Poems By Dale Cottingham


                                                Texting You

The phrase “go go days” is

inviting even if it’s, mostly,

fallen out of use, but springs

from its seed pod into open

air where I’m still struggling

with harsh words lobbed in

the meeting and later wait

for the wait to be over when

the next big thing will thrust

on the scene somehow

superimposed  on what I

call real. I wonder if it is.

I text you these words they reveal

what I’m thinking (or is it feeling?) you

are likely emerging from work grit

                                                blown in your face breathing exhaust you walk

                                                with your usual purpose which means

like me you overlook so much eyes roving

your curves a flimflam trying again

the good right hand knowledgeable from use

I want to focus on how you are now

the image of you I hold in my thoughts

you occupy my mind

                                                I bear scars from what happened before

but today the sky is open as if a

storm passed leaving the way open

for brighter refreshments a new music

starts up my soul begins to soar

farmland crowds so close you can see it

from downtown not m any decided to live

here so truth remains undisturbed along barbed

wire fences dirt roads it’s hard to

to catch it in my silly netting I end up

with shards windblown glints

I keep visualizing what we could be doing

to each other for each other

in these little instances maybe

some dreams will come true

yet even if we return to these lines it won’t

be the same can never be

the same with each passing moment

they separate further from us

leaving us alone on a vast plain

which makes me sad I know I’m meant

to be alone some of the time

but being with others seems natural

and intrinsic to life so let’s be together

while we can there’s lots of time

to be alone think of the dead

they show us what loneliness is.


Ranch House Days

                                                Good bye main road.

                                                You’re traffic was enthralling,

                                                but I’ve got to think on my own

                                                for once, I’ll see you later – which

                                                seems right to me now.

                                                Sometimes you have to look out from your own porch

                                                even if at the time it seems like you are wasting time.

                                                After she hit the jackpot at the casino

                                                she looked back and wondered if this is as good as it gets.

                                                Disappointment arrives in so many flavors

                                                which keeps us on our toes:

                                                the missive arrives about our oeuvre ,

not meant to be harsh,

but then again. . .

And if I kept longing for you

after you moved away,

the distance having grown usual,

like a gargantuan silence that becomes

like a perfect friend, taking and not pushing back,

can’t I finally get it right for once.

After my soiree in town

where I saw that fetching woman

and could have asked for her number,

but think “Why should I?”

I mean, it always ends in tragedy

I come back to my place.

I like it here.  I can mow fields,

paint rooms, find my way to the creek

where water held underground

springs into light.

Dale Cottingham is of mixed race, part Choctaw, part White. He won the 2019 New Millennium Award for Poem of the Year and was a finalist in the 2021 Great Midwest Poetry Contest.

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