Lightning in the Desert

Distant thunder, no rain in sight.
“Dry lightning,” we call those filaments
of electrical discharges in the sky.
Another flash briefly illuminates
a rickety lean-to, the blacksmith shop
in this dead mining town.

More remnants of hastily slapped
together stores and homes, now nearly
obliterated by time and climate.
Dust devils, micro-bursts, dust storms
carried fragments into the open
desert, and now shelter creepy desert creatures.

Here’s one reminder of pre-railroad
transportation:  shambles of a Wells Fargo
station that had accommodated miners
and those inevitable gamblers, or carried
gold shipments to San Francisco.

There is that leaning wooden building;
once it was a church.
Awaiting the next lightning flash,
peering through a wide crack
one might imagine seeing
a ghostly congregation of the faithful
or sinners who had come to repent and cheat
the devil.  Look again— Now you see
the huddling illegal border crossers.

A crack of thunder—or a rifle shot?
Hard to tell.  Shadows flit among the wooden
ruins, not far from Douglas, Arizona,
where members of citizen-guardsmen
patrol our border with Mexico.

More shots of various caliber guns.
Shouts in English and Spanish—more firing.
Thunder—lightning flashes.       No rain.       Silence.

I approach the church, peek inside.
One man dead; a self-appointed guardsman
lies among the debris and dust in the abode
of God—that He had vacated long ago.

image from pixabay.com

image from pixabay.com

Jerry Kemp

Jerry has written and published two books: A Bouquet of Poetic Thoughts II and Galloping Pegasus, four humorous novellas.  Retired from his horse ranch and other activities, Jerry lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and numerous birds at the outskirts of the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  Celebrating his 82nd birthday in October 2016, ignoring the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, Jerry continues on in his pursuit of happiness. He still paints, enjoys classical music and poetry by the old masters and, of course--writing.

Reflection of a Fool

Shaving cream on my face
I address the fool
in that lathered reflection


How I loathe myself
for my weakness and longing


Yet—I revel
in theatrical self-pity
and whisper


“Alas, poor Yorick . . . .”
I trace my mirror image
with hesitating fingers


“Are these the lips
That kissed much sweeter lips?”


A memory reflected
in silvery sheen; your
eyes meet mine


and your mouth forms
the shape of the kiss
I knew so well


I rinse my face and stare
into cold glass


The jester is gone,
so is she


and these lips
may no longer kiss
that sweeter pair.

© 2016 Jerry Kemp

Jerry Kemp

Jerry has written and published two books: A Bouquet of Poetic Thoughts II and Galloping Pegasus, four humorous novellas.  Retired from his horse ranch and other activities, Jerry lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and numerous birds at the outskirts of the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  Celebrating his 82nd birthday in October 2016, ignoring the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, Jerry continues on in his pursuit of happiness. He still paints, enjoys classical music and poetry by the old masters and, of course--writing.

Thoughts on Divine Music

Ocean waves create their
own symphony. One may
suspect that great J. Brahms was
the copyist who wrote down
the lilting allegro non troppo
motion of gently splashing waves.

But woe when awesome
Beethoven whips calm waters
into towering waves.  That’s what
one might call a “Stormy Sea,”
calmed only by his Ode to Joy.

Mozart—beloved son of the Muses—
what can one say?  Not enough.
His place in Heaven is assured. 

Now about “That old bore Bach”—
His music makes the Heavens
rejoice and Satan weep tears of remorse
for his misdeeds against man and God.

© 2016 Jerry Kemp

Jerry Kemp

Jerry has written and published two books: A Bouquet of Poetic Thoughts II and Galloping Pegasus, four humorous novellas.  Retired from his horse ranch and other activities, Jerry lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and numerous birds at the outskirts of the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  Celebrating his 82nd birthday in October 2016, ignoring the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, Jerry continues on in his pursuit of happiness. He still paints, enjoys classical music and poetry by the old masters and, of course--writing.

Home-bound

It seems to me as if the bowl of heaven
inundates this restless earth
in dreams of glowing blossoms’ glow.
Tonight, zephyrs gently stroke
ripening wheat ears on fertile soil,
and diffused moonlight conjures up illusions
of waves rippling on calm waters
beneath a star filled night sky.
My soul, still burdened
with past day’s humdrum, spreads wings,
then, clumsy as a pelican struggling
to become airborne, then glides
above the sea of beckoning grain
toward a safe haven.  Home.

© 2016 Jerry Kemp

Image by birder62 on pixabay.com

Image by birder62 on pixabay.com

Jerry Kemp

Jerry has written and published two books: A Bouquet of Poetic Thoughts II and Galloping Pegasus, four humorous novellas.  Retired from his horse ranch and other activities, Jerry lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and numerous birds at the outskirts of the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  Celebrating his 82nd birthday in October 2016, ignoring the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, Jerry continues on in his pursuit of happiness. He still paints, enjoys classical music and poetry by the old masters and, of course--writing.