly realizing the existential tragedy

of a lame academic

with a life-basket full

of fresh produce and veggie-burgers,

floored the damn thing forward,

taking out the cereal aisle,

the health-food section, and

a couple of dazed shelf-stockers

en route to fresh meat and fine wines.

And did she find everything all right?

More than all right, Sweetie, much more.


Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper

Sleeping with Murderers

No, of course I don’t condone it;

I have enough religion left

to disapprove of pointless killing,

especially of victims totally defenseless.


Yet, that is what they both have done,

out of boredom and love of sport,

and here I am in bed between them,

sharing familial warmth and comfort,


admiring the beauty of their forms

as I watch them sleep in peace,

with no regret for their act of malice,

for the baby rabbit they have torn


apart with their vicious claws–

bloodthirsty felines living lawless.


Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper


Since first encountering it

in a set of self-paced

reading-enhancement lessons

imbedded in my fourth-grade

curriculum, I have disliked

the word precipice, perhaps

because it sounds kind of like

preciousness, both words that

speakers of robust Anglo-Saxon

frankly just don’t need, or

maybe because of some

unconscious fears of its

intellectual portents, its

unwelcome insinuation

that inhabiting a figurative precipice

might be as close to

living on the edge as

I will ever get, like playing

punk on the ’cello, not

that there’s anything

wrong with that.


Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper