One summer my dad
worked at a city pool
he brought home items
left behind by the public
that’s where I got
those wonderful
light blue tie-dyed
bell-bottom jeans which
were the best pair of pants
I’ve ever had.

It was like they
were made for me
a perfect fit (It’s possible
they were girls’ jeans but I didn’t
care) Dad also gave me a bracelet
with the name Kelly on it
(I checked and Kelly
is a boy’s name too)

In bracelet and light blue
tie-dyed bell bottoms
I looked much older almost
sixteen or seventeen probably.

That summer
we all walked to
Knight’s Variety Store
I was wearing my
light blue tie-died
bell-bottom jeans
Mrs. Knight said I looked
older– my mom agreed.

Girls looked at me
differently that summer and
I prepared for the moment
one of them would
approach and speak
to me but they
never did.

I wish I knew what happened to
those light blue tied-dyed
bell-bottom jeans.

—Rick Baldwin ©2018


Morning Rain

Some will wake early
to witness a sunrise
but for me it’s the rain
tapping on the street
tapping on my roof
tapping on the leaves.
A percussive symphony
knocking against the
windows and electric box
like a thousand broken clocks
keeping stuttered time.
The crispy “swish”
of occasional
fade into the dawn
inspiring streetlight painters
to swirl asphalt abstracts.
A breath and I return
to the silent music
of a perfect meditation.

—Rick Baldwin ©2018


He was born
desert frost,
a Kansas avalanche;
an impossibility
in her
posing as savage
they both carried
under their
like a virus fiend.

—Rick Baldwin ©2018



Murder at midnight.
   Orange light
      glowing against the
            steel, green skin.

Crickets hidden in
   a foggy, 1962 field,
      morbidly screeching
         like white noise
            in a black ear.

Haggard men hoarding
   hate like old coins
      pause for gasoline
         then churn dust
            up from bald tires.

Tomorrow at the bank,
   agency, classroom,
      factory, church
         and precinct,
            they will call
               Jesus a friend.

                 —Rick Baldwin ©2018

Elusive Blood

To be you,
I didn’t know you;
one arm around my mother
the other hand on the wheel.
Laughter on
your side of the door
rarely heard on this
still comforting
in a weird way.
Your secrets
didn’t belong with us and it’s
probably just as well.
But I would have liked to
have known you,
I think.
I might not have liked you
any more but
maybe I

            —Rick Baldwin @2018



One day I will flip out
and scream,
curse and bluster
in frustration
because I cannot
for the life of me
find my keys
and when
that happens
somebody remind me
they are hanging
on the hook
the bedroom door.

—Rick Baldwin ©2018

That One Time

If I could slice
a still instant
   out of moving life,
I would carve
an ample piece of
   that one time
and place it under
a crystal dome—
   gazing daily
at its deliciousness
until temptation
   finally breaks me
and I bust it
from its detention,
   devouring it
like a brown bear
at a honey tree.

           —Rick Baldwin ©2018

Don’t Crumble

Don’t crumble, my friend.
When the world hurls
A terrific kung fu
Punch to your gut
And tosses your home
With winds as
Don’t crumble, my friend.
Your job is terminated
And your best mate
Lured your sweetheart
The markets crashed
And your payment is due
Don’t crumble, my friend.
After the birthdays have
Accumulated (and they will)
Your body has deteriorated
Like the Acqua Marcia
The cunning thief has
Stolen away your treasure
Don’t crumble, my friend.
When your eyes dim and your
Mind becomes your enemy
Doubts foot-drag toward
You like zombies
Preparing to consume
When fears have convinced
You there are no
More better days
Don’t crumble, my friend.

               —Rick Baldwin ©2018

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