Contact the Author: rdlbarton@netscape.net

Contact The Author: rdlbarton@netscape.net

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



Sunday, November 21, 2010

AND / OR (3 Pieces)

AND/OR (3 pieces; Inaugural Issue)
(pdf in November 2010; Print in December)
("Grumpy" anthologized in Ekphrastia Gone Wild from Ain't Got No Press, Aug. '13)

I Got Yer “Grumpy” Right Here, Pal

I guess you’d be pretty grumpy, too
if you shared a crackerbox cottage
with six other chirpy little bastards,
up every day at the crack of dawn
with a merry Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho on their
lips, off to work after nothing but 
a meager bowl of gruel, carrying
pickaxes and a box of dynamite,
leaving behind such a rare beauty,
a fair-skinned brown-eyed princess 
to sweep up after them, make up
their beds, wash out their nasty
sheets, no one keeping her company
but a bunch of dopey bluebirds.
What a waste. 
                         And speaking of 
dopey, let me just say a few words
about a couple of the schmucks
I work with:
                       I busted a thumb
about a month ago and found out
Doc’s not much of a real doc; and 
I don’t know what it is that keeps
that nitwit Sleepy nodding all day
or Happy so friggin happy, but
sooner or later there’s bound to be
a cave-in and, frankly, I’ll be glad
for the time off.
                         Maybe then I’d 
get to hang around the house, 
see if the princess comes across 
with a little TLC. Now, that might 
improve my attitude some, eh? 

Go away now, you’re buggin me.



When He’s Sixty-Four

He gets pulled over again, and this time
the cop is only about fifteen years old,
wants to know what’s up; tells him
there’s always been a stop sign at the 
bottom of the hill; says he must be blind
or crazy, flying through there like that;
tells him he ought to turn off the radio,
get his mind on his driving.  
                                           He tells the cop
he’s sorry; he says he was thinking about 
his old friend John who got shot in front of
his hotel, right in front of his wife and
the cop says yeah well that’s awful and all
but, still, ya gotta slow it down, Sir; gotta 
slow it down and watch the signs or 
you’re gonna end up dead yourself 
                                    —And he’s not so deaf
he can’t hear the condescending tone
in how the cop says sir; the way a bad father
speaks to a stubborn child—
                                The cop says  
I’m gonna let it slide this time, Sir,
but, still, you gotta watch the signs.
                                     Yeah,
yeah, yeah he says, I hear you. Signs. 
Huh. Imagine.


EGG TEST

This is Nish.  Point
to Nish.  Good.

This is Hondar.
Point to Hondar.  Now 
point to Nish.  Good.

This is Kiptron.  Point
to Kiptron.  Good.
Now point to Nish.
Point to Hondar. Good.

This is uh, Whatsisname.
Point to whatsisname.
Now point to Hondar.
Kiptron.  Nish.
Good.

This is a tough one. Point.
Good.  Now Hondar.
Whatsisname. Nish.
Kiptron.  Good.

Point. Point. Kiptron.
Good.  Whatsisname.
Uh, point. Now Hondar.
Nish. Good.

Good.  Good.  Point.
Good.




Thursday, September 16, 2010

Payday In Grinsville

Everyday Genius (online) September 2010

Oh, I guess I could have done
anything. The agency lets you
try things out for up to thirty days.
I considered being “The Time Fairy”;
did broken watches for a while
and that was cool, but the nights
were pretty slow; not a lot of stops
to make, but I had to lug the things
around in a big sack. And people
expected cash for alarm clocks and
sundials and such. My back ached.

So I settled for teeth. Teeth is cool.
It’s only kids that want anything
for them, and they don’t much care
how much you leave. It’s magic,
they think, like payday in Grinsville.
Yeah, all things considered, teeth
is a pretty good gig. And I get to
keep all the teeth, which at least
I can do something with: they take
a nice coat of bright enamel paint,
and string up into nifty necklaces;
the tourists gobble them up.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

After Baltimore

IBPC (Online) June 2010
(Third Place, May Competition. Judged by Fiona Sampson)

AFTER BALTIMORE
(for fredda)

Sometimes there was wine at night
but there was never any money.
I don’t remember much but coffee,
hash on the roof at midnight
and one time drunk on Harry’s street
dancing in the rain. We pasted up
the underground news. They paid us
with rolling papers, incense,
sacks of welfare rice.

What became of you after that,
after Janicelli’s peyote wedding
and our own sad abortive love affair,
my sudden disappearance?

You looked well some years ago
-it was February, I think-
and you still look good to me now
occasionally
though I must admit it here:
I can’t always recall your face.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

False Start / Killing The Goldfinch

Apparatus Magazine (Online) Jan 2010

False Start

Maybe this is what happens. A man starts
reading a story in the morning:
                                               a woman
leaves, leaving her laundry and saying
goodbye to the neighbors as they load up
a truck, preparing to leave the neighborhood
forever. She goes to the store and overhears
her husband’s girlfriend telling the clerk
how they’ve played her for a fool, how
his promises of fidelity are a joke,
have always been nothing but a joke.

The woman drives home and says goodbye
again to the neighbors. She leaves her
laundry hanging on the line and goes
into the house, packs a hasty bagful
of whatever’s close at hand, says a last
goodbye to the neighbors and drives away
deliberately.
                    Her car breaks down. She
pounds the wheel and waits a fuming hour
for her father to come and rescue her.
She sees the taillights backing up
to her bumper, but when she feels
the first tug of the tow chain, she has
her second thoughts.
                                The man has to
stop reading and go to work. All day long
he thinks about the woman, thinks about
the unfinished story and the neighbors,
packing up to leave. At lunch he goes out
and sits by the lake, starts writing a story
about leaving. After only a page he has to
get back to the office. His wife is away
at a conference. He wants her to come home
and read it. Maybe he never finishes the story.



Killing the Goldfinch

It did what goldfinches do. It flew
—or tried to fly, at least— tried
and failed to fly from the yellow
birch to a low and waiting branch
of aspen, a fluttering invitation,
only a launch and a few wingbeats
away. It did what a goldfinch does:
it tried to trade a green for green,
tried to leave behind one haven
for another and, along the way,
be nothing but what a goldfinch is:
brief and beautiful, a streak of
sunrise, bright. Alive. But fate
would have it otherwise; flight
does not guarantee arrival,
does not denote a destination
reached.
                A thing as clear as
glass –a windshield, say—or
some other car’s bright, shiny
chrome, going a mile a minute
unconcerned, barreling toward
its own destination, does not stop
to reflect on even one small
golden insignificance,
no matter how short its flight.