Poetry — August 19, 2016 9:52 — 0 Comments

Three Poems – Buff Whitman-Bradley

The cat comes back

I have been told by many
That an important part
Of recovering from cancer
Is a positive attitude.
Visualize yourself cancer-free
And living many more years
They tell me
Which I most certainly do
Each time the pussycat of dread comes
Stealing into my consciousness
On its furtive little feet
To leap up onto the table
Knock over the punch bowl
And ruin my party.
I visualize like mad –
Myself as a jaunty octogenarian
Hiking in the woods with my kids and grandkids,
Swapping harrowing treatment tales
With other survivors,
Growing older and older with my beloved –
Which does succeed in sending the feline specter
Slinking out the door,
But not unlike that fabled cat in song
It never stays away for very long.


The tail of the kite

Seventy-two and still hanging on
To the tail of the kite
With my feet firmly planted
In uncertainty
Acutely aware
Of my temporary status
And the nine hundred beguiling delusions
Of permanence
But do not accuse me of religion
The only good Buddhist
Is not a Buddhist
I have emptied the philosophy jar
And filled it with forget-me-nots
And I plan to carry on as ever
One now after another

The lone drone 

The rosemary and jasmine
Have dropped all their blossoms
And the swarms of honeybees
Who toiled here so assiduously
Have taken their enterprise elsewhere
So when the drone who didn’t get the memo
Shows up for his shift
He finds the workplace
Flowerless and deserted
But instead of rushing back
To the head office
For his next assignment
He lingers in the garden
Investigating sights and smells
Among the shrubs
The succulents the long grasses
And enjoying the unexpected pleasures
Of an afternoon off
And time all to himself


Buff Whitman-Bradley's poetry has appeared in many print and online journals, including Atlanta Review, Bryant Literary Review, Concho River Review, Crannog, december, Front Range Review, Hawai'i Review, Pinyon, Rockhurst Review, Solstice, Third Wednesday, Watershed Review, and others. He has published several collections of poems, most recently, To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World. His interviews with soldiers who refused to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan became the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. He lives in northern California with his wife Cynthia.

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What am I?

Bioluminescent eye
That sees by the shine
Of its own light. Lies

Blind me. I am the seventh human sense
And my stepchild,

Scientists can't find me.

Januswise I make us men;
Was my image then—

Remind me:

The awful fall up off all fours
From the forest
To the hours…

Tick, Tock: Divine me.

-- Richard Kenney