The Beacon of May

Garden5-31-10 004In May, the leaves of the redbud beckon
me from the window where I look
Instead of being
“Beckon” comes from an Old English word
Meaning “beacon.”

May is a beacon with its multiple layers
Of green and delicate white,
Its insistence on the words
Coax, tempt, tantalize, allure, beguile,
Its need to be better than
Every other month,
To shine brighter,
To achieve the pinnacle
In the calendar that Pope Gregory
Arranged for us when Caesar’s failed
To keep track with the actual days.

May: Your first level of meaning is to
Motion, wave, gesture, bid, nod,
Yet I know you are more than that,
Thus the second row of verbs
That more accurately describe
The marker you have placed
In the book of days of my life.

–Shaun Perkins




Laying in the Parking Lot at the Low Water Dam Store

concreteThe cops were called in because of the report
Of a woman “laying in the parking lot
At the dam store.” It’s not spoonbill season
So the store was not busy,
Just one woman supine on the concrete
And then one young man trying
To get her up.

She was belligerent and told to leave the store,
Then lay down in the parking lot
And refused to go anywhere else,
Until her son tried to pick her up
Before the cops came. He was unsuccessful.
I don’t know if she was arrested.
I do hope that instead of laughing,
Like I did when I read the story,
If I had been there, I would have been
A traffic cone rigid and mute between her
And the rest of the dam world.

–Shaun Perkins


The Train to Will Rogers

willToday is the birthday of one of the greatest Okies who ever lived. Will Rogers, who was born Nov. 4, 1879, said, “It’s great to be great, but it’s greater to be human.”

In honor of Will, here is a poem that I wrote many years ago. It is based on a memory my gangy told me about when she would ride the train from Locust Grove to Tulsa to see a movie or to go shopping.


They were fifteen and smoked Lucky Strikes
on the train to Tulsa. Both wore their best dress.
Montie Jean’s was blue taffeta with lace
crocheted along the collar. She had to stand
or stroll to keep it from creasing at her hips.
She held Ann’s arm and they squeezed their heads out
one window and shouted into the spring
day at the flitting bright spots of bluebirds
and young men in the fields, checking the soil
to see if the seeds could be planted yet.
They waved to the men, and their smart curls held
in the wind and in the hot, cramped theater
where Will Rogers lassoed both their hearts and
Montie Jean, laughing, swallowed her mint gum.

–Shaun Perkins


printsbeginning2I wrote a poem on a piece of a grocery sack today. A few months ago I bought the above two pieces of artwork, or as they are called on the back “wall accessories” at a thrift store. They are both prints from 1972 that are titled “We Are Engaged.” I altered one of them and am waiting on inspiration to do the other.

I like the idea of a wall accessory. I suppose a rug is a floor accessory. Is a porch a house accessory? A hanging plant an air accessory? An ice box magnet a refrigerator accessory.

Apparently, I just like the word “accessory.”

–Shaun Perkinsbeginning to learnbeginning4