VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Tim Heerdink

Part-time Cartographer Takes a Call

Midwest Telecom ringing off
tones from the telephone receiver
beckoning a response from the captain
as he teleports himself toward the entrance.

A spike in volume sputters out its tiny speaker
pressed between his ear & shoulder while he fumbles
for that one decent ballpoint people keep stealing from him.

His tone carries low through the air with sensual murmurs
like secrets only this summoner is allowed to digest
all while black ink meets the skin of fallen trees.

In rhythm with almost inaudible hums,
the captain’s arm becomes polygraph
with the needle picking its pace.

Oh, how this message must be
something so important
& urgent for us.

When this dance ends
& I’m alone in this space again,
curiosity drives me to peak at the pad.

Nothing I can translate into the mother tongue
but what could possibly be a map & key illustrated
with its many webs only legible within the captain’s mind.

Checkmate

Concentrate with great diligence
on this battlefield where a great mate
proves its importance.

While pawns & knights go to fight
in the name of you, glorious king,
remember you ain’t shit without your queen.

Don’t pick a spouse based off appearances
for eventually the need to rub together wears out
& you’re left with an earache with no remedy.

Before you take a prospective to bed,
offer to wash her car inside & out;
you’ll be glad that you did.

If she has rotting food & bodily fluids
staining every fiber of fabric within,
it’s best you lose her number & never speak again.

Old Tricks

Crack open my cranium & lay out my tricks;
be sure to organize them by their strangeness
& find something you can use, too, while you’re at it.

Wife & I used to snap shots at couples’ nuptials
so later they could look in a book & see
the times in life they used to be happy.

We still find ourselves in makeshift picture capture
positions, lying down for that upside down frown
knowing sixty-percent come to divorce in the end.

I shut off any type of communication with hereafter
after things starting following me back home;
there’s no need for that energy around my girls.

All the cleansings attempted in years before
showed seepage slipping deeper within
a space some claim to call a soul.

Something about That Age

Time has come for my number to change
from lower premiums on auto insurance
to the year many artists find their expiration.

Twenty-seven plucked countless creatives
away from lights that helped them shine,
& my hourglass for the next 365 is about to give.

I made it past years that tried their hand
at pulling me under but failed to keep me;
what’s another go around the sun gonna do?

My skin calloused with scar tissue
shields me at full strength in preparation
for whatever this age thinks it can pull.

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