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Best Roy Jerden Poems

Below are the all-time best Roy Jerden poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members

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The Angel Inside

Coral life forms in copious swarms
feast in the Cambrian chyme,
dividing their cells and forming their shells
to end on the seafloor as lime.
Tectonic churning and magma upturning
renders marble whiter than bone.
The marble is mined, but the cutters are blind
to the angel confined in the stone.

A young sculptor arose, with a bend in his nose
and a transcendent creative spark,
charged with ambition to fulfill a commission,
an angel for St. Dominic's Ark.
An artist sublime who will live for all time,
his genius is to see things not shown.
For an angel to achieve he first has to perceive
its splendor enclosed in the stone.

At dawning's first glow he surveys the tableau
of the blocks the stone cutters supplied.
In some he sees dreams of potential themes,
but only one holds an angel inside.
“A beautiful thing never gives so much pain 
as does failing to hear it and see it.”
The block that he chose was rejected by those
who then lied and claimed to foresee it.
 
With talent and skill he falls to with a will,
surrounded by rubble and relic.
His method you see, for the angel to free
is to remove all the bits not angelic.
Michelangelo’s art for all time stands apart
but there's something further to heed.
For there's a bit more to the fine metaphor
in the tale of the angel he freed.

“A beautiful thing never gives so much pain 
as does failing to hear it and see it.”
For in all our insides a bright angel abides
and is just waiting for something to free it:
to remove all the parts which harden our hearts,
to chip out the darkness and pride,
to smooth the rough patches, to polish the scratches
and unshackle the angel inside.

© January 26, 2013

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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Redneck Santa

T'were the night after Christmas, 'n' the house was all dark.
Not much money for 'lectric in the ol' trailer park.
Ma waitin' tables at the club on the base,
jist me and my sisters alone in the place.

A big ol' blue norther, t'were a hard winter storm.
We's all snuggled up close, jist tryin' ta stay warm.
The trailer's as cold as a well digger's ass,
cause they come out that mornin' and turnt off the gas.

I shore kinda hated to git out of that bed,
but ol' Mother Nature made me git up, instead.
I'd gotta go out if I wanted a leak,
'cause the toilet had bin all plugged up fer a week.

Outside it 'peered warmer, which was a suprise.
As I peed on the tree, sumpin lit up the skies.
Them lights shined down on the yard, and I froze.
Shore prayed it warn't one of them weird UFO's.

As I stood thar turnin' round and around
there was white stuff fallin' and coatin' the ground.
I grabbed a big buncha it up in my mitts.
I thought it was snow, but turnt out it were grits.

I heared a big motor runnin' up overhead
and down come a monster truck painted all red.
It bounced on the front 'n' bounced on the back,
then the driver clumb down 'n' grabbed a tow sack.

He was white-haired 'n' husky, with red overalls,
long ZZ Top whiskers 'n' blood-shot eyeballs.
A red John Deere work cap was perched on his nut
and a WalMart white T-shirt half-covered his gut.

He look like he just come off'n the farm,
'cept fer them tattoos of elves on his arm.
As I stood around there jist like a complete dick,
he says, “Boy ain't you gonna say crap to St. Nick?”

“Yes siree Bob”, says I, “I got sumpin to say.
I'd shore like ta know where you was yesterday.
The toilet's stopped up and we's all out of heat,
ain't got no money and they's nuthin' to eat.”

“I was fixin' ta make it on time”, he then said.
He look kinda sheepish, and hung down his head.
“But I stopped at a bar when I finished my rounds.
And run inna St. Paddy at the Hare 'n' the Hounds."

"Ya know that he's the very best pal of St. Nick.
But there's none who can put 'em away like that Mick.
And the next thing ya know, we's over at Chances
Where that Tooth Fairy is doin' ten-dollar lap dances.”

“The Tooth Fairy a stripper? That done give me the chills!”
“Yessir”, says he, “Where ya think she gits all them bills?”
“Jist a minute”, I goes. “Where's the reindeer and sleigh?”
He turnt even redder, and then looked away.

“Well, we had a poker game goin', I thought I would win.
I was holdin' four aces and bet everthang in.”
There was a palpable silence, a terrible hush.
“Then that damn Easter Bunny laid down a straight flush.”

“Well, I cut cards with a redneck and won me that truck
But as for the reindeer, they was squat outta luck
They throwed a big barbeque, and cooked 'em up slow
But I must say them reindeer's good eatin', ya know?”

No Dasher, no Dancer, no Prancer and Vixen!
No Comet, no Cupid, no Donner and Blitzen!
For hung on that red-painted monster truck's nose
was eight pairs of antlers, lined up in two rows.

“Anyway, I brung vittles for you and the girls.”
And out of the sack he pulled seven skint squirrels.
“I jist bagged 'em thar in yer neighbor's back yard
Fry 'em up well, boy, with plenty of lard.”

I goes, “Them squirrels is rilly fine eatin' fer shore,
But ta git past tomorrow, we's gonna need more.”
says he,“Well, I's a bit short on cash fer today.”
And he give me six lottery numbers to play.

Then up drives my ma with bad blood in her eye
Draws out her six-shooter, jist primed to let fly.
Then lowers her arm down and commences to bawl
says, “I love you, you bastard, you tol' me you'd call!”

He says, “Boy, looks like it's not healthy to linger
Sticks his mitt out 'n' goes “Just pull on my finger.
The truck is fer you, son. I bid ya goodnight.”
And on a column of wind, he plumb riz out of sight.

I feels fevered and flushed as I stands there in awe
And I reckons this redneck St. Nick was my paw.
A voice far-off hollers, “Merry Christmas, now, y'all!
Then adds, “Don't fret none baby, jist wait fer my call!”

P.S. Them lottery numbers worked out good. We
bought a double-wide on our own lot 'n' a giant
TV and had still had lots of money left over fer
me to go to big rig truck driving school and Ma
to that there beauty college. And on top of that
a Nigerian guy is going to deposit over a million
dollars in my bank account. 

Copyright © Roy Jerden

Details | Roy Jerden Poem |

Kiss of the Eagle

Many eons passed on Earth, who only saw your face
Untouched your virgin body, floating there in space
Waxing, waning, gibbous, crescent, quarter, full and new
Selene the Greeks would call you; Diana, Caesar knew

Who would brave the ether, who would cross the void
To agitate the tranquil sea you had so long enjoyed
To softly kiss your ravaged face and return to tell the tale
Of Luna's hidden secrets beneath her powdered veil?

Three heroes took the final quest aboard their fiery steed
In Apollo's silver chariot proceeding with godspeed
Three days and nights they voyaged to their opalescent goal
On Earth they watched and worried in the halls of ground control

One held the craft outside the reach of Luna's jealous grip
While Eagle's talons cradled two who risked the final trip
They timidly approached her through the shadowy abyss
Luna waited patiently and received the Eagle's kiss

Nations watched and cheered on Terra's distant shore
As one man finally took a step no one ever took before
In our hearts and in our minds his words will be enshrined
"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

August 27, 2012

This poem was inspired by Neil Armstrong's death. 
There are quite a few metaphors scattered through
the poem.

Copyright © Roy Jerden

Details | Roy Jerden Poem |

Halloween on the Dark Side of Town

It's a nightmare down on Elm Street. Satan's waiting here at home.
Where's that little Freddy Krueger with his nails of sharpened chrome?
And that dearest Michael Myers, as he's always sure to call?
Halloween won't be so keen without some slashers in the hall.

They're all meeting up with Jason and the other demon spawn
to pay Old Scratch a visit, so I'll leave the porch light on.
I'm your sugar devil daddy and I'll tempt you if I can,
so now open up those goody bags, cause I'm your candy man.

Welcome, all you little zombies. Here, I've got some flesh for you!
It's in a candy wrapper and so much easier to chew.
Just hold out your plastic treat bag, and hold off eating me.
The junk I'm gonna give you tastes much better than my knee.

It's so loaded up with sugar, you'll be bouncing off the walls.
So go ahead and gorge yourselves and fill the bathroom stalls.
Kneel before the porcelain god or use the toilet sink.
You can always use the practice now, for later when you drink.

You can't take a piece of healthy fruit or any home-made treat.
The media have made damn sure it's only junk food that you'll eat.
So celebrate my holiday and consume till it's obscene.
Welcome into my domain... and Happy Halloween!

October 15, 2014

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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Ancient Dance

In twilight, old songs you're softly humming.
Silken smiles enliven your lovely face,
beguiling my presence still, becoming
in all your ways, sweet gift of heaven's grace.

Deep your eyes, beheld above the stillness
of mystic mien, dismissing every voice.
Caresses known in sadness and in illness,
a bounty cherished, if you make the choice.

Alluringly, you draw the bedroom curtain
and sing in softest voice of violins.
Of languid looks and outcome certain,
as old as Eve, the ancient dance begins.

Sway, your heated honey scent of passion
and poise, anticipating kiss conceived,
shall return my longing, in your fashion
and make my life ten times a joy perceived.

My love grows great to see your form advance
and weave with siren song the ancient dance.

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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Ragnarok: The Storm

With the end of days upon them
Nears the time of final battle
In the halls of high Valhalla
Asgard senses its death rattle

In the forest crows the rooster 
In the sky the sun does darken
In the cave the hound is howling
To these signs the Aesir harken

Heimdall blows the Gjallarhorn
Dark the rainbow bridge is turning
Vivid lightning cleaves Yggdrasil
Then the central tree is burning

Aesir watch in fascination
As volcanoes spew like fountains
See the heavens splitting open
See the oceans climb the mountains

See the continents convulsing
See the forests burn to ashes
As the sons of Mim are playing
In the fatal lightning flashes

As the winds consume the wasteland
From the south Surtr advances
With his minions tearing corpses
Bright his sword and sharp his lances

Aesir then prepare their weapons
Eyes are clear and arms are steady
The Midgard serpent Jörmungandr
Upon the battle plain is ready

With his heavy hammer Mjolnir
Strides the mighty god of thunder
To do battle with the serpent
And to rend the world asunder

June 30, 2014

N.B. This poem is an Epyllion, a brief narrative poem with a romantic or mythological theme. It is written in trochaic tetrameter, like some of the ancient Eddas.


Glossary:
Ragnarök - Final battle and death of the Aesir
Aesir - The Norse gods
Asgard - one of the Nine Worlds and home of the Aesir
Valhalla - a majestic, enormous hall located in Asgard, ruled over by the chief Norse god Odin
Heimdall - A Norse god who blows his horn to signal the beginning of Ragnarök
Gjallarhorn - Heimdall's horn
Midgard- Middle Earth, or the world of humans
Bifröst - the burning rainbow bridge between Midgard and Asgard
Yggdrasil - The sacred Norse central tree that holds the Nine Worlds
Mim - an Asian renowned for his knowledge and wisdom who has been beheaded. Odin carries around Mím's preserved head and it recites secret knowledge and counsel to him.
Surtr- a fire troll with a flaming sword who sets the world on fire.
Jörmungandr- The world serpent or ouroboros that surrounds the earth and grasps his own tail. When he lets go, the world will end. Jörmungandr's arch-enemy is the god Thor.
Thor - The Norse god of thunder
Mjolnir  - Thor's hammer and principal weapon

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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Cruisin' the Drag

Sipping cherry limeade, driving in the car parade, 
we're cruising in the Lone Star state.
Didn't want a bucket seat; the thing it couldn't beat, 
was sitting up close to your date.
One hand on the wheel of daddy’s Oldsmobile, 
my arm around my brown-eyed girl,
feeling pretty sporty, radio on Top Forty, 
I was cooler than the Duke of Earl.

The lady of the cruise had her penny loafer shoes; 
her bobby socks were turned down twice.
With a little eyeliner, she couldn't be much finer,
too much and it wouldn't be nice.
There’d be no wild oats under those petticoats;
she’d never go all the way...
just a perfect flip-up 'do and cute look number two
practiced in the mirror all day.

Hear those tires squeal when I make the rubber peel
for the fly-boys waiting on the bus,
to take them to the base where they don't feel out of place,
not cruising like the rest of us.
I was the drag's head honcho as we pulled across the Concho
and we saw the lights along the riverside.
We'd had quite a lark there at Neff's amusement park,
playing Putt-Putt and going on a ride.

The cheerleader squad rode a killer hot rod
with a spinner on every rim,
a perfect tuck and pleat on every single seat,
courtesy of Wanda's Auto Trim.
Candy apple red, it would really knock you dead;
it was a drop-top Pontiac.
One was there to steer and three were in the rear
posing up on the back.

Those football beauty queens in their skin-tight Levi jeans
were followed by their biggest fan.
Checking out those lasses in his Buddy Holly glasses 
was the nerdy little Aqua Velva man.
In his stainless steel braces he grinned up at their faces;
they iced him with a haughty air.
He never would forget it; they would later on regret it
when he became a multi-millionaire.

A four girl bevy in a big finned Chevy 
were riding west on Sherwood Way,
four guys right behind in a pick-up state of mind,
all ready to make their play.
Thought they were the smartest cruising pick-up artists,
but those gals were pretty astute.
When they stopped and the guys started telling all their lies,
the chicks started putting on the cute.

We turned the car around and headed back downtown,
cruising down the boulevard.
Stay cool daddio, bear right at El Patio,
and take it down Beauregard.
There were lots of pleated skirts and those button-down shirts.
The flattops were everywhere galore.
From a Lincoln Continental, we heard an instrumental,
Mister Acker Bilk's “Stranger on the Shore”.

We slowly pulled through BJ’s, listening to the deejay’s 
announcement of the next hit song.
Leaning on their doors with their Brylcreem pompadours,
two hoods were playing Mr. Wrong.
Completing their disguise, they slouched with narrowed eyes
and did their best at looking mean.
With a twist of his pelvis, one was doing Elvis.
The other did a fine James Dean.

Like a sweet potato vine, the bride of Frankenstein 
was entwined around the Marlboro man.
With the passion of their make out, they should have gotten takeout 
and opted for a bigger floor plan.
With her black beehive hair and his fancy western wear,
they were putting on quite an awesome scene.
I had to give a chuckle at his huge silver buckle,
but those M.L. Leddy boots looked mighty keen.

I pulled the Olds on through, and we bid BJ’s adieu,
and I put us back onto the street.
With those four whitewall tires, we made for McIntire's
to get ourselves a bite to eat.
We stopped for some fuel, over near the school,
in those days they came right out to you.
Best place on Earth, ‘cause with a dollar’s worth,
they’d check your oil and clean your window too.

The drive-in, painted green, was quite the social scene
with people mingling car to car.
Everyone was caring; the drinks were all for sharing,
(especially when in a mason jar).
She ate a big banana split, and then left me for a bit
to comfort an old friend not feeling right.
A moment more to linger with that final steak finger,
then I took her home and called that one a night.

That was many years ago, but some things you don’t outgrow,
and I think back to when I was a teen.
When doors were left unlocked, and children safely flocked,
unchaperoned at night on Halloween.
And sometimes at night, when the stars are big and bright,
and I’m deep in a Texas state of mind,
I think of that lass who was in my high school class,
And I wonder if she thinks of me in kind.

August 10, 2012

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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Delicacy of Leaves

Crash! Bang! Poof! The angry leaves assault my roof
My canine friend turns end to end, and cries out with a woof
I grab my rake and take a break, enjoying autumn's show
No haste to battle Zephyr's breath, with such a fine tableau

Then a pause and silence falls, and time slows to a crawl
Molecules of red and gold in fractal loops enthrall
Leafy fingers stroke my brow, a delicate caress
Cares and worries leave my mind and harried thoughts regress

A second seems forever as I'm lost in reverie
A timeless crystal moment of deep serenity
Then I stir, my eyes unblur and I roll up my sleeves
I put my mind in focus, and begin to rake the leaves

August 23, 2012

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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The Pedicure Virgin

I don't know what came over me that day - an instant of weakness after years of resistance, I suppose.

My beaming spouse leads me, a dog on a short leash, into the forbidden citadel, the sanctum sanctorum of feminine fastidiousness, the dreaded nail salon.

As we pass through the portal, we enter another dimension, one not of Man. 

One of Woman.

Overwhelmed by estrogen, like Superman in the presence of Kryptonite,  my strength saps. 

The harpies in the salon immediately sense fresh meat, hailing my wife like Caesar in a Roman triumph, gleeful in the knowledge of the barbaric sacrifice to follow. Lightheaded, my eyes dart around, a trapped beast seeking escape.

I'm screwed.

The sacrificial altar is prepared. The torture device is like a dentist's chair, but with a tub for the feet, presumably where they will drain out my blood. Resigned to my fate, I mount the gallows.

Glancing around, it seems that all the employees are Southeast Asians. Mostly young. Reputedly, they own this territory, like Indians in convenience stores or Italian greengrocers. My personal tormentor is the proprietor, a slim pretty Vietnamese woman perhaps in her mid 50's, with cold eyes and a professional smile.

I immediately sense  that I am dealing with She Who Must Be Obeyed. I am commanded in that bossy Asian way to put my feet in the tub, as she turns on the water. Apparently, like some feminine droit du seigneur, Dragon Lady reserves the right to draw first blood from pedicure virgins. My primae noctis, so to speak.

As she sits below me and leans forward to grab my feet, I get a good look at her  well-formed cleavage. Maybe this won't be so bad,after all...

As my feet soak, I close my eyes and sink into a Felliniesque fantasy, surrounded by Asian houris garbed in short white Grecian gowns, catering to my manly whims.

I'm getting a semi...

Dragon Lady brings me back to reality, placing my left foot on her toweled workspace. 

Whoa!
There's another guy here... 
and that SOB is getting a manicure from one of my girlfriends!

An older lady enters the shop. She has an experienced and well-traveled look. Obviously a repeat offender, she immediately begins apologizing to Dragon Lady for her tardiness, meanwhile sizing me up like a slab of man-meat. Dragon Lady gives her a proper scolding, then the horny old biddy tweaks my big toe and flashes me a knowing smile. I wonder if she is packing heat in that big purse...

Suddenly, I become William Holden in Sunset Boulevard. As I make a break for freedom, I am plugged in the back by the scorned Gloria Swanson lookalike.

Then, a cold look from Dragon Lady and my spouse re-establishes territory and Gloria backs off.

Dragon Lady looks pleased as she draws out what appear to be farrier's tools for shoeing horses, presumably to work on my virgin toenails, which I admit are heading toward Fu Manchu territory. A pair of evil-looking wire cutters makes short work of my talons, then she pulls out a chisel and begins removing layers of yellowed nail until they are smooth and white. 

Nice. I can take this. 

Then she removes the cuticles and pushes back the skin.

Holy crap! I think she just popped my cherry! I see blood on my big toenail. I take it like a man. A bead of sweat runs down my brow.

She finishes the flaying job, puts the foot back into the soothing bath and begins carving up the other one.

"And women pay for this?", I think.

"You like massage?", she asks.

"Massage?" I glance at my spouse nervously, wondering if she intuits the direction of my thoughts. 

She points to the control panel on the chair. 

Oh!

"Why, yes. Yes I would!", I reply.

Anything to take my mind off my pending amputation.

"All the way?"

I suppress my licentious thoughts.

"Warp seven, Mr. Sulu."

"What?"

"To infinity, and beyond!"

She got that one, and turns on the machine. Robocop immediately digs deeply into my neck  and spine with his titanium-steel fingers, plowing my vertebral column like a John Deere cultivator. My central nervous system releases a  flood of endorphins. The cocktail of pain and pleasure is a masochist's wet dream.

The surgery going on downstairs dissolves into the background...

Dragon Lady puts the second foot back in the tub and removes the first. She pulls out a big cheese grater and goes to work on the bottom of my foot. I don't have thick calluses, but she produces a pretty respectable pile of Parmigiano. Makes short shrift on foot two. My smooth feet now look like a baby's. 

Not too bad, not too bad. 

My spouse shoots me the old Told You So look and smiles.

Dragon Lady now pulls out the pumice for the final polish. As she goes to work on my foot, nerve endings now exposed after many years return me to infancy.

It tickles! Oh Momma, does it tickle! 

I'm giggling like a young girl. I can't stop, and I really don't want to either. The entire salon joins in my giggle fest. 

Dragon Lady doesn't let up for a second. She is giggling too, and for the first time I see the young, innocent Vietnamese girl buried deep inside. 

Then I see the napalm and burnt village.

And all the rest of it...

I see and she sees. We each have seen... too much.

She smiles sadly. As do I.

My next appointment is in a month

I'll be there.

September 11, 2014

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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Dante's Path

Oh seed of Dante, dost thy path
in mid-life's turning gone astray
upon a sylvan darkness hath
to tread a rut with feet of clay?

Wast thou that youth of virtue pure
who bargained not with Judgment Day
untempered green convictions sure
before life's tests induced decay?

Didst compromise and circumstance
thy dreams of glory put away
to promise them a second chance
if thou but wouldst concede delay?

Rejoice upon thy wisdom learned!
With youth's illusions purged away
there's still a kingdom to be earned.
Persist, persist, and find the way!

June 28, 2014

Copyright © Roy Jerden

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