The Poetry of John Pinkerton
It Ain’t No Southern Words


        “Epiphany,” it ain’t no Southern word.
         If neighed loudly by some Northern bird,
         It sounds uppity,  kinda officious.
         But from a Southern lad—injudicious.

        Southern folks have sudden revelations--- 
        Sudden surprising mental gyrations---
        Not your Yankees’  big bloated thoughts, of 
                course,
        Considering Southern brains are their
                 source.    

        Just thoughts such as, “That  boy there ain’t
                 too bright.”
        Or, “Ya know, it’s harder to see at night.”  
        This monstrous word ain’t right for
              Southern minds:
        It’s far too big for our Southern behinds.

        Let the trumpets roar as I do unfurl
        A new word for our simple Southern world:
        “Epiphany” is  banned from the Southland
                 tongue 
         To be replaced by the word I have brung.

        “Epiph”…“epiph”------I’ve truly brought the     
                light!
        Now let it be spoken all day, all night.
        A fine lil’ word which seems to be just right,
        For each and all a small Dixie delight.

        So delete “epiphany” and add “epiph.”
        It is to each and all my wondrous gift,
        A small nomenclature intervention, 
       A wee adjustment is my invention.
JP
Why Do Folks Hate 
Our Dairy Queen?

            Why do folks hate our Dairy Queen?  
            Folks be treatin’ it---down right mean.  
            The fries and burgers are  a treat,  
            A place for young and old to meet.  

            The first attack was  a surprise  
            The second made us realize  
            Some folks just hate our Dairy Queen  
            Of the eatery they’re not keen.  

            First car attack just broke the glass  
            Which all in all was pretty crass  
            The second attack  drove through the 
                        place 
            Like Richard Petty in a race   

            Booths and table flew everywhere.  
            For safety sake there was no care.     
            But all soon was put back in place
            Again a normal eatin space.  

            First we thought these were accidents  
            Then along came another gent  
            Big rig---drive-thru overhang---
            Demolished it with quite a  bang  

            Against our palace ya’ll do scheme,
            You haters of our Dairy Queen.
            Your attitude is just obscene---  
            Alas, haters hate it does seem.  
JP
   Before  the  Outpost Petrol Shack
            
            Mum, Jim and Jack sat back to back
              Before  the  outpost petrol shack,  
            Beneath the white hot desert sky   
            Each  with his own intimate lie.  

            Jim thought life the pits and lonely.   
            Jack felt an empty life only, 
            Beneath the white hot desert sky   
            Each  with his own personal lie.  
  
            Then came echoing off of the hills  
            The sound of cash riding on wheels.  
            The Caddy moving quick to slow,   
            What news the Detroit beast will know?   

            Before the pumps,  Caddy  silent,  
            Cigarette dangling, mood  violent,   
            Pink Caddy, dark glasses, red lips 
            “Fill her up---Ethel,”  from her hips.  

            Jack fed the beast, proffered the bill.  
            Cash and a look crafted to kill;
            Then she’s gone, radio fading;
            Money whine slowly abating.

            Jack says to himself---not to Jim,
            “A cool lemon sip,” tone most grim.
            Jim spoke his own composition 
            “Jim Jones, limited edition.”

            Jim to thinking his lonely thoughts.
            Jack the empty life he had wrought.
            Before  the  outpost petrol shack,  
            Mum, Jim and Jack sat back to back.
JP
Southern Welcomes

The Southern folks welcome new folks to town
With a smile, a handshake, and not a  frown,
But I’ve got news that may be a bummer:
Years later you’ll still be a newcomer.
JP
Steal My Art...Damn It!
Oh Lord, please guide someone to steal my art.
I Just need a small theft, just a small start.
My friends all have lots of their stuff stolen.
Their egos are so terribly swollen.

Apparently my art ain’t worth stealin’.
You dog gone “thieves” are hurtin’ my
        feelin’s.
I’ll leave it unguarded to make it easy---
Stealin’ my stuff will be easy-breezy.

At least grab an image from my website,
Steal paintin’s from my garage at midnight,
Off  one of them fancy gallery walls,
Purloin a painting from my home’s long halls.

How can I hold up my old artist head?
Facing my artist friends is now a dread
‘Cause not one klepto is stealin’ my stuff
Come on you pirates, enough is enough.
JP
Thump-A-De-Thump
The Great Donald rolls in with a 
thump-a-de-thump
While Hillary chimes in with a 
screech-a-de-screech.
Trump declares himself to be 
a mighty mugwhummp
While Clinton presents herself  as  
a Southern peach.

Thump a de thump, screech a de screech,  
such a clamor.
Their conjoined dissonance 
I’ll not be cheering
Their noise less pleasant than 
a mighty jack hammer
Deserving no less than 
the voters’ loud jeering.
JP
Titter

Due to my twelve-year-old mentality,
I find good humor in the word “titter.”
But having a pre-teen modality,
Doesn’t mean I need a babysitter.

“Titter” just means “chuckle,” for goodness sakes,
But it sure gets folks’ attention in gear
And makes folks do funny double takes 
If I say it with a wink and a lear.
JP
The other day, my wife, Linda, commented to a friend that the friend had been quoted and footnoted in an application for a Texas historical marker.  I couldn’t resist: I had to use it as part of a poem about academics.
The Academic’s Prayer

I want to be
Quoted and footnoted,
Devoted and promoted,
My special qualities denoted 
As I’m praised fully throated.
JP
Old Guys Are Still Nifty

            The Lord threw me a bone the other day
            Peyton Manning won Super Bowl Fifty
            Once again I could say Hooray, Hooray,
            And feel as though old guys are still nifty.
JP
Possum Loves Linda

Possum loves Linda with all her cat love: 
Sees Linda as sent from Heaven above,  
But she has no leftover love for me:  
To her I'm just the petite bourgeoisie.  

She moves away when I enter a room.  
For me she has an expression of gloom. 
No joy can I discern on her visage.  
My quick departure is what she wishes.  

For years I've suffered this cat's attitude. 
By her as a wretched creature I'm viewed.
But my old heart still has love for this cat  
Even though she sees me as a big rat.  
JP
Freckled White Girl

I began life as a freckled white     
         girl
With straight blond hair without
         the hint of curl
Enough shame to make most
         anyone hurl.
What will life, for such a poor 
        waif, unfurl?

Born out West in the state of Montana,
So white…so white…on that broad savanna.
How typically Americana.
Thank God they didn’t name me Diana.

Must overcome the inferiority
Of being one of the majority?
Escaping whiteness my priority.
Shazam, I’ll become a minority.

Abracadabra, I’m suddenly black.
Teaching Black Culture, my career’s on track.
From the NAACP, no flack
Until my white parents began to yak.

Now I’m treated like I have a disease.
I’m treated as though I have STDs.
I am in this mess up to my white knees. 
Hell, I should have chosen to be Chinese.
JP
Front Porch Hanging Judge

Sitting on my porch is not a bad thing.
I realize, my friends, it’s good to be king.
I wait for the unaware to pass by
So my wise, old judgement I can apply.

From my majestic thrown I know darn well
Who’s going to work and who’s going to Hell.
I can make my judgments with a quick glance.
Escaping my judgement, there ain’t no chance.

Who does that girl think she is half dressed?
Surely she should be placed under arrest.

There goes a wild fellow riding a horse
Now it’s off with his head, of course, of course.

Bicycle guy will not escape my rhyme
Piddling peddling is a major crime.

Dumbass, don’t stop your car to read your mail.
Blocking traffic will send you off to Hell.

There’s a fellow head down shuffling along.
He’s off to Hades for things he’s done wrong.

That boy skippin’ along singin’ a song
Needs to be in school---skippin’ is wrong.

There goes a fellow riding a mower.
Mowing the street, can’t mow any lower.

Cap turned back to front on his head won’t stand.
You and your cap I do ban from this land.

Wearing white after Labor Day’s a sin.
Your sentence is to go straight to the pen.

Good Lord, their trousers are around their knees
Where’s my  good rope and some good hanging trees.

There’s an old guy with a long tangled beard
He’s moving so slow that it’s really weird.
O, my goodness, I just realized
I’m judging myself and I’m so surprised.
Surprised or not, I must levy a fine.
O my word, I’m bound by my poetry’s rhyme
To cease the judgements I make all the time.
JP
Old Photos

             Old photos often make me sad:
             The bright eyes of the smiling lad,
             The rosy cheeks of the young lass,
             Their fleeting smiles which soon may pass.

             The camera with its sly eye
             Gives hope with a wink and a lie.
             Capturing their hopeful faces,
             Expressions that time erases.
JP
Do as I Say!

        Oooo…why won’t people just do as I say? 
        Clearly I’m old enough to know the  way, 
        And I disperse my  wise wisdom for free,
        Generously dispersed without a fee. 

        These wrinkles and beard signal  “good
                 advice.” 
        Your following it, jackass, would be nice. 
        Damn it to Hell, you inferior beast, 
        At least heed my words before I’m deceased! 
JP
Paul, Jim, and Goat

 Paul, Jim, and goat looking their very best, 
‘gainst their wills which, of course, they did detest, 
For a photo for the brothers’ mother. 
There they sat, brother right next to brother, 
A sad couple, this brotherly pairing.
The goat, bless his heart, really not caring. 
JP
This is a song Bob Dylan would have written if he had realized that he was still alive in 1993.
It illustrates the point that greed, arrogance, stupidity,  and unrestrained power meeting at one place is not a good thing.
Greed, because the ATF was trying to make a public show to garner a larger budget.  They could have arrested Koresh any time they wanted to on the streets of Waco.  Stupidity, arrogance, and unrestrained power by the FBI which had the Davidians surrounded but displayed a childish impatience by trying to end the standoff with tanks and teargas.  There is no saving grace for the ATF, the FBI, the Attorney General, or the President.  They all acted foolishly.   None deserves our praise.
As far as imagining this as a song that Bob Dylan might sing, imagine Bob’s strange rythyms and nasal voice.  About a year ago, I saw an interview of Bob in which he said that he had never written a protest song.  Well, Bob, you certainly fooled me, but you should have written this one.
I guess the reason I like Bob is that we’re about the same age and neither of us can sing. 
It’s Ranch Apocalypse Now

Hey, Mister ATF, I want to know the reason why
Your agents had to die.
Come on, give me one more lie.

“I take responsibility, but don’t try to blame me.
Our plan was good.  Our plan was sound.
Man, we even got off the first round.
We aimed to save them from themselves,
But they put four agents on the shelves.
I take responsibility, but don’t try to blame me.”

Hey Mister FBI, I want to know the reason why
The Davidians all had to die.
Come on, give me one more lie.

“I take responsibility but don’t try to blame me.
Our plan was good  Our plan was sound.
We never meant for them to burn down.
Just a little tear gas. It wouldn’t even hurt the
     grass.
I take responsibility, but don’t try to blame me.”

Hey, Ms Attorney General, I want to know the
 reason why
All these people had to die.
Come on, give me one more lie.

“I take responsibility, but don’t try to blame me.
Our plan was good.  Our plan was sound.
The FBI and I would not negotiate another round.  We were law enforcement bound.
Get them off their communal property.  What right did they have to be a cult with which we don’t agree.  What a concept, guns in Texas?  They should live in a highrise and drive a Lexus.  David was inconsistent when he lied.  Who knew they’d commit suicide.  We must control the situation.  We look like fools to the nation.  Get the tear gas, fire up the tanks.  Our President will give us thanks.  I take responsibility, but don’t try to blame me.”

Hey, Mr. President,
We want to know why all these people had to die.
Come on give us one more lie.

“I take responsibility, but you can’t blame me.
Their plan was good.  Their plan was sound.
They didn’t burn the compound to the ground.
Their plan was timely.  Their plan was primely based on the fact that it’s time to react.  From my Presidency it was a distraction when we all know I’m the main attraction.  Who does David think he is?    I’m number one in the Jesus biz.  I can play a saxophone, and all he does is negotiate via phone.  I am the President.  He is just a Texas resident.  I back my people all the way.  What does the lastest poll say?  I am the people’s president, not just a Texas resident.  If that’s Perot on the phone, tell him I too like Koresh have gone.”

Hey, Mr. Historian,
We want to know why all these people had to die.
Come on write me one more lie.
JP
Back when I was teaching, I’d pass empty moments by making up songs in my head.  If you’ve ever read my “Music” essay, you know I’m not a big fan of music, but I did find a use for the genre---fighting off boredom.  I decided to write down my latest boredom fighter.  It was inspired by a Muddy Waters’ CD I bought as an impulse purchase while at a bookstore the other day.
Muddy Waters, born in 1913, gave me a clue that music wouldn’t be an important influence in my life.  When I was about twelve, I found an old, scratchy 78 with a crack in it that produced a clicking sound each time it rotated.  As I recall, all Muddy Waters said was “muddy waters” repeatedly on the record.  The click certainly didn’t interfere with my comprehension of the lyrics, and I liked the clicking sound more than the music.
On the album I bought, there was a song entitled “CrosseyedCat” which, when I played it, I discovered didn’t have much to do with a cross-eyed cat.  I thought the cross-eyed cat needed another shot at dominating the lyrics; thus my “Cross-eyed Cat.”
Now, as a poem, it’s not much.  As a song, who knows.  In my head, a strange place, I hear guitars and drums and harmonicas and a honky-tonk piano plinkings and, of course, Muddy Water’s voice...but, that’s just me.
Cross-eyed Cat
John W. Pinkerton

        Cross-eyed cat keeps crossin’ my path
        Bringin’ no cheer or good news.
        Cross-eyed cat got ahold of me.
        Damned cat givin’ me the blues.

        When I wake, you be starin’ at me,
        Never cuttin’ me no slack.
        Why you always starin’ at me?
        Your heart  must be nothin’ but black.

        Eatin’ my eggs, you eyeballin’ me.
        Brushin’ my teeth…you lookin’.
        When I go to bed you peekin’.
        You watchin’ me when I  be cookin’.

        You damned cat be in my dreams.
        Pick out someone else to choose.
        Cross-eyed cat, your hold of me
        Givin’  me nothin’ but the blues.

        Cross-eyed cat, you stealin’ my soul,
        Always, mornin’ and night,
        Knawin’ away at my old heart.
        I wish you away with all my might.

        Cross-eyed cat keeps crossin’ my path
        Bringin’ no cheer or good news.
        Cross-eyed cat got ahold of me.
        Damned cat givin’ me the blues.
JP
Old Fellows
John W. Pinkerton

                  When  old fellows like myself
                Wax poetic about our youth,
                We miss not our youth itself;
                It’s the times we miss in truth.

                Most old timers would in fact
                Decline offers to go back,
                Decline the chance to unpack
                The youthful selves we now lack.

                What we long for is just this---
                God, Family, Country  first,
                When at God we did not hiss, 
                And our Country was not cursed.
JP
Sugar Bob
John W. Pinkerton

                  Sugar’s the name we gave our cat.
            Sweet, she was certainly that.
            But once  walking away,
            Strange changes “she” did display.
            Now, she’s “Bob” when we chat.
JP
Morning Moon
by John Pinkerton

                The moon smiles slipping through the trees,
                Defining cats in the morning breeze,
                Defining deer gliding home,
                As I sip my coffee on the porch alone.

                But not alone when the moon is there
                Floating above me as I sit in my chair,
                Sometimes full, halved, or new,
                Hanging there for me to view.

                It shares my old early morning meditations,
                My old mind’s beginning its daily vibrations,
                But never does it  its dark side show.
                Its dark side secrets are not for me to know.

                As the moon and I await the  day
                My old mind does dance and play
                Beneath the moon before its gone
                Pleased my thoughts are not alone.
JP
My Calendar Does Disappear
by John Pinkerton

My calendar each year does  disappear.
For months I walk around without a clue.
Not knowing  current days or dates I fear
Does cause my lovely wife on me to chew.

She can not understand my total fog,
Sundays and Mondays I can’t tell apart,
Of dates I remember less than my dog.
I fear my confusion she takes to heart.

But she should realize that patience pays,
I’ll regain knowledge of chronology
When upon  a new season  I cast my gaze,
The dates and days become theology.

Thursday night reappears as TNF.
MNF means it’s another Monday.
Shazam! My calendar returns when it’s
NFL all day long  on each Sunday.
JP
Pseudonym
by John Pinkerton

I have become a pseudonym, 
A nom de plume---a fiction. 
Who is this ancient gentleman 
Who signs my name with conviction?
 
He’s not the youth I’ve always known,  
Insulting is his  depiction. 
I’d arrest this interloper  
If I  knew the jurisdiction. 
JP
I Am
John W. Pinkerton
                            I am mankind 
                            Come from the Sea.
                            I am Man. 
                            I am man.
                            I am me.
enough
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