Archive for the W.K. Stratton Category


Posted in W.K. Stratton with tags on May 7, 2020 by Scot

Your first mistake:
When sighs and vacant eyes
Began to greet you across tables
In Manchaca dives, you exhaled
As if everything were solid as an
Interstate overpass. For the first time
You stood completely ungirded,
Misinterpreting the sum,
And wound up splintered.

All those years ago
Dylan edged ahead
At Malibu’s Shangri-La,
Where the West finally dies.
Dylan hitchhiked the PCH.
Or sometimes he drove a rusty truck.
He slept in a tent or on grass
Outside the compound
And bedded dozens of women
As he attempted to char his Sara loss.
He wrote a song called “Sign Language.”
You knew it well but never absorbed it
until now.

Today you are in L.A. at your own small café.
Within your skull you stream Link Wray.
You hold a sandwich. It’s a quarter to three.
Time never rolls forward from this point.

Up on the PCH was a clam house Peckinpah
Used to frequent. Dylan played piano there.
You were invited but never made it.
Instead you ended up at Betrayal Creek.


Two Poems By W.K. Stratton

Posted in W.K. Stratton with tags on April 28, 2020 by Scot



This trip you drink Pacifico beer
And Maxwell House coffee.
You reject her tricked-up cocktails
And designer beans from Ethiopia.
You feel at ease in Gulf fog,
Hydrozoans at your feet.
You rejoice in her being
Three hundred miles removed.

Later you joust octogenarian
Ornithologists with camera lenses
The length of your forearm
To obtain uncluttered vision.
In reeds seventy yards distant
Stand two whooping cranes,
Refugees from wildlife preservation.
You cannot know if they will survive.
But you are at one with these birds
In sour estuary air. This is romance:
The only love that can be trusted.




Nothing is painless here.
Even rattlesnakes suffer
In this mesquite.
Good jobs come from
Drilling and fracking.
And injury to earth and flesh
Abounds — the ancient sorrow.
You move through diesel showers
At the truck stop near Three Rivers
Then buy a Buffalo Outdoors brand
Rig driver work jacket.
It becomes your holy vestment:
With reinforced elbows it is
Ideal for welding and genuflection.
Holier now than you ever were
At Betrayal Creek,
You step out into Interstate wind.
You are reclaimed and authentic.


Posted in W.K. Stratton with tags on October 29, 2014 by Scot

I wore a Charles Plymell T-shirt –
Panik In Dodge City –
To the nursing home. The old man
Turned the color of raw shrimp.
He groaned and tottered an arm.
He feared window blinds.
No one else wore cowboy boots.
No one else wore ragged Levi’s.
No one else wore a Mexican belt.
I was the only one.
You don’t know how bad it is, he said.
The old man’s voice belonged
to someone else.
You ache like Texas, he said.
I can never make it to the kitchen, he said.
He closed his eyes. I walked outside.
I swallowed sunshine and rubbed
Wheat sky on my Charles Plymell t-shirt.
Every day is good for dying.
For a moment I slid off to harrowed fields
And bloodied dirt devils and Charley riding
In a tractor baby box. You still found
Open range in western Oklahoma
back then.
You could ride a horse to Hollywood
And never fight highway or fence.
Those times invented the old man
But never totaled anything for him.
He came up lost.
You don’t crane in boots and Mexican belt
For too long in land now foreign to you.
I peered down the nursing home ridge
Then took off in a blue automobile
praying to saddle and bridle.
I wore a Charles Plymell t-shirt.
It kept me breathing.