Poems and Poetry

Roy Pullam

Blue, Blue Christmas | A Poem by Roy Pullam

Christmas and heartbreak
Came in the
Same misery package
Our Christmas tree
Fresh from the spoil banks
Of the pit
Great gaps
Reminding us all
That like the tree
Much was missing
From the season
I heard the exciting talk
Of classmates
On the Sears catalogue
Dog-eared reminders
That jarred Santa’s attention
I knew
Santa had stopped
At each house
But mine
On the block
That on the 26th
New bikes
Would ride my street
Gene Autry cowboy suits
And cap guns
Made my friends
Gene’s posse
And I
Would have nothing
Nothing again
But the misery
That dogged
My parents
But the worst
Was yet to come
The first day
Of school
With the teacher
Spending the morning
Grilling each student
Each recounting
The joys
Under the tree
And I would lie
With everyone
Knowing the truth
And I would hate myself
For the lie
I felt
I had to tell

Halloween 1957 | A Poem by Roy Pullam

I had no mask
As in so many times
I was forced
To improvise
I rubbed the soot
From the chimney
On my face and neck
Borrowing my father’s bib overalls
Pants that swallowed
My nine year old form
Rolling the legs up
In a giant cuff
I wrapped his shirt
Around my spare body
With his miner’s hat
I was ready
To join my friends
Heading away
From houses like mine
Houses where
There was no candy
This opportunity
Too important
To waste time
No general
Planned so carefully
Straight up Broadway
Where houses
Were well lit
Houses with hard candy
Small suckers
And an occasional Hershey bar
I hated apples
Or popcorn
Poured in my bag
I followed
A mental map
Plotted form past experience
Through the community
Until late
In the evening
Nearing ten
I made my way home
With the only
Store-bought sweets
I would see
Until Christmas
Mother scrubbed hard
On my face
The carbon
Not wanting to give way
Finally not satisfied
She allowed me
To go to bed
With the promise
Of a more dedicated
Assault on the black
The next morning
How the thought
Of the bounty
Kept me awake
As I lay
Beside my brother
Tomorrow would bring
Such sugar blessings
As I gorged
On my Halloween blessings

Golden Days | A Poem by Roy Pullam

There is a mint
In my front yard
The rich gold
Beneath the sugar maple
I feel wealthy
The beauty
So grand
That passersby
Slow to take
In the sight
It is the blessing
Of fall
When nature
Gives its final gift
Before it
Brings on death
The exposed skeletons
Of the trees
The brown grass
The ghost of wind
Tapping my shoulder
Penetrating me with dread
The chill
Going to my bones
I will pause
Knowing how short
The time
Before they become missiles
Flying in neighbor’s yards
Before I scoop
Them up
Exposing the ground
To the frost
Yet to come

Thursday Morning 4:00 O’Clock | A Poem by Roy Pullam

I cannot sleep
The roll and toss
Twists the covers
But finds no position
For me
To return to dreams
The face of the clock
Mocks me
With its early hour
The slow movement of hands
Like an obscene gesture
Points directly
In my direction
I do not
Want to get up again
The torture
Of fatigue
Lingers from weeks
Of not resting
I cannot turn off
A series of thoughts
That might never happen
How I long
For the repose
Of my youth
When heavy eyes
Led to a depth
Of unconsciousness
But concerns are with me
The black dog
Nipping at my heels
How I smell
His breath
In the bite
Of guilt
In a host
Of petty details
That in their weight
Makes little difference
I will give up again
Carrying the heaviness
That bends my back
Into the living room
The light is harsh
My eyes convulse
I wait for them
To adjust
Picking a book
From the side
Of the couch
Pausing for a moment
To get the interrupted context
Prior to reading
The few chapters
Before my darling
Rises from her bed