Like Father

Dad-and-Me.jpgIn his eyes, admiration.
A faraway look of remembrance.
A suffering man, with never an ounce of martyr
about him.

The smile is the same.
The tilt of the head, identical,
As if the years evaporated between them.

Dad, the Book Lover.
Mystery and History
Sherlock Holmes
His talisman: “Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.”
That, his comfort book, bequeathed to
The son who would safeguard it
When the hospital was the Father’s next stop.

Now, through the years,
Single words
Erase the sadnesses.

Corny puns.

What is left?
A chair, and that smile,
The tilt of both heads.

Most of all
A pen, the blueness
Of it, indelible as India ink
On fine vellum.

Within and without
Like Father—Like Son
They visit on saintly days
When time permits
And all their work is done.
They strike out together, unfettered,
To a special place,
Reserved for them alone,
in heaven.

Charlene James-Duguid
Amissville, Virginia
February, 2020

A Rappahonnock Romance

GettyImages-1155045785.jpgThere was a sprinkle and a twinkle to their love.
Like a cookie, prized by children,
Given only when they were especially good
The “A” and” J” carved in the tree atop
Fielding Mountain, their favorite climb,
Was more than an idle inscription,
Told less, then a little, of its joy.

His pride in her every things,
Her thrill in his all ways,
Brilliant because of themselves.
Every love song sung
And sonnet ever scribed
Could not equal the tender
Sweetness of their breath
When echoing together,
Their mirrored bodies and souls
Became happy as one.

Weaving the outside into finely-made cloth,
They met each day
As a basket of surprises.
Never growing dull always staying bright.
The farm, the crops, the horses, the son,
Perfect set pieces for the drama of life
In a world that welcomes wild flowers
To bloom again each Spring.

— Char Duguid

Sadly Gone

GettyImages-919467938.jpg“Someone forgot to turn the sun off.”
He says to me as we approach the bed
Before the night ever thought of visiting.

Funny, but years back, tromping to the bedroom
Would have ushered in unbridled sexual tumblings.
Now it means closing the blinds, finding
A reasonably comfortable position,
Downing the daily evening regimen of pills.

No martini or two,
Sleep was the only item on our agenda.

Oh, we talk about having sex
While our love sustains us,
But with each orgasmistic thought
Comes memory of back pain, knee pain, stiff joints,
Restless leg syndrome.

What choice will we make?
Agreement is key.
One going one way, the other another, predicts

Make the effort worthwhile.
Keep the juices flowing
Plead with Eros for just one more
Mattress dance without incidence.

Hear me, Young Ones, do it now, plenty and often,
Before Father Time and Mother Nature plot against you.
Before pharmaceuticals replace passion,
And a sigh and peck on the cheek substitutes
For an ecstatic trip to the moon.


Charlene James-Duguid
Posted February, 2020

Jeremy and the Giant Braid

GettyImages-507152660.jpgHe was no fool as a teenager,
Go where all the girls were
He became an asset to them.
Circumventing the shyness of a
One-on-one boy/girl chat while being surrounded
By a dozen-or-so glistening gals
Ready to basket their hearts out
For the team.
For the Seminoles.
Not that much to learn:
Part, divide evenly,
Use a steady hand,
Back and forth,
In and out
French style, crochet braid, or fish-tail,
Bun, butterfly, and halo.
Be privileged to fondle
Those fragrant, newly-shampooed tresses:
Glistening blondes, shimmering brownettes,
Sheenly, straight, black-haired locks
Waiting to be threaded and looped.
They believing only he can make hair magic.
He alone,
Symmetry captured, unbeknownst to the salon
Downtown. They jockeyed in line to be next.
His only conversation skill necessary
A “hum” or “okay” to keep them coming.
Some guys standing on the corner.
Other guys watching all the girls
Go by without a wink.
No way to grab their attention.
No tonsorial skills, but for Jeremy’s.
They served him well,
Gave him access, then knowledge
Of female wiles.
Having the pick of the litter,
He chose the best, then
And now, Amy, the brightest star in the sky.
That Jeremy, he’s nobody’s fool.
Charlene James-Duguid
Amissville, Virginia
February, 2020


train.jpgThey, on Amtrak, rediscovering love,
Didn’t have a basket for safe transit
Nor as much as a small, rose-colored envelope
To guarantee the journey home.
She, elated with the sounds,
The first, four, easy notes followed by another trio,
A simple “da da de de de de dum.”
Her heart, reaching to burst,
His eyes filled with her bursting.
Do we love anew, again and again,
Or over and over?
The answer muted as the song.
The Beloved prepares a thriving space.
Captured, the refrain, told by strings
Barely knowing the gentlest touch,
A heavenly flesh.
Where was it when the train
No, here forever
On her lips, in her voice.
‘Da da de de de da da de da da de da da
Da da da dum de da dum de da da da da.”
Charlene James- Duguid
Amissville, Virginia
February, 2020

Apollo’s Temptress

Lina-Koutrakos-2014.jpgTo hear her sing surpasses
The excitement of
A long-awaited
Clap of thunder when the sky
Is electric with sharps and flats
Bass and G Clefs left over
From an all-night Delphic jam.

Stretching the imagination
To where feelings couldn’t possibly go.
She goes there anyway, urging you along,
Refusing to let you linger in uncertainty.
You’re either in it or done in by it’s spell.

Sound never was so sweet, yet raw,
Achy with emotions, magically ushered out
Of a voice with a dusky heart.
No peace. No rest. No room is enough for her.

Proud of each ounce of Mediterranean blood
She pumps it wild, session on session, set after set,
Tone follows drenching tone.

And when it’s finished, it’s never done.
Counting the seconds between lightning bolts,
You can break free of the song,
But not the stormy memory
Of Her Soul
Charlene James-Duguid
Amissville, Virginia

Quite Marvelous


The first thing she asked for was a mic,
Then a stool.
Already glammed in her sequins and forever black gloves,
She was ready to send the heavenly choir into retirement.

No more of these cherubim and seraphim twittering.
None of these cherry-cheeked, curly-haired, blond bimbos,
Angels with perfect pitch.

“We need some action, Pete, give me a vamp
And we’re on our way.”

“Sure Julie, give us some grit, some mighty rust from those pipes,
Sounds only you can make. And repertoire, your choice, just
Make it real.”

The winged altos, mezzos, and high sopranos flew for cover.
No match for Julie. They knew.

They had prepared. Just a matter of time till she showed up, her slinky self
Tossing down-to-earth truths
Into the celestial doldrums.

Pete was ready, so was the Big Bang, His Boy,
And that Bird. The Trio burst out,
“No time to waste. Hit it Julie.”

“Okay Boys, fine by me, let’s do it.
I’m here and sure do belong.”

Feathers flew, lightening struck, planets whirled,
The clouds opened and there she was.

“Ladies and gentlemen,
The ever heavenly,
Miss Julie Wilson.”

Charlene James-Duguid
Amissville, Virginia

Random Wonders of the World

Image-2.jpg“Class, today we will examine the
Existence of randomness.

The simplicity, the joy, of a pinwheel,
paper or plastic.”

A sophomore in the last row mumbled
To her twin, a perfect match, ginger hair,
Violet-eyed coed
While the triplet albino boys
Behind them
Ogled their bountiful bodies.

“He’s awesome.”
They whisper.

Holding sway from the podium,
He continues.

A brass kaleidoscope
Being kaleidoscopic.”

He propounds.

Wanderlust spreading worldwide
As if the only cure for loneliness.
And of course
Bubble blowing as an art
If you haven’t lost your teeth.”

The fivesome in the back,
restless for a fast answer
Begin to fidget the more.


The Lecturer proffers,
“The magic of tastes we know
But rarely name: pomegranate, quince,

On and on he echoes a silver.

Of delicate smells—magnolia,
Outhouse lilacs.

Or knowing not the origins
Of vinegar.
Trusting that your
Streaked windows will
Glisten anew under its care.
Babylon in origin, of course,
With its figs and dates and beer
Could be the only source.”

A family of mixed-gender quadruplets
Arrive and size up the room.
In unison,
They spout,
“This can’t be all there is to it.”

Skunk scent.
Bright as the tail light on a
Battered, green Chevy pick-up.”

“It’s not worth the tuition.”
Chimes in a silver-haired octoroon.

The Scholar is undeterred.

Wonder of wonders.

Home remedies alone take up
An encyclopedia-sized trove.
Blisters be gone.
Helium knows how to cause
Balloons to soar.

Put them together
Pile them up
Challenge their scientific rightness
Suspend truth
Vaccinate with why-nots
There you have the
Wonders of the World.”

“But Professor, “
A 13-fingered Clown questions,

“Whose world?”

Charlene James-Duguid
Amissville, Virginia


Marguerite.jpgHe had always dreamed of
A demure mother in a calico pinafore
Whipping up a batch of cookies
For his Boy Scout troop.
He took it all in stride, though, when he got one totally different, unique,
A near-octogenarian madcap in rhinestones.

With the glamour of a 40’s chanteuse,
The legs of a Grable,
The wasp-waist of a Hayworth
And the seductibility that blended
Dietrich with Gardner,
She was all his.

Not an ounce over 103,
Not a chip on her dainty tens,
Each eyelash laced with true,
Spit-made, War Bride mascara.
Daily she donned her banana Miranda toque
And seven inch heels that threw her into the

No excuses, no,
Her Son made no excuses.

“You just can’t fault that spunk.
Love it for what it is.”`

He relished each time she called out, full-throated,
Dashing from her bubble-bathed toilette to
Chiffon-draped boudoir.
Flouncing past, she’d declare,

“Shut your eyes, you Innocents,
Naked Lady coming through.”

Charlene James-Duguid
Amissville, Virginia
January, 2020