Garage Fire by Terry Adams

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He began all his dreams in those curled painted flowers
on the wall facing his bed
as the house quieted.

then he was dreaming the flowers burning and
his cousin with flames on his face
shaking him

under the window glowing and ticking with heat –
then the black spider nets his bicycle spokes
the seat charred tower of bare springs
where he dreamed of riding no-handed
and it came true

then the smoldering flowers were above
his pallet on the school floor beside
black axe-head, melted rake,
nested saws welded scattered
sins of screwdrivers with no
handles

then he got on his knees to look out
the window at the blackened
yard and remembered watching the one
black side of all those rescuing
strangers

pulsing with odd light as they yelled
throwing water and dirt
their red flat faces fastened
to huge shadows
bending and weaving
across the glass.

Terry Adams has poems in Poetry, Ironwood, The Sun, Witness, College English, Catamaran, The Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. He MCs a yearly poetry festival at the Beat Museum in San Francisco, and co-MCs, with Joe Cottonwood, the monthly “Lit Night” in La Honda. His collection, Adam’s Ribs, is available from Off The Grid Press. He lives in Ken Kesey’s infamous 1960’s cabin in La Honda, California, which he rescued from destruction in 1998.

Painting by Jenn Zed.

#CampFire: Second-hand Mule by Terry Adams

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Someone catches a mule,
ties her to a sign by the highway
with a bucket of water,
then leaves,
fleeing the fire.

The mule is leaning hard,
pulling her rope taut toward the white line,
the highway still un-melted,
air full of smoke.

Cars and trucks pass
but it’s not clear what kind of help
would help.

Bucket melts
from the bottom up.
The water escapes.

Someone thinks to take a photo
of a mule tied up so we know
the story,

how even freedom
is useless
at some point.

 

 

Terry Adams has poems in Poetry, Ironwood, The Sun, Witness, College English, Catamaran, The Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. He MCs a yearly poetry festival at the Beat Museum in San Francisco, and co-MCs, with Joe Cottonwood, the monthly “Lit Night” in La Honda. His collection, Adam’s Ribs, is available from Off The Grid Press. He lives in Ken Kesey’s infamous 1960’s cabin in La Honda, California, which he rescued from destruction in 1998.

#CampFire: For Oakland Police Officer John W. Grubensky, Who Died In The Oakland Hills Fire, October 20, 1991 by Terry Adams

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Some of the dead leave us
in the form of a statue,
whose sculpting contains
the last breath, the ducking down,
as in a water game, into
the sanctuary of body.
They submit as they gave in
to coming, burying their face
at the last instant beside
the lover, or closing over a child
found fleeing in the street,
as the policeman appears
at the end in all of us
maybe, and bends himself around
one who is already helpless,
trying to be a different world
for the child, or trying
to be air.

 

 

Terry Adams has poems in Poetry, Ironwood, The Sun, Witness, College English, Catamaran, The Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. He MCs a yearly poetry festival at the Beat Museum in San Francisco, and co-MCs, with Joe Cottonwood, the monthly “Lit Night” in La Honda. His collection, Adam’s Ribs, is available from Off The Grid Press. He lives in Ken Kesey’s infamous 1960’s cabin in La Honda, California, which he rescued from destruction in 1998.