Calvin Coolidge — Live or Memorex?


This poem is dedicated to haiku master and good friend Ron Evans, who sponsored the title for the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project fundraiser I participated in during August. I firmly believe it is the worst title in the history of the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project! Ron is moving to Indiana, where he will, alas, no longer be able to find kolaches, breakfast tacos or Texas barbecue. I will of course send him lavishly photographed and detailed reviews of my adventures with these foods. Take care, Ron. We will miss you.

Calvin Coolidge — Live or Memorex?

They say the wind in Alvarado bypasses closed doors, slips through
book-laden walls and plate glass and into your dreams where it circles
and accumulates, whirling, whirling, steadily gaining force, gathering
loose pages and errant thoughts and memories too combustible to
burn, ignoring time’s compression and the gravity of dying suns, forever
counting, talking, thinking, looking up and out between the long nights.

unable to sleep           he opens a window          daring the wind

The 30th President of the United States breathes and writes at the junction
of an invisible house and a wheat field in Alvarado, in the guise of a
74-year old haiku poet. No longer the solemn ass, Cal laughs and speaks
and observes his two birthdays, recalling Harding’s scandals and Dorothy
Parker’s “How can they tell?” with equal relish. Sometimes he dresses
in tails and top hat, and speaks in 17-syllable phrases. Sometimes.

spitting out sake            in the shadow’s glare            death forestalled

Alvarado’s laureate is leaving it all behind – the presidency, the books,
the kolaches – catching the next breeze out of town, a silver-tongued
dust devil riding the word, spewing puns all the way to Indiana. But
buried in a waterproof box near Oswald’s grave, 314 cassette tapes
capable of shattering crystal carry his voice further than their unwound
lengths, whirring incessantly, celebrating life, praising the long wind.

standing in the sun          wisdom blows by          no questions today


35 thoughts on “Calvin Coolidge — Live or Memorex?

  1. My God, my God…Wonderful beyond my power to exaggerate! I thank you with all my rewired and replumbed heart. you are truly the best friend I have ever had! May God bless you and your family all the days (and nights) of you life.

    Ronzini of Alvarado

    Liked by 5 people

  2. It dawns on me even more now that I’m able to read it after a month-and-a-half or so lapsing . . . Such a likeable poem, Bob, that brims over with good-natured humor and wistfulness, on both macro/cosmic and micro-levels (“time’s compression and the gravity of dying suns” is spectacular, among others). What a wonderful tribute to a friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You read my mind “nombre de la pluma.” I plan to start a poetry society in our home and move to larger digs when our membership is large enough! Seriously. I’m very excited! 🙂


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