September 2-8, 2002: Thomas Wheeler and Shirley Walker

week of September 2-8, 2002

Thomas Wheeler and Shirley Walker

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Thomas Wheeler

Bio (auto)

Thomas Wheeler was born in San Francisco; currently lives in Joplin, Missouri.

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Thomas Wheeler and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Crazy Orville Comes Home

with the plane clawing for altitude
hardly 10 minutes south of kc,
the medication wanes
and screaming
the passengers jump and flee forward
herding against the cockpit door with wide bovine eyes
they gaze
blanched-faced and trembling,
the lone stewardess
begins to inch
toward the
orville’s strapped to a red sun
searing his sensitive skin–
a red sun stabbing
hot plasma jets
through his

Crazy Orville Standing in the Rain

this evening before christmas
it’s drizzling in southern missouri upon the gaunt cheeks of buildings
tired echoes slap across miserably a v-8 ford truck grumbles along main–
tires sizzle on the thick slick concrete
as the black street leads up out of sight
shrugging beneath a shaggy great coat
like a grizzly bear wearing loose skin,
orville stands wetly on the corner
and dents the dripping droop of his hat while humming the melody of dark stars,
his addled eyes scrutinize the sagging flag
of rudolph’s red nose leading a flying sleigh.

Crazy Orville and the Edge of his Universe

night after night after night–
out the door
turn right and go 30 steps
turn right and go 100 steps
turn right and go 1000 steps
then stop beneath the blue street light
posted on the far northern edge of town
last night orville went
out the door
turned right and went 30 steps
turned right and went 1000 steps
then stopped at the edge of his universe
where raw night throbbed with livid moonlight after a few moments orville stepped off the curb .

Thus Spake God to Crazy Orville

orville wasn’t knowing
how long it had been snowing when cars passed
all he heard was tires squeaking muted church bells chimed
like cows lost in distant pastures lowing orville wasn’t knowing
how long he lay in the gutter bleeding
orville reached up
and swiped the cold frosting off his eyes all his fingers
felt like stiff swollen candles burning he peeked out
and spied the great gray sky weeping a hand appeared
and a booming voice cried: “Let me help!”

orville groaned
and with all his might
he struggled
erect atop numb frozen feet orville staggered
and a booming voice cried: “Let me help!”
orville turned
and stumbled alone into that lonesome mottled night.

Shirley Walker

Bio (auto)

Shirley is a native California Pisces who enjoys writing a diverse array of short stories and poems Her work has been published in ZuZu’s Petals, A Writer’s Choice, All Mixed Up, Papyrus, several other online and print literary journals She stated, “My busy inner child keeps me young, and my creative juice drips on occasion ” Shirley currently resides in Rialto with her husband of 31 yrs, a 7yr-old grandson, and two outside cats that think she belongs to them

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Shirley Walker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Where Jasmine Is Sweet

He sprawls on linen sheets
like poetry scrawled on papyrus. 
I dip my lips on the tip of his tongue
to revise old prose still fragrant
by another’s signature I pluck the taste
of dandelion left to sprout
in his budding dreams
I trace longhand with a slow hand,
teach him my style of script, and draft
new images once missing like torn pages I scat my scent like Ella’s songs
into the folds of his imagination, rehearse
smooth style of Sarah Vaughn, and ask
him to title my verse
I craft my question into him with the rhythm
of Maya Angelou poems; he rises,
kisses me where jasmine is sweet
and writes my name.

From the Hills of Rio
to the Depths of Hell

Sun climbs like a curious child
on Carnival days in Rio, drinks
serenades that spill from the guitar
of Orpheus Blossoms part

their petals like the legs of brown women
dancing barefoot, and butterflies tap
on grass Death stops, listens, and allows
Orpheus to enter Hades with an ice-necklace

for Eurydice, and 2 coins for the jukebox
ferry He strums his guitar for the release
of his love; the sons’ water wheel stands
still, demons shed tears, daughters rest

from drawing water in a sieve, vultures cease
tearing a Cyclops’s liver But, in this place,
Eurydice cannot whisper his name. 
In this place, Orpheus cannot look

back as she follows him through the caves Her carnival dress churns, fans the flames
chained around her collar, burns and waves
farewell to the forbidden gaze of her lover
The necklace melts He drops the coins. 
Eurydice still trembles on his tongue
(Inspiration from the film, “Black Orpheus”)

Dance with me, Henry!
(The Rhino Rouge Club)

“C’mon, dance with me Henry,
all night long!” — Ruth Brown

In starched overalls, Henry leans
against a wall near the bar, blends
with big, greasy-blue patterns
spread thick like marmalade. 

Piercing music brazenly humps over all
the walls, pulls, grinds Rhino’s regulars
to shimmy, shake, slither, snake, as if
peeling bananas on belts with Lá Baker
Overall, Henry is easy on my eyes
once the gin begins to loosen my lips and legs. 
My hips hula-hoop to gitchy-gitchy ya-ya-ya
like blues’ jelly rolling in Muddy Waters
I will become the music, boldly bump
overalls, pull and grind away his blues;
we will toast He will take me
to the floor and jam.  

“O’ Henry!”.

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