Excerpt for Laugh Lines by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Laugh Lines

by Daniel Hargrove

Published by Daniel Hargrove at Smashwords

Copyright 2017 Daniel Hargrove

Cover art copyright 2017 Daniel Hargrove

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This book is published for anyone's enjoyment. Authors retain the copyright to their work. Users may read, copy and distribute the work in any medium or format for non-commercial purposes, provided the authors and the journal are appropriately credited. The users are not allowed to remix, transform or build upon the published material.

Table of Contents

01) Laugh Lines

02) My Blue Situation

03) Way Back When

04) For Your Information

05) Third Base

06) 1978

07) Picket Fence

08) The Concoction

09) The Blue Tomorrow

Laugh Lines

As it was told of wise and wry

that hot was cold and cold was hot

the dried up salt of seas gone by

A dozen wasps for every fly

a wink at slips, a bourbon shot

the dried up salt of seas gone by

Perhaps I stumbled at the cry

that right was right and wrong was not

as it was told of wise and wry

I missed the barge, about to die

the chop of turnips in the pot

the dried up salt of seas gone by

The lion leapt, the pygmy sly

and on the stake, the monkey caught

as it was told of wise and wry

I carried water, cool and high

so not to do as I was taught

as it was told of wise and wry

the dried up salt of seas gone by

My Blue Situation

I pick up litter

with a pointy stick

on the side of the road

with a bunch of guys

and a woman or two

we talk

as we work

perhaps about the blues

the blues matter

even today

Buddy Guy

and Byther Smith

and Joe Bonamassa

great talents

but I listen to the old stuff

Sonny Boy Williamson

Ray Charles

Sleepy John Estes

and all those cats

that played in the juke joints

in Chicago

also Mississippi

and other places

these is too much litter some days

and it is summer in Houston

and we sweat it out

Way Back When

Coded in our D.N.A.

are the memories of our ancestors

who come to me in my sleep

and tell me of my soul

Orisa Ogun:

I left the hammer on the table

that I used

to make a wagon

I rode it to the thicket

and walked for miles

careful through the brambles

Orisa Oya:

Swept up by the moon

my luck

both bad and good

I cannot fight

the poetic justice

that has gripped my shame

Orisa Sango:

Alone, I am never alone

and those that follow

pick the grapes

that a fox never found

the path winds ahead

to the fall

Orisa Yemonja/Olokun

I am thirsty

so i drink

of the long shadows

behind and tangled

in the oldest trees

on the edge of sand

Orisa Obatala:

The dust fills the wind

and covers the bricks

made of hay and mud

the quiet of doors

sinks with the sun

and rises with the corn

Orisa Esu:

I slink away

toward a fire in the dark

with skins and meat

in my grass bag

my spear, I leave behind

the point, broken off

Orisa Osun:

The cock crows his repentance

and a leg of sun

lifts to swallow night

my dream comes to me

covered in sweat

the salt untasted

For Your Information

For a few years

back in the 80's

I went door to door

selling encyclopedias

I knocked on one door

in this apartment complex

and a middle age black haired woman

answered the door

she said "No," but

said her neighbors across the way

had school age children

so I knocked

and this time

a blond with a rag

tied around her hair

answered the door

she pointed me to her neighbor

whom I had just talked to

I was confused

her neighbor had said

she didn't have any kids in school

so I went back across the courtyard

and knocked

this time

I got the door slammed in my face

some job

Third Base

It would have been a home run

but way in the outfield

my worst enemy

Butch Haskins

was ready for the catch

kickball is a dangerous sport

and many people

have stubbed a toe

or even skinned their knees

He caught the red rubber ball

and threw it hard

toward first

I don't know why

because when you catch the ball

it's an out!

But I ran like a fool

for first base

and drama followed

I got to first

before the first baseman

an argument ensued

I'll never admit

to this day

that I was out

The next guy up

scored a double


During Carter's administration

Afghanistan was a warground

and the C.I.A.

was busy recruiting

the Mujahideen

to fight the Russian invasion

we made friends

who, as it turned out

were not our friends

Osama Bin Laden was one

I heard he died

of a gunshot wound

and I saw the picture

he looked dead

now we have Al Queda

and, man, it's a problem

does this sound credible?

Al Queda is a hydra

with many heads

chop one off

and another grows

we are getting somewhere

the fires of the heart

are growing

but no doubt

America will prevail

Picket Fence

My aunt Bertha

was a crabby old crone

and whenever she babysat

she would curse at us

to pick up our letter blocks

when we left them scattered

spelling out the names of candies

such as "orange slices"

or "peppermints"

I had a little bow and arrow

with a suction cup on the end

and I snuck around

the side of the house

she was reclined in a lounge chair

and I carefully drew the string

I missed

but scared the piss out of her

that evening

when my dad got home

he made me pick a belt

for my whipping

I cried like a little girl

and it hurt like a bitch

Aunt Bertha never babysat us again

I sent her a card this Christmas

with a snow covered cottage

The Concoction

The sugarcane grew high

this summer

and sucking on the fibrous end

on a hot day

I considered

the country of Haiti

where they work

from sun up till sundown

for pennies a day

their children are hungry

a few chickens

wander the yard

a couple miles away

the zombies are rising

and shuffling out a song

beat out on stretched skins

in a humid rhythm

under an eye of sun

they were alive

with a snowfall of whiskey

a few years ago

but now they are painted

with red, blue, and white

as if living were an art

as dying is an art

in the sour breath of numbers

The Blue Tomorrow

A gnarled old butch of crosses

drank out the bell in a match

as if one o'clock were three-fifteen

back before the mammoth was a shadow

a ray of locks scored the fog

like the shame of the sailors

almost a fiction and a melody

a million words from now and then

a concrete truck slammed on the brakes

and did not hit the yellow cab

with the broken red tail light

shining into the dusky tomorrow

an evening of badgers and harps

with an ending I can never remember

but the spider was still in her hair

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