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My wife and I have known each other since the 10th grade and we have 2 children. We've been married over half our lives, I can't imagine it any other way.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Photo Shoot

   “Ready?” her crouching husband called. Their son, Willie, stood by her side, playing with Roscoe their Weiner dog. She wore a sweater, and had insisted the guys wore jackets. The bright sky had the crisp bite of autumn in it, and meant only one thing there in Auburn: the Fair was coming.

   “Smile”. The camera flashed, its white light blinding her.

   Suddenly there was her husband, still crouching, but this time younger, wearing his favorite denim jacket, his hair longer and fuller. They had just picnicked under a large oak near the Spencerville Covered Bridge. Slowly he reached into the pocket and pulled out the simple gold band and held it up to her. She had cried, nodded her head, and placed her hand outward…..
    holding the results of her pregnancy test. They had been told they would never have children. She had been sick every morning for weeks, and this seemed to be the next logical step. A trip to the drugstore, and a ten minute wait while it processed. She raised it so they both could see. Her husband cried out “Woohoo! We did it! We’re having a….”
   “puppy!” Willie squealed. The dark brown Dachshund puppy wearing the red ribbon on its collar yipped and licked the five year olds face. They became a tangle of child, brown fur, giggles and yips as they quickly became friends.
   Delighted Willie began to make a list, “ We need a leash, an’ a bowl, an’ a ball. Oh Mommy, we don’t have….”


   “much time.” The doctor frowned. “I’m very sorry”.

   Tears filling their eyes, together they asked, “How long?”

   “Maybe 3 months.”He paused. “I suggest you make the most memories you can with what time you have left. I’ll give you two a few moments alone.” He left the office and their world shrank around them. They held each other, grasping for each moment they had spent together, reaching for the memories not yet made, and struggled to accept that they would never see one another grow old as they had always planned.

   They had decided only to tell Willie that Mommy would be going away for awhile but before she did, they wanted to do all sorts of things together. Willie had frowned when he thought of his mother going on a trip, but a wide eyed smile crossed his face when he thought of all the things they could do before she went. “Adventures!” He had grinned.

   There had been a trip to the zoo, a big league ball game, the beach, and a long weekend of camping where they had cooked all of their meals over a fire. Last was the trip to her hometown so Willie could see where she had grown up.

   She remembered running down the sidewalks of downtown after school, the very ones they were posing on now. She would fly down Seventh Street, her white Keds pounding on the pavement. She would turn right, and Mrs. Moore would be walking Lilly at the corner of 6th and Main. “Hi Lilly!” she would call as she sailed by.

   Further down the block across the street sat Mary in front of her neighbor’s deli eating a sandwich. Her mother was a painter and had been commissioned to paint a picture of the Eckhart Library. She needed the evening light to paint by for the mood to be “just right” so Mary had to wait until after dark for actual supper. The sandwich was a little something to tide her over.

   At this point she would nearly be out of breath as she bounded up the steps to the old YMCA. She would spend her time swimming, and maybe playing basketball if the big kids would let her. She had always dreamed of being in the Olympics, and she knew she had to be in tip top shape if she were to make it.

   The memory caused her to close her eyes as a cool breeze blew her hair across her face. Smiling, she brushed the hair and the memory from her face, and looked at her husband still kneeling on the sidewalk in front of her.

   “Haven’t you taken enough pictures here?” she laughed.

   “Never” he smiled. “One more”. He fiddled with the focus. “Smile!”

   A small click but the blink of bright light from the flash was missing. He turned the camera over and bit his lip, “Oh, we’re out of film” he frowned.

   And nearly out of time, she thought. Her hands drew Willie close, and while hugging him, she closed her eyes, the small smile still on her lips.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Red cardinal resting
On the twisted branch
Of the overgrown evergreen that hides
My neighbor’s garage.

Framed with frost
On my window,
He calls
Into the soft blue rhythm
Of falling snow
On this Sunday morning,
Reminding the pines
That the days of summer hide
In the dust of our memories.

His pointed head tilts
Side to side
As he celebrates the rising
His chattering drowns
His hunger.

Spreading his wings,
Small avalanches fall
From the branch
When he lifts into the air
In search of summer
And cracked corn.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mothers Keeper

A Redwing boot rests
On a stump that guards the drive
To a field off County Road 75.
Arms wrapped in muscle
Balance on a denim knee
Steam rising from a ceramic mug
Eyes squinting through mist
At the ocean of dying
Bean stalks stirring
In a gentle wind carrying
Another early morning,
Rising before he’s rested.
He grunts, spits on the ground
And wonders why?

No college, no summers abroad,
Only early rain
And crops too long in the field,
Rotting, dark and useless.
All nighters in the cab of a combine,
Deer darting
Away from the blades that chew
Cobs and stalks,
The fine chafe clinging to his beard.
Spring loans that own
Him and his family.
Fall harvests that rescue
Them, leaving them little
To survive on.

A starling calls
From the branches of a Hackberry
Tree at the edge of the beans
And his father appears
Behind his eyes.

Dads grizzled chin,
White whiskers revealing
Seasons past
In the field and life
Whisper of hard days
And long nights.

Crows feet connecting
His eyes to his
Earned with sweat in scalding sun,
His hat resting
On the seat of his International,
Speak of each past due bill,
Broken plow blade,
And nights watching frost form
On the crops in an early September dawn.

Faded bibs hang
Loosely on his thin frame,
The right knee covered
With a blue patch that hides
A spot worn through.
The same bibs worn to weddings
So money was there for football fees
And gas money for away games.

Dads gray hair stealing
The dark haired stranger
Mother fell for,
Curls slightly under
At the collar of an old flannel shirt.
The cowlick that cocks
To the right still bouncing
With the shake of his shoulders
As a punch line hangs in the air
At the feed store.
Dads pride shining
On the steps of the grain elevator,
Weigh slip in his hand,
As trucks lined up and waited
For their turn on the scales,
Awarded another year on the family farm.
Why? His father called
From the beans and the mist.
Because the earth claims
Us all in the end,
But chooses only a few
To be its keeper.

The answer hanging
In his face,
He wiped the back
Of his hand across his lips,
Turned, climbed to the seat
Of Dad’s International,
Pressed the starter with his toe,
A belch of black rising
From a stack covered by a Folgers can
As the tires pulled
Him into the rows of golden plants.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thursday Night and the Baltimore Pike

Southern Pennsylvania,
The bricks of storefronts
From the Civil War radiate
Mid-day heat
Into the autumn evening.

Windows bathe
In the soft light
Of long bulbs in high places.
Calvary swords, moth eaten
Kepis, and dirty Confederate
Bills lounge
On green velvet waiting
For their buyers to be found.

Lifelong lovers,
Their silver hair shining,
Wait in line while chatting,
As a man in a red vest checks tickets
And grants them permission to board
A double decked bus
Painted white with scenes
Of struggle emblazoned on all sides.

A quiet wooden bench stands
At the base of the stairs
To the Wills house.
It guards the entrance
Of where Lincoln slept,
His address freshly written
For the souls and the survivors
Of three bloody days.

It’s here that I sit,
As night envelopes
The roof tops and crawls
To the streets
Slowly heading down the Baltimore Pike,
Bringing rest to the fields
Where the spirit of America sleeps
With its brothers that lie
Beneath red Pennsylvanian soil.

The High Water Mark 6:45 AM

September 23rd,
Dawn has arrived
No one has told the crickets,
Their cadence echoes through the fog like distant cannons.
Soft mist brushes
My cheeks and covers
My hands.

Autumns colors hiding
Fog rolls like soft silk
Across the weed covered
Ground, around the boulders,
And through the spokes
Of cannon wheels.

I feel the hills
I cannot see.
Their arms surround the space
That saved our country.
Those hills hold
The souls of brothers
Fathers, and sons
Sacrificing themselves in early July
So long ago,
That today I may stand
Free, thankful,

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Truck Stop 1997

By the side of the road
Red neon wills itself
Onto gravel and crabgrass.
Midnight Millers and Gypsies
Catch its ride, blinded
By its beauty.

Sweat is slow here,
Thick and dusty.
Rising, reflecting the moon
And falling on shirt collars.

Late night land of name tags,
Ball caps and
Poker machines.
NASCAR magazines and
Hank Williams Jr.
A State trooper sips coffee
From a white mug with a green
Real estate ad on it.

They are the moment
With the hissing of air brakes and the smell
Of burning diesel,
Lot lights wink off chrome trim,
As eighteen wheels hum on the interstate.

Cheap china calls
Into the morning,
A sleepy cook rings a bell,
Stained place mats and chipped Formica.
A salt shaker that’s always half full sits
Near a red eyed Canadian that stares
At dry eggs
While a bus boy swabs the floor.

Past a sign that reads
“Gents” is where they live.
Into the den of the late night poets.
Their words line the walls,
Supporting a cracked mirror and
A shoe shine machine that’s
Out of Order.

Thank you

Cords of purple veins fed
His fingers through the laces
Of his patent leather shoes.

A horsehair brush whispered
Across the green wool jacket lying
Over a wooden chair,
It’s brass buttons winking
With each turn of the ceiling fan.

A navy blue Legion cap,
Trimmed in gold braid,
Defied gravity,
Leaning to the right,
Resting on oily white curls.
It called to the confidence
Of a youth so many years missing.

Gone now are the lines of angry
Farm boys standing in their boxers,
A doctor smoking a Camel and
Calling out their names.

Gone are frosted mugs of Pabst
And the sounds of Billie Holiday drifting
From the juke box in the corner of the PX.

Gone are the smiles of the red haired pilot,
That always ate black licorice before a mission,
And the barracks mutt named Franky D.

Gone is reciting the Lord’s Prayer out loud
While holding the broken body
Of a boy from Brown County near the Thames,
Calling for a mother he couldn’t see.

Gone is the confetti on an autumn day
As new boots kicked the dust
Of Meridian Street,
While school children and politicians cheered.

The call of robins
And the drone of a Piper Cub
Framed the words of a preacher
As they echoed off granite stones
Adorned with miniature flags.

His emerald eyes counted
The silent stare of his comrades,
Eight in all, they stood, remembering
Those that lay in foreign sands,
The deep jungle swamps,
And the hills of New England.

Speakers from a Civic caused
Them to pause,
And tears slid down his cheeks as ACDC
Echoed through the trees.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Main Street Treasure Chest

Excited days,
The old days,
Cavernous slabs of cement fly
Under my feet,
Large trucks growling
Within an arm’s reach.
The shade of maples welcome
Here and there,
As I rushed from bright blistering pools
Of summer sun.

Rubber sneaker soles skidding,
A sweat slickened arm resting
On the curbside mailbox,
The corner
Of Pearl and Main is where Carnegie had left
his legacy.

A throat filled with cobwebs,
And a spear in my right side,
My eyes rose to meet
It’s solemn stare.

Beyond the scarred but solid
Doors lie
The stairs that ascend
To another land.

A land of shadows, and the smell of rubber cement.

A land of hisses of silence
From a white haired lady wearing a purple shawl.

A land of sinister sentries
Of oak, keepers of dreams,
Standing to the ceiling,
Their arms holding the rainbow
Colored spines of creatures contained
In dusty covers.

A land where Thomas Paine
And Twain conspire
Around a back corner.

A land where King’s Pennywise
And Thoreau’s Walden wait
For my dirty fingers to pull
Their thoughts to my eyes.

A land where a ninety seven pound
Nobody slips into new skin,
Becoming King Tut,
Painting a fence for Sawyer,
Shooting to the outer limits of Space,
And smelling the smoke of the Napoleons at Gettysburg.

Hidden in the echoes,
Lay my promise,
My hope.
My dreams.

With those thoughts,
I place my right foot forward
Onto the chipped concrete step,
My hand resting on the wrought iron rail,
And my journey begins.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Calling all Libraries, Indy Bookstores, and Places of Education

On June 17, 2010 I will be performing a live reading at the Butler Public Library in Butler, Indiana. I would like to invite all members or associates of libraries, Independent Bookstores, and Schools/Universities to consider scheduling me for a reading.

I need the exposure, and need the audiences. I want my readings to hold educational value and purpose (such as supporting a library or Independent Bookstore).

So if you have an event or opening for a reading and would like to speak with me about it, please e-mail me at scottsprunger@hotmail.com.

I look forward to hearing from you all.

Thank you.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Yesterday's Never Gone

It was past the time when the hour hand’s
Revolutions were painted with tears.
It was past the moment when a single red rose,
Resting on oak, lowered itself to be covered
In Indiana clay.
It was closer to the days,
Those days,
When I sat among scattered papers,
Cigarette butts, and torn photographs.

I could feel loneliness the way I could smell
Spring coming to Madison.
The mist from Big Clifty clinging to a moss
Eaten maple.
Laughter bellowing from the sandstone that
Framed the sleeping brook.
March air kissing red cheeks,
Hearts skipping beats, in love with life.

I stared out the west window for years.
There was the hill we once sat on in the
Shade of an oak.
A blue, wool blanket pressing the crabgrass
Flat while we talked, chuckled, remembered.
Ants formed a conga line to my ham and
Cheese sandwich,
The way tears licked their way to the
Corners of her smile when I bit into it.

The path that runs through the chicken yard,
The path that crosses the Kissing Bridge,
That path that creeps past the rotted Model A
Ford that hobos sometimes sleep in.
The path when I bring her flowers,
The path that leads to the chipped, rusty back
Gate and a sign that reads
Rosewood Cemetery.

It was long after we said “I do” in a white
Washed church with no steeple
To a preacher wearing a black tie.
It was past the time when I sat among the
Cattails holding a lace handkerchief bearing
“J.S.” in one corner,
While slowly turning my gold wedding band
Between scarred fingers.

It was when I fell between the snow peas and
The sweet corn,
My overalls stained in black earth,
Wind burning the lower lids of my eyes,
That I saw her standing near the porch,
Where she’d always been,
Wearing a cotton dress,
Hanging my shirts on the line.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Love Richard

There she stood
Surrounded by wooden wheels screeching
Poodle skirts and saddle shoes.

An angel under a spotlight,
With Tommy Roe crooning
To the couples in the corners.

His scuffed loafers whispered
Across the oiled, ash floor,
Sweaty palms creased his chinos,
His lips covered by paper.

Life or death came with the next
Hurried breath,
When he asked her to dance.
A smile, a flip of her dark hair,
And he was able to exhale.

A dance that began very slow,
Much like a train leaving a village at midnight,
Gathering speed, at times
Calm and smooth,
Often switching in an instant,
Running wild,
Nearly leaving its tracks.

And so went the dance,
It netted a smile, a moonlight walk in the sand,
On to a wedding, a few children and a career.
Loved ones leaving them, and a
Small red chested robin perched on her finger.

A dance that has lasted 53 years.
Close to coming to an end many times, but
Blissfully going on.

Despite the years,
She’s still the angel in the center of the floor,
Slowly turning, looking him in the eye,
And whispering “Yes.”.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Cedar Creek and Salvation

The Second Freedom: Worship

Cedar Creek and Salvation

Hot, damp canvas
And a campfire.
Rocky soil underfoot from an Indiana creek bed.
The hell-fire glare of a Baptist
Revival Preacher wearing a black coat
Despite the Midwestern heat of September.

Perched on a striped cloth
Folding chair,
Dark eyes sizing me up,
He demands my faults lie
Open on the ground for all to see.
His worn boots kick at them
As I cry to the sky that I had led
A good life.

His hooked nose and
Scarred index finger
Single out the past pretense
Of my statement.
Reminding me that I still breathe,
And that I had lived for today not tomorrow.

Angrily, he throws his straw
Hat over his shoulder,
Onto a path to the woods.
A path to righteousness,
A path to life,
And says quietly, Go, and sin no more”.

Copyright Scott Sprunger 2010

No Harvest

An Ohio Blue Tip is flicked to life in a field of uncut wheat.
Cupped by a bulging hand covered in ashen hair,
it’s raised to meet a Lucky and a deep breath.
Smoke lingers,
then dives into the wrinkles brought on by sixty-seven summers.
Eyes of sapphire stare out across the field,
fixed on a clump of maples near the west road.

Those eyes.
America’s eyes.
His eyes.

His eyes have felt the sting of sweat
and the cutting edge of the harrow’s reins
as two nags led him across the earth.
His eyes have worried through framed glass,
hail dancing on the tin roof.
His eyes wept under a September sun
as his son’s blood drained into the grass
from beneath an overturned John Deere.
His eyes laughed when Old Roy sprouted
quills from the end of his snout.
His eyes questioned the skies
when they brought no rain and the dirt rose like a ghost and flew away.
His eyes turned bitter when fields of towering corn were crushed
beneath the pavement of a new shopping mall.
His eyes choked for breath when a pink slip from the auditor
shoved them into the red.
His eyes trembled as a man in a gray suit
beat an auction sign into the yard using his worn shovel.
His eyes dimmed as friends and strangers roamed his farm looking for treasures.

His eyes died
as he cast away the Lucky
into a field of uncut wheat,
turned and crept back to his home
within the city limits.

copyright 2010 Scott Sprunger