Rain Dance

Outside, distant thunder applauds the performance

of  rain dancing on the pavement strewn with magenta vinca blossoms.

In here, the clock, tripped up by a power blip during the night,

flashes a time that is not now, and therefore, by my groggy-headed logic,

this moment is timeless and must be savored,

so I snuggle into my nest of pillows for a Sunday-morning lie-in,

happy that the sheets on now are the soft jersey ones,

glad that I started the dishwasher, its hum-swoosh-and rattle cycle

oddly comforting–domestic, mundane, familiar.

The Radio One presenter starts every sentence with “Basi’ly”

and plays a Sam Smith ballad that’s sad in a good way,

especially when his voice climbs for the trademark high notes

in the bittersweet chorus, and though I’m lying here  inbed,

arms wrapped around nothing but a pillow, I’m lying

to myself, and in the lie, I’m dancing with the rain–

a slow dance, a last dance, but dancing all the same.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

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The Call

In crazy dreams, I drunk-dial my future,

slurring promises in a language I can’t speak,

apologizing in advance for the failings

sure to ruin our relationship eventually,

incautiously exposing my weak underbelly,

the fear of being all alone again,

untouching and untouched.

Waking then in confounded solitude,

I scavenge the sheets for my phone, delete the call from history.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

Summer Evening

Through a dusty window

on the hottest evening of the year,

silence prevails and nothing happens again

in the backyard, except the imperceptible

growth of grass, the sway of an unpruned

crepe myrtle branch in the dry wind,

a vine climbing one more square

up the fence.

 

Earlier, a loose dog

came round. I gave him water,

the neighbors found treats, and

I walked him home.

Before that, I slept off the wine

from a party last night

and cleaned up the cat puke

in the living room.

 

Now the light begins to fade,

though the heat hangs on,

and I sit here beside the dusty window,

drinking beer and Googling exotic locations

that I might want to visit.

It’s the end of another day

and still there’s no one to hold me,

to tell me I’m flawed but it’s OK.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

 

It Rains

Cheap wine in a plastic cup.

That’s what things have come to,

as I sit on the porch alone

in the overripe loneliness

of an endless summer afternoon

punctuated only

by a pop-up thundershower,

and ponder the inevitable decay

represented by a neighbor’s

flag, its stars hanging heavy,

its stripes tattered at the ends.

 

There’s a season for chasing dreams,

a time to pull away

from  the dead ones.

The hawk still circles

up toward the clouds,

but the squirrel lies

car-flattened in the street.

 

The rain grows harder,

washing in on me,

but I still feel unclean,

and if there’s meaning in it,

I don’t know.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper