Poetry by Penelope Taylor




Bad Sexy


Moving steady down the freeway,
alert in six o’clock traffic

Watchin’ left,
glimpsing right
peripheral visions
eyes ahead
waiting for the lover too long gone

passing a semi
glancing up.

Got to watch out
only last month one jack-knifed
on hail on a grape-vine curve

A double take:
that movement
again, oh please
what was that?

A man–
not old, not young,
a who of no importance,
the movement everything,
up there:
the white t-shirt, muscle swelled arm,
the cigarette lifted,
the casual comfortable gesture,
smooth, calm, cool as an advertisement
a fleeting channel change

lingering in the mind,
as the car speeds past.

sure cigarettes are bad for you,
but damn,
why are they so sexy?



21 +1


With twenty-one dollars worth of food–
her organic salad greens,
his favorite olives,
a loaf of French bread,
packaged next to goat cheese,
a bag of bananas, four ears of corn–
a weeks worth of mail,
all loaded into the little basket on the front of the
skinny-wheeled bicycle, squeaking and wiggling
into the significant gustiness of an evening wind,
she sets off,
struggling for a good ride home and time
for a salad,
a slice of bread,
a bit of goat cheese that doesn’t add up, for the effort.
She (alone) can’t taste past the first bite
and ahead looms the long night.




The Cloud That Wanted to be a Mountain


Late each sunny afternoon, after shimmering trucks race past,
Cross the 156, past the vacant San Juan Inn,
the Bluebird Woman’s Art Gallery, and Johnny Hammock’s house

Outside shanty homes that line the trail entrance, the beige bulldog waits–
barking and flinging himself at the fence until you pass

Unperturbed by the moan and mourn of cows, prisoners of the metal gratings,
follow the dirt and stone trail weaving up through the golden straw hillside.
Freedom awaits in the moment ahead.

Above, tumbling clouds pile atop each other
forming a single mountain higher than any of the other peaks made of clay and rock

As the trail inclines and breath grows short, hasten, there is little time,
but see the turn where the oak branches out to reach you,
Stop there. Breathe.

The cloud mountain opens soft silvery billowing arms
catching and cooling the blazing ball,
the moment between light and dark
between sun and moon,
where shape shifts and life drifts
here is a moment for being alive

The cool air tingles your senses
the sighs of the earth alert your heart
your spirit lifts to the sky

In an instant the mountain becomes one cloud again,
and then many clouds rolling on once more
before the descent 
into a new peaceful night. 



Penelope Taylor is a poet on Monday, a novelist on Tuesday, Wednesday is for screenwriting, Thursday she teaches, Friday means editing and on Saturday she markets–to sell her work and to buy her food –for Sunday when she rests and celebrates because she is grateful to live the life of a writer.


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