Alan Mathos reads his poem “Eviction”

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Jason Thomas reading at Main Street Books

Alan Mathos  reading       at Main Street Books

Alan Mathos (a.k.a. Jason Thomas) is a poet, dabbler in short fiction, and contemplator of the peripheral aspects of life that hold hope and hidden meaning. These, he explains, are like rays of sunlight through the cracks of a door in a dark room – a door that remains locked until a key is revealed by one’s adjusting eyes.

Themes in his work include spirituality, humor, ghosts, temptation, economics, searching, isolation, nature, music, confusion, and perception (both visual and psychological). In his poetry, Alan enjoys variety, experimenting with free verse as well as structured, traditional, and rhyming forms. According to him, his fiction writing is coming along, but there are “still a lot of orange cones and barrels” as he improves his use of plot, character development, and shifts in narrative perspective. You can see and hear him at occasional open mics in Mansfield, Ohio and in free-range conversations in uncaged coffee shops and other cultural settings.

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“Yesteryear’s Silverline” a poem by Luke Beekman

Looking for love in the right places
in a small town, the countryside, Willow Street.
Here, Continental and Hercules engines have the traces
of such a thing, tractors, and two people you’d like to meet.

It tends to showcase the look on their faces,
summer heat meets a man shirtless with a proud gut.
And a once engineer secretary, a housewife who knows what.
If it ever once existed, they found it, passion for yesteryear in their graces.

Fondness might exist in the silver lining of a once King. Factor
the tractor in place of an attraction, still pulling itself from yesteryear.
Biding time until connection tows you from the untold story of the thing.
Love wants you to remember it existed like an engine we’ll never see again.

And so it runs, there’s a red crank, and the man gets down on his knees too.
Everything you thought about love exists when a Hercules engine finally starts.
He says he’s old, and put on a red shirt to cover sun-red skin and his cranky hearts’
prayer that it will always run tried and true. It’s in the knees, love. Knelt once to you.

And she stopped making dinner, stopped chopping onions to line her eyes,
despite the wealth of knowledge she’s got behind them. In time, aid an engineer
until the tractor no longer exists, nor the trains, and even the porcelain extractor guys’
job went with hers. Breaks your heart. No matter how many tries, put on a face and steer.

And so they stand, two side by side, they own the love itself, from yesteryear.
His broad, red, shouldering collar is still able to get the thing started, just persevere.
And she, with the red lipstick on, smiling, knowing it is not yet gone, they still have two.
Tractors. And they’ll keep love, as long as they two know, that love can be anything true.

Ponder, that moment in time, as the photograph takes them: This is yesteryear’s silverline.
The thing itself is nothin’ more than keeping past alive. Store it in a barn, with your name.
Call the thing you have with your wife a Hercules and a Continental engine side by side,
say proudly, “We’re a match,” and then snap the photo. Things will always be the same.

Yet there will be no more Silver King tractors to ever roll off the line, with their unwieldy
three wheel design. There will never be another gut strong man proving Hercules on his knees, cranking the thing until it runs, just like old times. These are the places, love found? Still above ground, without a garden in a small backyard, they’ll keep them all the same, sure as love grows.

Still: steel tires, the first to put on rubber, innovators who took the great depression and made the farm equipment Plymouth-style; Still stories they might trade over dinner today, and the next day.

At least there’s still something to appreciate from yesteryear, and yesterday. Love is centerpiece by piece by piece reassembled from yesteryear, takes you out in the backyard & kneels to prove Hercules.

© Luke Beekman 2013
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Luke BeekmanLuke Beekman is a vital voice in Mansfield’s art scene. He’s a poet, a fiction writer, photographer, film-maker, and animator. He runs a studio called Dojo Comics, where he teaches young students the art of animation. He is also an avid collaborator; check out his most recent collaboration with Aurelio Villa Luna Diaz. Luke is also the creator of the website Mansfield Artistry, which houses a wide range of visual art, video, and poetry from Mansfield area artists.