BD Feil

BD Feil has credits in New Plains Review , Chaffey Review , and Margie.   He lives in Michigan with quite the brood.


Four Poems (September 20, 2011. Issue 31.)

Grandpa Kept A Road Atlas

Grandpa kept a road atlas next to his easy chair
'Green Thing' Grandma called the chair
not so much out of fondness as spite
dragged it himself on to the back porch
no help none asked none needed
naught but the atlas he himself and Green Thing
and there he sat thumbing roads
Grandma refilling his big bowl of shell peanuts
out of the burlap bag from the feed store
during breaks from her great passion
Big Time Wrestling
Bobo Brazil versus The Sheik
sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer

that Grandpa knew how to live
worked every Pike's Peak sawmill
built houses and farmed dirt in Ohio
campaigned for Teddy in Ought-Four and beyond
intoning TR's name like 'Rose' . . .
FDR's like 'Ruuuuse'" . . .
drawn out and scrunched
as if he smelled something god awful
(never get him started on Harry Ass Truman)
knot on his forehead from flying cutoff
one leg longer than the other
three fingers missing from his working hand
through birth and accidents and life
bread balanced on the L-shape of thumb and forefinger
wielded a hammer between the two
strong old lobster pinchers
thousands of nails that way
flicked matches and live cigar butts into the trash can
just to see her move fast which she would not
not until the pitcher brimmed to the top
even if the trash can had burst into flames
and licked the Stickley sideboard with white marble top
where her crystal bowl of Brach's
hard candies and equally hard caramels sat
complained of her jam pie
that's when the bottom crust's
jammed up against the top crust

the only kind Grandma made and then burnt to boot
since from Pike's Peak to flat Ohio
never really learned the egg timer
a long fall of pot roasts underdone
baked potatoes of mush Sundays feared
set to aside saved and pressed
Edwardian engraved calling cards
delicate lace doilies
cardboard pages of gray unsmiling tintypes
had a son a bit too early on
the math just did not work out right
and along the way among others a Half-Pint
and through the years debt dirt shoes or none
oranges for Christmas
bowled and bobbed haircuts
every month no matter what
to have an engraved card
white untattered pristine waiting
what hopes after all those years
a bell a caller ribbons hurriedly tied
a simple civilized bow from the waist
a walk only a stroll Mother
out into a Saturday night
back soon
a look a touch a caress and then
only years only roads
from an atlas off the back porch


On those visits to the very quiet houses
to the very neat houses of carpet with no pile
where Pan-O-Lux push sweepers stood ready
and bookcases held bound issues of Guidepost
the collected columns of Norman Vincent Peale
scrapbooks of the very weird Little Nemo in Wonderland
and underneath a handful of ancient games
Tiddly Winks with yellowed flaking instructions
a few metal Jacks the bounce gone from the ball
worn incomplete Lincoln Logs smoothed
from many small hands of many small years
and a winking Mr. Peanut of oiled hardwood
his hollowed limbs attached by sprung elastic
I sat quietly immobile
paralyzed by sound
not listening to the words
but to the comforting hum
of the cicada of kind inquiries
of health of friends and cousins
of deaths of old names
like Florence and Rhiney
and Esther and several Edwins
of old familial stories recognized in my swoon
not from plot set-up punchline
but from familiar singsong rhythm
the measured percussive chuckles of ready anticipation
from the easy comfort of pauses
interludes that no one seemed to mind
the warm wash of hypnotic quiet
from the spaces between lives


Scrambling to take the slack from her faults all at once
and I not arguing against graying sky and raking wind
she curses insanely lisps wall-eyed
wails high-pitched into strong gales

"even Sisyphus . . .
that anal retentive . . .
hitches his shoulder differently . . .
on roll three-thousand two-hundred and ten . . ."

on up she climbs not looking back
and I seeing the sun but thinking earth
stop as higher she rises her last wisp indistinguishable
from the spun cotton leavings in the sky

"half the time . . .
you try to convince yourself . . .
the other half . . .
you just lie . . ."

and what was resolved in this tautening?
this frenetic dash of self-improvement?
every thing left undone to cover and be covered
for new season new sun

Sisyphus shifts his weight more into his calves
with the pale hope that maybe this time
before the stone stops trembles reverses
Sisyphus double-timing in front

Woodcraft According To

Jesus was a carpenter
don't you know
one of his pieces sits there
that table
with the stack of seed catalogs
propped under one leg

he made this rocking chair
but don't tip back
too far
the dowels tend to pop out

O a little glue and lord willing

The Legendary