Wednesday, February 29, 2012


.....Like many mornings, I got up and drove to a small town in Arizona to work up an estimate for asbestos and lead removal from some buildings prior to demolition. The town has long been mostly empty with many dilapidated buildings and many of the rest being bought by the government to expand the freeway.  Walking through these houses always smells the same, always looks the same and always evokes some strong feelings in me.  While this was a quick effort, I think it begins to cover some of the feelings.

The dusty hue of the morning sky always settled lightly in Picacho
Cracker box square, the houses long left untended….contents strewn
The smell of rotting wood and moldering plaster, every one the same
Wading through clothes that never made the move, knee deep in panties

Mommy, where are we going?
Look at her eyes, the same color as the dusty morning
Mommy, what about Duke?
A hope and a prayer that the car starts this one last time

The lilt of the Mourning Dove is never soothing, not in Picacho
When you arrive or when you leave the coo is the same
Neither welcoming or desperate, just the sound of suffering
A knowing that when the souls have moved on, the silence takes no prisoners

Daddy, where will we stay?
The shape of his eyes match the dove’s cries precisely
Daddy, what about Teddy?
A shame that never flowers into the sharpness of resentment….for her sake

A better life may wait in the next town, a town that’s not Picacho
But only with help from someone who knows without doubt
What it is like to be human and temporarily misplaced
Picacho was their one true love, left for now to fend for herself


  1. How sad to see a town die or a family lose its may have been quickly written but it is a wonderful picture of the reality you have been observing.

  2. Oh this is so poignant and beautifully written. "her eyes, the color of the dusty morning"....the coo of the mourning dove........and the sad reality of so many small towns falling into disrepair. There is a lot of heart in this piece.

  3. You remind me so much of Tom Waits! The mood, the language and even your descriptions! Love this- it should be put to music! :)

  4. Haunting and beautiful!...and yes, it could be a song.

  5. Oh, you remind me of my many journeys moving, as a military spouse! You captured the essence of heart ache so well~ I too loved how you painted the view of your loved ones' eyes~
    Sad and beautiful!

  6. great story - tough technique these dialogue poems - peace

  7. Your compassion shines through these lines, and your eye for the details of suffering and hardship in those around you, even the absent ones, is palpable.

  8. There's something about dilapidated old houses and small towns withering away to nothing that I always find so heart-breaking. You've captured that essence for me in such an expressive way.