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Gawaine Caldwater Ross

Tool Shed

Hard rain rakes the roof of my shed.
It’s autumn, and the wind tosses the blanket
That serves as my door.
I wrap my quilt around me
And stare at the books on the wall.
There’s no electricity, and after dark
I can’t read by candlelight.
I haven’t a stove or a fridge;
I live on oatmeal, cabbage, and scraps of cheese.
I drink rain water, or tea,
If I can get a fire going outdoors.
Today when the storm  rolled in
I stripped and begged to be struck by lightning,
But Zeus was not obliging.
Yesterday in a state of helpless rage
I hammered a boulder into gravel;
It didn’t help my mood.
Two weeks ago I hiked to the coop
And posted a notice that said:
Help! I can’t find a job!
I have no cash, savings, bonds,
Gems, certificates, stocks,
Monies due, property, or anything else.
There’s been no response.
I’ve been homeless before -
This is nearly as bad.
I came here to be with Darla at her invitation,
The cabin is small, so we
Screwed outside in the summer sun,
Green leaves fell from buttocks.
But after only a month she declared
I bored her, and would have to go
Live in the tool shed instead.
I built the house she’s staying in,
But I don’t own it.
She brings back a new guy every week
Including an Italian fascist,
And she is Jewish!
She stated, “Commitment sounds like a jail term.”
Am I really that boring?
My friends say she’s sadistic,
But I love her so much,
I can’t let go of hope.
My Rockland friends want me
To go on the road and sing with them,
But I’d have to leave Darla,
And the band doesn’t pay.
Yo would give me pot to sell,
But I no longer believe in breaking the law.
I watch the rain flood the yard,
According to the news
There’ll be a frost tonight.
I put on extra clothing,
So much, it makes me stiff.
I stare at the ceiling,
Counting the cracks in the old whitewash.


Gawaine Caldwater Ross was born to a military family in Boston.  His family was troubled with alcoholism and schizophrenia. Gawaine spent 10 months in a mental hospital as a teenager and then lived on the streets. Homeless 5 times, and married 3 times, he eventually became a nurse. He has had poems published in various online journals and in a few small publications. He currently lives on a very pretty street in the Back Bay with a cheery little dog named Yayo.

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