Sunday, March 13, 2016

James Babbs- Three Poems

James Babbs continues to live and write from the same small Illinois town where he grew up.  He has published hundreds of poems over the past thirty years and, recently, a few short stories.  James is the author of Disturbing The Light(2013) & The Weight of Invisible Things(2013).

Where I Live

you see cows gathered in pastures
cows staring back at you
with their large dreamy eyes
beautiful horses standing like statues
with beautiful women on their backs
sometimes the bodies of dead pigs
dead pigs bloated
their legs pointed toward the sky
the acres of corn
bean fields and
rows of corn growing so tall
you have to slow down
sometimes at the crossroads
and watch out for approaching cars
trees everywhere
trees in the summertime
so green and full
the sky
the persistent sound of birds
and the wide open spaces
where you feel like you can breathe
wide open spaces
not such a bad place
plenty of space for you to move around
but sometimes you get stuck
you get stuck driving
behind slow-moving tractors
stuck behind big farm trucks
hauling loads of grain into town
you get stuck thinking
it’s some place not good enough
a different kind of place
sometimes you wish
you were some place other than this

Frog In the Mailbox

there we were again
drinking cheap red wine
sitting out on the back deck
under the fading evening light
she told me
she’d had a busy week at work
Missy or Misty or somebody was gone
and we’re short-handed anyway
she said
and they won’t hire any more people
they just expect us to do it all
I picked up the bottle
and refilled my glass
what about you she asked
oh I said you know
the same old thing
sort the mail
deliver the mail
the next day
do it all over again
she laughed
and held up her glass
I leaned forward
poured her more wine
I said the other day
I found a frog
in somebody’s mailbox
what she said
I laughed
yeah I said
when I opened the door
a little frog
about the size of my thumb
was sitting in there
what did you do she asked
nothing I said
stuck the mail in there
and closed the door
she laughed
slowly sipped her wine
I didn’t say anymore
I just sat back in my chair
and looked up at the sky
there wasn’t much light left
not much light at all

Up Ahead

I see windmills facing west
blades slowly turning
beneath the cloud-filled sky
shades of gray
the hint of rain
clouds almost close enough
for me to touch
dead deer sprawled
at the edge of the road
head eaten away
tall grass trampled on
last night
I told you
how much I loved you and
you just sat there
peering through the window
without saying anything

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