Halloween: Graveyard


Halloween was a bit too real, as someone dead set on decorating used spectres to make a spectacle of the yard. Corpses rose from coffins among the tombstones, skeletons scaled the widow’s walk.

sean ward - poems

as my hearing

fonder now of instrumental music
particularly extended drum beats,
like Fela Kuti, Baaba Maal – since

lyrics of every new or familiar
tune blend contemptuously, inexorably
from polyphony, melody, into

some muddled middle, where voice vanishes
– every song, each voz alta, muffled, submerged,
(a fish in a bowl) straining at foreign

tongues distorted by the curve of a clear
glass prison, and thick liquid atmosphere.
If these ears evolved from aquatic gills,

so I devolve, and the mellifluous
words fade – once minor background sounds now drown
enunciation, articulation,

while anything emphatic or unexpected –
a (startling tap on the glass) anxious
rush, fight or flight – elicited from the

interruption of fierce concentration
to find sentence among the dissonance
(and the whole world darts deftly off, vibrant

as a tuning fork, craving clarity)
where only simple rhythm resonates


Written after a reading and book launch of The Scribbling Cure by Roberto Bonazzi, with Jim LaVilla-Havelin at Bihl Haus in San Antonio, Thursday April 19, 2012.

sean ward - poems

JFK: now that you’re covered up

Was it like that?
Pacing scenario after scenario
groupthinking holes in policy limits
forgetting firestorms and mother’s milk
fortified with Strontium 90

Was it like that?
Remembering the mythical god
of the sun in an erupting cone
claiming craters as triumphs
Marilyn’s breasts in your hands

Was it like that?
Stripping the magnate’s daughter
in the backseat of a Lincoln Continental
turning the corner in Dallas
at 11 miles an hour

Was it like that?
When the bullets snapped into you
like you were going to sneeze
and then you didn’t

sean ward - poems


…so in the fourth quarter when it seemed the other team was going to hold their lead
for the win and then you made that steal and the fast break for the layup and things
just seemed to fall into place, what was going through your mind at that point? Did
you know you were going to win? Could you feel it?

Well…. I think that… we’re always hopeful for a win and I saw the
opening… and then… you know.

I see… Well, the fans went just a little wild when you went for the basket that third
time and your were only a few points from the tie and then the foul by Kramer….

Yeah well I suppose. You know. Yeah, I mean…. Hoopy.

There must have been a lot of pressure on you to perform on all sides, the fans, the
coach, the other players….

M-hmmmm, uh…. Hoopy hoopy hoopy.
Yes. And with less than a minute to go and hoopy hoopy hoop.

Well, we’re a team, hoopy hoopy hoop hoopy hoop.

Well, ha ha. I think hoopy hoop and hoopy hoopy hoopy.

Hoopy. Hoopy hoopy hoopy.

Hoop. Hoop. Hoopy.


Originally published in The Portable Wall 24 (1995): 58. Print.

sean ward - poems

Rednecks in Zen*

We was sittin on the porch
outside a Chester’s whittlin
toothpicks outta logs.
I looks at Jake’n says,
What’s up with BobbieSue anyways?

Whatcha mean? (says Jake)

I thought we wuz pretty tight
but but she don’t come round
when she says she’s gonna
an she’s goin out with some other ole boy
I ain’t evenever met.

You say somethin to ‘er bout it?

I called’er thother night, but
she was makin a marble cake
an had to let me go so’s she
could go find some marbles*.

She’s fickle boy!

Fickle? Whaddayathink I orta do?

Well son, know that tractor we got we use
fer hayrides won’t stay in third gear?


Do we try’n fix it?

Ain’t worth fixin.

Gets the job done anyways, right?

Well, yeah.

Well son, it’s like any piece
of farm equipment–

you gotta let a tractor* be a trractor,
an let a hoe* be a hoe.

*Zen — a school of Buddhism that asserts that enlightenment can be attained through meditation, contemplation, and intuition rather than through scripture
*marbles — small balls used in children’s games
*tractor — an automotive vehicle designed for pulling machinery
*hoe — a tool with a flat blade and a long handle, used for weeding, gardening, cultivating, and gardening


Originally published in The Portable Wall