Without Leaves


without leaves the trees stand naked

against the clear blue sky and

the light slips through

the spaces between the branches

before falling softly to the ground

IÕve been out here for a while

walking through the timber

chasing after ghosts

I thought had been buried

a long time ago

and every now and then

I take a nip from the bottle

the bottle I carry with me

tucked down inside

the breast pocket of my coat

and suddenly

the fluttering of some unseen thing

makes me stop and look around

until it grows quiet again

and I reach for the bottle

taking a longer drink this time

before continuing on my way

I remember

when there were stories going around

about birds big enough to lift

small children off the ground

and carry them away

but that was years ago

when the world looked so different

when I was so much younger

and still knew everything





it was about a year ago

when we flew to Florida together

sitting next to each other on the plane

we took off in the dark

the lights on the ground below us

twinkling like stars 

it was after midnight

by the time we reached the motel

it was on the beach and

I could hear the waves

crashing against the shore 

in the morning

I sat outside our room

watching the tide roll in

I saw the waves kissing the sand

before rolling back out again

it was the first time IÕd seen the ocean

a week later we flew home

but we werenÕt together anymore

sitting next to each other on the plane

I told her I still cared about her

but I knew things had changed

the sun was shining when we landed

but there were traces of snow on the ground

it was cold when I walked outside

I felt it

hitting me in the face



Hump Day


sitting here in Starbucks

drinking a green tea latte

while Patsy Cline sings Crazy

written by Willie Nelson in 1961

the woman in the corner

listening to her own music

tiny red buds stuck in her ears

she leans over her laptop

glancing up every now and then

catches me watching her

I turn toward the window

and see the sun shining down

light falling on everything

all the snow has melted

the end of January and

IÕm thinking about quitting my job

and doing something different with my life

half-past three oÕclock

on a Wednesday afternoon





late afternoon

when I drove to the crossroads

I wanted to make a deal

the sky turned dark

while I waited for the devil

but all I got was rain



Last Kiss


I just sit here

while darkness paints the room

I donÕt move

I donÕt get up and

turn the light on

I bring the beer to my lips

and take one more sip

one last kiss

before I have to go


© James Babbs