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

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Heat

When the heat arrives, around half-past July,

time shifts into a different dimension:

Not-a-morning-persons sip coffee on front steps

in their underwear at dawn; restless dogs drag

their lagging humans along the streets on midnight walks;

high noon drops the dead weight of silent stillness

over thirsty lawns toasted crisp and brown,

petunias and impatiens limp and yellow,

wilted over their funereal pots, a calico cat

melting in the meager shade of a sad azalea,

her breath her only motion. A dry wind rises,

swirling dust and rustling the crepe-myrtle branches,

but it brings no comfort, no relief from the sun god

relentlessly blessing his subjects.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

In the Year of the Midsummer Rains

Lush and green grows the lawn grass,

its broad and succulent blades

juiced up by the welcome showers

so uncommon in Oklahoman Julys,

as if this summer were an oasis

in a desert of drought years,

and a metaphor perhaps

for the creativity that can come

when fluid inspiration gushes

forth from long-dry wells.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper

Portrait of a Summer Scholar

He’s yawning forward

over crossed arms and a book

at a high table,

legs and sandaled feet dangling,

breakfast dishes pushed aside,

a good-looking youth,

dark-haired and bearded,

brown eyes deeply set

in bright, clear-skinned face,

at mid-morning on a Tuesday

at the end of June;

it’s hard to be a scholar

on a summer day.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper