Thursday, April 29, 2021

Desolation Summer

Desolation Summer

Last Spring
I waited downstairs
on the
empty street below.

After waiting a while
I tossed a penny
up to her window
but still she didn't show.

A thought came to me then
it told me to walk away.

I didn't need to
live through
that year again once through 1975 was plenty.

So I sit here in my hovel
and I wear
the required mask.

I know that
we shall live again
this too shall pass.

Starting on this poem
I pick for a topic.

A year
almost as odd
as this one.
Filled with humor
tension and fear.

It taxed my patience
wondering what
would come next.

One day after another
none better
and never the best.

It was 1975
all that adolescent angst.

As I read "Howl"
and "Planet News"
in my new abode
a tent in the back yard.

Spring came and went
dark and brooding
with a jester facade.

We were getting our kicks
way out in the sticks.

I was popping little white pills
and focused
on the white lines
of River Road.

Taxi driving
a few freaks
out to the rocks
of Mulberry Creek.

Jump cut to Summer
for me it was
Highway 61 Revisited
and Metal Machine Music
and "a lot of soul," he said.

Making my way through
Jack Kerouac
what few titles
I could find that year.

Summer vacation was on
I was now
in the practice room
of a band named Blue Heat.

I was writing lyrics
where the light was
by the window.

And there on that
Desolate weekend
in a shack outside La Grange
we recorded
a few more songs.

Where was Heather
she who
we fought over so?

She'd evaded us all
and was long gone.

We traded a few letters
me in La Grange
she in Dothan.

Swore we'd never forget
that lasted until mid-Summer.

I came back to the city
and was swept up
in a rapid fire
series of situations.

When there seemed
no other choice
but to follow
that political machine.

I was not surprised
we'd meet again among the pines.

I sat at the piano
and pecked out the tune
about an old man
who lived one yard over.

The Island Girl named Shirley
she was new in town
her father now stationed
at Fort Benning.

We made eye contact
and both knew
at first sight
we wanted to experiment.

She was fast
and used a New York twang
we clicked fast.

My father had given me
an electric blue
1969 Plymouth Satellite
she jumped in with me
for a ride.

I kicked the radio up loud
kicked in third gear
and listened
as she sang along
with the tunes.

In many ways
there never was another
dark night of the soul.

Quite like 1975
turned out to me
for both Shirley and me.

It taxed
my spirit and soul
the negative events
of that year.

Events that kept unfolding
ending so much
I had held dear.

Sickness and violence
in that strange new age.

I was buzzing along
Buena Vista Road
just past the Spiderweb
and cut in line too close.

Racism was real
I could see it
from my rear view
I could see the rage.

Rusty Volt shaking his fist
an ass whipping for me
from a football jock
I was suddenly on his list.

Hung a right onto
Lindsay Creek Bypass.

Time for some Steve McQueen
night moves.

Rope a dope driving
down the highway.

Shirley was laughing
but it was no joke.

My slick moves
in traffic
even I had to laugh
at those.

I was young and brash
and I spotted his car at times.

But I knew
the backstreets
better than him.

It taxed my imagination
to see such a negative scene.

It happened so fast
without foreshadowing.

We all made our way
through that dim
yet blazing year.

The best we could
any way that we could.

Living like an animal
like Mother Nature planned
even giving up my name.

My father was angry
to the point that
he was stalking me.

I had broken the code
and he'd broken
my confidence in him.

I had stopped
by the house
Shirley was with me.

What was I thinking
that everything was rhetorical?

My father was next door
sitting with Robert
on the front porch.

I glanced as I passed by
saw his cold blue stare.

Then came the weeks
of intense
bitter disappointment
with everything and everyone
I had trusted.

Both sides were
against us
and Shirley folded
and her father put her
into another school.

I became withdrawn
"House of the Rising Sun"
for hours without even singing.

Rusty Volt caught me
in the parking lot
weeks later
one day after school

After the bottom fell out
and I
had conceded defeat.

But much to my surprise Rusty had changed.
Rather than fighting
he asked
if I had a joint to smoke.

The war was over
both personal
and in the 'Nam
just in time
in both cases.

Murder is a crime
The Clash set that straight
forty years ago...
"Know your rights... all three of them."

But all that
was still to come
in grim and greasy November.

Traffic on Cusetta Road
was backed up
like some funeral procession.

I slowly drove
as the rain fell
so all alone

Madness and decay
as reality slips away.

If I had proof
it was a hoax
then I might have
joined him on the line.

But I learned
a long time ago
can be fleeting.

Those who stand
for abstract ideas
may sometimes fall
for anything.

-Will Dockery (July 19 2020)

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Truck Stop Woman

Truck Stop Woman

Pulled into Auburn, Alabama
it was raining of course.
All I seemed to contemplate besides the weather
what a shame to be divorced.

Truck stop woman waving sideways
she'll be in my dreams tonight.
Fifteen minutes of eternal love
then she's back out of sight.

Rode past Buena Vista,
there was sand in the sky.
Plastic Jesus started trembling
then I seen her with my eyes.

Truck stop woman waving sideways
She'll light and warm my dreams tonight
Fifteen dollars worth of true love
man that girl was out of sight.

Something about her was familiar
there was smoke in her eyes.

Back outside of Phenix City,
pimps and their ilk all abound.
Then it started turning negative
when I saw her bouncing around.

Truck stop woman waving sideways
she'll be in my dreams tonight.
Fifteen minutes of eternal love
then she's back out of sight.

Truck stop woman waving sideways
she'll be in my dreams tonight.
Fifteen dollars worth of true love
man that girl was out of sight.
She's right back out of sight.

-Will Dockery (words) & Henry Conley (music)

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Passage Through Ennui

Passage Through Ennui

35 years ago
it was another
long bitter Summer
that dark humid July 1985.

I was working
the graveyard shift
operating one of the service elevators
at Shadowville Spinning Mill.

Galatea and I
had split up again
earlier in the year
after our explosive reunion
in 1983.

It ended quickly
after a huge fight
with her brother
over an old score
usually forgotten.

I won the fight
but actually lost.
Tracy gave up
and Galatea left with him.

The year
it all came apart
seemingly permanent.
Two years of good times
ended in a moonshine rage. .

All I could see was
a shut down gloom.
The only laughter I heard
was down in the break room.

The brown haze of factory air
angry faced people
and the music
of metal machines.

Working all night
sleeping all day.
Sipping coffee
to chase the road aspirins.

Sitting on the steps
over by a giant fan.
keeping up with my workers
usually five ladies
at the machines.

If one of the ladies
needed anything
they'd just look my way
and wave.

Several times a night
I'd make a buy and fly
bringing back coffee for them
on makeshift cardboard trays.

Jotting down notes
doodling narratives
creating reality
building Shadowville
from the ground up.

Riding my elevator
up and down
creating samizdat
in the smoking booth.

Down to the Reel room
my elevator filled
with empty racks
to bring up the full ones
for the ladies upstairs.

All night
keeping it rolling
making it smooth
for the ladies
to make production.

Finally to clock out
as the sad whistle would blow
we would stumble out the gate
into the grey dawn.

Some headed for breakfast
and a beer
while always I headed home
for sleep
as quickly as possible.

Living at Mockingbird Court
where I had shared a trailer
with my friend Bob Whitman
an Army vet turned factory worker.

Bob worked downstairs
at the Autoclave
the machine that steamed chemicals
into the yarn.

Bob's sidekick Jim Berg
ran the huge Dryers
a super hot
chemical steam bath area.

Jim married
my childhood friend Pamela
and passed away too soon
from a heart attack

I'm not sure how workers
down there
survived the heat
and harsh smell.

I noticed not so well
as years went by
several old friends
still haunt me.

There was a guy named Bill
from Chicago
found in the Dryer room
coughing up blood from TB.

Chip, another Autoclave man
was found
giggling in the warehouse
up in the bales of fiber
one line of meth too many.

Little Rosell
on the Reels downstairs
hot little femme fatale
who I would know better later.

An unteresting lady
in her Daisy Duke shorts
and "Flashdance" shirt
she was the supervisors' choice.

Pipe smoking old Mr. Green
found in a hallway
died there of old age.

The list goes on
many who did not survive
until the shut down day
another poem for another day.

At that time of the night
with machines all running right
many of us could wander
have some coffee
and get some fresh air.

Bob was a good friend
at the job
quick with a joke
or pass his pipe for a toke.

Many smokers and drinkers
would hang out
on the porch
outside the Autoclave room.

When he heard
of my latest domestic disaster
Bob offered
to rent me a room.

In a rented room
in Bob's trailer
like a scene from The Odd Couple
without the laughs.

The bottom fell out
we didn't get along
outside of the job
so I moved out
to North Highland.

I moved in
next door to the Holt family
old school mill folk
in the former mill village.

Don, Walter and Karen Holden
all worked at
Shadowville Spinning Mill
like their family before them.

Karen worked in the supply room
Walter ran the Autoclave in Plant One
Don covered my job
during the say shift.

For some reason
it was important to them
that they tell Mr. Newberry
that I was their cousin.

I never did figure that out
but it was cool with me.
I liked them all
they were down to Earth folks.

The day I moved in
I had my music playing loud
outside my window
was the river
and then Alabama.

I would never have imagined
how that area would look now
with the row of houses demolished
and with the Riverwalk below.

I was two floors up
but I still felt
like a mole
like a subterranean.

Wake up
it was Monday
I could hear Billy Teakson
blowing his horn in his pickup truck
down below.

Billy was an old school
Card and Blending room man
never late
sick or well he was on the job.

Slither down the stairs
so far so good
jump in and ride on
the the alternate universe
the factory.

He never failed
to have a spare Budweiser
and a smoke
for the short ride to
Shadowville Spinning Mill.

We'd get there in time
to stand around the parking lot
and catch a few words
with the crew.

Then the whistle would blow
and it was on your mark
sail through 12 hours of dream
in another land.

Grabbed a cup of rotgut
mill coffee
and then
in a determined stroll.

Up to the Bobbin Winders
and the upstairs Reels
to catch everything up quick
get the game going right.

Then down the elevator
to the Spinning room
sweat shop
a dozen ladies
smoking and yelling conversations.

Loud roaring
antique seeming machinery
all all points
no escape from
the chaos and thunder.

Get it all caught up
then down to the sub basement
to pick up the prize left for me
by Don
my first shift doppelganger.

Any time Don
skipped out early
and left everything
off the mark, it was no problem.

He'd leave me a joint
at a certain spot
in the sub basement.

The basement was
creepy enough
but the sub basement
seemed right out
of a horror movie.

Needless to say
I'd keep my head down
and would try to get out
of the sub basement quickly.

I had been distributing
my broadsheets
among my co-worker friends
news of the day
with a twist.

They were entertained
by my poetry
and comic strips
looking for themselves
in the lines on paper.

Pat, the personnel director
called me in her office
and put the kibosh
on my broadsheet.

My poetry and art zine
had violated the strict
"No Distribution" policy
that no outside reading
was permitted inside the mill gates.

Since I had not been
aware of this policy
I apologized
and kept the broadsides
outside the gates from then on.

no foreknowledge
of what was coming next
taking one minute at a time.

Getting from one minute
to the next
always in a hurry
caught up in the time
flashing by.

Not even giving a damn
or so I told myself
by that point in time
hoping for a speedy turnabout.

I never could have foreseen
twenty years later in 2005
standing in a crowd
watching the old mill in flames

I was living
in the worn out townhouse
at 3226 River Avenue
once part of a mill village.

First week of the month
was always annoying
so much noise
as I tried to sleep.

All day hearing Mr. Newberry
beating on the sides
of the houses with his cane
trying to collect his rent money.

in my upstairs office
writing my manifesto
in poetry and comic strips.

Right side duplex
next door to the Holden family.
Two stories overlooking
the dark green Chattahoochee.

If I had the foresight
I would know sitting and waiting
was wasting precious time
the cruelty of moments.

Time can't be saved
like in a bank.
I thought I was biding my time
while I was losing everything.

As the North Highland
sun blazed down.
And as the cool white moon
seemed to watch over it all.

The big rooms
and empty house
suited my mood
my lonesome and blue.

Looking out my upstairs window
dabbling on a canvas
not a clue
what was to come.

Walked down to Forte's Pharmacy
for a beer and some smokes
the place is long gone now
35 years later.

Back then it was
the general store
where the locals stood around
shooting the breeze.

Although relatively close
the walk was winding
to get around
the far side of the factory.

Found a girl named Margo
she lived
a few doors down
from my place.

She said she liked my music
but had thought Bob Dylan's song
was The Clash
but I found her naivete charming.

Took her out and played the game
but my heart
just wasn't in it
I never saw Margo again
after that night.

At that time all seemed lost
just goes to show
I'm not much of a fortune teller
but kept hope alive.

Many nights seemed like others
so I trudged
through the days
wrote poetry
through the night.

Crossed my heart
and looked forward
to good luck
and happy days again.

No happy ending
was expected
in the foreseeable future
just more of the same.

-Will Dockery

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Spring Is Trapped in the Crystal

Spring Is Trapped in the Crystal

Tired of waiting
you tired of walking
where we waited for you.

Cruel daybreak
tortures me with sound
and memory of
your street corner smile.

Dreams reveal too much
to remember:

From black seedless midnight
to feverish broad daylight
you never get older.

You stand
in the dark
dark side of the cold.
Spring is trapped
in the crystal.

-Will Dockery (Feb 1, 2018)

Monday, April 12, 2021

I Have Lived This Song A Few Times

I Have Lived This Song A Few Times

I was dreaming
of a life
I knew
somewhere far away.

Hearing music from inside
somewhere in my head.

Out of the blue
the music came crashing.

Taking me back
to a song I've lived in before.

Fast forward
several hundred songs later.

I met Gina in a small café
just before her shift ended.

I had breakfast
and played some tunes
on the juke box.

Early Summer 1981
music was the sound track
as always.

The music muses
would lead to music of my own

The café
which still stands
on Cheshire Bridge Road
under a new name and owner.

The 1960s decoration
now ersatz

Back then it was Majestic Diner
like right out of a Scorcese movie
and I loved
the little juke box flip boxes
at each booth.

Everyday the playlist
George Harrison's
"All Those Years Ago"
and "You Better You Bet"
from The Who.

A couple more random choices
"Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places"
"Just Like Starting Over".

I'd just escaped the boarding house
playing reggae
new wave
old school
Miles Davis "Kind of Blue".

Then I wake up from a dream
into another dream.

The first music
I really remember
was what I thought
was "Devil music".

A loud organ based
that echoed through the house
scaring the daylights out of me.

This was around the time
winter of 1963
I had a bad ear infection
pounding pain.

I thought that beat
was the Devil's footsteps.

Jump cut a year or so
to 1964
and I had discovered
Hank Williams.

The bio-pic
which came out in 1964.

When Hank died
in the end of the movie
it was the first time
I saw my father cry.

Hank Williams somehow
connected in my mythology
with Popeye
strange but true.

Television music
theme songs and commercials
the Maxwell House Coffee theme.

Music in the air
music everywhere.

Sean Connery came on the scene
the world of Goldfingers
and Odd Jobs.

The great guitar riff
on the Bond theme.

Connery led the way
for The Beatles
in the capsule reality
of my childhood.

On Olive Street
Curtis Street
and over to Edgewood..

"Yeah Yeah Yeah"
became the catch phrase
and holding hands
was a pretty big score
in 1965.

Late 1965
I saw and heard
The Beatles come alive
on television
in living back and white.

Next door with Candace and Tina
as they pretended
to swoon and faint.

From The Beatles
I learned
the goal was
to follow the sun.

like the Rolling Stones sang
"The sunshine bores
the daylights out of me."

Make a glorious exit
with the sunset.

To the present
where one song
holds many memories.

I have lived this song
a few times
side stepped
behind the rhymes.

-Will Dockery (9-6-20)

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Last Day (A Cento)

Last Day (A Cento)
One after 9:09 pm
New Years Eve

Turn me on dead man
ghost man...
rocket man
confused Shaman.

On this night
of the living Jesus.
Burning all the strings
to Heaven song

It will be be
a long long time.

Living in my tin can
cast off from the world...

Here's looking at you kid
I remember breakfast
city Tiffany.

She tried to
sweeten my night.
But that can't be
she could never break.

This heart of darkness
on a lonesome safari.

-Will Dockery (12-27-17)

From Wikipedia
A cento is a poetical work wholly composed of verses or passages taken from other authors, especially the Greek poet Homer and the Roman poet Virgil, disposed in a new form or order.

Beltane Cruelties

Beltane Cruelties

So if it is not for me to speak to her
Iconic Wayward Muse who smiles
by Alabama campfire
South of town by a number of miles.

Shaken by her ragged beauty
painted up with long time no see.
She sings rock and roll now
out of sight fresh rolled in deep country.

She's in love now
he wishes her the best and him besides
no reason for forgiveness
no reason to cry.

So he can smoke another cigar
Stuffed with something green and fine
Riding the white elephant shotgun
Catching darkness, memory weavers.

Rock and Roll heaven welcomed the new members
One said stop the bomb
one cuts across shortly
while the other touches herself quietly.

Let them say more in the creation of art
although bottom line's purpose is to sell.
The ornament rings like a chime
and the little child smiles.

At the country fair
and with his fair cold judgement
A truly vicious Mister Freeze
taking what has become his by trickery

Derailed the couplement
what happened next couldn't be compared
to the sun and moon
or even the earth and sea's rich greens.

Julie came prepared with a loaded pistol
and all things rare she needed it
Like a Lady in the movie she reminds me of
she doesn't blow on some other guy's dice.

Mulberry has cottonmouth troubles
Rock and roll heaven's air
of mundane good cheer is broken at last
in this huge arrival to the halls.

Oh let me take your hand again
true in love though in lame duck doldrums
truly write you a rock poem valentine
And then you might believe me,
my love is as clear as Lucky's tenor.

As any motherless child, or any Major dude
though not so bright as either might claim
Gold candles in the ranchero window
fixed for the Lady, the founder
now departed to a level in heaven's air.

-Will Dockery

Desolation Summer

Desolation Summer Last Spring I waited downstairs on the empty street below. After waiting a while I tossed a penny up to her windo...