Earth’s Memento

Baseball. Sex. Rock-n-roll.

Paramount in the domain of my pimpled,
awakening contemporaries. Informal, that
baseball. Limited personnel. Non-luxurious,
windblown neighborhood ballyards.

My elusive grounder rolls over the lumpy
outfield, glancing and hopping. Headfirst slide
into home, adding drama to my young life. I
could have loped and knew it.

Caught a mouthful of dirt and grit. Plugs me for
a second. No onlookers; unseen in my glory. No
catcher. No infielders. My own drama,
manufactured. I ran the bases in solitude.

What’s left is the grit. I coughed, dusted myself
off, but that grit; a distinct sensation. Grind my
jaw to extend the exploration; charting course,
with Earth’s memento between my teeth.

There also was a backyard, a lumpy backyard. I
trip and fall and find another wad of dirt. Penny
Moreland, all of nine years but stronger than I,
straddles me, taking pleasure ejecting my plug
of garden dirt.

Dear cowgirl, how different was the drama of
your moment from the drama of my moment at
that moment; without onlookers, as was
preferred. But not in solitude, which was

You too left bits of grit in my mouth, like the
slide into home plate, leaving me with grit to

Was the drama of youth misspent as youth
itself? There was drama in the grit of the
ballyard and the grit of the backyard and like all
early summers, full of unprocessed discoveries.

From where comes drama now? What is to be
discovered? I trust my solitude, my lack of
onlookers, for I have created beauty and drama
alone in the studio of my mind.

–R.A.Falesch, in progress

Read at SLAP meeting of 2012-06-12, in response
to the challenge: “…write of a memory of the
summer we were twelve years old.” Announcing it
to the members as “unfinished” did not elicit
the sought-after sympathy :–)

That ballyard of my youth is still there, but, alas, the backyard where Penny* and I frolicked is not. I visited the ballyard in 2008 and, except for the new drinking fountain and its fancy pedestal, it looked exactly the same as it did when I was twelve. No small consolation, that.

Elmwood School Ballyard

*She was quite real, but the name Penny Moreland is not.

Lost to the Microphone

Lost to the Microphone

–by Bob Falesch

Written in response to SLAP challenge, for the May 2012 meeting, to use a particular formal structure. I chose Double Etheree – form. Etheree is syllable count-based: One syllable  in first line, ending with ten syllables in 10th line. Double Etheree adds the mirror to reverse back down to one syllable on a line. Unrhymed, no particular cadence required. Often centered, but can be right or left justified.

Writer’s Block

     Writer’s Block

       Torment of the manuscript

Must you summon me, dear manuscript,
or would you in benevolence just appear?
You once called, like a siren; but
also like a womb, a place of solace
to which I returned before I became.

I now call you. At the top of my lungs
I call. What haven can I offer?
Do you not settle here, seeking grace elsewhere?
You cherished page, nearly-blank;
end this harsh estrangement.

The struggle: sanctity through ardent toil.
A cleansing, the process to remake oneself
every time. To reinvent, every time.
Do I now withhold my own blood,
which I once so fervently shed?

Shall I fling a ditty upon your blank staves?
Would you harbor an incidental nocturne?
Perhaps a “single-idea” etude (so-called).
Would that dress the still-bleeding
wounds of this gaping decade?

Oh, summon me now, you holiest of blank stares,
for I have a masterpiece waiting.

— Bob Falesch, April 2012 (read at SLAP meeting this date)

The War on Buffet Man

Buffet man strolled to the corner of corners
where glass meets glass,
squinting into his star,
which every day glistens his empire.

Laments Buffet-man: “I tire of wealth,
“like a pump gathering oil in excess.
“To receive it, I need the 99 percent
“with crude hands outstretched.”
Therewith belched the Buffet-man

“Behold, my pockets seek to be empty,
“and I, Buffet man, wish to be 99 percent again!”
With that, Buffet man began to sink,
to go under, to un-accomplish.

As Buffet-man descended his steel-glass tower
and encountered crowds of the non-gainful, he said,
“Seek not to be overpaid, you undermen.
“I am the overpaid, but to be underpaid is to be free!”

“Escape your envy of the one percent!
“You who possess so little
“are not possessed by the one percent.
“We hardly know you!”
Therewith belched the Buffet-man.

In the heat of the street, Buffet man fell to sleep.
A serpent-looking politic came to bite him in the neck.
Politic snake recognized Buffet man then wriggled.
Writhing in fear, the snake sought escape.

Buffet man exclaimed “No don’t, for I’ve not thanked you.”
Of his venom, politic snake reminded Buffet man.
“When has dragon ever died from poison of the snake?
“Take back your poison, you who are not rich enough to give it.”
Therewith belched the Buffet-man.

Upon assembling once again,
retired by gridlock of snake and dragon,
the ungainful shrugged shoulders back to below waters,
not to drown, but to be taunted by Fannie Mae’s coffers.
Thereupon re-ascended the Buffet man.


–by Bob Falesch (read at March 2012 SLAP meeting)

No Mirrors

August 25, 1995, CHICAGO, IL: “The Cook County Coroner’s office has reported that the unclaimed bodies of forty-four victims of the recent heatwave will be buried at Homewood Memorial Garden Cemetery. This is one of the largest mass burials in the state’s history.”

We Gave Them No Mirrors

We gave them no mirrors, those solitary
and unclaimed who share hot midsummer winds.
Denied reflections for relief
on inside surfaces of unknown regions.
      Unkept, unimpaired, unbefriended;

Those acrid breezes pass wilderness
whose every forest leaf cannot be known,
but known that each is expelled,
then carried on windborne twigs,
long since buried in ancient humus.

Phantoms are the eyes, the voices
that glint and steal our reflections.
But leaves, yet tethered and green,
on what do they reflect? Blown
from birth to death on a zephyr
whose warm, moist current nurtures,
then coils up, strikes searingly, and moves on.

Shout, shout, shout
into the scorching wind, lest our
shoes be topped by fresh humus
from the soil of Homewood Garden,
where forty-four, and more, are
rendered, finalized, transformed, put to rest
Claimed not by society, yet buried by the body-politic.

_ _ _ _

Recorded reading of No Mirrors

by actor-playwright Pete Grocok of Leeds, England:

“We gave them no mirrors”

(c) 1995, R.A.Falesch

. . .

Montrose Harbor

for Karl and Mark, who share this memory of a father we never knew

text and music by
R. A. Falesch

Montrose Harbor

This place has come again, still chronicling,
etching wisps of lifetimes on its terraced shore.

Truths lie sleeping in these rocks, hurled before me:
distant memories of uncertain children await their call.

Circling gulls seek signal from the half-bright
horizon of dawn’s sleeping eyelids, whose awakening glow
offered ten-thousand greetings since he passed by.

Who was he, what did I take from him?
They will tell me,
they will tell me…