I am struck that sometimes, my poems from the past include elements of the beautiful and the ugly, all in the same piece.
By David L. Pulling
A starving flame
wavers, shivers, gasps,
while old men without teeth
dressed in khaki coveralls
bounce and rumble on riding mowers
going in circles around their yard
spouting tired sonnets
to mean old ladies with blue hair
who go to Sunday School meetings
and roast preachers for lunch on Sunday
because they like religion.
But they don’t know truth.
The old men on their riding mowers are cold.
They lie in beds with mean old ladies.
The mean old ladies are cold.
They bark in shrill, angry voices like ferocious Chihuahuas.
Yip, Yip, Yip, Yip.
They never squander money,
they never squander food,
they never squander clothes,
because they were depressed in 1929.
They squander air,
bouncing and rumbling and barking.
The flame is cold
because there is no air.
The poet is cold
because the old men
are bouncing and rumbling
and the old women are barking
and they are squandering all the air.
And they are cold sober stones.
Then a mighty rushing wind
fills the old men’s carburetors
and they stop bouncing and rumbling.
The wind engorges yipping Chihuahua throats
and they gag on fresh air.
The cold sober stones evaporate
in the presence of fragrant, intoxicating oxygen
borne on the breath of mighty rushing wind.
And the enervating oxygen
teaches the torch to burn bright.
Fulfilled flame breathes,
swells with lusty atmosphere.
Truth erupts like molten air
spewed from the poet’s trumpet
in warm airy vapors
distilled in white flames of truth.