Contact the Author: rdlbarton@netscape.net

Contact The Author: rdlbarton@netscape.net

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



Sunday, December 29, 2013

How To Know For Sure

egg (online) December 2013

3:47 AM
and still you can’t
without her there, sleeping,
sleep.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Company For Dinner

Bohemia (Online / Print) October 2013

Who could resist those gumdrop
eaves, those icing gutters, pink
wafer shutters and doors, shrubs
of spun sugar, those licorice windows
and that delicate black cracker chimney?
Who indeed. No one. Everyone
who stopped, even if only to visit,
however briefly, wished they could
call it home, wanted to possess
such a finely sprinkled chocolate lawn.
But sooner or later, sweetness fades:
inside, there’s only a blazing stove,
a blazing iron oven and a wicked and
starving witch, wishing she wasn’t
so always alone, wasn’t always so lost
in the deep and darkening woods,
far from her cat and her coven,
trying in vain to fill her emptiness
with a couple of wayward children
fattening in cages in the corner.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thought For The Day

The Comstock Review (Print) October 2013

Although he did not have the time
to write it down or tell his friends
his thought for the day was this:
Nothing is ever where you expect
to find it.

                 He had this thought
as he balanced on the bed’s edge,
his feet sweeping circles in the dark
in search of his grey sweats, when
the massive clot dislodged, ran
its short course to the ventricle
and suddenly the room at 4AM
was bathed in beautiful light.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Song Of The Crystal

Northern Cardinal Review (Online) September 2013

Safe the harbor here
        where hardwoods creak
             in wind
               bend
        along the water’s edge
to kiss and mix
        their shadows;
to measure air
and mark the water’s reach.


Safe the haven here
        where streamlets, muttering,
           murmur secret histories
           of millrace, of millpond,
and of slightly shifted stone.


Safe safe safe
        where water falls:
        below the cliffstone
beneath a tree, beside a brook.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hemlock, Sandalwood, Sage

Northern Cardinal Review (Online) Sept 2013

Today it’s hemlock smoke, or
cedar and, under thin clouds
and the huge blue, I’m on a
hillside, high, dreaming about
what summer used to be like,
how all the beautiful women
walked up and down the beach,
their brown eyes no darker
than their deep tans, the sun
not much brighter than their
smiles.
               And I remember that
once I could smell sandalwood
—or maybe it was sage—burning
in the distance on an autumn
afternoon; could hear the chant
of soft wind through sycamore,
the burble of a mid-day brook,
and I realize
                        I’ve been here
before, been here in all seasons:
when the sun baked the drying
grass; when the snow drifted
into the hollows between the
hills; when the first leaves
greened, or the last of them,
reddened, sailed earthward
on autumn-scented air.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Watch And Wait

Untitled, with Passengers (Online) September 2013
**Audio Link On Page**
 
A homesick Canadian, northbound,
approaching eighty-five or ninety
blasted past me in a thick fog
up on The Heights, swerved
across the breakdown lane, sailed
the ditch and collided with granite;
everything within seconds was aflame.
Nothing could be done. I could only
watch.
Even the ambulance, useless,
red strobes flashing near midnight,
arriving before the useless state police,
long before the merciful fire truck
lumbered up, could do exactly
nothing.
Almost a week went by.
I told and retold the story; told and
almost wept with each telling, each
detail etched clear as an August sky
lit by flame and stars: the streak of
tail lights diminishing, death in the air,
waiting.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Got Yer "Grumpy" Right Here, Pal

Anthologized in Ekphrastia Gone Wild from Ain't Got No Press, (Aug. 2013)
(Originally published in And/Or (Inaugural Issue, November 2010)

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.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Persistence Of Vision

The Rapid Eye  (Online/Defunct) (Aug 2013)

She opens the fish,
finds her daughter's fingers inside;
every fish the same explosion.

 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wordland (2 pieces)

Issue 3  (Online)  Apr 2013

Escapee

Gimme that she said, reaching for
her daughter’s wrist; the goddamn thing
cost seven bucks.Let me just…
But it was too late. The string had slipped
and the little girl was already afloat,
helium and Mylar in a perfectly clear April.


While You're Away, A Meteor Shower

Twice yesterday and overnight last night,
snow squalls and wind.This morning
the lawn was white.Hell of an April.
All day today, though, I imagined you
wherever you are (somewhere beside
water, I think you said) staring up at
the same clearing sky, the same blue as
the cold, distant ocean that called you
away.
          Tonight it’s clear: I’m alone and
the sky’s a dark crystal. Only a few stars
mar the dim silence; I’m standing here
staring up at the Lyrids (fine silver rain
of sparkle and flash from somewhere
halfway across the universe) thinking
only of you.
                   It’s already almost midnight
and the moon won’t show for at least
an hour, no sun rises until you return.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Farsi Love Song

litbomb (Online) April 2013

After a while, even though they’re singing in Arabic or Farsi, he swears he can tell what they’re singing about; swears this song’s about what it’s like when their lips meet in the dark, how it feels watching him walk out the door, off to join the army, not knowing how he’ll get by without her.

He’s had this same experience before, watching an Italian couple arguing in Italian in an Italian subway station: she was telling him he’s a dog—has always been a dog—and she knows there’s going to be some slut at the end of the line, waiting to meet him and let him take her home to her chintzy and flowered walk-up, let him kiss her on the balcony under the April drizzle, then take him inside, let him prove just how much of a dog he truly is.

All of this he understood clearly without a single word of English. Translation, he thought, was unnecessary, superfluous.

Now he sits and listens to the Farsi love song, laments the pace that others set for themselves, a pace that keeeps them from hearing the heartbreak, feeling the loss, sharing the shattered moment we all have to live through, sooner or later, in any language.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Firetower

Northern Cardinal Review (Online) April 2013

Everything under the sun
is lag-bolt and pressure-treated lumber;
everything else is outside, beyond far.
It does not reach.
Here, only the movement of grasses.
Here trees, breathing, rustle and whisper
openly secret secrets
only to nuthatch and thrush.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Not Quite Mud-Luscious Yet

Every Day Poets (Online) April 2013

This latest snow, I hope, will also be
the last.
             I wait for white to fade,
for drifts to drift away, for warmer
nights and longer days.
                                  I pray
for crocuses to come and go,
or an April shower of tulip blooms
and lollipop roses; for anything
that shows us that the sun is less
removed, is less remote.
                                     I hope
these bloomless snowy days are past,
this latest snow will also be —at last—
the last.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Late Snow, By The Numbers

The Orange Room Review (Online) April 2013

I spent the night, head filled with numbers and
dreams of numbers, and in the frozen morning
 --new snow on all the branches--I'm filled with
numbers still: readout on the oil tank, wattage
of the feeble lightbulb, what part of the pound
of coffee remains until I'm drowning in a sea of
numbers too great to reckon.
                                           Five new inches
of snow at the end of April, the month pretending
to be March, going out like a lion on all fours,
temps in the lower double digits. Five new inches
of snow, even though the moon has orbited the
frogpond almost half a dozen times already
since the new year's turn. Five new inches of
snow on the three or four places we'd reserved
for delphinium and columbine, for roses, lilies,
and various summer whatnot.
                                           All the world's awash
in white. April's almost over; I'm counting on May.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Two Small Threes By Five

(Haibun)
World Haiku Review (Online) March 2013

Irresistible— 
harvest moon after midnight
a haiku mandate

This is how it is for him. It’s pathetic, and even he knows it’s pathetic. He wakes up hours before daylight, fully awake with his self-imposed deadline ringing in his head: two small poems, three lines each, finished before breakfast; he just keeps thinking Two Small Threes By Five, over and over again until finally he gets himself out of bed to write them.
 
He thinks about where to start, takes the time to look up the phrase harvest moon—an antique phrase he’s vowed never to use in his writing—but the moonlight’s just so very present, flooding the window, shining on his desktop, and illuminating his keyboard that he feels the need to check it out and be certain. Sure enough:  a harvest moon, shining on.
 
After the first three hard-won lines, he hits the pre-set audio and the Sandhya Raga floods the room. He’s out of incense. He’s afraid he’s out of ideas. He walks to the kitchen, makes the coffee by moonlight, steel strings still ringing in the darkness:Raga Of The Harvest Moon. He looks out the window.
 
absolute perfect moon
coffee moon keyboard moon raga moon moon
haiku moon, release me

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Charlie

*82 Review (Print & Online) 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 home, 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.