Bukowski is inside-reading; I leave him at my desk to wait the dead of winter with whiskey and cigars and walk outside onto the cedar deck. I carry leather, stone, steel and oak with me into the elements Dickey, Jeffers, Komunyakaa and Howard Starks; these are my war horses. They bleed Whitman, sometimes in fine arterial spray, sometimes in droplets that spatter in bright red splotches and sometimes -- sometimes they seep, saturating the pages. They speak of horses, hawks, yellow jackets and mountain boomers, Osage County, Buckhead and Bogalusa and I listen for echoes in trees and rain beyond the empty clink of beer bottles where unfolding black steals the sunset, as I lift worn western heels up onto a low wrought iron table to watch a changing sky before reading the blood.
Ron Wallace, currently an adjunct professor of English at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, is the author of five volumes of poetry. Published in a wide variety of journals and anthologies, his first book, Native Son, was a Finalist in the 2007 Oklahoma Book Awards, and Oklahoma Cantos was a Finalist in the 2011 Awards. His newly released book is baseball themed and entitled Hanging the Curveball.