Old Dell’s Dandelion Wine
The neighbor lady came to Dell’s door
on summer’s hottest day.
Old Dell greeted her –
Come on inside and cool off.
He led her to the cellar
showed her the barrel of Dandelion Wine
gave her a glass.
It was the coldest, sweetest tasting thing
she’d ever had on her tongue
and as they sat in the parlor and talked –
Old Dell, his wife, and this neighbor lady –
that cold stuff in the cellar
kept calling them
to retrieve more tasty nectar
until, unable to stand without staggering,
the neighbor lady said she had to get home,
her husband would be expecting dinner.
Old Dell offered to drive her the half mile
but she declined
saying she needed the air.
Sixty years later
when she no longer requires Dandelion Wine
she recalls that far gone day
when, wobbling home across the across the pasture
and stopped to pick more Dandelions.
© poem and photo by caf
Saturday in Flint 1963
after we cleaned house,
scrubbed the car,
mowed the grass,
watched Mr. Magic and The Three Stooges,
we would go to the bread factory (was it Tastee Bread?)
for a loaf of fresh baked bread
hot off the line
wrapped in a clear cellophane wrapper
made cloudy by the steaming of the loaf,
a twist tie around the opening.
If we got to the factory
at just the right time
we would get a loaf for free.
Otherwise it was 25 cents.
The thing smelled so good
we hardly got it home
without tasting it.
So soft it tore
when you pulled it from the wrapper,
so moist it was hard to cut
and stuck to our teeth when we chewed.
The bread factory is gone now
as is the half of Bennett Ave that ran into the river,
replaced by an expressway (I-475?)
bridging deserted neighborhoods
to the canyon where DuPont Paint and Buick once breathed
the fumes of industry and financial security
into Flint air.
I opened a loaf of fresh bread
And OH!!! JOY AND WONDEROUS BLISS!!!
My mouth remembered
Saturday mornings on Bennet Ave in Flint.
© photo and poem by carole fults
It’s still there –
your house in front of the field
by the barn.
Winds under my bed blow familiar voices
into my ears sometimes
waking me at midnight.
Saved letters hold your old school penmanship
ornate and beautiful.
But your hand is gone
and no longer writes
plants daffodils and poppies
or plays piano.
I was safe when I was with you
and, now, I have made you a home in my heart
where I will hold you forever.
©photo and poem by carole fults
Works of Clay
She bends the clay around emptiness
creating a vacancy for utility,
vesting it in vitality.
The coolness of moist mud
sticks to her hands as she coaxes shape
from a formless heap of thickened slip,
while the wheel turns the pot,
and heaven spins the earth
and morning and evening
caress the shape of a day.
©photo and poem by Carole Fults
Long ago the heart of God
like a cattail beside a pond or river
cracked and split
spreading its life over all that was.
The womb of God
like a milkweed in the meadow
bursting followed by birthing
as the silken spirits fell and grew
in the fertile fields of creation
sending sprouts of joy
throughout the universe.
The sun discovered daffodils and sumac
as a Mourning Dove hunkered down
in the snow under a pine.
The icy snow that could destroy her is – for now –
Her beautiful soul finds shelter within the breast
of the beast that threatens.
Isn’t that the path of a fearless heart?
It’s noon in Flint.
Somewhere within a black hole
known as a factory
choking workers listen for the shrill whistle
that releases them from the pit.
Someone wakes a sleeping worker
who lies drunk among pallets in the corner.
Someone else grabs a deck of cards
and heads for the lunchroom
where white bread, liverwurst and mayo sandwiches
are swallowed between puffs of cigarette smoke
and slurps of pop.
A few of the laborers go outside,crossing the crazed six lane highway
to douse themselves in lunch at the bar.
they go to Angelo’s Coney Island
where food is served in cardboard baskets
atop plastic plates.
Large jars of ketchup and mustard slide in their spillings
on dirty tables dressed with vinyl
and stains from coffee cups.
If you keep your eyes straight in the street
you won’t see the garbage wrapping itself around light poles
or clogging the drains in the gutters.
When it rains, the smoky dust turns to sludge
that sticks to your glasses, to your car, to your clothing,
slathering everything with a dull, sunless, stinky slate ash
that defies the most potent laundry soap,
that eventually smothers the trees, bushes
and your will to get up in the morning.
This town feels foul, like an unclean bathroom,
and sticky, like you’re trying to ice skate on flypaper.
But – if you go to Angelo’s and top your dog with enough chili and onions
you’ll maybe never notice the smelly afterbirth
of four wheeled motors
rolling off an assembly line.
poem © carole fults
4 Ponds and a Bog
One day the hiker came to kneel
by the bog
bury her face in the muck
and inhale the mud from which she had been created
to feel the spirit of the stuff
from which she had been distilled.
She smelled the gathering fragrance
of congregating beings
a scent elemental and familiar
like the smell of family and tribe.
Are there dragons in the forest?
Or monsters in the ponds? She wonders.
Only bugs kissing the waters for a drink.
She feels the earth recognize her as its own child
as she dissolves into her true home
where bees hum the song of the universe
and dragonflies are angels.
And she asks that when she lies down
for the last time –
when she comes to the end of herself
like the dead frog lying in the road –
may it be on the peace of home
by 4 ponds and a bog.
©photo and poem by caf