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Cafe’ Espresso

Bob Dylan 1962

The old Cafe’ Espresso in Woodstock, New York hosted a variety of entertainment including folk singers Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez and new entertainers like Bob Dylan. The Espresso was the summer gathering place for coffee or hot chocolate with my school friends after seeing a foriegn film at the playhouse. Bob Dylan began singing there nightly when he was seventeen to pay for his room above the coffee house. I will never forget the first time I saw him sing!

Cafe’ Espresso

Ribbons of coffee house smoke
Dancing with espresso steam caught me
Trying to find the spaces between your words.
You sat on a stool, legs wrapped in tight , faded jeans.
Your style of singing… it’s stringing
I heard someone say.

Do you ever breathe?

My girlfriend’s chatter changed the scene.
She’d heard about you from the crowd at school.
They’re saying Bob Dylan sings to trees,
Sleeps in barns, drinks rain out of broken cups,
He’s insane, a nut…

I wondered how it must feel to sleep in barns.
What did it cost to be so free and only seventeen?

As I think back on that night,
Singing at the Cafe’ Espresso,
You were the way of summer in Woodstock;
A song, a harmonica, a walk down Tinker Street,
Tourists, arts and crafts displayed.

Still, I recall you as fey,
And remember how I hummed off key
The tunes you so easily played.

I saw in your eyes the distance that defined
The same shy part of me.
The faded purple circles left behind in our minds
Made by the bruises of a thought too deep,
The passion to live a dream.

I’ll always wonder why dreams so easily
Escape reality… but I am glad you wrote the songs.
So often I think about them when the moon looks up at me
From the cream in my coffee
Until the moment is gone.

I’m glad you wrote the songs…

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Ava

Ava having a date with Aunt Julie 2013

A poem for my Granddaughter Ava Marie Tucker

Ava

Her beauty is sung
In the songs that come
To the tender and young.

And every heart knows
Love’s hand holds
The light of her soul.

For, by love composed,
Little Ava will grow
Like the loveliest rose.

Cross Fire

DSCN0465DSCN0466

These photos are of a memorial to and a burial ground of the Salish Indian Tribe that lived here in Stevensville, Montana. One of the most beautiful and spiritual places I have ever visited. The poem is from my Native American collection.

Cross Fire

Who is she?
This woman child
Who comes in visions
Drifting slowly,
As slips the smoke
From the Candle’s lip.

She runs from
The arms of war
Like a young fawn
Spotted to be invisible.
Yet, I see
Her running to me.
Her shadow becomes
My shadow
In the world, ever changing
With my every
Breath.

An eagle
Circles a warning.
Crossfire…
I feel her soul
Seeping into thought,
Spilling soft around,
Bending ’till it breaks
Like thunder sounds
Above.

I’m caught between
Her coming and my leaving.
I am undone.
She runs
And she runs.
Still, I hold her spirit
In my sleep
Knowing my dreams
Can never be.
I remain the hunter
Of lost moonbeams
Sipping at the edge of rain.

Invincible you think?
Look at me again.
Mark the rain
Where it falls sharp
Against my skin.
I cannot escape
The path of its pain.

Crossfire…
Silent is the heart
That falls in love
With the enemy.

Savanna’s Song

Florida Egret

Photo of a Florida Egret by my late son Scott Tucker

Savanna’s Song

In the noon of her day
Savanna blooms in amoeban pools.
The green of her smile,
A cradle for water birds,
Their grassy feet keeping time
To marsh flutes.

In the haze of a sea born day
Gulls play at the gate way
Between nature and man.

Golden rays of sun dance
On the leaves of wild hibiscus
Casting beams of light in the mist
As the tropical rains fall
In halcyon drops
Tapping out sweet innocence,
The melody of Savanna’s song.

Evening unfolds
With scarlet streaked by twilight.
The day is undone
By the whisper of birds in prayer,
Savanna’s benediction to the shadows
Changing day to night.

house-of-refuge-museum

Photograph of the House of Refuge on Gilbert’s Bar, Hutchinson Island, Florida

Many people believe the pirate Don Pedro Gilbert stashed treasure on the beach here. Gilbert raided American merchant vessels off the coast of Stuart, FL in the 1830’s. Thus the sandbar off Stuart was named for him. This poem was inspired by visits to Gilbert’s Bar with my friend Cathy and I wondering “what if”!

Don Pedro Gilbert’s Ghost

Darkness held us
Tight
Against the dunes.
Our flashlight
Spread a faded beam
As we watched
For a momma sea turtle
To swim ashore
And lay her eggs.

In the distance
The House of refuge
Creaked in
The ocean’s wind.
Moon shadows
Crossed dark banks
Of sea weed,
Shells and
Sand capped dunes.

The wind whispered,
Salt sprayed us in
The echoed rhythms
Of the surf;
We shivered.
A dark cloud grew
Out of the sand.
Suddenly it appeared
To take the shape
Of an old, old man
Waking up
From a long, deep sleep.

Cathy grabbed me
And we swore
As our Flashlight
Blinked out.
Frozen in place
The surf twirled
Past our bare feet.

“Maybe it’s
Gilbert’s Ghost”
Cathy whispered.
“Don’t be silly,
We don’t believe in ghosts!!”
My words…
Were lost in
The crash
Of waves rolling in.

Suddenly…
A voice, low and rasping,
Chocked, “Can’t kill me,
No they can’t…
I’ll never leave
The Treasure Coast.
I’ll always be Gilbert,
Never growing old,
Never grieving
The ships
I sunk for gold.

I’ll always be
Wearin’ this hangin’ rope
Roaming though
Me memories,
Haunting the Florida sea.
I’ll always be here
Countin’ my treasure,
Thinkin’ of rum and
All the women I’ve stole”.

“Run!” Cathy screamed.
Not looking behind us
We ran and ran
As if the devil had been
Don Pedro Gilbert, the man.
Echos of laughter
Followed us to the road.
We heard a rumble of thunder
Coming our way.

“HA! You do believe me
Tell everyone
I’m Gilbert the Pirate
I just proved it to you!”
“Cathy,” I yelled,
“Get in the car,
Some one is
Playing a joke…
A really sick joke!”

“I’m no joke,”
The salabracious voice
Bellowed…
“Leave me now
Or I’ll not let ye’ go.”

The wind
Came like hands
Out of the sea
Reaching for us…
At the car
Cathy dropped her keys.
I said, “breathe,
Count to ten.
You’ll see
This is all a bad joke.
Cathy don’t you dare
Faint on me.”

Suddenly
The wind died,
The beach turned quiet,
The moon and her sky
Shades brighter.
The flash light
Rolled to the floor, on.
It’s yellow beam glowing,
Cathy started the car.

I watched the sea
And the beach
As it all slipped
Behind us.
What was out there,
What could we say?
In a mile we’d be
Seeing the Golden Arches,
Holding hot coffee
In stryofoam cups.

I sighed…
That’s what we needed.
A Big Mac with plastic cheese.
A dependable
Taste of the 21st Century
Reality
For the price of three bucks.

The lines were short.
Only two people
In front
Of Cathy and me.
No one saw the surprise
In my eyes
When I reached in my pocket
And found with my change
Three shinny
Gold coins and pieces of
Eight.

100_0946

A pretty May day in British Columbia, Canada

This poem is dedicated to my son James Scott Tucker who passed away two years ago April 24, 2011. His passion was photography. Scott liked the images in this poem and found them inspiring. We miss you Scott and all the ways you inspired your family and friends though your love, laughter and great photos.

This poem was published on Swans and in Sleeping Bear Review 2002

Can’t Stop the Dancing

A song so familiar
Changes its rhyme before
I find the title in my mind,
Or hear the words.
The beat fades,
Black notes dancing backwards.

De’ja vu

Egypt dangles a jewel I can’t reach;
Destiny laughs,
Fleeting shadows haunt me.
Another melody
Plays in drops of rain teasing the grass,
Feeding the old and new.

Soul mate

Memories tucked between violin strings,
Magic images in a water glass,
Horses following a stream in easy peace,
A warm sun,
Spring’s roses soaking up liquid honey.

A song spills from a gurgling stream
Where ferns and flowers play.
The air tastes like the wild strawberries
Peeking out between ancient graves,
Ghost voices every where.

Salt lingers in the wind
Where the heather clings to granite,
Cobblestones for French feet.
Distance is the measure of walls,
Home is where the land meets sea.

Red poppies

Sway in contented sleep.
Church bells chime a message
From a mountain high
Reminding us that
We have promises to keep
And neither shadow nor light,
Death nor life
Can stop the dancing…

The Sons of Kings

Cherry Blossoms Washington DC

Photo of cherry blossoms in Washington, DC by my late son Scott Tucker

The Sons of Kings

Long ago and before that
Love was it’s own jewel;
Unto itself all things.

Not so, said the Kings;
Love is ignorance, showing nothing.
In all their gold, they claimed
To own the sum of everything.

Power, counted and subtracted
A billion gains and losses.
Kings grew old in their gatherings
Of ever growing wealth,
Losing count of what use to be;
Not missing what was never felt.

Years past

The sons of kings invented robots
To run computer towns.
Yet, man was solving nothing.

Puzzled

The sons of kings
Added more jewels to their crowns.
The jewels soon lost their sparkle
So the sons of kings
Asked of those around
What could be missing now?

Wondering how to answer man,
The robots ran a logic disc.
No. That wasn’t it.
They tried philosophy,
Pshchology, than poetry,
Until they agreed in print
That if man could find love,
And a heart for it to fit

Man might once again be equal
In his own equation.