Hardy Coleman

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From Dear Teresa

I heard you moved to Florida or Colorado,
      some place far from Iowa.
Some place without corn fields, even.
      I even wrote you a poem,
but didn't know where to send it.

Perhaps, earlier today,
      some guy driving a U-Haul
on his way out of town,
      (This time, for real!)
sewn tightly into rush hour,
      thought he could beat the traffic light.
Perhaps he gunned it, but the signal
      turned from green to yellow,
red too soon,
      and while he thumped the steering wheel in time
to the ticking
      of his awaited take off,
he glanced into the west and
      saw the almost pink,
almost peel of orange,
      almost geese returning home
filmed across the sky,
      and perhaps he thought of her
like I'm thinking of you.

Perhaps not.

Dear Teresa,
      I finally understand
what it is that you were seeing:
      Not the images in clouds,
but clouds.

Come In Flying Saucer.
Do You Read?
: for O'Nella

Flying Saucer used to drag a cardboard box up Railroad Street.
      Rubber bands and tin cans,
chicken bones, small smooth stones and broken china tea cups
      rattled inside.
Four or five cats,
      his true believers, his faithful
(Unless it was raining.)
      followed him and squabbled over tuna fish in oil.

He'd cross the tracks and wave a live oak stick,
      holler to some rhythm from the outer reaches
which the country western stations never play,
      scour the trash cans
and alley back of Scheuler's Five & Dime
      for parts to fix his ship.

Me and Willy Joe Bounds and Artie Taylor
      used to try and lurk up his backside,
heist a piece of treasure from his box.
      It was dangerous.  He could move flat out with that cane,
and he'd screech a hex on you in Martian
      that'd stick like skunk and prickly pear.
I only got hit once
      and that's cause Artie yellow bellied out
running interference.
      My left ear stung a while, but the curse
made me lose eleven bucks in black jack,
      a cat's eye marble and my Green Lantern, issue #12.

Flying Saucer was a secret agent.
      We could tell about them kinda things.
But he wadn't from Russia
      and he wadn't no ordinary human being.
He took his orders through microwave transmission
      beamed direct to the coat hanger and Reynold's Wrap antenna
that he wore around his head.
      He knew stuff,
like how to keep all them cats fed,
      how to breathe without air,
which cans, rocks and bottle caps
      work best in zero G.

Some of the older kids said it weren't true.
      Said no way would he land in Navasota.
He'd of gone to Washington D. C. or California
      where they know how to treat celebrities.
But maybe he just didn't give a hoot about being famous.
      Me?  I think he wanted to get home, is all,
and our piney woods town was good as any for a pit stop.

But finally, he did leave.
      Lifted off, I suppose, and took his business with him.
Half downtown's got boarded up windows now
      and he don't rant & rave down Railroad Street no more.
Don't nobody bring us Hoo-doo talk from Mars.
      The stray cats yowl at the stars behind the moon
and I wonder if he hears them
      or remembers
that he still owes me a comic book, a marble
      and another hand at black jack?


Hardy Coleman lives in Minneapolis's 5th. Precinct. The past couple of years have brought some "interesting times" to the hood. He has recently had four poems included in The Road By Heart, an anthology of writing about fatherhood and also has a children's short novel, Game Day, put out in June of 2022 by Moonfire Publishing. The poem in this submission, Come In Flying Saucer, was published in 1994 in North Coast Review.