My Latest Chapbook (posted as a printable book, which makes it a little confusing to read)

Actually, I am several chapbooks beyond this now:

30 More 2015

Silent Poems 2016

Black Snakes and Happy, the Little Christmas Book 2016

Sometimes California or March Set 2017

I expect to have at least one more before the end of the year and maybe another Christmas edition. debating posting them here.

PW Logo

As one of the most public lives ever lived by a private citizen, there is little that isn’t already available at Facebook or Shelfari and countless other places. Poet, writer, construction worker, salesman, truck driver, climber into the attics of total strangers, father and husband, and all around one of the luckiest men on the planet.
$5.00

Copyright 2014

Sawgrass Writers House Press

Greenacres Florida – Hot Coffee Mississippi – Fowey Cornwall

Blind Carafe of Wheelbarrow Rain

linkedin better than starbucks

By Anthony Watkins

The Mortal Roof

As I walked my dog

In our back yard this morning

I looked up and admired my roof

The fine fresh looking shingles.

Architectural shingles installed a decade ago

But still look as good as new

And it hit me that I won’t likely replace this roof

Oh, there may come a storm and blow it all away,

Though these are pretty sturdy,

But in the normal course

I am not likely to live as long

As my roof will survive

I could not help myself

I began to resent it.

An inanimate thing, sold by the bundle,

Installed by brave strangers,

With air nailers and gummy soled shoes.

For the first time I look at a roof and think of my mortality

In terms of being more fleeting than a shingle

What will I do with the rest of my life

That will not be shoveled off and replaced?

24

Blind Carafe of Wheelbarrow Rain

By Anthony Watkins

g Sawgrass Writers House Press g

Greenacres Florida g Hot Coffee Mississippi g Fowey Cornwall

i

For

Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams, and especially Gertrude Stein and Al Filreis and his wonderful staff and Teaching Assistants at the Kelly Writers House and most of all ModPo and the thousands of fellow students that helped when my head was exploding!

And thanks to Mark Heyne for introducing me to Coursera and Modern & Contemporary American Poetry!

ii

If It Doesn’t Rain

Listening to the washing machine

and the sound of no rain outside

and remembering a poem by Billy Collins

about bones in the basement

but I cannot remember the title or how it goes.

There are songs like that, too,

stuck in my brain for years

neither tune nor lyrics, just a scrap of a phrase

the worst is a line about each one having a flag and a hill

except little ty woo.

The clean laundry will be fresh and dry soon,

and if it doesn’t rain we will catch an evening game

of the local minor league club

where my son will run through the seats

with the other bleacher bums

and maybe even go down on the field

for some silly kids contest or spin the wheel

and either way win free tickets to more games

to come back and do it all again

to be nine in summer

or even to be fifty four

with a nine year old son

 

23

artless beauty

framed in words of the plainest tongue

like beef tongue boiled for hours

with onions and peppers

of the hottest sort

Like my friend in Indiana

Sends me now and then

and I eat and save the seeds,

as much as I love their exquisite heat.

to plant, to plant, ah that is the question

for my peppers never grow

my mind grows,

often like a melon vine in a bottle

contorted, constrained by lack of convention

and yet consider the carpenter

he neither worries,

nor fails, but builds,

cutting and nailing until the house is built

a good house, not a piece of art

better than art, and thus it is art

and while I was yet writing this

the rains came and washed away all

but the house, the melon in a jar

and the carpenter

dry on his porch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22

Table of Contents

1 Amid Casual Horses, Consider the Oxen

2 Phantom Freight

3 Union Line Cemetery

4 Pug Sings an Old Song

5 The Urban Mine Shaft

6 Strange How Feasting Crocodiles

7 If I Sang All My Songs

8 In a Bloodless Fashion

9 One More Time

10 Mississippi Mule

11 Dead Coffee

12 In the One Unbroken Chair

13Reuben Sky

14 In a messy world

15 the following is not a poem

16 The Taste of Fish

17 The White Shoes

18 The Red House Dress

18 Ocean Drive

19 It’s only Poetry

20 An Unraveling

21The Shiny Deathtrap

22 artless beauty

23 If It Doesn’t Rain

24 The Mortal Roof

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iii

Other works:

Cabbage Field and Rust 1995

Heroes and Bandits 1996

Machines of the Mind 1996

Out of the Soft Delta Dirt 1999

High maintenance Ways 2001

I Might Die in Florida 2002

After the Door Had Opened 2003

How to See Alabama 2003

If Mississippi Could Talk 2004

From the Tree Caves 2008

Depression Enterprise 2009

Single Buds 2010

Rusty Tractors (Collected Poems 1994-2004) 2011

Warm Enough for Ice Cream (Collected Poems 2005-2011) 2011

May’s Hill 2013

Copyright 2014

g Sawgrass Writers House Press g

Greenacres Florida g Hot Coffee Mississippi g Fowey Cornwall

iv

The Shiny Deathtrap

The shiny deathtrap

that is tomorrow

rattles by and wakes me from the gentle sleep

that is now

Go on glowing machine

of the coming day

take the future with you

I will sit here and listen to lullabies and nursery rhymes

and listen to nursery rhymes

jackandjill

littleboyblue how are you

go away tomorrow

and send me a wolf

to eat everything up

we shall soup together

lamb soup, with chops on the side

chop, chop

said the wolf

he took a bite out of me

but I am crime

and mcgruff sent him

I am sure

go away tomorrow

merrily, merrily, merrily

I lie here on the sweet mattress of now

with a wolf who can blue a slow sleepy saxophone

and I dream I am awake in old new orleans

if I had traveled more,

maybe I could dream of paris

but I am a poor boy from Alabama

and I cant seem to dream past the French quarter

if they had a French dime

I could dream that twice

with money left to tip the horn player

we chase it down the street, biting at its tires

go away tomorrow

21

An Unraveling

The fence unravels

like a spool of barbed wire

the lines are down

the twisty things never work.

Despite my best efforts

at keeping every

thing taunt

happiness is a straight line

but a bungled mess clutters the counter

clutters my desk

and flutters away

my life is papers in a spring gust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20

Amid Casual Horses, Consider the Oxen

 

From afar, horses alternatively grazing

And galloping in the green pastures

Under the yawning canopies of oaks

Planted by some pre war plantation owner

Or more accurately the help, free or otherwise

 

As he would have told a friend he planted

Sixty acres of pecans and a fence row of oaks

While getting neither as much as

A nail or pressed white shirt dirty

That no longer matters as it is all horse farm now

 

Yet those beautiful, near perfect creatures,

Upon closer inspection have flecks of dirt

And mud on their legs and flanks

And flies annoy them for urine and sweat

Casual horses, slim of wit and fleet of foot

 

Consider the oxen, no one’s dream of perfection

Grazing, ready for labor as any horse

Thick and steady, with flies and mud of their hide

No smarter I suppose than a horse, neither caring

To be the representation of freedom, beauty or burden

 

Not inspired to labor nor supper

Only in the mind of man do they find themselves

Sliced and diced into pigeon holes

Or onto a dinner plate

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Phantom Freight

 

Like a phantom freight train

Rolling through the darkness of my memory

Thundering and screeching on the rails

Bell ringing and horn blowing

At every crossing and white billows of smoke

Cloud the black sky is the knowledge

 

Of the rush for five to fifty

And the onslaught to nowhere

Before I travel that far again

Makes my hand take up pen or brush

Looking to make the special mark

So someone will remember

 

There was a me once

And this is what I did

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

It’s only Poetry

Why do people

Howl

At

The slightest

Tawdry word they

Hear spoken or

Even written on the

Fairest of pages

Ugly words

Cannot change nor

Keep the beauty

Inside

The poem nor

Slight the art

Of being creative

Nothing stands

Long before the gods of art. not

Youth,

Prosperity

Or even

Efforts of

The ruling class

Religious leaders and certainly not

You!

19

The Red House Dress

The poem is in tatters on the table, scraps float around the room, scraps float red, red scraps float red poem scraps short lines and long tearing threadbare lines lines the box lines in a box boxed groceries garbage trucks boxy garbage trucks wait in line nearby landfill fills with lines of boxes rain red wheelbarrows glazed in rain like boxes melting in the rain long red lines the poem about William sweet William in box planters long lines of planter boxes n a red house with poem windows well built windows for emily what are the possibilities of her slender hands, ah her hands in a box the poem lies soiled soil earth rain long lines of rain equator is a dress a poem left too long on the radiator a dress left too long on a radiator, scorched and pealing, the lines remain, radiating lines line swirl. a dress dance but no one red faced scraps a box of potato peelings red potatoes blood red dress a bloody red poem, quagmire

Ocean Drive

I am up out of the hole

and the sun shines bright

on my rusty Ford today

and I will not lay back down.

The ocean is the sound

of the crumbling

of a soul to dust

and the waves are the color

of a mind going to rust

and I will not lay down again

from the dead I was.

I have arised

Like the seagull screaming

To no one but god

I have arised

and to not lay down again

18

Union Line Cemetery

In a graveyard in Mississippi

Lie the bones of a woman I loved

And those of a man I did not,

Though I am more like him than her.

Down a paved road off the federal highway

Slicing diagonally from Mobile,

The road turns sharply as if

It was meant to dead end.

But as if someone moved the gates

The road bends goes on precisely south

While the sun goes west away from the graves.

Little marble benches wait through the undisturbed dust

For me to stop to pick sand spurs out of my dress socks

And prick my fingers and remember I am alive.

While under clumps of low growing weeds,

Neat green grass and bare spots

These dead people rest in a Mississippi summer quiet,

As they do in winter beneath a midnight ice storm.

Dead, yes, they are dead,

But I am alive and they are why I am so.

They keep us, our families, ourselves alive.

I wonder if in a few years when I am dead,

Ashes tossed in the Mississippi,

Will I hold anyone connected or only be dust,

Forever blown about where the delta runs into the sea?

(June 2013 Goodreads Newsletter Poetry Contest Winner)

3

Pug Sings an Old Song

 

The little pug sits on the couch

And sings and old Hymn

About how all dogs go heaven

Even the biters and chewers

And most of all the mouth breathers

 

Its his favorite song

He loves Jesus

Almost as much as he loves

Licking his privates

 

He looks at me

With his black bug eyes

Asking for some kind of endorsement

I offer applause

 

He and I are thinking the same thoughts

Only I know I will have to fix

Both of us breakfast

While he hums What a Friend We Have in Jesus

And I wonder how an atheist

 

Ended up with a Christian dog

 

4

The White Shoes

white leather shoes

the long gravel driveway

the Pina Colada song,

Twilight is the loneliest time of day.

On the eighth day god created the tide

the tide is high but i’m holding on.

train, train

and it is not a fate worse than death

for there are no acts of nature

that tell us that.

death is the worst

and it does not come around again.

wiping the dust off the white leather tennis shoes,

now brown leather topsiders

and Halloween caves and tree caves

and old men raising young children

and now they too are gone.

old men alone in the park

old men, in Birkenstocks

and now they are gone too,

another life lived and gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17

The Taste of Fish

Icy wind bashing my face and bleeding through my coat heavy but wet

salt in my mouth ocean water and blood the line bites into my finger thumb pressed into the slice finger to mouth

the boat slows line sings a fish a hook the pliers into the bucket sploosh

a bit of slime and a bit more blood

i pour hot bitter black coffee into a thin metal cup it warms my hands and burns my bleeding mouth

the fish bleeds from the mouth i swallow the coffee and cast again

tonight, in my warm kitchen that smells of hot grease i have the taste of fish in my mouth

and dream of the joys of being again on the water

The Urban Mine Shaft

A shaft of sunlight

Swirling down the hazy canyon

Of super towers at Olive and Dixie

Particulates making a staircase

A mind could climb

Into the high blue sky

I take the first shaky steps

Passing bedroom windows

Balconies and office cubicles

There I see the sun high above

Gaining passage to the sky

I dance above the traffic

And no one even look up

To see the the fat man in the sky!

A Seamus Duggan

Inspired Urban Dream Poem

5

Strange How Feasting Crocodiles

 

Strange how feasting crocodiles

Make the blood rise

Not so much for dinner

Or even mating

But surely for fighting

 

Churning muddy waters

Ancient beast and ancient teeth

Shred the thirsty buck I watch

Knowing the end is nature’s way

 

We are the assassins of the world

From slaughter houses to dip nets

From laying hens to veggies

 

How sweet and soft our killing is

Any churning and slashing done

Neatly out of sight

 

Leaving steaks and piles of peas

To cook and the husks of both

Broken to be eaten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

the following is not a poem

Yesterday, my son asked for toast, so i started singing about buttered toast, and he said my song annoyed him, but he loves the ocean, so i ‘fixed’ the song, but he didnt really seem to think it helped.

so when his mother got up, i sang it to her, all improved and whatnot, but she declared me too silly for words.

which inspired yesterday’s poem.

after reading my great work of art that was inspired by my song, which itself was inspired by a matched set of bread slices browned to perfection, covered with just the right amount of butter, sliced diagonally and served on a plate with a glass of apple juice for my youngest son, she said, (which she will probably say again in a few hours when she wakes and reads this), ‘now that is just weird’ only she will capitalize and punctuate and so on in her mouth in a way my fingers can never do on paper.

here is the ‘fixed up’ song:

There is a piece of toast at the bottom of the sea, There is a piece of toast at the bottom of the sea And on that toast there is a bit of butter Clinging tenuously For the bread is soggy Because in case you havent guessed yet The bottom of the ocean Is a little wet

now, if you will excuse me, its almost daylight,

and i have to let the dog out,

make some truly delicious french roast 8 oclock coffee

and have a slice of flax seed bread as a snack

before making my hot curried eggs

and probably soon enough making that boy

a short stack of toast, unless it being sunday,

he wants pancakes and then we are off to the park!

In a messy world

Where children are blown to bits in schools and hospitals,

Where kids are interned into dog runs after trekking

Thousands of miles in the shadows of Mexico

Where the good guys are corrupt

And the bad guys rape women

As God’s punishment for being female

In this world, where black kids still start at the back of the line

This fat old white man takes every break

His entitled butt can get,

And that is barely enough, though it is more

Than most of the world can ever dream of

Wages in multiples of the minimum

In my gated green lawn universe I sit a write rants of rage

On behalf of all those less fortunate than I

And yet, in my heart,

I know I accomplish nothing,

Can accomplish nothing,

Will accomplish nothing.

In a disappearing world of blind white ignorance

My life is just one more meaningless chime

Ringing in a darkening universe

As the truth, like the sun

Collapses in on itself I die

And nothing changed because I lived.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

If I Sang All My Songs

 

Verse after silly verse

In that sad melody

Of my inner voice

 

Of which I only seem

To be able to sing

In constant repition

 

Would it endear me

Like the tiny green tree frog?

 

Would they paint my picture

On the boards by their front door?

 

Would they scream and have me arrested

And make me take my medication?

 

The one that takes the song out

And make the silly words sound dull,

For am I not that frog, the quiet one

Dull and brown and silently waiting

For a bug for a meal?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

In a Bloodless Fashion

 

The way to a crow’s heart

Is through its feathers

Said my uncle as he squeezed the trigger

 

Sending a finger tip sized piece of lead

Crashing at the speed of sound

Through breast and bone

 

He smiled at the silenced cawing

And I made a note to not irritate the man

For other than spite he had no cause

 

I toed the black bird with my boot

It made no movement

Only seconds before it flew and cried

 

Breast and bone remain

While death passes in a bloodless fashion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

Reuben Sky

I had a dog named Reuben Sky.

Well he was only partly mine,

my older brother,

who could already read

named his part Reuben

after some boy in a book,

a book I never knew or read.

My part was Sky because he was white as a cloud.

My brother said, why don’t you call him cloud?

Because cloud is a silly name for a dog, I replied.

Like most good dogs,

Reuben Sky would come when I called,

and he seemed to know

what it was like to be the little brother.

He slept on my bed,

and kept me company

when I went rattlesnake hunting

in the woods.

He was my best friend,

my steady partner, curled at my feet

while we fought Stevens pirates

or crept through King Solomon’s Mines,

he helped me solve every Hardy Boy mystery.

And once we even killed a great white whale.

One day when he was old,

I went off to college in Cincinnati,

and while I was gone,

Reuben Sky went to heaven.

My father buried Reuben Sky

under a tree on a little rise,

over looking our rattlesnake woods.

This old world has turned

ten thousand times

but I still miss you, my Reuben Sky.

13

In the One Unbroken Chair

We sit like beggars at a Sunday morning Salvation Army service

holding on to every crumb and ignoring all the words,

bet Jesus would like a pizza and a cold beer,

and Jesus, I would love you more if I had one of each right now.

Singing to Jesus, not as hung over as I wish I was.

The poet, he’s my preacher, and when he stands to read,

I know I will be filled to overflowing.

basements and alleys and mermaids and angels

in the east river, pretty girls in short skirts, first week on the street.

Needles and dealers and dying on dirty bathroom floors,

sitting at the old oak table in the kitchen

in the one unbroken chair

where an innocent morning light travels through

the grimy glass of an un-curtained window,

he sits and writes about all the people Jesus didn’t save tonight.

He reads them to us in his clean white shirt.

We sit and listen as the words pour out like crystal

clear champagne on our glass tabletops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

One More Time

 

I’m going to Mississippi

On a Greyhound bus

Get a summer pass

And I am going to stop

In every little town there is

 

Get off and walk around

And see what’s left after Walmart

And Katrina tore the place down

Drinking Cokes out of the box

And eating Zeros and Chick-O-Stiks

 

And dragging my feet in the dust

Under roadside pecan trees

And remembering all the dead folk

From back when I was small

And they weren’t dead yet

 

All summer I will ride

Between the Baptist and the Klan

Talking to kids and old men

About God and race and fishing

Til I am ready to ride the hound

 

Back down to home

Having seen my homeland

Enough for the rest of my life

I’ll spend my days in Palm Beach County

Writing about Pascagoula and Brooklyn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

Mississippi Mule From Kentucky to Mississippi is a long mule ride And to what progress I can account for there is none. Dust and plowing and hoe work At four bits per day, if you get paid, But in truth, Kentucky was even less. Cotton grows tall and the river smells of mud. The planter stops by to visit with the overseer. His linen suit shines like a beacon, His white hat looks like a star And the July sun just burns us brown, Negroes and white look about the same. They get two bits and proud to get it. We all poor, only they twice as much. The suit must cost a year’s wages. I want to sit down so bad, Want some water, then maybe a whiskey, But this is the best work I’ve had all year So I keep chopping, chop the weeds, leave the cotton. Today I look out the window of my air conditioned truck At fields of rice and beans, no cotton, no hoes The county is a factory for food The smell of the river is still there And what progress I can account for there is none

 

 

 

 

 

10

Dead Coffee Drunk old men sitting at tables in this bar and grill listening to a middle aged cover band play Dead, and all of us remember our youth as it never was just like it was yesterday. Fading to gray as we sit, fading from this bar, and the memories of the women we thought would remember, fading from the good earth itself. A life in ashes blows in the wind, a faint cloud across a muddy river, a trace smudged against the bar, to be forgotten with the wipe of the barman, like a life that never was. Too mortal for booze, I drink coffee and ice water. with my brother before he moves six hundred miles away. This moment, a memory, like us,

will fade, like a wisp of smoke into the morning sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

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About anthonyuplandpoetwatkins

https://www.goodreads.com/AnthonyUplandpoetWatkins born in Jackson, The United States August 04, 1959 gender male website http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorI... genre Poetry, Historical Fiction influences James M. Lancaster, Brenda Black White, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and Al Filreis member since March 2011 About this author edit data As one of the most public lives ever lived by a private citizen, there is little about me that isn't already available at Facebook or Shelfari and countless other places. Poet, writer, construction worker, salesman, truck driver, climber into the attics of total strangers, father and husband, and all around one of the luckiest men on the planet. My luck continued with a win in the June Goodreads Newsletter Contest! What an honor! http://anthonyuplandpoetwatkins.wordp... Additional Influences: Bob Dylan, William Faulkner, Barbara Kingsolver, Gloria Naylor, Eudora Welty
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