like a gothic apparition,
You seize me,
already powerless
from Your kiss,
teetering at the brink
of an abyss;

You more than
overpower me,
You fairly devour me,
creating a state
of bliss;

I am chaste,
but also chosen,
and Your will
overcomes me,
with ecstasy;

but I do not falter,
I do not veer,
as my moans
and my writhing
and my twisting,
make ever clear;

You are my Mistress,
and any measure
of this treasure,
holds no account
of this sacred pleasure,
that I now mount.

April 27, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


no fool

she was the kerosene,
and I was the campfire;
in her eyes,
I was not who I once had been,
too much burned away
to begin again;

sometimes old dogs,
they just wander off
into the woods to die
I stood there and took
the beating, even as
I wondered why

no fool like an old fool,
unable to say goodbye
one jewel just the next tool,
a fish about to fry

cover your bets
like you cover your privates,
and don't let them catch you
nappin' because what you
expect the least is exactly
what's gonna happen

no fool like an old fool,
unable to say goodbye
one jewel just the next tool,
a bird up in the sky

corner your doubts
from their whereabouts,
and put them in a basket,
carry them along with you
whatever you do,
and put them in your casket

no fool like an old fool,
unable to say goodbye
one jewel just the next tool,
one more time to cry

April 26, 2010. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was this man and this woman . . . .

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


she keeps looking
in the mirror,
hoping that
she will see a different face;
he keeps staring
at her,
hoping that her image
will become clearer,
hoping that he will
see her in a different place;
they keep pawing
at each other,
two wet cats in a bag,
searching for
just a trace
of whatever
out the door,
in some secret race.

April 25, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


Arizona: April 24, 2010


I was ten,
and he was 64,
and still mourning
for JFK,
his hero,
his champion,

we sat, as usual,
under his grapevine arbor,
as I pressed him
in my budding journalist way,
to tell me about
the journey across
the Great Ocean,
fifty-two years earlier;

his eyes narrowed,
and he leaned over me:
"why do you want to know,"
he said, softly;

"Well, Grampa, only because
I want to know about your life,
about how you came to America,
everything, Grampa,
everything," I said,

he looked into my eyes,
and said:
"a de cortar o coração,"
which he quickly translated:

"So many of us, crammed on to
that ship, fighting for space,
many seasick,
the smell overpowering,
as all eyes kept looking
for that shore,
for America";

"But you made it, Grampa,"
I intoned,
"you made it across."
And he looked at me,
eyes once again wide,
a broad smile crossing his face:

"Yes, my little rapaz,
yes, I did. And now,
America, this is my country.
This is where I have worked
my whole life, and made it
for my grandson, you,
to be free, to be
an American,
and the old country,
I have left behind. I am
an American now."

He told me that it was
hard, being Portuguese,
in those early days,
as he was only 12
when he arrived,
and went to work in
the Hathaway textile mill;

he struggled to learn English,
with the help of his two sisters,
already here, married,
and raising families;

but he worked hard,
and he endured,
and the only reason that
I am setting these lines down
for you to read now,
is because of his dedication,
his perseverance,
to be an American;

so when you ask me,
what I think about Arizona,
today, on the 24th of April, 2010,
what do you think I will say?

April 24, 2010, for Grampa, and every other immigrant to America. Viva la raza!

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


arguments, we have some

on a razor blade,
as You and I
in the mid-day shade;

hopes and dreams
nearly succumb
to fears and screams,
and we each
that we have
torn seams,
rent all that it means
to be one
out of two;

but then I remind
that having found
You once again,
I will never let
You go;
and You glare at me,
with venomous slits
for eyes,
and then slowly,
ever so slowly,
I see stars
and knowing grace
replace anger
with Your sweet smile
on that soft face,
and You beckon,
as I reckon,
that we have landed
in a safe place.

April 22, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.



petite woman,
just discharged
from the Navy
in the eye
of Tennessee
hill-country boy
with the unruly
wavy hair
and long jaw:

December 27,

eighteen months later,
she pushes:
life comes;

decades slip by,
real life
day after day
and first one,
with three babies
and then another,
with deceit ripe,
and tossed away;

and another,
thought to be true,
who ended up
simply colored

and then You,
dressed in the costume
of a kind friend,
and we discovered
that which will never end;

one thing always
leads to another,
and which way you turn
decides your

April 21, 2010, for the Wifey. All things are connected, and everything happens for a reason.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


end of the road

down there,
where I died,
minivans and SUVs;
up here,
pickup trucks,
and old muscle cars;

all the same sad,
lonely story:
not much in this life,
but struggle
without glory;

most of it
not even worth

always on our way,
always traveling,
but never arriving;

hardly any point
to putting pen
to paper,
except sometimes
it makes me feel alive.

April 18, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


soul salvation

She sees no future,
while I run from the past,
and late night,
to morning,
we try to make it last --
this love
that has climbed
centuries of stairs,
becoming rarified airs,
folding comfortably
into our pockets
but still able to make our heads spin,
taking off like a rocket,
swiveling us back
and forth,
setting us in tightly,
like a bulb
in a socket --
we live in today
since tomorrow
holds little sway
for the afflicted:
we two, constricted
by our diseases
doing whatever
right now,
as the Future
sits in a far corner of the room,
and laughs at us
as we face our doom;
death, as love,
will be our liberation
and its reverberation
our legacy,
She to me,
and I to her,
soul salvation.

April 17, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


cigarettes, booze, and guns

and you just damned right
well know
that the next item
on the
lots of it,
some of it of
the slo-jam
the sort of thing
that goes on for hours,
with no meth
to liquefy glass, and
which has its fierce
and some of it
by Dizzy Gillespie,
remixed with
and Jay-Z,
a rhythmic
that will send
all over the 'hood --
it's that good --
and folk talking
in low whispers
about the wailin'
and the moanin',
in the local
horizontal vespers;
it's the
universally unspoken
language that
we all know,
the force that has
shattered empires
and murdered billions,
that rules
when all other forces
and we kneel
at the altar,
we are feeble,
and we falter,
smiling, screaming,
sweating, dreaming,
collapsing into a heap,
and falling into
the deepest crevasse,
sated, at last.

April 16, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.



You are the start
and the stop of me,
the base,
the end of the race,
and the top of me;
the win, place and
show, of the whole
the crown
for the clown
who doesn't
deserve You,
who couldn't
inure to all that
You are;
I dream of You
from afar,
and all of my hopes
carry a scar,
of love lost,
love sullied,
the past,
lying in gullies
of my own digging;
and all my
feverish working,
every bit of my
exercised jerking
of the rope of my
life, gives no hope,
gives no life,
to my longing:
to be in Your arms

April 14, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


calling the cavalry

back in the day,
when the outpost
was really
up against it,
they sent a rider out,
on the fastest horse
to get word to
the cavalry,
that they were in dire

so many millions of us, now
left vacant,
singing a descant:
don't forget about me!

time runs,
and hope fades,
cease to function,
and we all form
a mournful parade
ever onward,
to our demise,
smacked down
by the corporations
whom we rightly

so bad now,
so unrelenting,
that some of us
have given up
repenting, and chosen
guns and crazy thoughts,
to try to save ourselves
from lots that we never
have chosen,
that were thrust on us
while we were frozen
in fear,
in misfortune,
seeing what we had lost,
and what it had cost,
no light at the end of the tunnel,
just a potato
being forced through a funnel

if there's anyone out there,
listening to me,
could you please,
when you get a minute,
call the cavalry.

April 11, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

like Buk said

the sun finally burns through
the restraints
strapped across it
by the fiendish moonlit night,
and things begin
to sparkle just a bit:
all the diamonds,
strewn across the harbor,
all the glassy-eyed girls,
the ones with little ardor;

she told me that
she wanted to feel me
on her,
in her,
and I agreed
since I was
already on my knees:

like Buk said
"what counts is not what we
but what we don't

April 11, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


they say that if you
worry that you are
going crazy
that you aren't

but I don't know
about that;

I stare at the little patch of ground,
and wonder how many worms
lie just beneath the surface;

the robin is pondering
the same question,
except she finds out:

I look at my pen,
and wonder how many words
clog its tiny arteries,
and then I pick it up,

and start to find out.

April 11, 2010.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


we will always be

daydreams and
and thoughts of You and I,
and wordings,
and the occasional
what are all
these things, like
the color of Your
mood ring,
in the grand scheme,
what is the real
theme, that carries us
to the sky?
plucked one-by-one,
define us both,
together, and as
what can I say,
that saves the day,
any price I pay
for Your love;
we walk on,
dawn to dawn,
assured in just one
that we know the song,
that brings us along,
and we both know
just how to sing;
and though the road dips
and curves,
and the trek often
jangles our nerves,
we know one thing:
our love thrives,
even as it serves
to mystify,
to trick the eye,
to pretend to say
but it never leaves,
it interweaves and
lies beneath all that
we are,
we will always

April 4, 2010, for the Wifey, whom I have loved forever, and will continue to do so.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

mere inches away on the map

the moon is distant tonight,
but You are mere inches away
on the map,
and my heart could not
more for You
as we jump another hurdle,
another bump in the road,
and pledge again
to each other
eternal love,
regardless of consequence,
or happenstance;
would I travel those inches
to be with You?
of course I will,
since you remain
the biggest thrill of my life,
the most astounding,
amazing woman
ever to breathe tightly
at my neck;
mi amor,
I have said it before,
and I will say it again,
our love endures forever,
and now our journey
once more
can begin anew,
Your heart in mine,
and mine in You.

April 4, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


so no one's the wiser

clouds came down
and kissed the harbor

as I sat disconsolate
at our special spot

as the thunder grew
I looked around,
missing You

Your shadow
will be forever
in my glance,

even days like today,
when the rain
hides my tears

and the sounds
of the storm

muffle my sobbing,
so no one's the wiser,
so no one's the wiser.

April 3, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

the night that the moon exploded

we were laying there,
in the hammock,
in repose,
a soft July night,
as I recall,

when the orbiting orb
started to explode,

and as we watched
the searing fragments
fly out into space,

we were captured
by some momentary grace,

and as life became
and the tides,

all that mattered
was holding you close.

April 2, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


bleed for us two

Your anguish
snarls and hisses
like a cat
soaked by a hose,
and all the happy endings
that we dreamed of
lie crumpled in a heap,
like a hooker's clothes;
we throw five-sided barbs
at each other,
each hoping to discover
how fast our blood flows,
and for the life of me,
I really wish, somehow,
that heaven really does know;
You rant, and You rail,
and I accept the travail
as part of this territory,
our secret little story,
born in a seeping mist,
the product of a bucket list,
a trophy bereft of glory;
I watch You climb to the apex
of disillusion,
and sit mute, as You cling
to Your illusions, and
I am petrified, and You
sit still in the rising tide,
as it all washes over You,
and I stand frozen,
clueless about what to do;
I sit here late at night,
I confess, and wonder
if the fight, more or less,
is worth fighting,
and each night, the answer
hangs around my neck,
hell, yes!
You are clinging to a wreck,
and I have a life-preserver
that I have to throw,
that You have to know,
is meant for You,
only You,
so put it around Your neck;
I stand,
and crush happenstance
with the heel of
and I let my heart flow;
I will never regret
standing firm
standing for You,
my strength is my love,
which will always
bleed for us two.

April 3, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.



the very best of my skill,
brought to bear,
could not put down in these lines
how much the inwardmost
innerds of me really care,
care, for the heart and the soul of You,
care for what You have got,
and what has been kept from You,
care about how You are now
to see if You have the right stuff,
hey, Ya know what?
not good enough:
I would never test You,
but he does,
just because
he can;
that's no man,
that's a squirrel,
seeking revenge,
trying to unhinge You;
eh, I give chase,
and You,
You postpone the race,
and I just resign myself
to second place,
but resolve to stay
steadily apace:
I'm not a dog who can
run fast,
but I am a mutt who can
really last until the end
of the game is called so,
by name,
and we all raise a glass,
to the smartest ass,
who learned how to tame You,
and how to blame You,
how to defame You,
and set You on fire,
how someone You came
to trust, after loving so much,
came to own You,
and then disown You;
I weep, most of the time,
for all the moments that
are Yours and mine,
knowing that at moment's end,
You will be under his knuckles
again; willingly,
and that makes me recoil,
since true love
is not borne of such,
it flows, however slow or
fast, admitting errors past,
but letting true colors
unremittingly, baby,
my sweet pumpkin,

April 1, 2010, for the Wifey.

Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.