Two Poems|Carl Palmer

Signs of the Times – 1960                                                  

Thank you was the only response from Mom,

secretary of Gardner Cigarette and Vending,

when the manager of the Tobacco Warehouse

next door delivered me in tow to her office.


He was drinking out of the “Colored” spigot.

You need to learn him not to mix with them kind,

storming out when Mom had no further comment.


I wasn’t so much drinking as washing the sweat

from my face, me and the three negro boys taking

turns cooling off after racing around trucks being

unloaded by their folks as crop owners looked on.


I saw his silly sign, Mom, another one said “White”

That’s like saying if I’m colored, then I can’t drink,

or if he owns air and I’m colored, I can’t breathe.

Doesn’t that man understand colored lives matter?


Silly or not, Son, it’s his property and his signs.

At least he openly displays them for everyone to see.

Many keep their ugly signs secret, hidden inside.



In Praise of Stay-At-Home


Our days used to begin in a frantic rush

led by Mom herding everyone to wake up,

wash up, eat up and hurry up out the door.


Everyone except me, I never got to go.

My days were spent alone in the house

waiting for everyone to come back home.


I’d make my rounds, look under beds,

check the bathrooms and kitchen then

nap on the couch for the rest of my day.


I live with Mom, Dad, Sissy and Bubba

on a street full of families and their pets.

Our pet is me, a boxer. I answer to Bob.


I don’t know why or what happened, but

everybody stayed home one day, all day

and every day since. I am one lucky dog!


I get more walks, more bow wows with my

buddies and their masked masters, though

not close enough for our usual social sniff.


More snacks, more playing, more petting,

more snuggling, best is not being alone,

but I do miss my long naps on the couch.


Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash



Carl “Papa” Palmer of Old Mill Road in Ridgeway, Virginia, lives in University Place, Washington.

He is retired from the military and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enjoying life as “Papa” to his grand descendants and being a Franciscan Hospice volunteer.

Carl is a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and Micro Award nominee.

PAPA’s MOTTO: Long Weekends Forever!

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