Thursday, June 20, 2013

Amos Fuller Doesn't Speak by BJ Neblett

Amos Fuller Doesn’t Speak
(A winner 2007 Penn American Writing Program)
by BJ Neblett
© 2006, 2013

Amos Fuller doesn’t speak.
He sometimes sits with us when there is room,
His stark dinner tray occupying his private
quarter of the table.

His khakis are always neat and clean,
Wrinkle free, yet strangers to an iron;
His heavy black boots shiny and worn.
He never wears sweats, or sneakers, or
T shirt,
Just the same long sleeved uniform, winter
or summer.

If the salt and pepper are out of reach he
does without.
Sometimes one of us will place them in front
of him.
Then mashed potatoes become snow covered
The single, thin slice of meat an ash laden

Bent in posture yet proud in manner,
Amos Fuller doesn’t speak.
He wears his thinning Afro like a skull cap;
His withered brow reads like the rings of
a southern pine.

He bows his head in prayer, and raises it
in drink,
His vacant eyes prisoners to a different
time, a different place.
Fork clenched tightly in a rough arthritic
The lacking meal is meticulously

           Dry green salad;
           Mean portion of rice or potatoes;
           Two glasses of water.
           Always the same.
           Never dessert.

Once there were cucumbers on his tray.
Halfway through the meal Amos Fuller
burped, expressionless.
He wiped his puffy brown lips
and continued to eat.

Someone said he murdered his wife and
her lover;
Their splattered mingled blood stained the
Curtains and carpet of the tired motel room.
That was 40 years ago,
The last time anyone heard Amos Fuller

Dinner was silent and tense tonight,
Eyes shifting about like butterflies.
I stood to leave, dropping a wrapped candy
mint on his spent tray.
He raised his blank face to mine,
and rapped his scarred knuckles on the
Amos Fuller doesn’t speak.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Untitled by BJ Neblett

Here's a poem from a younger and more, shall we say, romantic BJ. Then again, looking at some of my more recent work, I guess not that much has changed... life goes on.

by BJ Neblett
© 1970, 2013

I sat until the old man of the park came by
as he always seemed to do about this time.
Yet dusk arrived early today,
or was it only the clouds that
blocked the sunlight from my eyes,
the same sun we shared often
but never enough.
But there was never enough time and
perhaps that is why I’m alone now,
alone, watching the old man,
the funny old man of the park
you called him,
as we sat and watched him
and the people
and the pigeons,
and the buildings melted into the sky
as we walked through
the thoughts we shared
and the love that grew like
the trees in the park,
the park where we sat
and met
and talked
and loved
and watched the old man,
the poor old man of the park.
And now it’s dark and I’m alone
and the old man is gone.
No, he didn’t come today
as he always did before.
Now he is gone
and so are you.

                                    Broomall, PA

                                    October, 1970

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Trouble With Walls by BJ Neblett

The Trouble With Walls
by BJ Neblett
© 2005, 2013

The trouble with walls is
            They can’t feel
They can’t distinguish between love and hate
They just keep things in as well as out

The trouble with walls is
            They have no eyes
No way to see the loss without
No way to know the soul within

The trouble with walls is
            They cannot taste
Outside the rain is as bitter
As the tears that are shed inside

The trouble with walls is
            They cannot hear
Longings of loved ones echo back into the night
The cries of despair are absorbed deep within

The trouble with walls is
            They have no heart
They know nothing of suffering
Have no capacity to understand

But even the strongest of walls are flawed
For they cannot contain the spirit of man

                                    Boston, MA

                                    June, 2005