Sunday 5 February 2023

Four Poems by John Harold Olson


Lost At The Fair


Let go of my Father’s  hand 

to watch the ice cream clown

and was lost, just like that,

 on the crowded midway,

where the strangers  were

as tall as giraffes.


like fireworks 

you could walk around in the midway.

Double Ferris Wheel

Folding in on itself,

Twirling in yellow and purple neon.

Candy apples

Red like the cherry pop neon.

The giant cow in

her own trailer.

Standing in front 

the Burlesque show

where  spotlights on poles

lit up LaVerne, the goddess dancer,

in a purple robe. Smiling,

Inviting people in, when she 

Sees me standing alone.

Her man comes over.

“Are you alone here, Kid?”

“My Dad is here. I lost him.”

He looks up at the stage.

She points to a folding chair 

next to a girl in braids 

taking tickets.

LaVerne comes down

from spotlit stage,

“Are you lost, Sugar.”

“I lost my Dad.”

“Well, you sit right here” she said 

“ and watch for your Daddy. What’s your name?”


“Paul, step over and get John some popcorn,

I’ve got to do my show.”


I was still

eating popcorn and talking

to LaVerne’s ticket taking daughter

who  shared her Coke

with me

when my Dad

came up.

He wasn’t mad.

I can’t remember 

anything else.



My Autumn Girlfriend


No indication 

what old age is like

when you’re young and

beautiful, and all that.


Talking all night about sex and 

philosophy was invigorating,

but now it’s fun

to exchange about 

Catastrophic illness,

pain, children and grandchildren,

and tough love of doctors, 

bad breaks and good luck,

like two old offensive linemen

who didn’t get a trophy,

But know how grand

it was on the line, in the weather,

colliding with what came at you.


Debby, or Linda

(I keep forgetting her name-she laughs)

looks at me and sees

the long ago lad

you could take a chance on, 

But now she doesn’t have 

To gamble. 


And now, it’s enough

to have it all nice, 

just enough, like a cup of tea

when it’s raining,

and you can stay awhile.

Quarterback Sneak

God is watching.

The rain fell straight down. Helmets shiny in the lights; charcoal sky.


Coach points at me

and I go in on Defense- Right tackle-

I wish I was there now. 


watching me with crow eyes,

was gonna try me,

reading a weak spot.

Down, set

And he carried it,

like I figured,

right into my little zone. And I wrapped him up,

light as a chicken,

and took him over backward to the rainy mud.


God, thanks.



Rowed across the 

the smooth glass

arm of the lake

With the fireflies

And the fish jumping.


The party was a tonic,

whiskey and laughter,

and I slept on a hammock

of the back porch.


High summer

Green dripping off the trees

Awakened in the morn

by raucous crows in the

green crown.


“Good Morning”, she said

from the upper deck next door.

“ I was watching you snore.”


Why was she smiling?

Did I talk in my sleep?


“Why don’t you come up

And have some coffee,” she said.

John Harold Olson - Is a retired Special Education teacher in Las Vegas. Transitioning to being a hospice volunteer.

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