Posts Tagged ‘poet’

This poem was inspired by a dear friend.  I can’t even describe how

much I love him.  But it’s also intended to be a big tip of the hat to all the

good folks who still value the beauty of “slow” human communication via

letters and e-mail.  It is an art form, and you do it so well.


Even the small amount of time I spend on the internet sometimes gets to

me.   But you are real.  You are beautiful.  I print out your e-mails, and I find

your envelopes in my mailbox.  I take your words into the woods with me

and read them away from the mind numbing hum of the computer.  Thank

you for taking the time to send your soul.  You keep me sane.


The man with the mandolin in this poem is real, but I don’t know who he is.

I just thought it was perfect that I heard his singing on the day my friend’s

letter came.   His words are music.



A Friend Sends Me Letters


Julie Buffaloe-Yoder


I walk barefoot

to the mailbox

at the end of

my dirt road.


Two hills away,

a man sings and

a mandolin plays.


Last night’s rain

has melted into sun.


A wild turkey clucks

through muddy reeds;

mist rises by the pond.


The mailbox shines silver,

creaks open, and there’s

a letter my friend sends


covered in stamps

and a picture I love

of a stick man

he always draws

on the envelope.


He writes letters

to me

with two fingers


on a manual typewriter

under noon day shade

of a black locust tree,


leaves little bits of himself

on the paper–his words


smell like a garden

churned butter,

a rumble of thunder.

Warm beer spilled

on a barroom floor.


He tells me stories

about red chickens,

the wind and the rain.

Guitars, lovers, poetry.

Those hard old days.


It’s not an electronic card

sent to fifty others

with a push of a button.


Not a Facebook message.

Not a snippet on Twitter.


It’s an experience

inside a sunny box

on a wet wooden pole.


It’s a slow cup of

black coffee,

a piping hot

slice of sanity,


a soft waltz

in the country.


An unfolding

of a soul.


It’s how words

on the page

should sing.



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Photo by Amber Yoder


Please take a moment to check out Art Coelho’s amazing art work at his site

by clicking HERE. The art work is breathtaking.  Art Coelho is multi-

talented.  He is also a master poet and writer of fiction.  You can also read his

bio and see some of his books from Seven Buffaloes Press by clicking the link




Without The Wild Side of Creation,

The Fire Goes Flat


For Art Coelho

Mentor, Friend

The Title, His Words


You taught me how

to poke it, stoke it,

pour whiskey on it,

keep it roaring hot.


It ain’t pretty, slick

or academic; it learns

lessons from crickets


coyotes howling

by bedrolls, hoboes,

coal trains in the night.


Pork and beans

around a ring

sticks ticking

hissing bark–


nails shooting

popping hot blue

stories after dark.


A good student,

I will never let

the wild eyed girl

burn out.


I won’t let the bastards

take the flame;  I won’t

let them piss it down

to embers.


Pistols in my lines,

thunder in my stomach,

thick brown gravy

on an old tin plate.


Sparks flying

from my lips,

I tip my hat

to the master,


then pass the flask

to the next

one in line.


We’ll go down

flinging fire

through the grate.

Julie Buffaloe-Yoder


This poem was originally posted at Rusty Truck.   Hop over and take a look

at all the fine poetry over there.  Thanks for reading!



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Amber Yoder is an Associate Producer for Paul Devlin Productions, an independent film company in New York. She is also an artist, a screenplay writer, and a filmmaker. And…you guessed it…she is my daughter. Of course, I love Amber as a mother loves a daughter. But I also admire Amber as a person and as a professional. When I hear other women complaining about their daughters, I feel sorry for them. I was blessed with Amber. I have learned so much from her.

Last spring, Amber graduated from Denison University and moved to New York City to pursue her dreams. There’s no doubt in my mind that Amber will leave a big and positive mark on the world. In the future, I will show you some more of Amber’s pieces and also some interesting video from Paul Devlin Productions.

Amber looks at the world in very unique ways, and her pieces always reflect this unique vision. In one series of art prints, she climbed inside a hole in an old tree to photograph the world from the inside out.

The following short art film is one of my favorites from Amber’s college days. It is a very thoughtful piece and quite poetic in nature. For the filming, Amber snuck into some old houses that were scheduled for demolition in an area not too far from her school. The broken picture of the American flag was a random object in the house. On the same day that Amber was filming this, I wrote the poem you will see below. I did not know her topic, and she did not know mine, at least not on a conscious level. Our connection is sometimes eerie.



by Amber Yoder




The Window Seat


by Julie Buffaloe-Yoder


Next to rain warm windows, rusty screens,

wood makes a seat wide enough

where children disappear behind curtains,

dream, maybe find last year’s pink candy

that was hidden, forgotten.


There are spots of life on old wood

gummed with the fingerprints

of some day in summer

when tiny blue butterflies

zig zagged past and June bugs

pinged on the screen.


There is always a clay figure there

molded by hard, little fingers,

spelling bee certificates,

school pictures faded stiff and maybe

cherry drops melt on sun soft wood

because a grandfather gave them

to a girl who pretended to cough.


There are curtains, fat with wind,

that smell like bacon cracking

in a big black pan.

Rows of green tomatoes

turn yellow, then red, forever

leaving circles of small stains.


A girl carved her name there

with an old pocketknife

the night she overheard

her father sobbing, and babies

have chewed that same spot

for more than a hundred years.


There might be a fly there, sun crisp,

on its back, maybe missing a wing,

not antiseptic and pretty but

a source for neverending stories.


Pennies stuck there,

once lifted,

leave faces in the wood.


There is a life there that sings

because that is what wood will do.


But when the dark storm blows,

the window will be closed.

That breath, frozen in time,

for a moment, disappears.


Eventually, old wood will be

boarded up, broken, forgotten,

replaced by pressboard.


How quickly plowed down.

Not easily sold.

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This poem was prompted by a “brief” I read in a newspaper a long time ago.  It was just a few lines buried in the middle of the local paper about a little girl in a different region of my country.

I suppose the people who did the layout of the paper needed something to fill in a couple of inches of white space.  So she became filler.

It was before the day of the internet, and I was never able to find out anything about her.  The paper mentioned a rural setting with no neighbors.  Her house had no electricity or heat.  The girl was trying to start a fire in an old fireplace.  Officials on the scene concluded she went upstairs, because she was afraid.  The mother was out drinking with friends in a bar.  That’s all I know.

The little girl has haunted me for years.  I’ve met her many times since.  She has different faces, colors, and languages.  On many occasions, she’s a boy.  I try to help her when I can, but usually, I fail miserably.

After reading the brief on that long ago night, I went outside and howled at the moon for a while.  Then I wrote this poem.


This poem published in Shoots & Vines.


Waiting For Mother

by Julie Buffaloe-Yoder


For the little girl who wanted to be warm.


Waiting for mother was easier

before autumn crackled in

and ate the days up early.

It was my job to never cry

and light the living room fire.

I was six and alone with wood

and the sharp clear bark of cold.


The wind tip-tapped

the spider crack windows

looking for a place inside

to build its nest.


I knew Mother would come,

she would come home and see

me in the big of the dark,

clumsy with wood and the room

closing its teeth around me;

the naughty buds of fire

refusing to open and grow.


The room smiled pumpkin warm

when I coaxed the fire to raise

its broken, bloody wings.

The branches fluttered shadows

like long lashes on the walls.


Those nights were yellow glad;

I could play and wait, listen

to the purr of wind against the sky.


I liked to watch the moon

scrape across the window.

I liked to tell stories to my dolls,

hold them close to the fire,

and watch their smiling faces melt.


And the moon held me.

And the smoke held me.

And the long curly hair

of the shadows held me.

And the moon made me full.

And the fire ate my fever.

And the rise and fall of flames

sang me softly to sleep.


Sometimes I woke up

when the fire left burning sores

on the tangled legs of branches.

Sometimes when I woke,

the moon rattled at the window.


The cold was thorny

up and down my back.

The knots in the wood

stared like bad baby eyes,

and the clock was click click

clicking its high heels

in the crying midnight room.


I knew when Mother came home,

she would come, singing red shoes,

the pretty side of her face

an orange fire glow.


She would turn off the bad baby eyes

and the meanness of the moon.

She would listen to the falling leaves

and hear the angel wings with me.

She would fall asleep, and I

would rub her small, soft feet.

I would smell her lemon hair.

I would find her missing slipper.

I would kiss her warming temple,

never ever burn.


Waiting for Mother was easier

before the greedy winter came

and chewed up all the wood.

One night, the wind slapped hard.

I only found the skinny twigs.

One night, through the click of cold,


I filled the fireplace with dolls

and books, pennies, chairs,

stale dry blankets


And I let the room catch on fire.


Upstairs, on my mattress,

I waited for Mother

to creep up the wooden steps

and tuck me in.

She would come quickly.

She would come warmly.

I knew she would come home

and I would not be alone.


And together we would listen

to the broken goodnight moon,

the glowing wind,

and babies


falling from the sky.


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