Still Life with Trains, Tequila, and Cowboy Boots

For Oklahoma Poets Laureate Benjamin Myers, Nathan Brown, and Jeanetta Calhoun Mish


Except maybe not the trains,

because they’ve all disappeared

into the mythical West.


And maybe just the tequila bottle,

because the liquor apparently evaporated

while I was mourning the trains.


And maybe just one of the cowboy boots,

because the dog chewed up the other one,

and it’s impossible to fill two these days anyway.


Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper



Still Life with Root Vegetables



Fresh produce from the farmers’ market

laid out on the cutting board,

root vegetables predominating

at this point in the season.

The focal point, a large

sweet onion, yellow-white,

its multiple layers of mystery

at the heart of the composition.

Just to the right, a bunch of early

carrots, deeply orange,

just yanked from mother earth,

short, stubby, but pointed, like

penises in a medieval painting.

Their bushy greens spread

to the left of the onion,

an intricate maze of leaves and stems

in darkly variant hues of green,

massed like pubic hair

in a porn mag from the seventies.

A large yellow squash

thrusts itself forward from the rear,

more than carrots like the sort

of penis one actually hopes to find.

In front of the carrots and squash,

still to the right of the onion,

new potatoes, richly red, round,

and glistening from a quick rinse,

firm like a young man’s testicles.

In the foreground, pale green beans

with their stringy ends

scatter off the board and look like,

well, beans, actually.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper