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