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Robert Halleck
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sliptongue.jpg
Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2018

A Slip of the Tongue

 

by Robert Halleck

 

 

In our first year I

slipped twice and used

the name of my old love

before you came and

gave me back my life.

I saw the hurt in your eyes,

the question if what we had

was fading. If she would be

back and you gone. You

asked if I still loved you.

I answered, I'm still here.

 

 

 


againthe11thhour.jpg
Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2018

Again the 11th Hour

 

by Robert Halleck

 

 

I sit and watch

his chest rise

slowly then sink

again as he approaches

the 11th hour of life.

He's alone but for me

who knows nothing

of him but the need

to be there so alone

is not a modifier of die.

 

 

 


ym75seaworld.jpg
Art by K.J.Hannah Greenberg 2019

Sea World

 

by Robert Halleck

 

 

Della's grandchildren are asleep now. Two

of them are visiting. We have been

to visit Sea World, San Diego Zoo,

other places she hasn't been to in years.

She tells me they were her daughter's childhood

favorites. The grandchildren have inherited

Della's joy, her eyes, smile, nothing from me,

a sunset man, except the love we have for this

woman lying next to me who senses my stirring,

reaches over, whispers she has put on some gel.

 

 

 

ym75earlymorning.jpg
Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2019

Early Morning at a Friend’s House in 1972

 

by Robert Halleck

 

 

The mowers begin.

I wake up with the Blues.

It is 8 AM.

In the chilly room I smoke and watch the smoke rise.

For an hour I read Atlas Shrugged, still in love

with Dagny Taggart. Strong women are interesting, rare.

                             My host and I entered

                             the night on a raft of conversation.

                             Oh, the blessed silent morning.

I pull on shorts, yesterday's shirt and go downstairs.

Not yet fully awake I make coffee, smoke another cigarette,

eat last night's pizza, finish a beer, a rye and flat soda.

                             My host stirs upstairs, comes down

                             with his cat, sends me to the bakery.

I have not written a poem in a week. That will end today,

tomorrow? I remind myself life is marvelous. Most likely

this will not be the day I was looking for but it will be

the day I have.

ym75pelicanbay.jpg
Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2019

Pelican Bay

 

By Robert Halleck

 

 

Twice a year my friend visits Pelican Bay.

Under the harsh fluorescent lights he sits

in a plastic chair as he waits for a shuffling

 

manacled boy—the son of a long-dead

friend. The son inherited his father's

hair-trigger temper.

 

Pelican Bay is his last stop after a rape

conviction and a death in a Folsom prison

knife fight. In 27 years he may be paroled.

 

My friend will visit him twice a year

until he is no longer able to do so.

 

 

 

Robert Halleck is a retired banker living in Del Mar, California with his muse, Della Janis. He has been writing poetry since 1958. Poetry is more than a hobby but it does not crowd out other activities such as golf, autocross racing, and caregiving through Stephen Ministries. His poetry has appeared in Chiron, Yellow Mama, Third Wednesday, and Main Street Rag. He is a member of San Diego's Not Dead Yet Poets and hopes to continue as a member for a long time.

In Association with Fossil Publications