Contact the Author: rdlbarton@netscape.net

Contact The Author: rdlbarton@netscape.net

Ron. Lavalette's work has appeared in these fine publications:



Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Not Too Much To Ask

Pure Slush Books (Anthology)
7 Deadly Sins / Vol.3 / Greed (Print & e-pub) August 2018 
 
 
All I want is whatever little I
already have. And half of yours. 
I mean, you’ve got plenty,
eh? Way more than you need.
So I’m only asking for half.
Equal shares, y’know?
Fifty-fifty seems right, right?
And his, too, maybe; half of
his and maybe half of hers.
Half of theirs. It’s all I need.
It’s all I’m asking for. Half.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Flying Home

Winner of Laureates' Choice Award at Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest
(Online - August 2018)

Tonight the latest April sky, a sky
I rarely venture out to see, is filled
with smallish change: a quarter moon and stars
like dimes that spend their tiny light on eyes
a million billion miles away. But still,
with her away, they do not seem as far.


If I could fly away, or fly at all
—had wing enough or wind enough—I’d fly
across the empty miles of senseless air
to where I know she waits, and then I’d fall 
like starlight, lightly, kiss her face and eyes
and never fly away again from there.


We cannot stay, but always we must go;
the home we seek’s the only home we know.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

The Skip

The Linnet's Wings (Online) August 2018

It’s like when that needle hops
on your favorite vinyl but it hops
at just the right spot…just the right
spot…just the right spot

 
and you almost don’t want to
go over and fix it because it’s
just the right spot…just the right
spot

 
and it’s the snippet you could
listen to forever…forever…

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Silent Night

Montana Mouthful (Print & ePub) June 2018


Even when you’re not there to
hear them, only half the trees
falling in a forest make any noise.
The trees you don’t hear you don’t
hear, and the rest of them fall
silently, often at midnight.
                                    Even when
you try and try again, like all the
childish fables say you should; even
smack in the middle of the forest,
in the middle of the night, in the
middle of winter; even though
you keep your eyes open, your ears
peeled; even then, the falling trees
and the winter’s midnight night
remain silent.
                     All the silent night
long, all the falling trees keep falling;
but all you can hear is the nothing.

     

Turtleglass

Montana Mouthful (Print & ePub) June 2018

He puts a glob of turtleglass
under the jeans in her suitcase
before she goes away.
                                  Later,
when she calls him after midnight
to tell him she’s arrived, tell him
that she misses him already,
and he answers the phone,
calls her his little turtle dove
and she doesn’t react,
                                he knows
she hasn’t yet unpacked, hasn’t
found his little round travel gift.

                                 He hopes
she’ll find it nestled in the jeans
shiny in the shiny morning; hopes
she’ll put it in her pocket, keep
their little green secret crystal
close to her heart all day long;
hopes it brings her safely home
                                and soon.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

New Snow and Disease

Medical Literary Messenger (Print & eBook) June 2018

It’s freezing here & there’s
new snow. I can’t write a word
and the doctors want a second look,
another look inside, and yet
another. I’m X-rayed to death
and there’s new snow and I can’t
write a word. I’m thinking of you,
Doctor Guru, out in sweet Siouxland,
your deskful of papery lab reports,
neatly stacked and white.

There’s new snow here this morning
and I’m spending my time these days
in labs and waiting rooms
waiting to hear something
I’m not wanting to hear.
I’m having my coffee on the porch;
I’m looking out at a full foot of new snow
and I’ve nothing more to say.

One test leads to another, no?
Nothing speaks to me now.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Fat Ronald Cheats

Pure Slush Books (Anthology)
7 Deadly Sins / Vol.2 / Gluttony (Print & e-pub) June 2018 

 
All the ads say it’s hot and juicy,
and it’s hot alright, but the juicy’s
really just grease that congeals
pretty quickly back into fat.  He’s
reasonably sure he can feel it
coating his cluttered arteries
even before he swallows. 
None of this, though,
keeps him from eating there
four or five times a week,
nor does he ever—even remotely—
consider ordering a drive-thru salad
or the lo-cal fruit parfait.

His wife says he’s turning into a
bacon-wrapped double cheeseburger,
but all he hears is how delicious he is,
how much she wants to gobble him up.
He still loves her madly, but she
just doesn’t satisfy him anymore.
He’s always somewhat disappointed
when even her tastiest dishes
refuse to dribble down his chin,
promise neither cardiac arrhythmia
nor the ever-expanding waistline
he’s come to honor and obey.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Fernophobia

Night Terrors and Daymares / Vol 1  (Print / PDF Anthology)  June 2018
--Previously Published: Amygdala (Online) 2015


Nearly dawn
near the border:
Seconal, Valium, booze.
No one expected
the slow opening of eyes,
least of all
the man among the ferns, dismayed.
This was to be the longest sleep,
the rest, at last, so well-deserved.
Imagine his surprise:
dew-soaked, a slug
across the bridge of his nose,
no shoes or recollection.
 
 




After The Pills Kick In

Night Terrors and Daymares Vol 1 (Print / PDF Anthology)  June 2018


Limp, rattled, and torch-bruised
I jug an octopus jam
stow tomes, strum rug fringe

Feeding The Cat

Night Terrors and Daymares / Vol 1 (Print /PDF Anthology) June 2018


She called from the road, said not to wait;
told us to go ahead and eat without her,
her shift at the vet’s had run into overtime
and she still had to swing by the store
for cat food and a new scratching post
for that feral one-eyed flea-bitten stray
she brought home a couple of weeks ago
that had dropped its mewling and scrawny litter
amid our newly-laundered bedsheets.

We’d already finished our impromptu dinner;
everyone, satiated and amiable, had helped
with the dishes, retired to the living room
for another joint and wine when she finally
walked in the front door, apologetic, her arms
laden, her eyes surprised, and shouted
“You didn’t make the pot roast? What did you
cook instead? And where the hell’s the cat?”

"...some sort of gun."

Night Terrors and Daymares / Vol 1 (Print /PDF Anthology) June 2018
--Previously published: See Into The Dark (Print Anthology) May 2016


I’d like to think
I might have found more to say
had it been me lying there
             instead of him.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Slippers

The Writers' Café Magazine (Online) April 2018
Issue #7 - "Shoes"


In the dark, he puts his slippers on the wrong feet; they walk away and he never sees them again.  Sometimes he misses them, wonders if they ever think about him, if they pad around someone else’s kitchen now, dreaming of his rainforest hardwood mornings, his quiet carpeted bedroom nights.  All day long, no matter what he does or how long it takes, he’s only doing it to kill some time while he’s waiting and hoping they’ll find their way back to him.
 
But it’s no use, no use.  They’re lost forever in the great wide world, lost somewhere in the vast asphalt universe, no doubt someone else’s slaves, pacing strange floors at odd hours, bending to foreign biddings.
 
He vows never to forget them, promises himself to remember even their most minute detail, but with each passing hour he can feel them slipping further and further away.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Do It Yourself

Pure Slush Books (Anthology)
7 Deadly Sins / Vol.1 / Lust (Print & e-pub) march 2018


A word to the wise:
it pays to clean your tool
when the job’s finally done
even if you only dip it
in the old paintcan
once in a blue moon
or you’re one of those
six-jobs-a-day
touch up artists;
whether it’s a straight,
long-bristled detail brush
with a customized grip
or a bulky twelve-inch
cement floor roller,
no matter what kind of
medium you’re spreading
—matte, satin, or glossy —
you’ll save yourself a big
headache later on if you
wash it down afterwards.

And you guys with the big
power sprayers: remember
to wipe down your hoses
and flush them out often.
You don’t want them to
get all gummed-up and
rot away from inside;
and pay special attention
to that tricky nozzle area.

Always remember this:
a well-maintained tool will
give you years of service,
but if you don’t scrub it
down between jobs
you’ll pay for it in the end.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Couched

Eunoia Review (Online) March 2018

After he deposits her at the therapist’s office, he goes down to the bookstore cafe and settles in for an afternoon coffee. Before very long, the therapist shows up and she’s with him. They look like a couple, out for an afternoon on the town. They don’t see him right away, and it seems to him that he’s watching two people he’s never met before. He wants to go over and tell them what a lovely couple they make, how he wishes he had a girlfriend as lovely as she, but he tries to keep his mind on his coffee instead, even though it’s so suddenly bitter. A few minutes later, she spots him at his corner table and waves, but doesn’t smile.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Coyote

Cabinet of Heed (Online) February 2018

Coyote only comes to town once or maybe twice during the tundra months, dragging his game leg and leaving an odd print in the deep snow down by the place where the gray silent river turns toward the north. He’s tired of the hard-won slim pickings starvation diet he scratches out from under the hard-packed snow cover. He’s fed up with putting out a full day’s labor for a three-minute reward.

This time when Coyote comes to town he’s looking for a little something extra; something a cold and half-starved beast can take his time sinking his teeth into. He’ll be out there, relaxed and happy, well-dressed, late at night, smiling and coaxing some sweet piece of easy prey into his waiting snare. Few can resist him or, once he turns on the charm, even want to.

Back in the forest, Coyote always had to take whatever he needed by force. There was neither time nor need for either stealth or finesse. Survival suffered no flourish, no filigree. But here, under the protective eaves of balsam and hemlock, inside the sheltering windbreak of the common town, Coyote could afford the luxury of laying-in-wait, the methodical stalk before the inevitable pounce.

It was weeks before the corpses began to accumulate; weeks before his grisly handiwork became apparent; before the bloodstained snowdrifts, driven by wind, gave up their horrible secrets.

There was massive carnage before anyone even knew that Coyote had come to town.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Levels

Months To Years (Online / Print) February 2018
 
Half of these people are already half dead he thinks, watching them watch each other stare out the tall plate glass of the hospital’s east pavilion solarium into the rapidly fading mid-March sunset; the other half is already further gone than that, but remain resolutely unwilling or merely incapable of simply accepting facts.
 
He goes down two levels in the oncology elevator and sits silently with the waiters and worriers, sees how long he can hold his breath waiting for a specialist to find and read a chart, to suggest a cure or announce an imminent demise, or to otherwise free him from his tedium and chafe. Here, at least, two levels down, where the truth is at last both known and spoken, there is far less opportunity for being blinded by the false light from above, as there is no such light to be found. Here, at least, everyone knows.
 
There are, he knows, many other rooms; many other even lower levels, most with even far less light. This he knows with certainty. Armed with this awareness, he contents himself with his current level of twilight.
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, January 22, 2018

Poet's Biggest Fear

The Drabble (Online) January 2018

Hanging out with the fictionauts and the prosers, he fears, may have damaged his poetry.

These days, instead of concentrating on linebreaks and imagery, he worries about commas and semicolons; thinks in dependent clauses; ponders parallel constructions and parenthetical prepositional phrases.

When he writes, he no longer recites each phrase aloud to hear it sing.

Instead, he declaims his work from start to finish, paragraph by dreary paragraph, from beginning to end to ensure that it makes sense; conforms to the norms of grammar’s logic.

Sometimes it puts him to sleep.

He’s afraid of writing a nightmare.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Haiku (flute)

Haiku Journal, Issue 56 (Online / Print) January 2018
 
alone on the porch
a man welcomes the morning
Spanish cedar flute

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Death Of A Salesman

Coffin Bell (Online) January 2018

In the absence of the bird-thin body
that usually haunted their perch
two crows found tenuous purchase
on the rusted chain-link fence
where the dealer normally dealt.

They muttered and chuffed
a secret revolutionary code
about the day that would come
when all the corners of the world
would be theirs and theirs alone.

Klling That Bitch Again

Coffin Bell (Online) January 2018
--originally published at: Your One Phone Call (October 2016)

Last night in the arcane landscape
of darkness, while my actual body
remained in the safe soft confines
of headboard and fitted sheet,
I drove some wild dirt back road
at 80, dust everywhere, radio loud
 
her beside me on hot red leather
all at once terrible and terrifying.
I knew it was her again. As usual,
I couldn’t see her face but I knew,
when we found ourselves naked,
later, the musty room sun-slatted,
 
it would be her again, urging me
to pay the voodoo priestess, drink
deep from the proffered chalice,
let the ravens circle in and dive,
dive. I knew it would be her again.
When I raised the knife, I knew.

Zombies And Werewolves Need Not Apply


Coffin Bell (online) January 2018
https://coffinbell.com/zombies-and-werewolves-need-not-apply/

 
He’s sick to death of reading about people who spend all their time reading about werewolves and zombies.  He tries to spend at least an hour every day in the bookstore café, having a quiet cup of coffee and writing about whatever else comes into his mind, but—no matter how hard he tries—his fans come in to stand behind him and prod him to wake the sleeping dead, outfit the living with glowing eyes and fangs.

There must be something more,” he thinks, knowing full well that there isn’t.  He turns to confront them, but it’s clear that resistance is futile.

They unzip his skull and feast on his brain.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Inspiration

One Sentence Poems (Online) December 2017

Twice in a day and a half
he’s almost certain he hears it:
the voice of an angel speaking
from just around the corner
as if from some great distance
seeming almost lost in recitation
almost inaudible
telling some cosmic joke or
posing a celestial riddle,
repeating the words

hoodwink, subterfuge,
flabbergast.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

So Much Depends Upon A Red Wig

Of Burgers & Barrooms (Print Anthology from Main Street Rag Bookstore, December 2017)
-- Originally Published by Higginsville Reader (print) May 2001


So Much Depends Upon A Red Wig
 
Ronald hasn’t shown
for several years now
since he came to cut the ribbon
and open the public doors;
has only sent an emissary
once or twice a month:
eighteen wheels and a logo
bearing frozen potatoes
and placemats or paper bags.


Manager Mike pines,
longs for a simple glimpse
of pancake, rubber nose,
or a pair of two-foot long
red plastic shoes.
He watches
his all-expenses-paid
managers’ incentive
Holiday in Cozumel
go south along Main,
turn left into Peking Gardens
while down the block, smirking,
his arch-enemy Wendy
serves Mike’s former regulars
with a vacant and Frosty smile.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Tanka (Castaway)

Tanka Journal (online & print) November 2017

Silence at sunrise:
only the sound of breakers
—morning, lost in fog—
I am adrift on the shore
unable to set my sail

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Shelter

One Person's Trash (Online & Print) November 2017
-Previous version (Titled "Charlie") in *82 Review, March 2013

Charlie visits the Precious Savior
Bookstore, stocks up on all the latest 
offerings: Ticket To Heaven postcards, 
sticks of incense, The Greatest Hits 
Of The Grateful Faithful, featuring 
the Certain Resurrection Choir.  
He goes for a walk on Water Street, 
his head and headphones buzzing.  
 
Charlie folds himself into a corner,
contemplates nations murdering
nations.  He no longer aims or claims
to be a general; thinks instead about 
suicide, rain, and the sidewalks, running.  
Smoke rises near the airport, insubstantial,
like a ghost rises from a cooling corpse.
Charlie, airborne, cools his heels, thinks about
jets and vapor trails.
 
Back at the shelter, he’s got a fan                                                   
and a paint-by-number Jesus.
At night they find a little harmony:
the fan spins around and 
the room spins around and Jesus, 
pleased, lets Charlie go to sleep.