LAMPASAS

follow the sun, follow a fading sun
out Highway 290 to the edge of Hill Country
withered cottonwoods with stunted mesquites
offer deceptive shade along Main Street
to a mixture of adobe, brick and clap-board
old and not so old with none being new

if by chance you must stop for the single light
you’ll see a general store across from a saloon
occupants of a twisted, faded hitching post
suffer patiently in the merciless sweltering heat
turn left at the light and follow a narrow street
to where it becomes lost among heat waves
heat waves dancing among dust devils

a dirt path follows a sagging fence past a door
of a weathered cottage once the home of Meyer
a withered little man, dried by the Texas sun
until he appeared juiceless; yet I once saw him cry
a great respecter of solitude and silence
who could talk for hours and hours
when one was there who needed to listen

his patience went far beyond mere patience
he could sit for hours lost in his own thoughts
maybe wandering through other places and times
seeking answers for questions as yet unasked
at times I can see his calloused hand reaching
beckoning me to come join him

I keep saying not yet, not yet
but not as loud or often as in the past

…..Jerry Marks

Six Steps

Dark hair pulled back from that timeless face
As Mandel’s classic version of Suicide is Easy
floats above a crowd charging madly up hill
led by those six straining steps toward eternity

Year after year those six pounding steps pass
away from sunlight searching for invisibility
hoping they will one day be permitted to experience
that dream so necessary for all of us to realize

Clenched teeth behind lips pulled back into a snarl
as if each of those six heaving steps were staged
to ever charge forward with a meaningless cadence
reminiscent of a marionette’s unwanted flitting

How far have those six ringing steps travelled
in their endless charge up that thankless hill
watched by staring eyes that have never known
what horrors lie hidden in those forgotten years

Emotion is held in check during that mad dash
concentrating on those six painful steps bound
to stay forever in front of of a rushing torrent
of long lost faces living on in obscure memories

Has time stood still for so many during those days
with more than a few taking their misguided advice
from a strange song that had never been intended
to be used to carry one on their six final steps
Jerry Marks