The Silver Locket

She wore a silver locket every day
Evelyn the milliner’s daughter.
After we shopped for fabric at the General.
we often went next door
to look at hats and the milliner’s daughter.

A simple dress was what she wore–
quite plain, yet elegantly sewn.
She twisted and rolled her shiny brown hair,
and a special air enveloped the girl
whose engraved silver locket danced
and swirled on a sterling chain.

Everyone remarked that the milliner’s daughter,
never wore her mother’s hats;
adorned only by that rich brown hair
and her secret silver locket.

The milliner’s shop became a legacy
to our town. We, who’d worn those fashioned
for Easter, weddings, and all life’s
celebrations, were amazed
when her creations were shown far and wide;
prized by wealthy matrons all over the state.

Life and styles slowly changed;
hats and milliners faded from fashion.
After they moved, John at the General got mail
from Evelyn for a while

She lived in Paris,
she knew Braque
Fitzgerald,
Picasso,
Hemingway,
who molded her into their art.
Each enchanted by her,
and the mysterious silver locket.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved

 

Oh Lord…a Mercedes Benz

posted forPoetics today 10/8/11 by Brian Miller at dVersepoets – theme: Bumper Sticker

Staying with the 5/7/5 in the spirit of bumper messages!  This was actually a license plate!

Hot blonde, dark glasses
Thirtyish in red mercedes
On bumper: AMENDS

Her husband cheated?
Or “My friends all have porsches,
“I must make amends”!

For some reason this stuck with me.  Hope you enjoy — as you see I’m still stuck in 5/7/5!

Java Lines

That was you following me
scraping solutions off my algebra papers.
Forcing me to follow you to a round table
group who tossed their words into cups
then dived into their coffee after them
for courage, and sarcasm.

That was you outside the beauty school door
pulling the rollers and teasing comb out of my kit
forcing me to follow you down sixth street chasing
slick cylinders and foam tubes full of gossip and smelling
like all the curls permanent wave solution could make.
I knew you hid sexy dime mysteries
in your dives serving coffee galore.

That was you dancing on the table at the crossroads
forcing me to follow you in my highheels as you tickled
my roommate under that purple dress where she chased
you, wanting just one kiss beneath the mistletoe–before I
found you and we spilled our coffee drunk with laughter.

That was you shattering all the myths that I held so true
after you followed me to midnight mass;
you giggling at the monstrance and incense
cracking a stain-glassed façade diving into
the cauldrons of religion on gallons of coffee and ire.

That was you holding the girl on a ferris-wheel who had
a sister with twin eyes to mine as we followed in the next car.
In the house of mirrors she and I scared each other
to opposite sides of those reflections. I saw you smirk
your cat smile, crawl from one side to the other holding out
braille hands touching coffee cups where we
waited in a pahdoo theater of miracle-worked love.

That was you with some scheming redhaired girl
under bleachers feeling white forbiddens which you
lied about and wrote in long texts on rolls and rolls of
tissue parchment which landed with your suspension;
I followed by trading the girl who couldn’t read for
a communist roommate as Castro triumphed in the Bay of Pigs.
Red or Dead – it was all the same to us…as the coffee
settled to grounds; we turned around three times.
You sang Lubbock in a Hi-D-Ho big-haired country ballad,
and I turned to cafeteria urns of tea looking for me.

Yes even so, that was you turning up in Dallas, swinging
along Denton Drive ogling the college preppies
falling in love with every long-legged girl they brought in.
And without so much as a coffee pot you were drinking my words
spilling out into saucers of poetry where Whitman’s leaves
floated next to Frost’s rhymes
& Dickinson’s sticky rolled up balls of notepaper.

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

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

 

TEXAS GIRLS

Miss TX-USA, Brooke Daniels, from Tomball, Texas

Flashing eyes dating back to the days of that Yellow Rose and the Alamo.
Long legs in tiny pointed high heels that extend up to the
top of the Miss America runway…
There She is Miss TEXAS.

Her East Texas drawl reflects
the lazy spines where pine trees and traditions
merge to form a shadowy unity;

The Border beauty generous
with her warm brown hertitage
that she fiercely represents;

The South Texas belle courted
from Houston to Beaumont
who knows reality flows
from the recesses of the deep black wells.

The West Texas woman
hardened by winds driving skeletal tumbleweeds
across the vast expanses
to her flowerless, paint-scarred door.

The Dallas Girl wants for nothing
but a new Mercedes and a Hermes scarf to match.

The Fort Worth Girl, from TCU
learns her culture more modestly
and then underwrites the Metropolitan Opera
in her Grand Dame hood.

The Houston Girl wilts more
with every summer, finally
abandoning allergies and smog,
leaves for Paris…France, original haute couture.

In the provinces–Lubbock, Wichita Falls,
Plainview, Waco, Corpus, and Amarillo–
she preserves the customs and
plans the celebrations,
(harvest weekends, orchestra festivals)
and weaves the legacy of the land
into the fabric of the city.

Even now “small town girls”
still love the country, and wish everyone
who graduated with them had stayed
and kept the town the same as high school and try,

Like their grandmothers tried,
to make things “nice” in hard times,
like their great grandmothers
who made the farm work, …the ranch pay
by staking out the land, holding on with clenched fists.

She’s
an amalgam of generations,
weathered and tested;
bringing in crops, cooking meals
for thirty hands, branding cattle.

Waiting–for phones to ring–
by cars and in them–for lovers, husbands, children–
for weather–and time–to pass;
in offices, in beauty parlors,
in salons and saloons, in theaters and courtrooms–
for them to do what
she could have done in five,
ten at the most.

Confident when she feels afraid;
brash in a confusing situation;
demure when she feels like screaming;
demanding when she wants to hide;
counseling others when she’s unsure;
full of answers to questions never asked;
and then at a loss for the ultimate reason why.

© Gay Reiser Cannon. All Rights Reserved

AMARILLO

 

Yellow
Or someone’s word for it
Was the name of my early place.
A dirt-blown, wind swept
Kind of a town
It’s name really should have been
BROWN.

Seasons of sand, snow, and wind
Shrilled through starry nights alone,
Defied by a few rare elms
Growing green in front of
Yesterday’s homes.

I remember
Bits of straw,
Sun-dried grass,
And tumbleweeds racing
Always chased by the wind.

Out from the town on those endless plains
The blowing wheat bent down too
While that great sky provided all there was
And all we ever knew.

by Gay Reiser Cannon.

Welcome To Texas

 

Tourists, hitch-hikers, Americans, foreigners, DamnedYankees even,
Comin’ in on Route 66.  They seemed to get their kicks kickin’ Texas.
Stationed at Fort Hood…passin’ through in the middle of some
Marriage, move, vacation with the kids; before, durin’ or after some war.
They had a love affair with San Antone.   Sure   everybody knows Texas.

If you really want to know, ask a Texan

Farmer, rancher, townsfolk
They’ll tell you all about those folks
Passin’ through durin’ the depression
Ridin’ buses and trains
Nursin’ “broke-down” cars, then movin’ on
The real folks stayed when there wasn’t nothin’ to eat but peanuts,
And nothin’ to do all day but play Forty-two

Cows sick with screw worms
Cotton ruined by boll weevils
Frozen crops every spring
Fruit eaten by the damn birds

White faces of baby Herefords
Long green grass going’ to hay
Cotton gins at Christmas
Elevators filled with grain.

Country churches at Thanksgiving
Midways at County Fairs
Stars on summer nights
Then sandstorms, tornados, rain

Or ask those city kids–confused by the new size of the cities
Used to be nothing’ more than big old towns
Mom and Dad moved there to get away from little towns–
Dried up stock tanks, one main store and a bad cafe,
A bankrupt high school and always the weather.

Now they staff PTA’s, drive car pools, train soccer teams,
Weed lawns, barbecue on suburban patios, and watch the
Cowboys play.

YEAH, BUT THEY’RE STILL TEXANS!

Can’t you hear it in their voices?
See it in their smiles?
Or feel it in their edginess
Worried you may embarrass them
Tear off their veneer
Leave them like the land–
Bare, flat, and windswept
Open to space and the
Ravages of the universe.

© Gay Reiser Cannon. All Rights Reserved

Texasbordermonument

TEXAS PANHANDLE – CAPTURED IN HAIKU

© by James L. Reveal

CAUGHT, TUMBLEWEEDS LINK
ARMS THROUGH STRANDS OF BARBWIRE FENCE
VAGRANTS PIERCED BY WIND

SLANTED SHAFTS OF GRAIN
WAVES ROLLED FLAT BY WIND AND RAIN
GOLDEN OCEAN SWELLS

CHARGED BOLT STREAKS, EXPLODES
BACKLIT CLOUDS QUIVER INDIGO
AUGUST ELECTRIC

WINDMILL SENTINEL
SPINS SUMMER SKY WITH VAST PLAIN
SEAMLESS HORIZON

NEW MAIZE BORN IN ROWS
DEFIES HARDENED PRAIRIE SOIL
EMERALDS IN THE DUST

SHRILL CICADAS PREEN
CHORUS IN CRESCENDING WAVES
BLUES, WHERE NO BIRDS SING

SMALL HOUSES HUDDLE
ROUNDED UP CLOSE FOR SAFETY
FIXED CONESTOGAS

RIBBONLIKE CLOUDS SHROUD
COLORS OF PALO DURO
EASE DRAINED SUN TO EARTH

CUTTING THROUGH VASTNESS
LONELY TRUCK ON TWO LANE ROAD
A STARLIGHT BLANKET

© Gay Reiser Cannon 2010 All Rights Reserved