An Ode to Texas Pete

It’s too warm snuggle,
and it’s too hot to sleep,
but I’m a good mind,
to go down to the kitchen,
and find the Texas Pete,
I’m certain I left some slaw,
Or is it a deviled egg,
Starting to call,
There’s something in the fridge,
In need of a red peppery spice,
A shakin’ from the bottle,
Before I call it a night.

–Richard Bryant


Take off Your Hat, Mr. Reverend Please

You keep asking me,
“take off your hat”,
were I to remove,
my source of cranial heat,
this thing on my head,
a green, plaid cap,
worn since I went bald,
I’m dearly afraid,
of what I’ll be called,
“You with no hair”,
“go the other way,
there is an awful glare”
Children and trees,
Mothers and bees,
Will sit, knit, and stare.

–Richard Bryant

Grammar of the Veneer

the broken language of the multitude;
spoken in fragments of
mistranslated verbs,
dangling from places,
where participles work cheaply,
scrimping on rotten nouns,
adverbs given for nothing,
subject and object never agree,
sentences wait to be made whole,
matched with one another,
incomplete linguistic chains,
dependent clauses unable to survive,
families of distorted pronouns,
heard between here and there,
migrating chains of words,
stopped in sentences,
we refuse to read.

–Richard Bryant

The Grey Forward (A Poem)

The grey forward,
Of which I am well informed,
still held uncomfortably at bay,
But retained at all costs,
In a season like today,
When the awkward veins
Of vanished snow,
march with the tide,
white becomes brown,
bottomless craters shift black
Then as morning falls,
They gather together,
The dearly beloved
Led by this one and that,
One from here and there,
To join the verdant couple,
In blue sky wedded bliss.
These two figs, we join as one.
We do, they say.
With God’s help, say we.

–Richard Bryant

Jesus Left His Beer Bottle on the Church’s Front Yard

I got to work this morning,
And saw someone had already called,
Not with a voice recording,
They’d dropped in the night before,
I bet they thought I’d be appalled,
Rolling and rocking in the January wind,
A single bottle came to be stalled,
Was this a glass blown sign of someone’s sin,
Visual proof of where their feet sprawled,
Unable to walk,
Unwilling to crawl,
Maybe it was Jesus,
One beer on a cold night,
Looking for a place to sleep,
A homeless man as Jesus,
Sounds about right.

–Richard Bryant

My Proud, Beloved Infidel

I saw a man wearing a shirt identical to this earlier today.

We’re all unfaithful,
To one thing or another,
God, women, whiskey,
cigarettes brands and two bit songs,
Or beer to cheap to pour in glasses to dirty to wash,
But I’ve never been proud to be unfaithful,
To somebody else’s God,
My hands are full,
Disappointing my own.

–Richard Bryant