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Tequila, Sheila


Tequila, Sheila
by Peter John

Pour me a shot of tequila, Sheila,
Draw me a draft of beer.
It’s getting late,
But the music’s great,
And I like drinking here.
I don’t care if it’s after ten
And I get up at four.
One more shot’ll drag me home.
I can pass out on the floor.

Pour me another gin and tonic.
Pop me a couple of Buds.
I’d like to wade
In the mist I’ve made
And swim in the golden suds.
Lost on a foggy sunset road
I seek a thirsting soul
Drinking misery I don’t know,
Swallowing sorrow whole.

Another shot,
Another bottle,
A filtered quart of my blood —
Another cocktail,
I’ll trade a meal
For a swallow of Tennessee Mud!

Pour me another neon headache,
Congas announcing the dawn.
My pocket’s bled,
And my pounding head
Is taking the morning on.
Bloodshot images steaming thick,
The mirror hears me pray.
Wake me up with one more shot
So I can stagger away.
Hey! Pour me a shot of tequila, Sheila,
Another shot and I’ll stay.

(c) 1991 by Peter John Stone All Rights Reserved. No use is authorized without permission from author, but the author offers reasonable terms, and entertains any proposals.

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Premonition


Premonition
by Peter John

The first time that my brother came to visit
My uniform had almost left me mad,
Till on a foreign shore
He found my barracks door,
And I forgot why things had seemed so bad.

A voice I know, a face that looks familiar —
A face that carries features of my own —
He offers me his heart
When mine is torn apart.
He opens up a harbor far from home.

A questing heart, a mind that masters meaning —
A body strong, a soul that earns no shame —
Though I came first in birth
He helps me feel my worth,
And makes me proud to share his family name.

Another time my brother came to visit
When I was free but still had dues to pay.
He stepped into my cell,
Dispelled my private hell
And heaven didn’t seem too far away.

It bothers me to think how much I hurt him
When we were children learning how to grow.
But when I try to say,
He laughs it all away,
And I’m the one afraid to let it go.

So when the Stars and Stripes have brought him homeward,
And set him free to wander once again,
He’s sure to come to me.
I know I’ll never be
As good a man as he’s already been.

The next time that my brother comes to visit
I’ll open up that special jug of wine.
But he can’t help me drink.
So, when he’s gone, I think
I’ll drink it by myself, and I’ll feel fine.

(c) 1990, by Peter John Stone, All Rights Reserved. No use is authorized without permission from author, but the author offers reasonable terms, and entertains any proposals.

The Cross I Carry


The Cross I Carry
By Peter John

I’m not worthy of the cross I carry
But I carry it anyway.
I wear it with the weight of wood
Anchored on bone
By a nail I won’t let fall away
Long as I can feel its loss.
So I still carry it,
But I’m not worthy of The Cross.

I wear mine tattooed on an arm
Of bronze, muscle, and pain —
Drawn from an angry road,
Leather, and steel —
On a one way run
That once begun
Takes  a miracle to leave undone.
But rage won’t let the miracle take the wheel

I’m not worthy of the cross I carry
But I carry it anyway.
I wear it with the weight of wood
Anchored on bone
By a nail I won’t let fall away
Long as I can feel its loss.
So I still carry it,
But I’m not worthy of The Cross.

I eat my fill. I stake all my claims
And claim all of my due,
Confident the poor and weak
Reap what they sow.
Through a cross they made
With a surgeon’s blade
Beats an offering beyond all trade,
And pride denies my gratitude
Room to grow.

But I’ve been blessed!
I’ve been blessed —
Though God knows I don’t deserve it —
Blessed in spite of each old curse
I entertain with each new dawn,
When I choose my daily dues
With loaded dice each losing toss.
Although I carry it, I know
I’m not worthy of The Cross

I bear mine in bottles of dreams
I drain empty and stale,
Or any battle I fight
When I should flee.
For my own strength fails
Facing up at tales
Of a sturdier Cross than the sharpest nails,
No cross I carry, but The Cross
That’s carried for me.

I’m not worthy of the cross I carry
But I carry it anyway.
I wear it with the weight of wood
Anchored on bone
By a nail I won’t let fall away
Long as I can feel its loss.
So I still carry it,
But I’m not worthy of The Cross.
Yes, I still carry it
But I’m not worthy of The Cross.

(c) 2009 by Peter John Stone – All Rights Reserved. No use is authorized without permission from author, but the author offers reasonable terms, and entertains any proposals.

A Song Coming On


A Song Coming On
by Peter John

I feel a song coming on.
When the night air is silent
A symphony tugs on my ear.
I feel a beckoning song
And I wish I could share it,
So all who would listen could hear.
I ran from the rhythm of rocks by the sea
For stillness in solitude under a tree,
But whispering moon dust keeps chanting at me.
I feel a song coming on.

I feel the dawn coming on.
In a scepter of brightness
Assaulting the night’s stubborn shell.
I feel the beckoning dawn,
With a voyage commencing,
And strangers all wishing me well.
Now plunging through spindrift that begs me to stay
I struggle for breath, kicking blankets away
Toward menacing hands that await me today.
I feel the dawn coming on.

I feel the pain coming on.
From the piercing extrusions
That gouge at the death in my skin.
I feel the beckoning pain,
Tugging arms groping outward
From eyeballs compelled to gaze in.
A cold iron virgin is waiting to feed,
And wrapping my world for the howling I bleed
When razor fine feathers advance and recede.
I feel the pain coming on.

I feel a friend coming on.
The beginning of healing,
Auroras that melt where I’m bruised.
I feel a beckoning friend,
While caution responds.
I’m a puppy who’s always abused.
But loyalty answers if honesty’s there,
And each of us offers our efforts to share
The burdens to pressing for one back to bear.
I feel a friend coming on.

I feel a love coming on.
In a garden of daisies
An orchid unfolds into bloom.
I feel a beckoning love,
Though I pause to embrace it,
Determined to give it some room.
The space in a heart that a love needs to grow
Is worth all the blossoms that finally show
When roots sink so deep they will never let go.
I feel a love coming on.

I feel a dream coming on.
Though my eyes are wide open,
My senses soar out into space.
I feel a beckoning dream,
And a rainbow keeps scattering
Kisses all over my face —
And jasmine is dancing through tickling haze,
To echo in highlands where unicorns graze —
A fragrance I fancied I’d find from a phrase.
I feel a dream coming on.

I feel the night coming on,
The comfort it offers while
Gently it’s settling in.
I feel the beckoning night.
It’s a shroud of deception,
So firm, so incredibly thin!
With nothing to fear but my skin in a gown,
When flickering flames force a choice from my frown –
To snuff out the candle, or let it burn down.
I feel the night coming on.

And I feel a song coming on …


(c)1983, 1992 by Peter John Stone. All rights reserved. No use is authorized without permission from author, but the author offers reasonable terms, and entertains any proposals.

Bittersweet Bouquet


Bittersweet Bouquet
by Peter John

Adrienne,
We loved with Lilacs,
Spring’s first pink fragrance awakening the air
Impassioned, bursting pollen on evergreen slopes,
With blossoms running whispers through your hair.

Then, Claire,
We loved with Daisies,
Fresh promising hands full pleadingly we offered new,
Soon wasted stems from petals plucked in doubt
To answer if our love was true.

Carnations, Annunciata,
We loved with fluffy blossoms,
Winter grown in summer heat, spanning fervent years.
A Valentine’s obsession, cherished, pressed
And dried, forgotten, sodden pulp in a younger man’s tears

Dawn! Oh, Dawn!
Only Dandelions for all the pain.
Glowing golden in the summer Sun,
Tangled roots embedded frenzied needs.
Soft seed scattered mindlessly,
Windblown drift of sly fertility,
And purged in sprouting,
Sifted with the weeds.

But Roses, Katie, we had Roses!
Fields of vibrant future carpeted our way,
Where perfumed petals camouflaged the thorns
Which stabbed so deep that still we bleed taday.

Lilies and Babies Breath, Marigolds,
Though lovers leave their gifts forever stay,
A vivid aromatic potpourri
Of blossoms in a bittersweet bouquet.

——

(c) copyright 1988, 1992, & 2010 by Peter John Stone. All rights reserved. No use is authorized without permission from author, but the author offers reasonable terms, and entertains any proposals.

My Mother Was Always Pregnant


My Mother Was Always Pregnant

by Peter John

Weaned on a Miss America-Sandra Dee-Donna Reed- Diet
She tasted the dream of a million Annette Funicellos,
Saved herself for marriage, surrendered
Twin burdens of classes and waiting,
Buried graduation in a family plot
With dreams of ivy halls and stethoscopes,
Strapped on her mandatory rucksack of “laters”
Started making babies,
Started shaping me.

My mother was always pregnant.
Ten years from the first morning’s green gilled
Annunciation, six cycles of sickness and distention
Four and one-half years some half-foreign
Life sucked her blood.
Beach bunny body blossomed, bloomed,
Bloated, blood pressure stretched higher
Scores across her belly.

My dutiful mother was always pregnant,
Every midnight bump another abysmal alarm
Across sleep’s shallow threshold,
One more weary bookmark binding
Countless screaming “if-onlys” to her back,
Peeling seasons of her soul
Raw, sanity paying time’s harsh taxes.

My mother was always pregnant.
Four and one-half years of mood swings
Four and one-half years of weight gain
Four and one-half years of spikes
Stiffening her spine. Four and one-half years
Of sandpaper shuttles in her knees,
Her “could’ve” cargo welded
With futile fragments of identity.

My mother was always faithfully pregnant
And mourning, mourning,
Mourning the pilfered promise,
The stolen valedictorian
Future finding cures, healing
Threatened tomorrows. Targeting
Intangible enemies, her
Swaddling ferocity flailed narrow
Leather stripes, belt buckle discipline
Never bruising the Simon Says
Notion that nothing else mattered
As long as she stayed pregnant –

And my mother was always pregnant,
Gritting teeth through locked eyelids
Against regrets sent from
Satan, till now —
Three times a night her bladder pushes
Tired legs to elusive relief —
Three times a night her white linen gown
Ghosts her drifting frame down
A creaky corridor —
Three times a night gnawing
“Nevers” nibble through
Sheltering dreams, reality
Splashes through whatever
Shallow sanity she’s recovered,
The toilet flushes,
And one more midnight reminder of everyone
She might have been spins
Into oblivion.

My mother was always pregnant.
My mother has not slept a full night
In forty-nine years.

– – – – –

copyright 1996,2010 by Peter John Stone. All rights reserved. No use is authorized without permission from author, but the author offers reasonable terms, and entertains any proposals. This poem originally appeared in the anthology Nobody’s Orphan Child published by Seattle’s Red Sky Poetry Theatre —

The Wind is A-Risin’


THE WIND-IS-A-RISIN’
by Peter John

I feel those drops begin to fall.
I watch them splatter on the wall.
Is there a way that I can call my home?
Can’t buy a car, can’t hitch a plane,
And waiting for a drenching rain,
I wonder if it’s worth the pain to roam.
Is it worth the pain to roam
Too far to call back home?

And the wind is a-risin’
And the clouds are a fallin’
And the sky is hangin’ low,
And if you ask me where I’m goin’,
I’ll say, “I don’t know.”
And if you ask me where I’m from,
I’ll say, “The place I’ve been.”
I’d like to move, but I don’t dare
Until that voice can tell me where,
Until that still, small, voice can tell me when.

I’ve played the games that rule the night.
The winning’s never worth the fight.
The fighting’s never worth the teeth I lose.
I’m living hard, and living fast,
I’m hoping that my life won’t last
If living’s never worth the life I choose.
Will the memories I choose
Be worth enough to lose?

And the wind is a-screamin’
And the clouds are a-crashin’,
And the sky’s about to fall,
And if you ask me what I want,
I’ll say, “I want it all!”
And if you ask me what I’ve lost,
I’ll say, “I’ve lost my place.”
I’d move ahead, except I fear
No still, small, voice will reach my ear.
I need a voice to coach me in this race.

The storm of life has worn me out.
It’s torn my mind and made me doubt
My purpose here, and in a life beyond.
The waves of time soon pass away.
Though some might capsize ships today,
They’re only troubled ripples on a pond.
Will the ripples on my pond
Lead to a life beyond?

And the wind-is-a howlin’
And the clouds are a-drainin’
And the sky is almost down,
And if you ask me what life is,
I’ll say, “A beggar’s town.”
And if you ask me what death brings,
I’ll say, “You let me know.”
‘Cause when I get there, I’m afraid
That facin’ each mistake I made,
A still, small, voice will say, “I told you so.”
I’d like to move, but I don’t dare,
Until that voice can tell me where.
Without a still, small, voice I just won’t go.
—-
Peter%20John
Hear Peter John perform “The Wind is A-Risin'”for a live audience
—-
Lyrics copyright 1979,1988 by Peter John Stone. All rights reserved. No use is authorized without permission from author, but the author offers reasonable terms, and entertains any proposals.

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