Saturday, December 26, 2009

black socks

new socks
were not
on my list,
but i got
them just
the same,
black,
both dress
and casual.
i am
very fond
of black
socks,
and obviously
it's well
known
throughout
the world,
otherwise
why would i
get so many
each christmas
morning.
and i would
be remiss
if i failed
to mention
the plaid,
red and green,
dishtowels
that were
also,
not on
my list,
but now
adorn my
kitchen in
holiday wonder.

meow

she likes to kiss.
like she's doing now.
to lie on the couch
and breathe softly
into my ear, no words,
just her warm breath
like a small cat
who needs something
from the kitchen,
but i'm sleepy
and tired, and all
the purring and pawing
that she does won't
get me to move an
inch east or west,
but those are not
the directions that
she's concerned with.
she's been into
the catnip.

photos

there is great difficulty
in the sorting of photos,
taking them one
by one from the big box
where they have been for
years, some sticking, some
black and white, some
unremembered, but most hold
a memory, an instant when
the camera flashed and a
permanance was given to the
temporal, or so it seems.
for who are these people,
these young, unlined faces
with heads full of ungrey
hair, their slenderness,
and quick smiles,
the absence of so much
that weighs down the old,
the relentless movement
of time, so clear,
so amazing and bittersweet
in one's hand.

Friday, December 25, 2009

the light

the light of you
is bright. i feel
it's warmth, absorb
it's heat. i welcome
you, this friendship
that comes so easily,
it moves to every
corner that was once
dark, shadowed with
indifference and
yesterdays unsolved.
i am ready to move
everything
to the middle,
to let you see what
i have seen. i think
that much about you.

the absence of you

for so long
she followed me
down the steps,
through the woods
to where a cold
stream ran
over broken rocks.
this was what we
did when we were
in love, and it
was natural to hold
hands and kiss
upon arrival, or
departure, but now
i go alone,
and the steps are
dark and wet
from the fall
rains, where
the leaves
have emptied from
the trees,
and the sleeve of
water is blue
like steel,
dangerous
and different
in her absence.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bacon

feeling desparately low
on nitrates when i woke
up this morning,
the day before christmas,
i asked myself just how
badly did i need bacon.
was i willing to brave
the holiday shoppers
and traffic, the speeding
mini vans full of coffee
crazed moms and children
fighting for the last
spot in the already
packed lot at the whole
foods, was i patient enough
to negotiate the iced
roads narrowed by the walls
of plowed snow from a week
ago. it was all a cup
of crazy this notion of
getting bacon, but i
wanted it, no, i needed
the sizzling taste of
grilled fat to go along
with my eggs and hash
browns, my toasted english
muffin with blueberry jam.
so off i went in search
of a pound of thick cut
bacon and four hours later
my hunger was satisfied.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

resolutions

ah, the new year's
resolution. let's start
with something simple like
no carob or lima beans,
or tofu, or sugarfree
anything, and then work
our way up to no
standing in lines
for anything. how about
no phone calls longer
than three minutes, no
texting beyond three
communications, no
listening to lectures
about politics, God,
or global warming.
and on the more positive
side, more sleep, better
food, more kissing,
more exercise.
more love. more listening,
more giving, more reading.
more writing, more meditation
and quiet, more cake,
more fun. forgiveness.

keep going

another mile
run,
another sit up,
another press
of the weights,
the lifts,
the stretching
and pull.
another sprint
on the bike
through the woods,
up the hills,
another step
onto the scale
to measure the
weight gained,
the ounces lost,
another peek
into the mirror
to witness
gravity and time,
the years
and daylight
racing away
like horses
in the late
summer sun.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

at this stage

the notion of you
is this, that you
need to stretch your
limbs like a sleepy cat
and seek out
love under every
rock you come upon.
i understand and have
great sympathy for
your plight. it's not
an uncommon one, this
need, this desire
to be in love, although
i have met a few
that have fought past
it, and found a place
of content and comfort
within themselves, no
longer needing physcial
pleasure, or someone
to have around to converse
with or to share a thought
or fear, or meal, or simple
cup of joy. i have
yet to determine though
if it's age related, or
just the way it is now,
this modern life, or
when and if it will own
me too, and you.

the parking lot

there was a lot of grumbling
about the snow while the
shovels went at it, clicking
and clanking against the ice
and pavement when it was
finally reached, where
were the plows, the salt, someone
to get this mess out of here.
of course these were all
adults grousing, the children
were on the hill throwing
snowballs, sledding, rolling
like puppies in the deep white
flakes. but we lifted, and
huffed, sweating in our
layers as we cleared the
paths for our cars and trucks
for the next day. a work day.
we carried load after load
of ice and snow to the end
of the parking lot while
the children screamed with joy.
these two worlds were
oblivious to one another.
the glee of youth untouched
in smiles and laughter, not
hearing the grunts, the groans
or seeing the worry of tomorrow
folded in our brows.

yesterday

a book of poems arrived
in the mail from a friend
of mine. every line ryhmed
and talked about flowers
and love, God and sunshine.
they were heartfelt poems,
full of family and religion,
faith and the beauty of
nature. thankfulness. they
were fine poems. i liked
them for what they were,
and for the true emotions
felt and expressed so
simply. they were poems
that i couldn't write even
on my best day. unlike him
i need to scratch at something,
to find the itch, the scab,
the dark cloud, the blood,
the edge, before finding
redemption in the bright
light of summer. i want
to feel the cold in my
feet and fingers. i need
to walk on ice before this.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Medical Marijuana

I saw Santa in the sky
the other night, a week
or so before Christmas.
His sled was zig zagging
back and forth between
the clouds, with toys
and gifts tumbling out
of his enormous bag that
sat perched at the back
of his sleigh. He had
his radio turned up
really loud and was
snacking on a plate of
sugar cookies. Crumbs
and spilled eggnog were
all over the front of his
fuzzy red suit, but he
seemed very, very happy
despite having no memory
of where he had been, or
where he was to go.

Friday, December 18, 2009

inheritance

everything is
everywhere. i can
see that from
the door. the death
of a sister
and a mother
and suddenly
you have three
clocks, more
art than the walls
allow, vases
enough to break
on a daily basis.
all of it has
felt your touch,
your hands,
your fingers on
each edge, but
it does nothing
for you, not
even the flush
bank account
matters. what
trip will bring
them back,
what car, what
dress, what
lavish meal,
or piece of gold
can save
the heart
from missing.

sailor

the black sea
rolls forever
below the white
stars, and on
this ship i wonder
what will become
of me and all the
sailors who sail
this ocean, from
each port, to each
sea. where will
i plant the flag,
set foot high and
dry upon green
land, when will
i give up
the sextant, the
sail, the oars,
the treasure map
that promises love
and the holy grail.
where will i see
you waiting
with arms aloft,
your face in the
new sun, waiting
high up on the rocks,
your green eyes,
like stars, showing
me the way home.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

cup of sugar

my neighbor, alan,
who happens to be
a professional circus
clown, stopped by
the other day
to borrow a cup of sugar.
brown or white, i asked
him. and he said why
on earth would i want
brown sugar. baking, i
said, perhaps you're
baking some cookies
or a cake. he was grumpy
and a lit cigarette
dangled from his lips.
traces of fake tears
were still painted on his
whitened face. i could
smell whiskey on his
breath. there were bags
beneath his eyes
and a fresh scratch on
his cheek from what
looked like fingernails.
i'm brewing a pot
of coffee he said,
and i need a few
teaspoons of sugar.
he still had the remants
of his clown make up
on, but it was smudged
and greasy looking, as
if he had started with
the cold cream and then
gave up. his hair was
matted down from the red
wig and derby that i've
seen him wear when he goes
to work. no floppy shoes,
or big red ball nose. only
his billowy clown costume,
which was a radiant
yellow, with big green
dots. there looked
to be a gravy stain
down the front of it.
rough night, i asked him.
he nodded, still holding
out the bowl that he wanted
me to put sugar into.
yes, he said. i broke
up with my girlfriend, lulu.
maybe you've seen her, she
rides the elephants, short
girl, cute. he indicated
her height with a shaky hand.
no, i said, i don't go
to the circus. the smell.
i don't like the whole
deal. it makes me nauseous.
he shrugged. she ran
off with Reginald,
the strongman. weightlifter
guy. bastard. she sent
me a text message
during the show to tell me.
i was in the clown car
with nine other clowns
when i got the text. damn,
i said, then poured
some sugar into his bowl.
enough? that's good,
he said, thanks, then
went down the steps, back
to his house in his bare feet.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On the High Seas

i understand that
the boat won't go
down if we all paddle
and pull together,
put our fingers
and hearts into
the hole where
the cold water rushes
in and aims to sink us.
it's a group effort
this survival, although
at times i wonder,
and wish to swim
alone, take my chances
on the high seas
without the boat,
the person next to me,
and those who seek
to captain. i especially
dislike the group sing
alongs as we pull
those wooden oars
towards shore.

I find

it is the soft
kiss and light
caress in
the morning
light,
upon the cheek
or lips
or hand that
gently touches
the arm
or hip that
let's the day
unfold
with a much
greater ease,
than in
the absence
of such
subtleties.

Monday, December 14, 2009

let them eat cake

i find that in times
of stress that i go
to the cake. that slice
of deep dark chocolate
is where i find my solace,
my comfort, my sweet
redemption and peace,
my happy place,
and when i'm tired,
or sad, or lonely,
or the stock market
has dropped five hundred
points, or even after
a lusty session
of unbridled passion,
once again i need that
big fat slice of cake
to calm me down, to bring
me to my senses. i want
that flour and sugar
and eggs to rise from
it's sweet batter
into a globe of golden
warmth and wonder.
bundt, or pan, layered
or even the little
cupcakes will do, it
doesn't matter. just
pour me a glass of milk
and cut me a nice healthy
slice, please hurry,
i'm feeling blue.

google

we really don't need books,
or schools, or teachers, or
anything or anyone, we have
google. type in your need,
your question, your desire
or problem and there it is
in spades. all you need
to know is waiting for you,
like magic, on a when you
need to know basis. why fill
up the mind with so much
useless information. just
learn the answer when you
need the answer. yes. it
is the end of civilization
as we know it, but those of
us who have yet to learn
how to type on the tiniest
of keyboards without looking,
using our fat thumbs, we are
dinosaurs clilnging to our
books and newspapers, awaiting
extinction. when, i don't
know. but let me google that.
i'm sure there is an answer.

when the eggnog runs out

as i stand outside
the house i used live in,
where others now reside,
shivering and cold
in my wet shoes, a pint
of southern comfort at
my blue lips, foreclosure
papers still in hand,
i can't help but wonder
at the turn of events
that have taken place.
the economy is the simple
answer, but it's not
enough for me to know
that so many others
are suffering the same
fate. bad planning, the
wrong job, not enough
education to keep the
money rolling in, divorce,
or children gone off the
deep end, sickness,
the swine flu perhaps.
it could happen to anyone,
but still. it was once
my house. it was the place
i put up the christmas tree
and gathered the children
around, some of them mine,
and the second wife, i think
her name was marsha, the dog,
the cat, my neighbor jimmy
and his boyfriend, bill.
it was where we would all
sing, and dance the night
away until the eggnog ran out.

No, please, I've got It....

she loves chinese food,
get out of the way
and watch the chop sticks fly,
deep fried and spicy, or
bring on the italian, white
sauce or red. oh yea, steak
and potatoes go down
like nothing. Yum. and garlic
bread, roast her up a lamb
with some mint jelly, or
a slab of chilean sea bass
blackened and tender to
the touch or tongue. did
i hear maine lobster?
wine, keep it coming, pour
her another and another,
no sweat, oh what the hell,
leave the bottle, she's not
driving, she's not paying,
her purse hasn't been opened
in so long it has cobwebs
on it, but it's okay. a
salad, dessert, oh perhaps
an appetizer. it's queen
for a day, a night,
they line up without a
hint of guilt, it's the
world we live in. if you don't
pay, well, then sadly you
probably won't play. Be a man
and step up. Stop your whining
and open that door. hello.
what all that bra burning
was about, and marching
in the street to make us
all equal, i have no idea.
It's nineteen sixty three
all over again my brother.

NYC

My left shoe has
given out first, failed
me with a round hole
worn straight through
from walking the streets
of New York City with a
hot pastrami sandwich in
in one hand, a map of
the subway system in the
other. I have a bright
yellow swab of mustard
down the front of my coat
and seven dollars to get
me back to 56th street
and 6th avenue where I
have a warm room at the
Belvedere. I am amazingly
happy here in the city,
without a clue, a buck,
or the love of my life,
past, present or future.
I think I'll take in the
Zoo before the sun sets
and Time Square lights up
like a Christmas tree
on crack. I've got time.

Truth in Dating

The new dating site
will be called Sodium
Pentothal Dot Com. An
hour before you meet
the perspective love
of your life both of you
will receive a shot
of truth serum from a
qualified nurse, who then
will also apply a nice little
bandaid on the pricked
point where a spot
of blood may eek out.
And in the course of the
evening, with very little
prodding from wine or
martinis,or flirtation
of any sort, each person
will begin, without
reservation, to reveal
their true age, weight,
height, religion, marital or
relationship status, plus
any diseases past or present
that may lurk in their blood
stream, or sit itchingly
upon the skin. Your
financial status will
be revealed, hidden tattooss,
or piercings, will all come
to light. the criminal
records, genetic predispositions,
not to mention the number of
children, wives, husbands
that may have occurred along
the way will all be known.
One might as well own up
to the dogs and cats, boas
and birds, or other exotic
beasts, or insane relatives
that may litter the landscape,
or cohabit your home, or the
backseat of your car.
And finally, in that moment
of pure revelation and
enlightenment, each person
will have to say what their
true intention is with
the person who sits in
front of them all prim and
proper and formerly smelling
of roses. It should really
save alot of second dates
from ever taking place.

Friday, December 11, 2009

the best

not all the cream
rises to the top,
sometimes the best
get stuck near the bottom
or at some point in
the middle. you see
it all the time,
in the creative fields,
or science, teachers.
someone has to drive
the buses, ladle the
soup, shine the shoes.
the best singer
is on occasion behind
the counter, tending
the register, the
greatest athlete
might be mopping
the bathroom floor.
it might be luck, or
lack of it, fate, or
a purpose, who knows,
but it doesn't mean
that the light is not
shining within them,
it's still there, but
the shades have been drawn.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

snow storm

the movement of the trees,
slight in the autumn wind,
it's a heavy cold arriving.
you can feel it in your bones.
the weatherman swears snow,
or sleet, or both, the warnings
come often with the urgency
of doom. the rush is on
for shovels and salts,
hats and gloves, where are
they, the ones from last
year, and the stores are full
as the essentials are purchased.
but the snow is never deep,
not anymore, not like i
remember when i was a kid,
when it would climb fences,
cover the cars, and schools
would shut down for a week,
but the slight panic is still
on, even now as the earth heats
with too many of us. nature
will eventually find a way
to balance it all out, but
until then, bundle up, an inch
or two is about arrive.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fear of Flying

I'm not fond of being up
in the air, above the clouds,
soaring in the so called
silver bird that speeds
through a gaggle of
fluttering geese. I think
of everything that can go
wrong, despite the wonderful
bag of nuts and soda that's
been provided, the inflight
magazine, chock full of
insightful tips and the top
notch films starring goldie hawn,
or snoop dogg, I am full
of doubt and fear. Of course
I admire and respect
the professionalism
of the attendants and crew,
so neatly attired in white
and blue, so starched
and proper, and yet still,
it's unnerving, the mere
mention of the fetal position
makes me want to go into
one and yet, that is what
one must do before the swift
plummet into the earth below.
They quickly train you on
how to exit down the slide,
and to inflate that orange
life preserver around your
trembling body, or the rubber
raft to float upon in an endless
ocean full of sharks and killer
whales, if you survive the impact
that is. I feel cramped
and helpless in the hands
of the captain. What if he
had a bad day, what if his
wife burned the toast just
that morning, what if
the mechanics had a wild night
out in a bar drinking tequila
with the captain's wife,
and forgot to tighten up that
one bolt that holds the whole
thing together. And just being
stuck in a metal tube, elbow
to elbow, breathing the same
fumes for hours on end with
complete strangers, or worse,
relatives with the flu,
the coughing, the sneezing,
the scratching of arms and
necks covered in welts. Not
to mention security,the removing
of shoes, the searching of bags
holding your very very personal
toys and what nots, the tags,
the x-ray machine, the long
walks from here to there
in a crazy zig zag of signs
and ramps, escalators and
moving sidewalks. No, keep me
on the ground, it's greyhound
for me, although those bus
stations are nothing to shout
about either. What's that puddle
I'm standing in and sorry, but
no, I don't have a quarter.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Out of Reach

The gloves I wear
have a hole in them,
and so does the next
pair, and the next
that are buried in
the boxed pile of
winter wear. Moe,
the recently departed
pup made his mark
on everything, and
rarely does a day
go by without feeling
his warmth beside me,
or in me putting my
hand through the torn
leather hole of a shoe,
a glove, or coat. Moe!

Don't Quit Your Day Job

she says in retreat,
a thrust of the critical
knife, but strangely
there is no wound, no
blood, no harm done,
and I think about
this wonderful cliche line
that is so often used
when there is a dislike
either real or percieved,
it doesn't matter which,
but the line is one of deep
feelings. I like those
lines, the short ones
that have a ring of truth,
a point of clarity. It
does make me think about my
day job, and how much
I enjoy the sweat and
exertion of it all, the
satisfaction of completion.
So little in this life
allows that on a daily
basis. It's a struggle
as middle age takes over,
and yet a blessing in
many ways. So, no, I
won't quit my day job,
just yet. I'll let nature
take it's course and when
time allows I'll write
and write and write to
my heart's content.

Patience

I can't help you anymore.
My skills are limited.
I've listened time and time
again to your troubles,
but I have no answers, no
clue as to how to ease
your burdens, get you on
the right track. I could
steer you towards prayer,
or a self-help guru with
a shelf full of books to
read and ponder, or I could
suggest meditation, yoga,
or exercise to clear your
brain, settle your soul.
Perhaps a therapist who
deals in such matters is
best. For this goes much
deeper than what I'm
capable of saying or doing.
I can't deliver you, or
save you. The problem is
that you like being where you
are and really don't want
to be helped. You just
want to be heard, to tread
the water of feeling sorry
for yourself, to remain
this victim of life. Chaos
is the house you live in,
and I'm sorry, I just can't
visit anymore. I have to go.

Lovely Rita

I see her waiting patiently,
so I dip into my pocket
for a few permissable coins.
But the meter maid still hovers
like a jackal. She sits in
her crazy half car, squeezed
tight into the glass box
that rides upon the tiny
wheels. A pad of tickets
rest in her hand, the pen
perched in her paw. Her bent
badge adorns her as does
the black baton, and cannister
of mace, the radio hooked
to her sleeve in case she
needs to call for help.
She's just doing her
job and doing it oh so well.
The scone crumbs on her
issued shiny coat does not
impede her efficiency one
bit. I respect that. I feed
the hungry meter, that pants
with a red tongue,
a few quarters, then give
her a wave. She scowls
and shakes her head, making
her fuzzy hat tilt even
more, before giving me
a laugh. She moves on.
The sun is hardly up
and the quota longs to be
filled, so she cranks
the engine of her little car,
lights a fresh cigarette
and rolls slowly up the block
to where the line of grey poles
of meters flicker expired
and red. It's feeding time.

A Winter's Night

The lake is frozen
and the skaters, in
mittened groups of twos
and threes, gather
to glide along the blue
lit ice beneath a winter
sky. I'd love to join
them, to toss up the dust
from the silver blades,
to cut through the shadows
of the bare trees on
this moonless night,
but I am old. My legs
have seen the walk
of eighty years, and my
gait is broken, but my
heart is young, like
theirs. I am still in love.
I am still in the wind,
my hands are still entwined
with hers, and I will skate
out my years with joy.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Train

i do want to believe
in it. marriage. i had it
and when it was good
it was very good, but
when it went south
it was a living hell
that saw no end, each
dark day lined up one
after the other waiting
for it's turn at sorrow.
but i want to believe
that it can work, and yet
i only see the lying,
the onslaught of boredom,
the cheating, the deception
in each and nearly every
one of these marriages.
the fights over money,
children, control.
i don't know the answer.
i guess you have to work
at it, like a job, and
then there's the glue of
religion, common interests.
love and family, trust
and respect. i get it.
i really do understand,
but i step through the
debris of these train
wrecks everyday and see
the carnage and i just
can't see getting on
that train again. same
sex, opposite sex, no
sex. go ahead, give it
a shot, i wish you all
the best in your endeavor.
but when i hear that
whistle blow and the rumble
of the wheels about to
cross that trestle, i step
aside and let it roll by.

Friday, December 4, 2009

jelly beans

are sweet.
i keep a large
bowl of colored
beans always
within reach, the peacock
blues, the passion
pinks, the whites,
and greens, the
licorice black.
my dentist loves me
as i put his kids
through school
and pay on the new
lexus that he leases.
i can't stop myself
from dipping into
the bowl jelly beans,
one after another.
i seem to have that
problem with other
things as well.

cancun

it rained hard
in cancun mexico.
and it seldom rains
like that, for five
straight days
and nights. but we
made the most of it
with food and drink,
music and dancing
in the bar across
the street where we
would stumble home
in the wee hours,
and then we would
return to the room
that overlooked the
blue bay, shadowed
in darkness, etched
with the lights of ships
in the distance, and
we would make love
on the balcony, soaked
to the bone, through
our clothes, her dress
clinging to her skin,
so pale and cool
against the mexican
night. who was to
know how short her
life would be, and how
deep the cut would
wound me forever more,
but we had those rain
filled nights in cancun
and sometimes that feels
like almost enough.

oyster moon

I put my hand
out to the yellow
moon, aglow
on this warm night.
I almost feel
that I could snatch it
from the sky,
and hold
the smooth orb
in my hand, like
a pearl found
in an oyster of
dark, lifted open
like a heart
so overdue for love
and light.

the invitation

arrived in the mail,
which is rare in itself,
everything being funneled
these days through our
online connections. but
this thick envelope held
a stamp and was addressed
by hand with a flourish
of careful calligraphy,
a wedding of two friends
was in a month's time,
and i was to come and wear
a tuxedo and all the trim
mings. of course, not
having one that fit, seeing
that it had been fifteen
years since i last wore
the one hanging in the closet
i ventured out to buy or rent.
i spent the day and five
hundred dollars to find
just the right fit, the right
shoes, and shirt, and bow
tie. it felt good to have
my new suit, but it cost me.
and i know that it would also
hang in the dark closet,
awaiting the next formal
invitation for another decade.
and this all confirmed my
beliefs about weddings
in general. that the two
love birds should run away
to some far off tropical
destination that only they
can get to and leave me
out of it.

the office

where i once worked
is hardly missed, although
the wednesday night
game of volleyball, and
the happy hour which
followed, is. there was
always a birthday, or
a holdiay party which
would shorten the day
by half, and perhaps a nice
cake. not to mention
the endless arrivals
of a new receptionst or
secretary to meet
and show the ropes,
or a clever way to unstick
the copier or to lift
that heavy box of paper
onto the shelf, yes. i was
quite the office mate
and was very surprised
when they fired me, not
once, but twice, because
of the second chance they
gave me for being so
helpful, liked and nice.

fast food

is everywhere you look,
the neon brightens every
dark corner of every dark
street. chicken, burgers,
fries, tacos, anything
dipped deep and long into
the well of oil and grease.
not an apple to be found,
or pineapple, or banana,
or berry picked by hand
in a sun drenched field.
no need to be subversive
and over throw this land,
no plotting or acts of
terror need to happen,
just be patient and wait.
we will do it ourselves
and squeeze our hearts dead
with what we crave and eat.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

a new book

i need a new book,
thick and rich,
one that i can lose
myself in, something
that grabs me, that i
won't throw across
the room when the plot
goes awry and the characters
sag with cliche and empty
souls. i want it to be
real, to savor each line,
each word, to wince when
it nears the end. i
want it to last, but
not reach the final page.
i want that book, the one
i'll read again and again,
and never lend, and know
exactly where it is, on
which shelf, close
to my heart and hand.

bread

i fall in love
easily with warm
bread, fresh and doughy
on the table before
the meal arrives,
i like the way a pad
of yellow butter
melts like a kiss on
the soft white face
of a slice. i want
to hold it, feel the
warmth of it, the hard
crust on my lips as
i take a bite and pull
and gently tear it's
life into me. bring me
more, then take my
hand, and i'll start
with you.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

dead people and pears

she waited for the morning
light, the strong sunlight
to shine in, then she began
to paint in oils from the
sketches of the photos cut
neatly out of the obituaries.
not every face would do,
it had to be a certain look,
old or young, something
different, unique in the posture
or pose, the eyes, the length
or lack of nose, or ears
that would protrude too far
from the face. the high
forehead, a grin, or scowl
a mop of hair lopsided
by some unseen hand or wind,
but she had an eye for them,
and could capture with her
subtle hand the very essence
of who they seemed to be.
and when she bored herself
with painting the dead
she would turn to a bowl
of pears, fresh or ripened
brown, it made no difference,
and she would line them in
a row and gaze into their
very souls to find a way
to paint them too.

screwed

the day starts
with a small nail,
or screw that you've
run over in your car,
it's stuck deep
within your tire,
you hear the clicking
of metal against
the pavement, but you
press on, there are
things you need to do,
places to be on time,
but halfway in your
journey, the screw
expels itself and the
tire quickly goes flat,
leaving you stranded on
the side of the road,
you try to call AAA,
who you've religiously
paid for thirty years
just for this one moment,
but your cell phone
needs charging, and it's
dead, you have no change,
you left your wallet
on the kitchen counter,
the money you were going
to grab is in your coat
on the hook in the closet
miles away. you want to
find a metaphor, some
reason, some point being
made about the circumstances
that have occured, the place
you have arrived at on this
cold december morning
with traffic roaring by
at seventy miles an hour,
but you've got nothing,
and then it starts to rain.

sandman

I'm drowsy
from the pills
I took to sleep,
but I can't get
there from here.
The mind races
with a zillion
silly things,
like love and money,
the madness
of it all.
It's the constant
ticking
of the clock
that seems to whip
the world
into a frenzy,
and the genius
is in finding
a way to stop it,
to get out from
under the big
hand, the little
hand, the plate
of relentless
hours we must
succumb to. But
until then,
I'm waiting on
the sandman
to bring me sleep.

snow bound

Don't look at me
for answers, for
at the moment I
have none. I'm bone
dry. I'm sitting
on this bench alone,
Trying to keep warm,
letting the wind
hold what's left of me.
I'm starting from
scratch, from zip,
which is exactly
how I like it.
The bare canvas
of this white
deeping snow, suits
me well. I'll dig
out of this too.
Just give me time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

january

drops in
univited.
a cool guest
full of false
promise,
the start
of something new,
the sales pitch
of a new year,
as the colored
lights fade
and get boxed,
stuffed back
into the cellar
or attic
with the plastic
tree.
the gaiety is over
as the sky thickens
with cold,
and we break each
heartfelt resolution,
one by one,
with all the zeal
of the falling
snow that won't
be gone for
months.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nine Lives

i started with one
cat, just one, but
we weren't getting along,
so i added another,
then another.
and then there were
nine. i had become a cat
rancher. i had a litter
box in every corner, the
dog looked at me like
i was crazy. i lied
to the cats telling
each one how much i
loved and cared for them.
i told all of them that
they were special,
and the only one despite
the obvious evidence
of the other eight.
the stray hairbrush,
the lipstick cannister
under the bed, a high
heel there, a pair of
torn nylons in the bath
room. that long strand
of blonde hair on my
black sweater. i called
them by the wrong names,
i became forgetful
about what they ate,
or how they liked to
be petted and cared for.
i realized the folly of
my ways, but i couldn't
help myself, because in
a strange way i did
love them all and the
feeling, at least for
awhile, seemed mutual.

this war

is very confusing.
where and why, and how
much longer does it need
to go on, but isn't that
said about every war,
perhaps, but these wars,
these new wars linger on
and the bodies pile up.
the soldiers come home
without limbs, or eyes,
their minds ablaze
and unless you are part
of it, by family or friend,
or you wear the uniform
and carry the flag, it's
invisible, it's quiet, it's
a blurb on the news, online,
it's a war of whispers,
and so easy to turn away
from and ignore.

lavendar fields

she swims in lavendar.
things have gotten out of hand.
it's everywhere she looks
across the hard tilled stretch
of land, the snake green hoses
lline the rows and arch rain
onto the hundreds of bushes,
while she stands wiping her brow,
limping with her broken foot,
amazed that she has gone a
little bit crazy with it all,
and yet strangely happy. she
knows she is where she is
supposed to be, this is a place
that needed lavendar and for
her hands to sink deeply into
the soil of memory and love
and to bless him with this field.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dreams

The dark trees
are lined
like soldiers
on the blue snow.
their arms
draped in white,
in surrender
to winter,
to the night.
I see them
from my window
above the street,
above everyone
lost in their
own dreams
and fast asleep.

The Wishing Well

is full of coins.
it overflows with
silver, the change
of strangers passing
by, emptying their
pockets, hoping for
luck or love, or
wealth or health,
fame, perhaps, or
wisdom that they may
or may not lack. but
the well fills quickly,
is there anyone
without wishes, anyone
not in need of a coin
to throw and drop
into the deep well
that only takes
and never gives back.

holiday

you move slow
now in the morning
light, the legs lift
then go to the floor,
the eyes unlbur
and the dreams you
had subside. this
is the day you live
in, unlike the one
before, but the same.
you want the holidays
to end to stop
with the smiles,
the cards and notes,
the gifts you must
send. you want the bells
and lights to stop
ringing, stop
blinking. you have no
joy because the one
you love, the one
you truly love says
no and you don't
know what to do with
this empty feeling
that you've swallowed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Allergy

i'm not afraid to say
that i failed you in
so many ways. leaving
you outside in the rain
without food, or water,
tied and chained in
the backyard while i
went about my business.
the business of shirley.
but i offer you this
pork chop cooked with
onions and mushrooms
as a peace offering.
i hope that you accept
it, because i do love
you so and would hate
to have these few
forgetful moments of mine
interfere with our dog
man relationship.
in fact, she's gone
now, come on in sweetie
and bring that bone too.

The Bride and Groom

My needs are not being
met. You know exactly
what I'm talking about.
Don't turn away, don't
roll your eyes
and cast that glare
at me. I know that
look, you learned
it from your mother,
didn't you? Yes.
I feel a cold coming on
in the form of your
shoulders. Both of them,
going into the deep
freeze aren't we?
Maybe you have another
headache. I should have
invested in aspirin.
Well I hope you snap
out of it before the
wedding, We've put alot
of time and effort,
not to mention money
into this event,
and I won't let you
screw it up. My family
is driving all the way
from Jersey for this
thing, and Aunt Mimi is
in a wheelchair, so
act like you're happy,
just for one day,
will you? Where the hell
is that number for
the cake maker. Cakes R Us.
I told that woman
specifically when we were
there five layers not
three, and I get this
receipt and it says three.
And we want vanilla,
right, with pudding in
between? Hello, can you
hear me, vanilla?

Hopeful

My new neighbor is mouse quiet.
Svelte with brown eyes, soft as tea.
I love her, but she doesn't know it
yet. When she sees me her voice
is like a whisper and I have to lean
towards her to hear what she has
to say. There is a lot of smiling,
and nodding, politeness. I smell
the food she cooks at night as it
filters through the windows. I hear
her music turned gently up. I imagine
dancing with her, slowly around
the room, my hands around her waist.
She is always wearing a white dress,
and smells like lavendar. Of course
her husband, the weight lifter, might
have other thoughts about our romance,
but maybe we can work that out, just
maybe he won't crush me in his iron
fists like a holiday walnut and allow
our love to blossom as it should.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

from the top

of the stairs peering
downwards, to where the
television blared some
black and white show,
i could hear the arguement
ensue, burn brightly
and raise smoke from below,
the rattling of dishes,
the holiday crash
of glasses and bottles,
the dull thump of a fist
going into a body,
beneath the mistletoe,
the scream and snap of
my mother's arm as she
reached to call the police
on this christmas eve.
leaving blood on the
presents wrapped and
ribboned beneath
the twinkling tree,
it was before he grabbed
the knife and severed
the long black cord,
before the shore patrol
beat on the doors with
clubs, awakening everyone,
everyone, but me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

like snow

i fall for you,
in a white heap,
though, not soft
flakes, but frozen,
shoveled and plowed
towards your heart.
i am a blizzard
in your face,
and i see you open
the window with a
hand of salt, pouring
it slowly onto who
i am, you can't wait
for winter to end,
and for me to be
a puddle, running
towards the drain.

I don't remember you

i'm sorry,
but i don't remember,
did we meet, or even
talk and if so, what
was it about, are you
tall, or short, where
do you live, what do
you do, kids? give me
a hint, a clue, i hand
out my number like
candy on halloween,
i am at the door
with a blue bowl
of numbers, the bell
rings, i drop it
in the bag,
so excuse me if i have
no idea who i am
talking to, you do
sound nice though,
perhaps we should meet
and get this over with.

Wine and Roses

It's a very nice night
out, on the town, with my
new girlfriend Gina.
She looks lovely in her
embroidered jeans, and
tank top. Bright red roses
cascade down the seams of both
legs. She's got a thing for
roses. She's from Baltimore,
closer to Reistertown, but
what's in a name, or a few
miles. It really doesn't matter,
it's a hell of drive for
me, but she drives to where
I live and here we sit
in a warm, cozy restaurant,
well at the bar, the table
isn't quite ready.
Seven t.v.'s have seven
different games on, and loud
music is playing overhead,
Jackson Browne, Running On
Empty. Gina loves wine,
she loves to smell it, sniff
it, slosh it around in her
puckered mouth, then spit
it out, tasting several
and studying the labels,
asking extensive questions
of the twenty two year old
bartender about the wine's
origin, etc. It's a half
an hour before she is able
to make her decision. she
took a wine class at the
community college and makes
a habit of getting loopy
at every wine festival
within a day's drive. She
tells me the story of a wine
she once sipped last summer
in Fell's point. The story
is much too long. I sip
on my gin and tonic,
my second one, and look
warily at her, at the tv's
that beam from every nook
of the lounge. I'm suddenly
rethinking this boyfriend
girlfriend thing and I
excuse myself to go
the restroom, but I don't
go there, instead I go to
my car, get in, start
the engine and drive away.
I realize that I need to do
this more often. Just leave.
I think dreamily about a bottle
of Boone's Farm apple wine
that I shared with about
six other people on the
boardwalk in ninety-seventy.
Now, that was a wine.

Retirement Money

i'm counting pennies,
quarters, nickels, thin
dimes, pinching them,
tossing them into a jar,
then transferring
the jar into a bucket
which i will lug to
the bank so that they
can be poured noisily
into a machine that will
churn them into folding
money. of course there
are always screws
and buttons, lint, and
nails mixed in the soup
of coins. this makes
the bank man angry and he
scolds me in his Indian
accent, while adjusting
his turban which is askew
on his hot head. i tell
him that i am sorry,
that i thought it was
a clean batch, but it
wasn't. i'm sorry, my bad,
i tell him that this
money will see me through
the hard times when
i'm stuck inside an
old folk's home, this
change here is my bread
and butter, my easy street.
he doesn't buy it though,
and shows no sympathy,
but instead wags his long
brown finger at me
and says, no more, no
more change from you
in your dirty bucket,
you jam up our machine
with your money.
retirement won't come
easy.

Bug

I see germs in my sleep,
they are coming up the stairs,
no matter how many wipes
i use at the grocery store,
swabbing down the carts,
my hands, everything i come
in contact with, i still see
those dark and mean microbes
coming, like an insidious
army of fearless bugs.
the news can't stop talking
about them, the onslaught
of flu, the epidemic,
the deaths, the closings,
the fear of it all.
i cringe at the sound of
a cough, a sneeze, a clearing
of the throat, i pull up
my coat collar and hold
my breath for dear life.
please don't touch me,
or kiss me, or get near me.
i've sequestered myself in
my house until this all blows
over. let me know when
it's safe to go back out again.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Addictions

we met for dinner,
this stranger and me,
chinese food at the strip
mall shopping center
down the road,next to
the wal-mart, somewhere
in the middle of where
we both live. a compromise
of miles. she was
waiting in her truck,
legs sticking out the
window, pale and slender.
a green tattoo crawling up
her ankle. she saw me
walking up and figured
i was worthy enough to
unfold her legs and come in.
we sat and talked, ordered
food. i had a mai tai, but
she said that she didn't
drink, that she was in AA,
three months in recovery,
which was fine with me,
i was happy that she was
dealing with her problem.
she didn't mind if i had
one, or even two, so
i did, in fact i indulged
myself with a third one,
but by evenings end,
the magical smell of rum
was in her and she leaned
nervously towards my drink
peering into that dangerous
amber pool of deception.
she said that she needed
to go to a meeting, now,
and asked me to go with her,
she sweeted the deal by saying
that they had the best
desserts at the meetings,
and i was welcome to go
and eat. but i said no.
i stirred my drink with
the little umbrella,
stuck with fruit and
drank another healthy sip.
I told her that if i have
one piece of cake, then
i want another, and another
and before the night's over
i'm lying in a gutter
with a half a gallon of milk
and an empty Entenman's box.
she saw my point, so we
went back to my place
and decided on a different
addiction, but one we
both could agree upon.

the lesser of two

I remember being
on the moon in my
silver white space
suit, the enormous
helmet with it's
reflective visor
holding earth so
blue upon it's sheen,
and the gathering
of rocks. we needed
more rocks, the grand
canyon apparently did
not hold enough, nor
the mountains, not
to mention what lies
below the oceans.
but it was fun
just the same, and
the billions spent
were at least not spent
on wars. the pictures
were pretty too.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

the bell rings

to awaken you,
and it's dark
when you leave,
dark when you return,
and fatigue sets in
like wet clothes,
heavy on the line.
you can't find
the hot bath
soon enough
when you return that
night, or
the bed, but it's
one a.m. before
you do, before
the next bell rings.
nothing seems done,
complete, there are
piles of laundry,
of bills on the edge
of being late,
dust, like small
tumbleweeds roll
beneath the bed,
below the tables.
laundry appears
mysteriously
everywhere. while
relationships
that were fragile
to begin with drift
and crumble
like cookies in milk.
falling in pieces
into that great abyss
were so much seems
to go these days
the bells keep ringing,
both phones, with
the urgency of fire.
but you can't be
everywhere, please
everyone, some
things just have
to burn to the ground.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Want My Future Now

if i have to drive
longer than an hour
i lose interest, not
just in you, but in just
about everything
i'm driving for,
that's why we have
to break up, and call
it quits, i'm done.
being behind the wheel
puts me unconscious,
my hands get clammy,
my back gets sore, my
neck stiffens.
i have to pee and i'm
hungry, i want
the transportation
that was promised us
when we were kids,
the zip of a tube,
a tunnel train, a
jet pack, something
other than the car which
hasn't changed much
since day one. i want
my future now, i want
to blink my eyes and
be wherever it is i
need to be. i know
that's alot to ask,
but can somebody look
into this and get the ball
rolling on the future.
then perhaps we can
start dating again.

Lobster Night

it's your birthday,
or rather your birthday
week, that's how
women do it, and
sometimes it becomes
birthday month,
you make sure everyone
knows that matters,
just in case you need
some stuff. but
just the same you say
to me, that you want
lobster, preferably Maine
lobster, a big fat
two pounder stuffed
with crab meat and
whatever on the side,
it's all about the
lobster, the melted
butter, the breaking
of the hard red shell
to get to the steamy
rich white meat that melts
in your mouth, dripping
not with margarine,
but with artery clogging
deep yellow hot buttah.
it makes you happy,
this lobster, and so I
oblige, hoping for
the best afterwards,
after all it is your
birth day.

sleep over

the sun comes
up too early
in the morning,
it climbs
in between
the blinds,
filters gently
through
the sheers,
it appears
when i want
more sleep,
when i want
the night
to continue
with you lying
next to me
in dream,
warm and soft,
your skin silk
and still
against my rough
watered sleep.
i hold onto
you to keep
me afloat,
above the surface
of a deep
blue night,
i dont mind
if you leave,
but i want you
to wait,
just wait
an hour or two
longer
until i'm safe
at shore, and
your lips
are touching
mine.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

all of her

is what i want,
but no, she gives
me bits and pieces,
enough candy
to bring me back again.
a kiss here,
a kiss there, some
whispery stuff beneath
the apple tree,
maybe a quick snuggle
in the garage,
but it's the appetizer
that i'm living on,
and it just won't do.
at some point i need
to order off the main
menu, the entree,
i need it all,
salad, dinner, bread,
dessert and coffee.
maybe an after dinner
drink to end the night.
and if there is some
misunderstanding,
if these metaphors
are not getting
through to you, let
me say it plainly,
i need to come up
and see your etchings.

flight

as the plane
lifts
impossibly
from the ground
and the flight
attendant
brings me
another bag
of nuts,
another round,
i look out
the window
near the tilted
wings and
wonder why
i married you
in the first
place.
we never
got off
the ground,
and if we did,
it was mere few
feet before
the crash and
burn.
but we bought
the ticket,
we stowed away
the bags,
we planned,
and marked out
on a map
a life
we thought we
had, but no.
so now i fly
alone,
the plane has
risen, it's
in the clouds,
it's so high
i can barely see
the town
you live in,
and that's a
good thing,
full speed ahead.

home

everyone wants
to go home,
to that place
in the mind where
all is well and safe,
warm. they want off
the cold streets,
the hard pavement
that puts holes in your
shoes, breaks your
heart with every new
job, or love.
everyone wants to go
home, to open
the door and feel
the fire, smell
the oven,
pet the dog as he
runs with tail
wagging, listen
to the kid's day
at school.
everyone wants
to go home and be
greeted with a kiss
by someone
that will never
leave you, that will
love you until
the clock runs
out and more,
and why wouldn't they,
what better place
to be.

The Act

The magician with his wand,
on the stage with a silk
black hat and rabbit,
a scantily clad woman who
waves and woos the crowd
into awe and wonder, is tired
of his job. Making things
appear, then disappear,
or sawing Zelda into two
has lost it's zing, it's
pizzaz. There is no joy
or juice left in the applause.
He wants to rest his weary
arms, stuffed with tricks
up his sleeves. He wants
to go where he doesn't have
to flip through cards to find
just yours, or pull a coin
from a child's ear, or bend
a strip of metal with his
wild eyed stare. Enough.
He's done with doing magic.
He'd rather work the line,
putting bumpers onto trucks,
hammering nails, or filling
up the next donut with banana
cream, but his wife, Zelda,
who adorns the stage and has
felt the edge of the rubber
knife, the silly saw, wants
more. She wants it all and
pushes her man to greater
heights, to bigger feats of
amazement. She knows that
she can't look this way
forever and needs to fill
the bank with money, and then
to find the man she really
loves before all the time
runs out, like air in the
water filled glass box where
the magician hangs suspended.

miscommunication

a wink is no
longer a wink,
a word written
is no longer
a literal word
but code for
something else
entirely.
it's all smoke
signals now.
the mood you
are in, that
drink you had,
the lack of sleep
can alter the
meaning and sink
the ship.
the written
word is dangerous
in this short
cut world
of phone texting
and e-mails,
nothing said
is safe
and almost
everything seems
to be lost
in translation.
i am letting
the battery die,
putting thick
gloves on my
fingers
to keep them
from wandering
into word places
i should not go,
i'm zipping up
my lips.
i hope my
silence is not
misunderstood,
but i'm sure it
will be.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Road Trip

Grandma has a new boyfriend,
Chuck, or Charles as she
likes to call him. I saw
her the other day clinging
like a panda on the back
of his motorcycle. Her
knitting needles and yarn were
sticking out of her backpack.
She met him on the internet
and says that he is her soul
mate. What about grandpa,
I ask her, and she dissmisses
that forty year marriage
with the back of her hand.
They are going to Atlantic City
for the weekend to try their
luck at the slots. Between
the two of them, their social
security checks, they figure
why not, what's there to lose.
She tells me in a whisper
that the little blue pill
has made all the difference
in the world. I close my eyes
and put my hands over my ears.
Just don't get hurt, I tell her.
Shhh, sonny boy, don't you worry
about me. I like having a man
around the house. She gives
me a wink. I cringe and tell
her, okay. Water my plants
and empty the cat's litter box
while I'm gone, will ya, she
asks when Chuck pulls up
on his Harley. He revs the
engine a few times as they
like to do, making the bike
belch and rumble. He smiles
and gives me little wave
with his black leather gloves,
the fingers cut out. I see
his nineteen-seventy mustache
beneath his visor and his grey
ponytail sticking out of the back
of his flat black helmet.
He has a POW decal and a small
American flag blowing in the
breeze, on the back of his bike,
close to where grandma's rear
end is wiggling and bouncing
as they pull away, on the road
to jersey. She tries to wave,
but doesn't want to let go
of Chuck's slippery leather
jacket, so she yells out a
scratchy, TOODALOO!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Babe Ruth

It's midnight again,
and the cat who is in
heat wants in, apparently
she's had enough for
one night, so I lift
the screen and she jumps
onto the couch,
runs to wherever it is
that she goes to at this
hour, but I can't
fall asleep after a long
afternoon nap with the
window open and the cool
november air blowing
in, and so I wander
about the house finding
magazines to browse.
I'm halfway through
a dozen New Yorkers, stuck
in the middle of all
the fiction, and disdaining
nearly every poem.
I go online and see
nothing of interest,
no one I need to
communicate with.
Nothing I need to buy.
I open mail, all the mail,
junk and bills, nothing
good. I look in the
fridge and move some
jars around and find
nothing. I'm not in
the mood for celery,
or peanut butter. So
I hit the couch, flick
on the television. I
find a show about orphans
and how they cope. It
makes me wish that I
was an orphan and had
that kind of get up
and go. They lead such
energetic and rosey
lives. I'd be asleep
perhaps, or maybe not.
They all want to find
out who their real
parents were, which is
understandable. But
I yell at the t.v.
and say don't, stop it,
block it out and move
on, you don't need to
know. I'm on the edge
of my couch worrying
about them, what
they might find. I then
remember that Babe Ruth,
the legendary baseball
player was an orphan.
All of this suddenly
makes me tired, very
tired and now at last
I feel that I can sleep.

A Dream

She comes to me
in my sleep,
walking slowly
through the room
in a ghost like
haze. I can hear
her bare feet
against the wood
floor, smell her
skin, the scent
of her perfume.
She is silent
as she approaches
the bed and leans
over to kiss me,
but she doesn't,
instead she whispers
into my ear, placing
her cold hand over
my mouth, letting
her long hair
pour over my face.
I listen to what
she says, it's the
same thing each time
she visits, the exact
same words that leave
her soft lips
and puts tears into
my sleeping eyes.

hey you

i write you this note
not in anger, or in sadness,
quite the opposite, but
with a smile on my face.
i loved you at one point,
and probably still do
in some benign, safe,
friendship sort of lame
way, and i know that the
feeling is mutual, you've
made that very clear, but
i just wanted you to know
that i'm moving to alaska
on monday to hunt bear
and ice fish and to live
in an unadorned igloo
without heat and cable
television. i hope that you
are doing okay too, with
JIMMY, or whatever the
hell is name is.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

desire

fools you
into thinking
that it's quenched,
when it never is,
it whispers
for fulfillment,
begs for it,
but when it's
over, whatever
the desire
may be, it rests
for awhile,
it takes it's
sweet time,
but always
comes again,
knocking
on the door,
ringing the bell,
kissing the nape
of your neck
and telling you
all the things
you want to hear,
hoping for more.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Let it Snow

Let it snow, let the white
flakes from above
cake the frozen ground
and bring Christmas
on. Let the fire burn
bright and loud, while
music plays and the gifts
beneath the tree pile up.
Let the stove be full
of warm bread and pies,
cookies by the dozen,
ready to be iced. Get
the turkey stuffed,
the potatoes peeled,crush
the berries and glaze
the sweet potatoes. Hit
the switch when the sun
melts away from the sky,
beyond the trees, and light
up the yard with a twinkling
string of colors that
edge the house. Put
the children into their
night clothes and read
to them the story that
they love to hear,gathered
warm and safe on the couch.
Let the heart grow ten
times bigger. Let it
snow, and let everything,
everything else, let go.

Notes

There are are notes
I've written onto
yellow pads,
scattered on my desk,
and scraps of white
paper, envelopes,
napkins, pages torn
from books, all
with numbers and names
of varied importance,
scribbled in haste,
left by the phone,
the computer, some
even legible, but most
are vague, like lights
coming at you in the fog.
Maybe the sun will
come out and dry the sky
and let these reminders
in ink remind me
of what and where
and when I need to be,
and with who, but if not,
so it goes, I'll find
a way to manage, or just
maybe, once their
irritation dies down,
they'll call back.

Landings

soft landings
are good,
on the moon,
or on the earth,
we want to cushion
the descent with
a gentle ride down,
and barely feel
the hard surface
that we land upon.
love is like that
when it fails,
we want a soft
place to fall, to
regroup and heal.
no crash and burn,
but soft and blue
thrusters easing us
onto the white cool
surface of tomorrow.

Night at the Opera

I can see your lips
moving, gums flapping
with something of great
importance, but I can't
hear a word you're
saying. The words that
sing and singe from
your open lips
are not the ones I
want to hear and so
I let them fall away
one by one, like
notes struck boldly
on a piano, but with
no melody to hold them
up. This doesn't stop
you. There is a point
to be made and so you
hold center stage,
it's your own personal
opera in a foreign
tongue, a marathon
of discord and
discontent, but I'm
already down the aisle,
removing my tie, my
shirt, flipping off
my shoes. I am nearly
home free while the
sound of your voice
echoes in the almost
empty hall.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Leave the Light On

I find you asleep
with chocolate
bleeding from your
lips, you've been into
the candy bowl.
I see the wrappers,
like bullet casings
after a shootout
with the mob, once
again you've over-
stocked for the kids
who never came. Sure
there were a few,
little casper holding
his mother's coat,
and dracula with
lipstick and a flash-
light in his powdered
hand. Susie from
around the corner
dressed as a ladybug,
tripping on her wings,
falling and rolling
onto the wet grass
of every lawn, but
most of them stayed
home, fear being
the world we live
in now, and so you
feasted alone on
the bowl of snickers
and pepper mint
patties, hershey's,
licorice, candy corn,
and a bottle of
of pinot noir to keep
the evil spirits away.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Jello

the x rays
show
a shadow
on the white,
a cloud of
distress,
like a storm
off the coast
rolling in,
the blood work
is in too,
and it's not
good,
positive is not
the word
you want to hear
from a man
in a white coat,
things are
not exactly right,
open wide, say
ahh, this will
hurt, not
just a little,
this will bruise,
there will
be pain, more
than a pinch,
now bend over
and touch
your toes,
tell us your
mother's maiden
name, and we're
just getting
started,
but we will keep
you alive
at all costs,
and find something
that your insurance
will cover if it
kills us,
or until the money
runs out, now
sign here, take
off your clothes
please and put on
this paper gown,
have some jello.

swimming

so far from land,
but you can see
the gulls fly
near, and so you
swim harder,
you glide
through the water,
arm after arm,
the legs kicking,
you find your stroke,
your rhythm,
at times you can
only see the wave
you are in,
it's walls are
all that exist,
it seems as if you
will never get
there, exhausted
from the blue cold,
the salt and depth
of your life,
but then
you rise a little
upon a swell
and you can see
the island
up ahead, past
the breakers,
the tops of trees,
the lush grass
that you long for,
a little further,
it's in reach,
almost there.

roses

what brings
you here,
you ask,
and open the door
slightly,
blinking your
brown eyes,
in your pajamas,
done for the night,
a black
and white cat
in your folded
arms. what are
you doing here
standing in
the rain
with roses,
a bundle of cliche
roses, wilted
and crimson red,
there is no
spoken answer,
no reply, no need.
what's more
obvious than a
man standing soaked
in the rain at
midnight with
flowers, the taxi
waiting at the curb
to take his
broken heart
home.

blackbirds

fast
are the days
and nights
that fly
away
like blackbirds
on wind,
off the wire,
tossed into
flight,
it's all
magic,
this brief
stay,
the moments
savored,
the nights
endured,
the desire
to live
just one
more day.

Temptation

lies at the tip
of your finger,
out of focus
in your wandering
eye. Is it
sugar or sex
that you prefer
to step towards,
or into, upon
the hot coals
with bare feet,
perhaps a drug,
or drink,
poured late into
the night, or
even early day
that piques your
prurient interest.
It's everywhere
you turn,
temptation,
this whisper
of discontent
nestled warmly
in your ear,
this sense of
needing more, a
splash of color,
or spice that
takes you off
the middle and to
an edge, where
danger is ripe.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

what she wants

is what everyone wants,
no doubt, love neat and
boxed, perfect without
compromise or fault, but
it doesn't come that
way in the mail, the
wrapping gets torn in
transit, the box
is crumpled, bent, what
lies within is often
broken, shattered
from the falls, the
mishandling throughout
the years, it's still love,
but it's not the love you
ordered, the one you
envisioned in your
sugarplum dreams. yes,
it's love alright, but a
different kind of love.

rain

it comes down
cold onto the skin,
the face upturned
to see it fall
from rolling clouds.
soaks you to the bone,
into your shoes,
blurs your vision.
it's a dark place
to be, confused
and sick, unloved
and lost, and the rain
doesn't help,
it takes out the
bridge, muddies
the road you need
to be on, you are
so far from the sun,
and there is no
other side, there
is only this,
this rain.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Holidays

For the holidays I am
becoming a Buddhist.
Of course I have no idea
what this might entail,
but I envision it to mean
that I won't have to drive
to the mall and shop for
a thousand dollars worth
of insignificant gifts
and then wrap them all
up pretty with a bow
before handing them out
to an ungrateful brood
of children, siblings,
friends, parents and pets.
I'll be folding my legs
beneath me, into a lotus
position, before the family
fights begin over who sits
where, whose dessert is the
best, or who will do the dishes,
or take out the trash or
any number of a myriad
of things that so desperately
need to be done. I can
stay out of it in blissful
peace, contemplating a
higher plane of life.
Dark meat, white meat?
Who cares? I'm a Buddhist.
Drum stick or wing makes
no difference to me. Of
course the others may think
I am being lazy, or rude, or
perhaps just crazy, but
I will pretty much be on
the sidelines with a
beautific smile upon my
Buddha like face. I will
accept all of them with
their many faults. All
of the slights and harsh
words spoken throughout
the year, since the last
holiday together, will
all be forgiven, forgotten.
It will all roll off of me
like rainwater off a yak.
I will eat and smile,
drink wine. I will be in a
state of perfect contentment,
enjoying the moment. I will
rise above it all and perhaps,
if the mood strikes, have
that second slice of pumpkin
pie with a dollop of whipped
cream smack dab in the middle.
I will be going to my happy place

The Movies

People talk,
and by talk, I mean
blab to their heart's
content at the movies
now. It's as if they
were in their own living
rooms. And they come
hungry. Very hungry.
They eat and eat and
eat. The rattle of
of wrappers and cups,
the slurping of chili
dogs and sodas, so
much crunching and
shaking, chewing out
loud, so loud you can
barely hear the screen.
I admit it, I'm old,
and that perhaps this
is the way it is now,
but I can recall the
uniformed ushers
with flashlights, like
beat cops patrolling
the aisles, keeping
the peace, keeping
the theater quiet and
dark. Not anymore.
People shout to one
another while they
drum the backs of your
seat with hands and feet.
There is no reprimand
as the chatter continues
while the movie plays.
The phones ring, the lights
glow on llke fireflies.
I'm done with weekend movies.
It's the tuesday night
matinee for grandpa now.

Soul Mate

I've gone too far
this time.
I sent the letter
I should have saved,
made the call
I shouldn't have.
I even called
her friend Betty,
and asked a few
too many personal
questions. I've
crossed all the lines
with this one
in a crazy notiion
to win her back.
And now the cops
are at the door.
I see the one with
the big dog holding
a canister of pepper
spray and the other
tapping his billy
club, trying
to get me to open
up and surrender.
Maybe the ten page
note I left on her
front door in red ink,
and on her car,
or the two dozen
roses I sent to
her work was pushing
it, but I love her
and can't live without
her. After all,
she is my soul mate.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Pills

Spreading good cheer
is what I do now.
I'm very pleased with
this new, fresh and fun
attitude about life
that I have. I give
to many charities,
donate my time to
the disadvantaged,
read to the blind,
help the elderly across
the street and back again,
if need be. I find
the time to nod hello
and drop a coin or two
into the cup of every
bum I come across. I've
stopped pressing the pedal
to the floor trying to
beat the light and have
even allowed others
to merge when they don't
have their blinkers on.
I'm a changed man. Reborn.
I called my mother and it
wasn't even Sunday. I
listened to her ramble on
for over ten minutes
before interrupting to
tell her that I didn't
know any of these people
she was talking about, or
had a clue as to what she
was saying. I'm a better
person today, not bitter.
I've seen the light, got
religion, turned over
a new leaf and I owe it
all to my doctor's new
perscription. These tiny
little white pills, generic,
because they're cheaper,
have put a spring into
my step. Sure, I've lost
my job, gained an enormous
amount of weight, my wife
is filing for divorce
and the IRS is banging at
the door, but who cares,
I'm walking on sunshine.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

at night

when i toss
and turn,
and ruffle the sheets,
search for the cool
side of the pillow,
or sit up wide awake
and wonder why it's
so hard to fall asleep,
i blame it all on you,
your lips, your legs
the touch of your hand
in mine. the feel of
your heart beating
against me. the night
is a cold black
ocean I am wading in
without you.

the small things

keep us in wonder.
the way the sun rises,
the simple love of children
with no compromise,
the true heart of a friendship.
a glass of wine,
a meal with someone who
stirs your soul
with affection.
a kind hand, or thought,
or kiss hello,
all are welcome and necessary
in this world
we struggle in.

You've Got Mail

The almost new love of my life
has sent me a message. It's not good.
The dear steve message is never a
pleasant read. It usually follows
the pattern of her telling me everything
I've ever done wrong, pointing out
my many flaws, my impossible stubborness
to change, my frozen heart, and
irrepressible sarcasm. Unavailable
and smartass are often two words found
somewhere in the hastily written, and
often angry text. But it's okay.
And in it being okay, this also seems
to be a problem. They want me to suffer,
to shed some tears, lose weight, to somehow
feel he pain and heartache that normally
goes along with losing the almost next
love of my ife. But no. I got nothing.
It's a hard thing adding another grown
person into the mix. I can do a few
nights, perhaps a saturday, or a sunday
once in a while, but I can't do the
whole week. I need some down time.
Some Steve time. I need to look around
the room sometimes and be the only
person there. Just as I like an
ice cold glass of water when I'm
thirsty, I can't drink it all day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's Never Enough

She wants to go
to a museum,
an art gallery,
a show, a play,
a movie, maybe do some
shopping at the mall.
Here, hold my purse.
She wants to browse
the bookstore for a
self-help book,
a cookbook, or have
a book signed by
the author and shake
his hand. There is
a string quartet
at the community center
gazebo. A flea market,
pull over at that yard
sale. Thank you, you're
the best. Perhaps we can
take a drive to a winery
nestled cozy near the
mountains, we'll bring
a picnic basket with some
egg salad sandwiches
and a tupperware container
full of watermelon balls
carved out with your
williams and sonoma melon
scooper, a blanket, chairs,
a cooler, bug spray, water,
wine, etc. oh, and don't
forget the corkscrew.
A walk, hand in hand
through old town
down the cobblestone
streets might be fun
too, romantic, peering into
the windows and shops.
Oh my, that antique
sewing machine is beautiful,
it'll fit right into
the trunk of your car,
and look great in your
foyer. Buy it, don't be
so cheap. Give me your
credit card. We could
always pick berries
at the farm which is
on the way to the winery,
just down ninety-five
about twenty three miles
out of the way, west,
or go to the farmer's market
in the city and make a tomato
purchase. Oh, I know, i
have a great idea,
it's so nice out, let's
take a day trip to the
beach and get some taffy.
Yup, it's what we do,
or else.

Gone Fishing

In an insane moment of fatherly affection
I decided to take my son fishing one day.
Being only six or seven at the time, he
was young and inexperienced, but he appeared
ready. Right away, the worm thing was a
problem, but once he got used to the idea
that a worm's life meant nothing to us, it
was easy for him to stab the sharp silver
hook into the wiggling end, killing it for
all intents and purposes. Was it in the head,
the tail, who knows, girl or boy, we couldn't
figure that out either, but no screaming was
involved despite the considerable amount of
squirming and blood when the hook went in.
We then cast our single line, plop, into the murky
water and stood there motionless for what
seemed like five hours, but was only fifteen
minutes. We smacked violently at the horseflies
and mosquitos that were ravaging our legs and arms
and my son looked at me strangely when he heard
words he had never heard before. We then recast,
rewormed, and then repositioned to a point maybe
ten feet from where we were standing. This part
of the man made lake seemed better, despite the
fact that there was still the horrible smell
that reminded me of an open dumpster behind a
chinese restaurant. We finally got a nibble
and our line quivered, then a strong bite,
so we pulled back on our rod, bending it ever
so slightly so as to snag the hook into the stiff
lip of the unsuspecting fish. He took it and we
could feel his struggle on the line and in the
fiber rod. Slowly we reeled him in so as not
to lose our catch. It skimmed weightlessly
along the surface before comming to a halt at
my son's feet. What is it, he asked. It was about
three inches long and was the color of an anemic
goldfish, pale and frightened. I shook my head
and ran through the list of fish I knew, fish
I had ordered off of menus or seen on the box
of frozen foods at the grocery store, I don't know,
I said, flounder? Of course he wanted to keep it,
so after a struggle of getting the hook from
it's grimmacing mouth we dropped him into a
small bucket of lake water. At this point my
son was calling him little Willie and the fishing
part of the day was finally over. We had to get
little Willie home, we had to feed him. My son
was worried that the hook may have injured Willie's
boney lip. Perhaps mom had some neosporin at home
we could dab on him. Thankfully Willie died
within minutes of being put into the bucket.
Shock, whatever. He couldn't take it. It
might have been me squeezing his one ounce
body too hard as I yanked the hook out of it's
mouth, crushing it's tiny fragile organs.
But we were done here. My son was upset and tears
filled his eyes, he was talking now about
Willie's brothers and sisters still in the lake
looking for him, his mother waiting for him
to come home for dinner. There was no mention
of Willie's father which bothered me in a whole
other way. We tossed the remaining cup of blood
worms into the water, hoping that it would help
little Willie's friends and family get over
their tragic loss. Then my son said that he had
to pee really bad, so I pointed at a tree
where he could go. So he went, then we drove
home quietly and talked about getting a pizza
and washing our hands the first chance we had.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

God

Just how swamped is He.
Is there a desk, an itinerary
that He follows, or is it a
random day of doing whatever
melts his butter. Is He
answering the suggestion box
of prayers, flipping a coin,
or does it work alphabetically,
do we take a number, or is this
a triage situation. Where is He.
Is He sitting with hands folded,
the angels at his feet while
we run amok all due to the bitten
apple. Eve. There is no
disrespect intended, because I
do believe, and I do fear the
consequences of evil in any form.
I sweat enough Catholic guilt
on a daily basis to float a
confessional, but I would like
some clarity from time to time.
I need some pin point direction.
Maybe a phone call, a text message,
something. I'm sort of done with
the 'mystery' answer, that we will
know and understand everything
in the end. I really don't want
to know everything in the end,
and call me impatient, but some
of that top secret knowledge
might do a lot of us some serious
good right now. I know that I'd
sleep a lot better if I knew the
answers to a few typical questions.
Earthquakes, disease, famine,
crime, volcanoes, tsunamis, what's
up with that. And the paradox
of free will, my head spins with
that one. I know it's not all
black and white. I know it's not
simple, but no one, not one single
educated religious scholar, or the
sincerest of holy men or women
can give you an answer in layman's
terms about what the hell is going
on here. Okay, I'm driving myself
crazy with this, and it's a very
short drive. Ba da bing.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Artist in Venice

The old man told me
one morning over coffee,
while sitting in the plaza
where the pigeons
nervously awaited
the tourists to bring
them crumbs, pieces of bread,
biscotti, he told me
that he didn't like
going out among them anymore,
he wanted to stay in and paint,
that's all that mattered now.
who, I asked. All of them
he said, and made a broad
stroke of his hand across
a growing mob of tourists.
I dislike them, the people,
they are mean and selfish,
rude, they over eat, they want
what they can't have
and are never satisfied
with life, with their
children, their wives,
the places they live, their
jobs. But maybe they will
change, I offered quietly,
edging up on my chair. He
laughed, amused with me,
my childlike optimism.
The sun finally emerged over
the top of the church
and lit up the narrow
waterways where the gondolas
had already begun to ply
their trade with first fares.
No, he said, the world
is corrupt, even religion
can't stop it, it's the nature
of our souls, we can't help
ourselves from being who
we are. It's a struggle
to surrender and find your
way without doing harm,
or being a nuisance. I'm tired
of people, he said, tired.
He made a motion of wiping
his hands that were still
flecked with paint, reds, golds,
then sipped his coffee,
letting the steam rise into
his gentle blue eyes. He
didn't want my approval, he
didn't look into my eyes
for agreement or even
understanding, he just nodded,
knowing through an earned
life of years and art,that
how he felt was sad, and true.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Waiting for the Train

There are days
when you want
the day to end,
to move along
swiftly like the train
you are waiting for
while standing
on the platform,
the cold in your feet,
wind down your collar.
And then there
are nights
that you want to last,
when you want
the clocks to stop
and let you rest
so that you don't
have to begin
the next day
when the cruel sun
rises. This is what
you call the beginning
of a bad week,
because it's only Monday.
Maybe a good deep
snow that could stop
everything, halt
the world, could mend
this mood, you hope so
and shiver.

Benefit of the Doubt

She wants diamonds,
furs, a fancy black car,
a house on the beach,
a condo in the city.
She's got legs and lips,
and a rear end that
shakes like a bowl of hard
jello on Christmas morning.
She's never worked an
honest day in her life.
but somehow has survived.
She might be forty, or
perhaps fifty or even
pushing towards
the twilight zone of sixty,
who knows, but she's
a walking pin cushion
of botox and silicone,
miracle creams and bras.
Tighteners and reducers
have done their best
to keep the bloom on
the rose. She's done thirty
days in rehab and on
occasion has to blow into
a tube in order to start her
car. Her past is shady,
her future is uncertain,
her taxes are unpaid
and everything she pretends
to own is a phone call away
from being repossesed
by some guy named Vic
in Newark. But I love her
just the same and I can
overlook these small things.
She renamed her dog after
me, that means alot in these
difficult times. I'm willing
to give her the benefit
of the doubt. I'm not
calling it love, just yet,
but we'll see how things go.

Cancellation

She calls me from the hospital
an hour before we are supposed
to meet, and says in a thin, weak
voice that she can't make the date.
Her cancer is no longer in remission,
and she's at NIH, in a room, in a bed,
hooked up to monitors and tubes
providing medicines beyond me,
liquid foods. She says that she is
sorry and that she has a window
where she can see the tops of trees
that fill the stretch before the
highway begins, and curves away
in the direction of the restaurant
where we were to meet, and drink
martinis, eat light, discuss our lives,
our children, our mutual interests
and dislikes. I don't know her, not
really. We've exchanged e-mails,
a few phone calls. It was just a date,
a first meeting to see if there should
be a second or third, or perhaps
decide to never see one another
again. It happens in this fast world
of cyber dating, but I wasn't expecting
the possibility of death to interfere
with my fun, to bring me to tears
for someone I hardly know. I listen
to her voice on the phone as she
tells me that she can't make it, trying
to be upbeat, to spin it light and airy,
repeating that it's just a minor set
back. She mentions her kids, her yard,
the neighbor that will walk the dog. I am
nothing to her really, but for this single
moment in my life and time, I am
thethered forever to this stranger.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Carnival

On the parking lot, at
the far end, the north end
where no one ever parks,
where the broken glass sparkles,
and the weeds sprout up
between the cracked asphalt
that hasn't been paved
in decades a carnival goes up.
Over night the rides
and tents appear, the colored
lights flash on and the fragrance
of hot dogs and popcorn,
grease and spun cotton candy
fill the air. It's there for two
weeks in July. The men and women
who take the money and disperse
the flimsy tickets are worn
and tired, with watery eyes,
dark and failed tattoos, old before
their time. Cigarettes, unmoved,
in the corners of their mouths,
the smoke swirling in their faraway
eyes. No one looks like anyone
you've ever known, a different breed.
From town to town in darkness
they move the machines, attach
the spokes for the dizzying
Ferris Wheel, the scrambler,
the kiddie rides. The bolts get
tightened, the bearings greased,
the pyramid of pins that can't
be knocked down goes up, and
the boxes of stuffed pink animals
gets dragged out. They won't be
given away too soon. But try
your luck, what do you have to lose.

Breaking Plans

I've cancelled my
flight, my ticket out,
I'm staying on.
I'm not coming to
see you this time
around. I've slept
on it, I've had a
few drinks and
wept about it.
I've consulted with
my various friends
who don't have
a clue, and yet
they all agree that
you're not the one
for me. But stay
tuned, you know
how I am, and that
I've done this before.
Things change, time
passes and has a
way of even making
the best decisions
feel like the worst,
but meanwhile try
to ignore your broken
heart and go on about
your day as if I was
there, and in love
and about to finally
find my way. Try not
to hate me too much,
again.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Siblings

My sister,
the one with
the slight of hand
and silver tongue,
is a fragile little bird
caught in a nest
of bad circumstances.
All of it beyond her
control. She'll tell you
all about it, if you share
your own personal
dirt, but none of it
is her fault, oh how
her bright yellow wings
do flutter in this horrible
cage she's trapped in.
Yes, she's weak and soft
sweet and sugary,
like a warm muffin
straight from the oven
on a sunday morn.
I steer clear of her
like the plague.
I've felt the thorns
that ring her flowery
self a thousand times
over. If she's wearing
a hat and lipstick
it gets even worse.

Liz

When I married Liz Taylor
I really thought that it would
last, that it would be the final
marriage for the both of us,
and so did she. I admit that
our track record with regards
to the nuptials was not stellar,
but we were as hopeful as two
new lovers should be at that
early stage of romance. When
our eyes met and locked in
the rear view mirror of my taxi,
as she rode in the back seat with
her fold up wheel chair, well,
we both knew that it was true
love. But sadly, she was never
home. She never put the time
in, or made the effort. Not
once did I see her at the stove
scrambling eggs or frying up
bacon, and a side order of
hashbrowns, not once did she
butter a toasted english muffin,
for me, never. And when we made
love, which was hardly ever, it
was pedestrian at best. She was
always too tired, involved with
her charities, always on the
phone, and her illnesses were
taking their toll. And here I
was her husband, albeit a taxi
driver, but her one true love
and all she could talk about was
Richard this and Richard that,
and the time Paul Newman
said this, or Orson Welles said
that. She was quite the name
dropper and I found it quite
annoying. Where was the violet
eyed beauty, Cleopatra, who
filled the screen with heat and
heaving bosoms, where was
Maggie the Cat, sassy and seething
with raw lust. I felt gypped.
Something happened along the
way, maybe it was the pills and
booze, the ups and downs with
a slew of bad husbands, but with
me I thought it would be different.
No such luck. I haven't seen or
talked to her in weeks, she's not
even in the hollywood rag mags
anymore. I have no idea where
she is, but there's a message on
my voice mail from her lawyer.
I guess I should listen to it, and
see what's up. I'll miss her, that
rascal, and think about her a lot
while I drive my taxi in seach
of my next fare.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Fourth Tire Is Free

That's the deal this month,
and all sales are final, if you
buy one, you get the next one
free, buy two with a coupon.
come back next week and have
a free garden salad on us. Buy
two off the rack suits and get a half
a pair of shoes, half off. Get
the cable, the phone, the internet
bundle and slash your current bill
by twenty percent, wiring and
installation is extra, unless you
already have a satellite dish, then
we can work something out if you
change servers,or expand your network,
and cable channels to include all
naked people bellowing like sheep,
or animals that are being hunted
in Africa with blow darts. Please
have your credit card ready. During
this one time only sales event you
can get a glove, and a matching second
glove for the other hand at ten per cent
off, but for a limited time only, one
pair per customer, but does not include
consumers residing in New Jersey
or parts of Delaware, yet to be
determined. For this week only,
for our exclusive Gold Club members,
we are offering a complimentary cup
of instant coffee and a donut in
the lobby, however you must be a
guest in one of our luxury suites
for at least three over night stays.
Weekends are not included in this
promotion. Towels and sheets
will be provided at no cost. Kids under
twelve eat free, unless accompanied
by adults. Oil changes are for
the life of your car, if you buy a
new car on thursday before nine
a.m., but only if you have purchased
a car with us during the previous
two years. Oh, and as always you
get the fourth tire free, absolutely
no charge, with a bonus of a free
flu shot for the first one hundred
customers. Ask for Jimmy and tell
him that Frank sent you. All of this
is subject to change by management,
or by state laws still pending. Legal
action will be taken for any duplication
of this advertisement in any form.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Small Print

The small print warns you,
begs you to beware. It adds up
the cost, the ingredients, if only
you could read it. All the things
you really need to know are in
the tiny ant like words on the
back label, or buried like a secret
on the last page of a twenty page
document. The side effects,
the late fees, the hidden charges,
the contingencies, the ifs and buts.
They lie just below the price
bar, the date stamp, the useless
other words. It's all in small print,
the car contract, the house
settlement, the divorce papers,
that jar of pills, even a can
of chicken noodle soup
has an unreadable list of hidden
bits and pieces added for your
dining pleasure. It may cause
cancer, emphysema, blindness,
it may harden your kidneys like
cement on a sunny sidewalk.
You may see spots and flashing
lights, or stutter intermittently,
you might lose feeling in your legs,
stroke, shaking, an upset stomach,
muscle aches, soreness, sexual
dysfunction, prolonged erections,
infections, a rash, a fever, loss
of hearing, loss of appetite, vomiting,
heart attack, diarrhea. Tingling,
Till death do us part, in sickness
and in health. Don't be surprised,
it's all there. It's in the small print.

Simple Needs

A warm slice of pie
from the oven,
cinnamon apple,
with a scoop of french
vanilla ice cream,
cold and round, set
upon the piece with
crumbled crust. Quick
to melt at the soft
edges. The silver fork
shining on the plate,
a white linen napkin.
A cup of tea. You've
done it all, haven't you.
Smug in the doorway,
your arms folded, a
cat like smile upon your
pretty face. I believe
that I'll stay, if you'll
have me. I think it's
what I need.