Guest Page 15

                                     Uncharted Waters          

                     Standing alone
                     In the cool summer evening
                     Looking out across the shimmering bay
                     Reflecting beams of the first June moon
                     It all comes back to me

                     The smell of sea weeded wood
                     Barnacled with age
                     Wearing its salt coat like a crusty blanket
                     Sheltering its creaking framework
                     From further decay
                     Brings a rush of sleeping memories
                     Sweeping, fractured images
                     That settle like a fine mist
                     The harbor air, thick with foam
                     Tastes of brine and salt spray

                     I see the old Schooner now
                     Rising fast toward the surface
                     Rushing up through the murky depths
                     Of the ancient bay waters
                     Breaking free of the rusting chains
                     That held her for so many years
                     Casting off the anchor of her past
                     Groaning as if giving birth
                     To her newly found freedom
                     She breaks the surface

                     The gulls cry in startled recognition
                     As the carved maiden rises
                     Drinks in the fresh sea air, and sighs
                     The Schooner settles into the soft swells
                     Her bilges drained of silt and time
                     Cargo long since strewn to the currents

                     I was forsaken on that vessel
                     If only in my father`s dreams
                     A sailor`s son without a ship to call his own
                     The old Schooner becomes my home
                     And sinks back, into the depths of time

                     © 2000 by phattkat

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                     Cat Town

                     Have you ever been to Cat Town
                     on a dark and rainy night
                     down a lonely alley stretching out
                     beneath the pale moon light
                     past the shiny metal canisters
                     and dirty brown brick walls
                     that connect to steel stairways
                     leading up to darkened halls

                     Where the street is always slippery
                     from oil and grease and grime
                     and where if you are not careful
                     someone might commit a crime
                     that includes you as the victim
                     on a dark and rainy night
                     while from shadows and dark corners
                     watching everything in sight
                     are the residents of Cat Town
                     furry creatures and their King
                     yes, the sleek and stealthy feline
                     known as Kitty by his Queen

                     All the other little creatures
                     scurry round the darkened street
                     making squeaky little noises
                     nibbling crumbs and spoiled meat
                     then as if on cue they gather
                     close together in a huddle
                     by the dumpster on the south side
                     near the fence and deep mud puddle

                     While their little ears are listening
                     for sounds of padded feet
                     they are softly paying homage
                     to the one that rules the street
                     they are singing all together
                     the same song they sang last night
                     being careful not to wander
                     too far out in pale moon light
                     where they might become a tidbit
                     on the menu for their King
                     so they always start the show on time
                     and this is what they sing 

                     `While most of you are sleeping
                     furry creatures are out creeping`

                     down in Cat Town
                     down in Cat Town

                     `Big bad bow-wow barks and drools
                     but it`s alley cat that rules`

                     down in Cat Town
                     down in Cat Town

                     `Now this song we gladly sing
                     Summer, Winter, Fall and Spring
                     for the Kitty, our great King ....

                     `He just loves to do his thing`

                     down in Cat Town
                     down in Cat Town

                     © 2001 by phattkat

                     South Street

                      The sign over the
                      white porcelain water fountain
                      read `COLORED`
                      next to it was a new
                      stainless steel water fountain
                      the sign read `WHITE`
                      I knew immediately
                      that I was drinking
                      out of the colored fountain
                      the water was warm you see
                      the colored fountain had warm water
                      how did I know that
                      without reading the sign
                      just an assumption maybe
                      an uneducated guess
                      something you didn`t learn in school
                      but were taught every day
                      by professionals in the field

                      Mordy Epstein, George Tom, and Clem Cheetum
                      quickly let me know of my error
                      in loud frantic whispers
                      `you’re drinking out of the nigger`s fountain`
                      I remember clearly
                      what flashed through my 12 year old mind
                      that moment so long ago
                      in Woolworths five and ten cent store
                      in Vicksburg Mississippi
                      in 1962

                      1318 South Street
                      was our address
                      on the edge of black town
                      only a hedge, a hill
                      and the color of our skin
                      separating us
                      from the tin roof shanties
                      of the poor black folks
                      that were our neighbors

                      My mama would say
                      `those poor Negroes, I wonder
                      if they get enough to eat`
                      to which my father would reply
                      `Well, why don’t you invite them
                      over for dinner sometime honey`
                      and chuckle to himself, quite amused

                      I took my time finishing my drink
                      from the white porcelain fountain
                      with the COLORED sign over it
                      and when I stood up and looked
                      at my three friends
                      they just sort of stared at me
                      for the longest moment
                      but they never mentioned it again
                      just sort of looked at me oddly at times
                      wanting to know
                      but afraid to ask I guess
                      afraid I might answer them
                      and say what everyone else was thinking
                      that George Tom was a chubby little Jap kid
                      Clem Cheetum was a half breed Choctaw Indian
                      and Mordy Epstein was a Jew boy
                      and me, well I lived on South Street
                      on the edge of black town
                      where rumor had it
                      that my mama invited Negroes over
                      to have dinner with us
                      and that her son hung out
                      with misfits and such
                      and drank warm water
                      from colored fountains

                     © 2000 phattkat