Monday, May 30, 2011

Ted Williams (1972)

Ted Williams  (1972)

Dip the rear shoulder as  you land
your front foot and you won't lunge
on a Wilbur Wood knuckler, goddamnit.
With his best Texas Ranger hitting .250,
manager Teddy Fucking Ballgame is tempted
to activate himself.  He is fifty-four,
beefy, but how hard is it to sit back,
trust hips and hands, and drill Woods' pus?
Williams, 34-inch Louisville Slugger in hand,
swaggers to the water cooler.  On defense,
his boys labor to field routine grounders.
If he was twenty years younger....
Williams shuts his eyes: Korea, 1953, his F-9
fighter is aflame in the closest game he'll win.

This poem was first published in Elysian Fields ( a baseball quarterly edited by Tom Goldstein).  It was subsequently included in a Red Shuttleworth poetry chapbook, Brief Lives... and is now included, along with many other Red Shuttleworth bio-sketch poems, in Ghosts & Birthdays, a book available on Amazon.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Old Silver... Aged Stars Over Nevada.. The Usual Bluff

Rhyolite, Nevada

Old Silver... Aged Stars Over Nevada...  The Usual Bluff

A little money to amuse yourself, half a continent to drift,
you're a blue, past-peak gunslick of the non-rhyme.
Today you're driving either 35 or 95, nothing average,
seeking badger-silence and the next cinderblock motel.

And those stars overhead with ragged postage stamp edges,
glitter-wishes for the begging.  And the sleek Chinese girl
at Mona's Ranch in Elko refuses to believe you're only there
for the T-shirt, because she wants to camisole-strip real slow.

Legends have their own cares: Doc Holliday coughs
against the underside of his Glenwood Springs gravestone.
And Jesus fondles Mary M.'s breasts, pounds a wine jug
off a kitchen table in heaven to scare off fans and missionaries.

And... when you switch on the motel bathroom light,
it flashes before dying.  With whiskey head-throb,
with strawberry-taste skin-memories of someone,
it's good to sleep with a .45 below a pillow.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Steve McQueen (1960)

Steve McQueen  (1960)

He fixes on the actress who is watching
sweat drip off her chin onto a handheld mirror.
Acting, man, beats having your brain vibrate
into Jello-O in a factory.  But it's all a box,
six feet long, maybe with blue linen lining.
He takes off a cowboy boot, rubs his foot.
Look, I don't mind cloth napkins with a meal,
maybe a steamy kiss between sucks on weed.
McQueen whispers something to the actress,
squints, pulls the boot back on by its mule ears.
Let's figure I live to sixty.  Can you see me
some November day, like an old cow skull,
lying on a chaise longue by a Hollywood pool,
pooched belly, mouth a graveyard of teeth?

This poem first appeared in Chariton Review (edited by Jim Barnes).

Steve McQueen (1960) is featured in Red Shuttleworth's forthcoming poetry chapbook from Finishing Line Press: We Drove All Night ( the chapbook can be pre-ordered from Finishing Line Press at the web site under "New and Forthcoming Books).

WE DROVE ALL NIGHT, a poetry collection from RED SHUTTLEWORTH

Wolfie and Red Shuttleworth


can be ordered from