He would stare vacantly at the screens around the house;
they’d met because they both wrote.
Together in a techie age, she grew nerdy and
he became listless. Fancies faded, his muse had fled.
He missed something tactile, real, a hard object to hang a thought on.
She retrieved the old Royal—he began to type, his novel poured forth.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 2.27.11 * All Rights Reserved


To The West

For my maternal Grandmother Clifton Holley’s
Grandmother Granny Donnell who opened the
Oklahoma Territory in a covered wagon after
coming here from Londonderry Ireland. A staunch
Protestant, she dropped the “O'” from her name
so not to be thought Irish Catholic.

“To the West was freedom, he told me,
To the West was food.
To the West the Church didn’t tie you
to an order so cruel.

“To the West was the Ocean,
then a land past the sea.
To the West past the land
was the prairie where he
meant to take me,” said she.

“To the West was a funeral.
We buried him at sea.
But to the West we continued
my daughters and me.
To the West to Missouri
for work and supplies
then with the others we pulled
close to the line.

“To the West
the mules pulled us in our
wagon so fine.  To the West
was the land that was free.
“Before the starter shot,
we’d pull sooner
So SOONERs we’d be.

“To the West of the world,
with the past in our eyes
we’d wrench a new paradise
with our work and our minds.

Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved * February 2011


At Thirteen

Written for this musical prompt by CLOVERFIELD
FireworX Click here

What do you want me to do?
Stay here always with you?
I feel the need now to go-
There’s a world for me to explore.
I’m already thirteen,
Lots of things I haven’t seen.
I have big hopes and big dreams,
Ideas of what I could be.
Why must you always say,
Take a bath, brush your teeth?
What’s the deal with staying clean?
What do you want when you demand
Do your homework and prepare!
Don’t you think I give a care?
What do I think you mean?
Why do I still need a hand?
I have two feet that can land
Every time I think I will jump
You want me to hurry and run.
So this is what I think I will do
I’ll live here at home now with you.
Until I can go out there alone
And find a persona to own.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 6.28.13 * All Right Reserved

Fertile Fields


There in that rock wall
formed by hard compression
mortared by fleeting feelings
now crumbling thoughts
let me be a window
to prescient possibilities.
Past a wasteland
of anguished dreams
lie fertile fields of adventure
awaiting fresh resolve to
discover, invent and create.
Upon what I give you
Build strong structures
more durable than rocks –
truth that will withstand
the erosion of time.
You ask how and I say,
Datta, Dayadhvam, Damyata.
And you ask again and I say
Restrain yourself.
Still you ask and I say,
Be charitable.
One last time –
Have mercy!

(c) Gay Reiser Cannon *
All Rights Reserved 02-2011

Blues In The Night


The night shrieked too when I left home at last.
Those days had rocked with sock hops and nehi pops.
My sister Allie so moody, so volatile, so beautiful
had found true love. His name was Charlie.
His hair glistened over his sparkling brown eyes.
Could he dance and could he sing!

Allie played every instrument so easy then.
When they made music together the crows stopped in flight.
The summer stood still; the night was magic.
Every day Allie was calmer. She didn’t slam the door
or run outside when Daddy came in the kitchen any more.
And Momma didn’t glare and rattle the dishes and pans.

It was hot, so hot that Tuesday when an ambulance came.
They came into the house but Momma stood by while
I couldn’t find my scream and they twisted Allie in a jacket.
They hauled her out and away. So Daddy beat the table.
The crows found my voice, we heard their hollers
through open windows. With no breeze, sounds fell like hailstones.

Weeks passed and Charlie left town. Kids said he was blue.
Blue, that’s what I was too; then Allie returned,
at least her body did.  She drooled and stared in space.
She didn’t know what the piano was and stumbled when she walked.
When Daddy came into the kitchen, she crept toward the door.
He continued watching her. The next night I found out why.

I heard him open my door and saw the monster she’d told me
he was. In my p.js I kicked open the window screen and ran–
I ran through the blue night, the blue wheat rows, the blue
earth to the blue train tracks and the black ties. Down and
down past black bridges until the day caught fire blazing
red in the windows of the last blue barn.

(c) Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved * 2011

Eternal Rose

Portrait of Rosamund Croker,
later  Lady Barrow at Seventeen
by Thomas Lawrence

Her eyes are deep and dark, they hold
Me still and resolute
Her face so pure so innocent
A fact beyond refute.

Her body speaks more than her eyes
Its supple curves that tease
With taunts of red on sleeve and chair
She almost seems to breathe.

The charms of this young girl has made
Admirers weak at knees
Alive in paint she stays a rose
That blooms through centuries.

I would have asked her if I had known her then:

What do you fear sitting there
Rosamund, Rosamund?
Do you fear Coming Out
While the paint dries and
forms a case around your heart?

What do you fear sitting there
Rosamund, Rosamund?
All the men who fall at your feet
And leave you broken?

What do you fear sitting there
Rosamund, Rosamund?
Young, fresh, new
What do you fear
Getting old or never getting old?

What do you fear
Rosamund, Rosamund
As this paint dries and shrinks your soul
Does it leave you crumbling
While this painting stays forever young?

(c) Gay Reiser Cannon 2011 * All Rights Reserved

This photo does not do justice to the masterpiece I just saw at the National Portrait Gallery London

by Thomas Lawrence