Monday, March 06, 2006


I lost a friend in '69,
He was riding in my car,
When the road-trip took an ugly turn,
In an early morning hour.

I fell asleep behind the wheel,
And the car kept rolling along,
Then it tumbled out of control,
And my good friend, John, was gone.

JR Bumgarner
March 6, 2006

Where is Death?

"Where is death?" you ask,
My warm and precious friend,
She travels down the backroads,
Bringing precious life to its final end.

She travels on the telephone lines,
And along the ground and sea,
Snipping life along her path,
There is nowhere we can flee.

The Mustang galloped onward,
Along the valley floor,
And when the pony tripped and stumbled,
Death removed one more.

He did not see her peering,
Through the darkened glass,
And when she reached to take him,
I wish he'd kicked her ass.

JR Bumgarner
March 6, 2006

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Black Sky Sparkled


The long night stretched behind them,
Just a mile away from home,
While four lonely cowboys rode in back,
And Simon sang a song.

A gravelly corner roared out loud,
The horse let out a sigh,
And the road spit yellow dashes,
As they rode into the night.

The mustang tripped and stumbled,
And he was jolted from his sleep.
Then the black sky sparkled brightly,
When he crawled out of the heap.

For the one who rode the shotgun,
The one who could not mend,
The sun that night set swiftly,
And it never rose again.

JR Bumgarner
March 5, 2006


The bird's wing is broken,
And it struggles to re-gain flight.
Stuck in a corner, lined with brick,
His chances of flying again are nil.

She's a large, middle-aged woman,
And she thinks of becoming a nurse.
She has four kids at home, and
A tired husband who is leaving.

With no employable skills,
She's gone back to college.
In my sessions she sits,
Red hair frazzled,
Colored pens stuck in pockets on her back pack,
Notes strung out on her desk.

Her questions bely her secret,
She doesn't understand molecular biology.
The pace is killing her dreams,
We covered two chapters in three hours.
And like the bird with the broken wing,
She struggles to re-gain her life.

Only the bird is childless.

JR Bumgarner
March 4, 2006

Winter Doesn't Always Spring Eternal

The little male bird returned first,
that cold spring morning on the beach,
with a piece of colored paper in his beak.
Before nightfall the colored paper,
along with hundreds of twigs,
and other colorful objects,
hopefully would be tightly woven,
into an architecturally perfected nest.

Tomorrow his lady would arrive,
She would be expecting nothing less.

In years past,
as soon as she landed,
she would inspect the nest,
and if it met her approval,
she would signal him,
and they would prance on the beach,
and dance on the tops of clouds.

Later they would snuggle in the nest,
and keep each other warm during the cool spring nights.

She would lay her eggs,
and incubate them until her babies hatched,
while he foraged for food,
and brought it back to their wide,
and hungry mouths.

At daybreak she arrives and finds him hauling twigs,
he's been working all night,
and the nest isn't finished.
She notices a broken leg hanging loose beside his good one.
The nest is messy,

Her heart is broken.

but overjoyed to see her,
he tries to hide his pain,
and he feels his heart weigh heavy,
while waiting for her signal of approval.

The pain will keep him from prancing on the beach,
or reaching the tops of the clouds.

Mystically programmed for mate perfection,
for the sake of her children,
she stays a while,
then her biological clock tugs her,
pulls her,
screams at her,

and she flies away.

Like the female bird watches her mate,
I watch someone I love struggle,
It isn’t a broken leg,
or arm,
or other physical affliction,
He doesn’t do drugs, or alcohol, or cigarettes;
but he takes medication,
in industrial-strength dosages.
Dosages that hopefully calm his mind,
so he can think,
and plan,
and conduct regular daily affairs.

He sleeps sometimes for more than 14 hours,
while those same,
mystical forces that push the little bird,
work on him too.

He wants a companion,
someone to share life with,
someone to build a nest with,
and prance of the beach,
and fly on the clouds with.

He chats online with women,
who sometimes go to movies,
and get pizza with him,
but soon,
they see his imperfection;

they fly away.

The little nest rolls empty across the sand,
and on a distant fence pole,
standing brave on one good leg,
with the wind whipping his feathers about,
the little male bird watches the empty nest
blow across the sand,
then with a sad and heavy heart,
he turns away,
and leaps into the wind.

JR Bumgarner
March 2005

The Winter Wren

The woods are quiet.

Gentle breezes, searching through foliage, soften the forest.

Limbs sway gently in the breeze, and
stretch toward the warmth and light of the sun,
while raptors soar overhead,
riding heated updrafts from the forest below.

The song of a winter wren breaks the serenity.
The wren, oblivious to such wooded tranquility,
embellishes the forest ambience with its melodies.

Later, clouds form and a gentle drizzle falls
bringing cool wisps of air,
Clouds collect, thicken and lag heavy with added moisture.
Rain falls hard.

Wrens and raptors find cover.

The clouds, releasing their contents,
lighten, rise and move on.

The sun reappears.
The forest warms.
Air currents rise again.
Raptors reappear in the sky.

The wren finds a spot of sunlight on a moist limb.
Its melody breaks the serenity of the forest and, again
the woods are quiet.

JR Bumgarner

This poem was published at Black Hills Audobon Society web site.