Lynn Patrick Smith
Lynn is a singer/songwriter as well as a poet. His chapbook of poems, Lunar Cradle, was published by Fireweed Press in 1989. He is a member of the Mind's Eye Radio Collective. Their show airs on WORT community radio in Madison, the second Monday of every month at 1:00 PM and is also available on the Pacifica Radio Satellite Network.

The Hardscrabble Singer
          for Ellis Paul

In his songs the landscape
is populated with
dilapidated homes
and the marriages that last
are as sad as
the marriages that don't.
The waitress working the late shift
never meets the man
who comes in for breakfast.
The man who would have
loved her accent
and accepted her children.
Never has children
of his own.

No one leaves
even though as teenagers
that's all they talked about.
They sit beneath
the cracked Pepsi sign
at Ron's Diner
and can't remember
how one day crept into another
until they reached this point,
their jobs handed down
like a sentence
and slowly sensing
that this is what
they were going to avoid.

The wind blows
like a startled ghost.
But don't be distracted
by rattled windows
or howling door frames
for in his songs
it is not just the wind
that sounds like ghosts.

2001 Lynn Patrick Smith

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Street Scene in Three Parts

A man standing with his hands on his knees
looks like he is watching a bowling ball.
It is the same ball that he has
been rolling for years
and he doesn't want to show any reaction
because people are watching
and his ball is always
rolling toward the gutter.

A man standing defiantly at the bus stop
looks like he is waiting to punch out the bus.
Like they have an appointment to meet
on this street corner at 7:43 AM
because the bus stole his lunch money
back in elementary school
and he's been waiting all these years
to get even.

A man standing in front of the food mart
looks like he is watching a movie.
It is a foreign film
and takes place in a country
he has always wanted to visit.
He's seen this movie many times
but he keeps watching
because he has forgotten how it ends.

2001 Lynn Patrick Smith