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Bob Atkinson


Tucson, AZ, US

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Copper Mine Feast


Bob Atkinson

Below Ben Moore near Santa Rita
lay rich copper mines of fable
an ore so pure it could be traded
three hundred miles south to smelter

Apaches roamed among the miners
no questions asked or answered either
here and there a lost item showed
a mule, a horse or someone killed

assigning guilt to the other side
can keep the wicked clear of mind
actions dire and deeds unjust
in the name of God
just don't mean much

asked if they had done what was known
to be their work and hidden bones
Apaches shrugged and denied it all
not giving directly to evidence of fault

worse and worse became the toll
giving cause for all to fear these fellows
peeking in on them at night
losing life in quick knife fights

assigning guilt to the other side
can keep the wicked clear of mind
actions dire and deeds unjust
in the name of God
just don't mean much

if there are those who take lives at night
and steal away property in the morning light
murder and other depredations
can cause a reversal of the situation

there are some who profess civilization
showing love, character and respect of lord
yet not far beneath their skin
a barbarity breeds for those not kin

such a man was Johnson of English birth
a man quite bright with a vengeful heart
devising a plan to reduce the problem
with murder and sinister confrontation

assigning guilt to the other side
can keep the wicked clear of mind
actions dire and deeds unjust
in the name of God
just don't mean much

he asked his masters what to do
reply came that he should use
whatever means he could command
to reduce numbers of this Apache band

a feast was called for Apache friends
eat of the bounty of their fellow men
chew the meat and swallow corn
and live as if life was short

set them here, close together
no, squeeze them tighter
for a good shot pattern

load the mortar with lethal grub
shards of glass and metal slabs
balls of lead and pack it tight
one good shot should be just right

assigning guilt to the other side
can keep the wicked clear of mind
actions dire and deeds unjust
in the name of God
just don't mean much

sit the women and children tight
elbow to elbow with their warriors bright
give the gun a chance to roar
and blast away lives before the morning

eat you heathen women and children
you uncivilized men and baby boys
toddlers roaming about the place
bringing smiles of joy as they passed a face

smile as you eat and go for more
feed your bellies as never before
dance and sing and carry on
but keep tightly bunched
for the work of the gun

assigning guilt to the other side
can keep the wicked clear of mind
actions dire and deeds unjust
in the name of God
just don't mean much

Jack's Sweater Shower


Bob Atkinson

Jack's Sweater Shower of Munich

Park out in the boonies
away from everything
nothing here of interest
except the robins singing

through the entrance to the grotto
where strange machines glide
fast into the tunnels bored through earth
toward the town of long ago man

grab a quick bite to eat
at the yellow arches store
sitting on hard benches
unknown what this place holds

enter into the darkness
oh, there's plenty of light
but what to expect of this
I don't know
but some others might

come up the steps to a scene
of craftsmanship and might
stone buildings ornately made
not an automobile in sight

cobblestones upon the street
a people walking zone
where you can cross the street in awe
without trucks and taxis
trampling your toes

oh, the builders of this town
and those who take care of it
have in my heart the due respect
of one who couldn't do this

there's care of many eons
it didn't happen at one time
the shape of everything we saw
kept these tourists' eyes wide

there was the clock
it would chime
we weren't looking for it
but we found it there
at the top of steps
we all knew of it

backwards, walking across the street
I now fully understood
how the city left you in a trance
and glad you came to it

if car's were here allowed
you'd be on their hoods
viewing sky with anguished pain
giving wonder and amazement
to your end of days

a department store
in front of us
a sale of some expanse
sweaters neatly on a table
a woman folded the last

yes, to my awe,
to my complete surprise
my adventure was taking a turn
in front of my wide eyes

now you must remember
from Paris we did come
we weren't fresh or rich of taste
when to this table we stood

Jack had been thrown into the pokey
in Saint Gallen, Switzerland
for smashing his car
into a woman's trunk
while fighting a bus for land

it was raining, this is true
but give me here a break
who cares if you are in the front
or behind this monster box
when push comes to shove
the larger mass prevails
for it I always wait

here I have digressed
I've made you wait again
for the story of the table
and how foolish one can seem

when we are confronted plainly
from those who upon us wait
with disgust or disdain
by making funny faces
or remarks
about from where we came
it always gives us pain

especially if it is in a language
they think we don't understand
or about the height or weight of one
who thinks he is a man

when Jack heard these remarks
about his unfolding clothes
placed neatly on the table
from the store to be sold

he didn't take it lightly
it did not smooth his soul
the anger of being insulted
rose to his head from his toes

stupid American, huh?
crazy ape?
short of stature?
from a poor place came?

well, this made him very, very mad
he rose up in wild disgust
at the woman throwing insults
under her breath behind his back

she had, it must be understood
worked very, very hard
at folding sweaters on the table
that Jack would open then discard

his tirade lasted moments
I stood there mouth open wide
and watched this wildness of mind
in a place of older times

he told her in her native tongue
how she was an old and ugly mom
and promised her he would take
from her table all those garments

this he did, with action fast
gathering them all, even the last
into a ball between his arms
and threw them high
into the sky, my oh my

"Jack's Sweater Shower of Munich"
now it's called
decorated a street of much fine places
and left astonished many faces

and I think a bit disgraced us

this true story, now related
for those yet to traveled abroad
tells one tale of action
of one raw dog

there are two lessons to be learned
here in this tale of woe
first for tourists a trip to make
to see themselves where it had happened
a famous place on that old street
where Jack and the clerk woman would banter

you can find it if you look hard
and see the clock upon the tower
look to the store that is across the street
see if tables are still complete
with refolded sweaters, all very neat

then there is the subtle side
of how others see our inner pride
they see it not, they are content
within their souls, their time to spend
caring only about themselves
letting others fold things on their tables
while remembering this old fable