Saturday, July 30, 2016

Hawk Season Notebook #101/102/103

Hawk Season Notebook # 101/102/103
Three Short Poems

Today... hold back all silly need.
Exit is pain and cheer...
cheer and craving for more.

You watch a beautiful woman
gently water tomato plants.
Chocolate-red tomatoes.
She asks if you like
her whitening hair.
Each moment is sealed off.
Such is memory.
And gladness.

A northwest wind is in the poplars.
You are an hour from sunset...
rattlers on-the-hunt.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Hawk Season Notebook #95

Hawk Season Notebook #95

The White Army colonel's house, San Francisco, probably July, 1950.... Pink Cestium, perhaps with origins in China, was in bloom. The colonel spent his days in his garden, astonished and grateful that an assassin from Stalin had not reached him. Muscled, ramrod straight, he was in his sixties, wore a midnight-blue suit. He was dark, olive-skinned with shark-gray eyes... Kazakh or Georgian. Your grandfather brought you along for a visit. It was before your sixth birthday. The backyard of that house in the Richmond District had rose bushes against all three six-foot stone walls. A luminous yellow California tree poppy was blooming. The colonel's wife, a lumpy, former great blue-eyed Russian beauty, was affable the way some stern women are, forcing a small smile, a grimace, really, as she served you lightly buttered thick slices of sweet Easter-like bread and black tea. The colonel and your grandfather drank vodka shots. Your grandfather handed the colonel a balled-up white handkerchief. It was unwrapped... and there was a flesh-moist stub of a thumb with a black nail. The colonel set it down on a small round redwood table. Your grandfather shrugged, said, Cocksuck-som'bitch. The colonel said, Wolf of Siberia. He made a kind of slicing motion with one hand, laughed, and repeated himself, Wolf of Siberia. Both men half-smiled. Your grandfather had fought for the colonel... retreated with him from the Reds, Omsk to Vladivostok. There were purple geraniums in the garden. The colonel gave your grandfather an envelope which he placed in a pocket inside his suit jacket. The colonel's wife asked how you liked the Easter bread... asked after your grandmother. Your grandmother called your grandfather Mongol, Tatar, Cossack... without affection. Your grandfather picked up the thumb and dropped it into a dark brown glass prescription bottle and placed it in his left side jacket pocket. What you remember truly appreciating were the mustard-yellow buttons of the Lemmon's Marigolds... a plant you later learned was from Arizona.  As your grandfather led you by the hand out of the colonel's yard and out onto a fog-blanketed street, he asked how far you could march. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hawk Season Notebook #88

Hawk Season Notebook #88

Expectation of dry lightning. A strong wind rises from the northeast, but no lightning... not even north on Pinto Ridge. It's an hour and a half from midnight. You set out a bowl, a canning jar of frozen strawberries to defrost overnight on the hound-gnawed table, a banana. Is the expression He's a character ever offered as praise? Overhead: a coyote-carnival of furry stars.

Hawk Season Notebook #87

Hawk Season Notebook #87

To perish: by rock-slip canyon trail, night cough, tangle of barb wire, septic blood, honky tonk knife, a mountain half-climbed, or lightning strike while sheltering with black cows under a cottonwood. To die in bed tangled in tubes.... You slept once in a vacant lot, rose to shoulder an Irish backpack... and hike away before a Sunday morning sunrise. Someone had perished a December earlier in a construction ditch, crushed, and you have carried that Mass card for decades,... no half-torn at a fold. Today you are in a dentist's waiting room. An enormous wall TV... a cartoon... moles and rock chucks are fighting with broadswords. Beyond fifty  years ago, in a raggedy sweater, you were smug from a fight, happy, in sunlight. To perish: by barn hanging, avalanche, horse-toss, a hallway-of-screams with no exit. The slope has shadows... and you know some of those in such half-darkness.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hawk Season Notebook #79

Hawk Season Notebook # 79

Dust and noon headlights, road-weary... doused in a low water pressure motel shower, that man's next line of work might be in the gathering of ditch-strewn roadkill ribs, skulls, and vertebrae... bones for grinding... tooth powder in the coming age.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hawk Season Notebook: 78

Hawk Season Notebook #78

No one expected you to live... not long enough to kindergarten finger-paint. Weak heart. Giant lung cyst. Before you were dragged away screaming to have your right lung butchered-out, you were dressed in white trousers and a wool coat, shiny leather shoes... positioned for snapshots: at a lake for swans, on a kiddy spring-horsey, sitting on rough board back steps in a garden. You were taken to see a Cisco Kid movie. You asked for a sombrero and a set of red-grip cap pistols. No sombrero and no pistols. More fake-play photographs before surgery: Animal Crackers... jelly bean bribes for half-smiles.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Hawk Season Notebook #75

Hawk Season Notebook #75

Pawns always bank on an ambulance arriving in time.

Hawk Season Notebook #74

Hawk Season Notebook #74

You find an old rubber batting tee, tape white socks into lopsided balls, choose a 32-inch thin-handle P72 Louisville wood bat for arthritic-shoulder, loose-belly back pasture swings at ancient pitches. Anger warps salvation. A noon thunderstorm passes. A hawk plunges from the sun... wings on a grief-wind from some god's breath.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hawk Season Notebook #69

Hawk Season Notebook #69

Early evening cell phones on vibrate,
a circle of grey-faced smokers on a drought-parched
funeral home lawn, heads bowed,
but not enough for a Stetson to fall off.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hawk Season Notebook #58

Hawk Season Notebook #58

They were teaching us to square dance. We were six or seven years old, curious about school cafeteria rats and the angels God hired to push clouds across the sky. A few of us had nickels for the hallway ice cream machine. I may have said to a teacher, Piss on the square dance, because the tops of my hands were briefly whipped with a straightened wire coat hanger. I was then sent to sit on a wooden chair facing a much-painted dull green wall. A book or a magazine was on another chair. The next time that hour that I was struck with a coat hanger... I was reading about people lost in the Sierras who died chewing on ox hides and each other.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hawk Season Notebook #52

Hawk Season Notebook # 52

Maybe eighteen months old, you sit a highchair, watch a rain-soaked Brittany Spaniel stand on hind legs, its front paws on the kitchen table. Tommy is licking coconut cake batter. Your mother has gone for a long walk. It's just you and Tommy. Cars are gasping uphill on the wet street outside. The room is stone-dark. Outside, but far from where you are, there are ropes over stacked hay bales at the edge of a mowed field. Tommy sits in front of you. He is asking something with his eyes. It is September... room temperature orange juice, vodka, and ice cubes in a squat glass... with a snuffed cigarette.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hawk Season Notebook #38: The Far Away Part

Hawk Season Notebook #38
The Far Away Part

In a dark room, you face a mirror... try to share a picture shaved from coyote-memory. Shallow at that end of the pool. Your voice is crackly-dry... an orphan. Who, indeed, is pulling those clouds across the sky? You shift weight from one side to the other... keeping in mind that there is no there way out there... not where the shredded story began.

Monday, July 4, 2016

JULY 2016, A Red Shuttleworth Poetry Chapbook

July 2016


Red Shuttleworth

July 2016, the latest Red Shuttleworth poetry chapbook, is issued in a limited edition by Bunchgrass Press.

The poems contained are:

Hawk Season Notebook #21

End of a Thunderstorm Weekend

Hawk Season Notebook #23

Summer Time-Shroud

Straight Ahead: 36

Red Shuttleworth
2016 Western Heritage (Wrangler) Award for Poetry
(for Woe to the Land Shadowing from Blue Horse Press)
from The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Hawk Season Notebook #23

Hawk Season Notebook # 23

You break sleep, win a pain-free turn on the bed, no spinal chaos. The hot-whirl of July begins today. Half-memory from a dream: a Texas honky tonk's maple bar... with a line of red plastic go-cups foamy with beer. A skinny big-hair blonde in a suede skirt and unbuttoned yellow-orange silk blouse, no bra... one breast out on its lonesome... a bullet-noggin' nipple. Sorrow-ballad from a scratch-static radio. Near the door there's a rotating wire tower for West Texas landscape postcards, a glass-top display case for Old West badges. You hear diesel-rumble from outside... long-haul rigs. The blonde is assembling a cedar doghouse. Wood shavings... gold wood shavings slow-fall to a sawdust floor like summer holiday sparkles. You have broken sleep. You stand at a bedroom window: an idle center pivot a hundred yards south in your neighbor's pasture, a few high summer clouds, and further south --twenty miles away-- industrial smoke from a town's on-fire silicone plant. Your bedroom is quiet.  You know men with sons named Stetson and Nocona... know women who name daughters Sage and Reata. You feel balance... or the resemblance of balance.

Hawk Season Notebook #21

Hawk Season Notebook #21

1:23 a.m.
No rescue from a black desert sky.
You're stranded in the dark.