Old Hum – True Tales of the West

OK, I took huge liberties with nostaugustines’s July challenge verse. It started me off in a direction and I thought it would be fun to roll with it. Apologies in advance if too far out of the spirit of the exercise.

Here is the original:

Memory is a prison
A refrigerator buzz
While I make tostadas
A hum over mumbling
Mobsters on the box
A-wandering, mapless
A baroque Sicilian plot

Memory is a prison

Here is the mess I made out of it:

Memory is a prison
Of the smell of scorched beans
While I make tostadas,
A refrigerator buzz
From the broken fan.
Denver, Summer, hot, 1978.
The apartment a block from Colfax
With drug dealers on the porch
And garbage trucks in the alley
At 3AM. I contemplate
The rack of Winchester .30-30’s
With lever action
At Gart Brothers.

White Bear
Kicks in my door
His voice
A hum over mumbling,
Can’t understand him so drunk.
Tired of being just another Indian
Sleeping at the bus stop
Next to the emptys of Thunderbird.
He walked and hitched from South Dakota,
Wandering mapless, shiftless, meaningless
Near madness,
Not sure who he killed –
Girlfriend, wife, cousin.
Justice in his family
Baroque, a Sicilian plot
Of honor and

But none of that matters –
Memory is a prison
Because she saw someone else’s nightgown
On the back of the bedroom door,
A bottle of eyeliner
On the sink,
And was gone.
Left me with the junkies
And mobsters
Playing cards
On top of the milkbox,
Who grabbed her ass
On her way out
the door.

18 thoughts on “Old Hum – True Tales of the West

  1. Now come on, you knew I would love this! I’m really glad I didn’t put any rules on this thing because you dug deep into your own memory and boy is it vivid. It’s great how you created a whole cast of unsavory characters, bringing the action out of the tv and into reality.


    1. OK, I was pretty sure you would want me to go ahead, but always a chance someone is offended. But BTW, this is all true. Except that I was making tacos, not tostadas.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks so much for the opportunity, I had such a great time exploring this. Something had been working on me since I first read your post, there was some way in where the poems were part of each other, organic. Glad it worked out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for collaborating. I was excited to return to my computer this afternoon and see so many people had taken a crack at it. I think the two halves share a sort of grittiness that can only come from experience.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, the tostadas and the loud hum from the refrigerator were the handholds. I was right there. I didn’t have a TV, so couldn’t leg in the mobsters that way, but no shortage of dangerous people around.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I won’t say “Sounds so real that I feel like I could have been there,” because one of you is likely to say, “You were!” Actually, BOTH of you are likely to… I nearly blew Dr. Pepper out my nose reading this. Not great when I could barely afford the laptop I own much less replace it. …and no way I’d be able to explain to Mr. Disk-It how my Dell ended up in this shape. This was honest, funny, and honestly funny. Well written insanity! You are lucky you survived. By the way, Denver hasn’t gotten any saner since they legalized pot. …not that they really had to.


    1. Charley, I vastly underestimated you. Will never do that again. I pegged you to be the most likely eventually put the two of us together, but next to instantly. Chapeau!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I would love to take credit for being that great at deductive reasoning, clairvoyance, and having access to national secrets… however… the first of your three comments led me to think… “Crikey! Qbit and Nosaintaugustine are the same person!” But then, “No, wait… what?” But, um, yes… I’m intelligent, intuitive… but mostly just silly.

        That said, you are a lucky man! And she is a lucky woman! Rare is the couple who create, write, love, and live together. Awesome!

        …are you sure you’re not Nosaint…? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved, loved, loved this! The comments too. Likewise, i lived in a place where danger lived too. Came through that stage relatively unscathed. Legalising pot? I heard something similar for South Africa and didn’t even realise. Really don’t want any of it back either even if it shaped me.

    Liked by 1 person

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