Published Poems

Miss Maggie by Carl Slater
By some
She is called “Miss Maggie”
For me
I shall miss Maggie.

Sad to say
I have developed
An affection
For Miss Maggie.

The message is clear
From Maggie
From the doctor
Time to let go.

Time to let go
Yet I will miss Maggie
The comfort of her presence
My mother.

6/1/01 Published by State of the Arts in Clear Lake City


Train Watching by Carl Slater
They could hear it
Then they saw it
A small train
Engine and three cars
A giant to them
Little boy and girl
Standing there in the field
Watching it go by
Wondering to each other
Where had it come from?
Where was it going?
Imagining faraway places.

What is that?
The engineer

Published Online by Poetic Voices 8/1/01


No Father by Carl Slater
We went from the home
That had a mother
And no father
To the home
That had a father
And no mother
And a mother
And no father.

Is it any wonder
Then that I
Spent my life
Trying to create families
With no fathers
And no mothers
And still wonder
About love and marriage?
Published Online by Red River Review 11/01/01

Buried Alive by Carl Slater

When he went underground
To avoid the pain
He did not know
He would be there forever.

Awareness reduced
Emotions shut down
Heart blocked
Eyes closed.

It never worked well
Awareness, emotions, and heart
Kept breaking through
To assert their essence.

Some pain may have been avoided
But mostly what resulted
Were unnecessary losses
And emotional barrenness.

With the heart and soul
Still crying out for
Meaningful connections
With good people.

Accepted for publication by Our Journey

Janus by Carl Slater

I stand Janus like
One face looking backward
Clinging to my past
Resisting healing
The other looking forward
Yearning for my future
Seeking healing.

Both part of
The process of healing
Signaling both
A letting go
And a new beginning

Accepted for publication by Our Journey

Last Year’s Addiction by Carl Slater
He said, “I saw your friend.”
“Oh, you mean Marsha?”
“No, the one who had been
In the accident.”

“Oh, you mean …”
What was her name?
Hard to recall.
Not that she is
Not a person
But for me
She was just last year’s addiction.

Last year’s addiction
An all-absorbing thing
Leading me down pathways
I never knew existed.

Me latching on for dear life
Trying to get more and more
Never enough
An insatiable craving.

That’s why I say
She was just last year’s addiction
And I hope and pray
The last of her kind in my life.

Accepted for publication by Our Journey

“Sure Beats Flying” by Carl Slater
While the UPS truck was parked
A sparrow jumped up on
The grate of the tail gate.
Wasn’t he surprised
When the truck took off
Through the neighborhood?
Wasn’t I surprised to see him
Nonchalantly perched there
The truck heading down the road
at fifty miles an hour.
Without a doubt
His demeanor said,
“Sure beats flying.”

5/1/02 Published by State of the Arts in Clear Lake City

Invisible World by Carl Slater
As the heavy morning fog began to disperse,
I suddenly spotted Mother Nature’s wash
Hung from the trees
For miles along both sides of the road.
Only when I looked again, and again,
Did I discover it was moisture dusted spider webs,
Produced by heavy fog,
And lighted by emerging sunrays.

An invisible physical world
Hidden by intent from prying eyes
For protection and entanglement,
Not unlike the other hidden world,
The one of invisible spirits,
Of nymphs and angels and cherubim.

Published in State of the Arts in Clear Lake City July/August 2002

Solo by Carl Slater
He cut through the ice
Alone in the spotlight
As he circled to the slow beat of a drum,
Skated on one foot, then the other
Slid to his left, rolled to the right
Flowed forward, drove backward
Coasted straight
And circled without direction,
A pairs skater without his partner-on-ice,
Adrift on a film of frozen water.
Published in State of the Arts in Clear Lake City, Spring, 2003

The Names of Towns by Carl Slater
Highway signs displaying
The names of towns
Seem to show patterns.
Milton names a mill town,
Cheshire comes from shire
Bay City’s on the bay.
Marlboro says borough
Wareham links to hamlets.
Beeville honors it’s bees.
City implies no size,
Archer City’s a thousand,
New York has millions.

Are town names logical?
Or is this drivel
From too many road miles?
Still Winchester
Makes one wonder,
“What’s a chester?”
Published Online by Poetic Voices, June, 2003

A Walk by Carl Slater
My dying mother limps into the house
stands like a little girl at my study door
and says, “I fell down.”

Cuts and blood cover both hands,
on one knee a scrape,
the lower lip, swollen and darkening,
looks as if someone had slugged her. I make her
promise to tell people
it wasn’t me. She laughs, and my mind races
with pictures of the hospice nurse
who visits tomorrow, the dozen friends
invited to her 82nd birthday,
and my guilt—I did not walk
with her today—as I clean the blood
off her and the car’s upholstery.
Published in Red River Review issue of 11/03/03

A World Apart by Carl Slater
The pier juts
A hundred yards into the ocean,
Its supports lapped by waves,
Its platform populated
By lovers and fishermen.
At dusk it becomes a world apart,
A silent refuge,
Its visitors
Freed from the laws
Of man and land and day.
I scatter Mother’s ashes.
Published in Red River Review issue of 11/03/03

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