Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Amy Holman

My mother made herself the deer with a broken leg  We saw a deer through the pane into someone else’s yard. The leg moved like a tube sock pinned to the hip  and half filled with sticks. I did not like to see it suffer, either. She was upset —my mother —that no one helped  the doe. Was it a mother, too? As if we were the first to observe the scene. We weren’t. All had been told to let her be. My mother had suffered a destruction  of the self, a divorce, and no one cared. That wasn’t true.  We were grown, on our own. I agree it was hard. Yet  in those moments of a cold November day, we watched  a doe, disabled and enduring, walk across a yard and eat  a hedge. I wish she could have seen it like that. Amy Holman is the author of the collection, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window (Somondoco Press, 2010) and four chapbooks, including the prizewinning Wait for Me, I’m Gone (Dream Horse Press, 2005). Recent poems have been in or accepted by Blueline,

David Oliver Cranmer

Not Just Another Playlist Often, I sit in my swivel chair looking out the window, while jazz, country, or rock music plays. This pleasure goes on for many hours a mystic trance of sorts streaming—the glue maintaining my soul. I turn the best songs into playlists (once we called them mix tapes) puzzling over the perfect order. Does Satchmo’s “What a Wonderful World” kick off my latest list or make it the big soulful closer? And does “Mack the Knife” go higher in the set than “Summertime?” That’s an Ella Fitzgerald duet! “Foolishness? No, it’s not” whether you are climbing a tree to count all the leaves or tapping to beats. These are the joys that bring inner peace and balance (to a cold universe) lifting spirits skyward. David Oliver Cranmer ’s poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared in publications such as Punk Noir Magazine , The Five-Two: Crime Poetry Weekly , Needle: A Magazine of Noir , LitReactor , Macmillan’s Criminal Element , and

Maureen O'Leary

Grief (for J’uan) Maybe we turn into clouds of reefer Particulates coating the lungs of the people thinking about us First and secondhand smoke Clinging to the frizzing gray locs of the women mourning us Or maybe we are in the splashes of Hennessey Swirling in the bottoms of Styrofoam cups A bad burn in the throats of our brothers Something to remember us by On the way back up. Maybe we are still here. In the way the candles keep going out In the way they call out to God. If they only looked up they could see our eyes Shining through the branches and glittering through the haze Below the stars. Maureen O'Leary lives in Sacramento, California. Her work appears in Coffin Bell Journal, Bandit Fiction, The Horror Zine, Ariadne Magazine, and Sycamore Review. She is a graduate of Ashland MFA.