Saturday, December 30, 2017

new year resolutions

what is your new years
resolution
the waitress
behind the counter asks
as I sit and order
a chopped green salad.
funny you should ask,
I tell her. I actually
have several.
for one thing i'm going to start
speaking my mind.
I've earned the right.
i'm at that age now where I
should be able to call
people out
on the bad things they're doing.
tell people how I really feel
about them.
okay, she says, okay,
putting a knife and fork
beside my bowl
of greens.
what else?
i think I might
start drinking more, martinis
or manhattans maybe, and
eating more red meat,
grilling out on real charcoal,
not those gas grills.
what else, she asks, as
I flip the lettuce leaves over,
pulling out
the cranberries.
I need to relax more and stop
stressing out
about things I have no
control over, like traffic
and my immediate family.
I thought about taking
up smoking too,
but that's a cup of crazy.
so, she says,
hands on her aproned hips,
speaking
without a filter, red meat,
and drinking are your
new years resolutions?
and being more relaxed?
yeah, and less salads too,
I tell her,
sprinkling bacon bits onto
the bowl, then chunks of blue
cheese.
I've had it with salads.

new year resolutions

what is your new years
resolution
the waitress
behind the counter asks
as I sit and order
a chopped green salad.
funny you should ask,
I tell her. I actually
have several.
for one thing i'm going to start
speaking my mind.
I've earned the right.
i'm at that age now where I
should be able to call
people out
on the bad things they're doing.
tell people how I really feel
about them.
okay, she says, okay,
putting a knife and fork
beside my bowl
of greens.
what else?
i think I might
start drinking more, martinis
or manhattans maybe, and
eating more red meat,
grilling out on real charcoal,
not those gas grills.
what else, she asks, as
I flip the lettuce leaves over,
pulling out
the cranberries.
I need to relax more and stop
stressing out
about things I have no
control over, like traffic
and my immediate family.
I thought about taking
up smoking too,
but that's a cup of crazy.
so, she says,
hands on her aproned hips,
speaking
without a filter, red meat,
and drinking are your
new years resolutions?
and being more relaxed?
yeah, and less salads too,
I tell her,
sprinkling bacon bits onto
the bowl, then chunks of blue
cheese.
I've had it with salads.

men and women

the women
have their cheese.
their salmon,
their red wine,
and chardonnay.
politely they say excuse
me when going
to powder their nose,
while over in the corner
the men
are pulling the legs
off a chicken
and drinking
beer or hard cider,
chewing on slow cooked
swine.
somehow they find
a middle ground,
and get along.

men and women

the women
have their cheese.
their salmon,
their red wine,
and chardonnay.
politely they say excuse
me when going
to powder their nose,
while over in the corner
the men
are pulling the legs
off a chicken
and drinking
beer or hard cider,
chewing on slow cooked
swine.
somehow they find
a middle ground,
and get along.

tell me how you really feel

the gravy train
stops
and you discover who people
really are when
they no
longer get what they want,
no longer
get a check
in the mail.
a pocket of cash to get
them buy.
or a quiet nod when they
tell you of
their lies.
you discover sadly
how you've been played.
conned,
and manipulated for
so many years, enabling
them
by saying nothing, calling
them out
on nothing. letting them
go on,
as if everything
was alright.
no one is perfect, especially
me,
but speaking
up is difficult
at times.

tell me how you really feel

the gravy train
stops
and you discover who people
really are when
they no
longer get what they want,
no longer
get a check
in the mail.
a pocket of cash to get
them buy.
or a quiet nod when they
tell you of
their lies.
you discover sadly
how you've been played.
conned,
and manipulated for
so many years, enabling
them
by saying nothing, calling
them out
on nothing. letting them
go on,
as if everything
was alright.
no one is perfect, especially
me,
but speaking
up is difficult
at times.

what must be done

I dream of salmon
large pink salmon,
swimming upstream,
their bodies bending
with muscle
in the sunlight.
the glisten of their
scales, the bright flecks
of blue
and silver,
small rainbows above
the rage
of white water.
I dream of them
leaping, pushing their way
up to where they need
to be.
I dream of some
in the mouths of bears,
clawed from
thin air, they too
doing what must be done
to go on.

what must be done

I dream of salmon
large pink salmon,
swimming upstream,
their bodies bending
with muscle
in the sunlight.
the glisten of their
scales, the bright flecks
of blue
and silver,
small rainbows above
the rage
of white water.
I dream of them
leaping, pushing their way
up to where they need
to be.
I dream of some
in the mouths of bears,
clawed from
thin air, they too
doing what must be done
to go on.

the note

after the thieves
ransacked the car, I wondered,
what they were
now doing with my
picture id,
my credit cards, now
cancelled.
the garmin, the small wad
of cash I kept
for emergencies.
and when I get
the police report I know
where they
stopped for gas,
for beer and cigarettes,
how they ate at mcdonalds
at seven in the morning,
hardly an hour after
seizing my goods.
I can see them at the table
eating French fries,
drinking milkshakes,
staring at my
library card,
my triple A card,
a note reminding me
of ginger's birthday,
there they are
gazing at a picture
of you
and me.

the note

after the thieves
ransacked the car, I wondered,
what they were
now doing with my
picture id,
my credit cards, now
cancelled.
the garmin, the small wad
of cash I kept
for emergencies.
and when I get
the police report I know
where they
stopped for gas,
for beer and cigarettes,
how they ate at mcdonalds
at seven in the morning,
hardly an hour after
seizing my goods.
I can see them at the table
eating French fries,
drinking milkshakes,
staring at my
library card,
my triple A card,
a note reminding me
of ginger's birthday,
there they are
gazing at a picture
of you
and me.

the square yard

I see no hope
for the back yard.
the stack of ladders,
the old fire place made
of metal,
the rattle of the wood
on the limp
shed.
a weber grill
that's seen better days.
look at how the vines
have
creeped
into the fence, climbed
with fast fingers,
green
upon the brick.
where's it going?
the bushes are scarce,
and stiff,
the ground cover a mix
of gravel and weeds.
it's a pleasant place perhaps
for birds,
for snakes, for passing
animals
looking for shelter,
but not for me.

the square yard

I see no hope
for the back yard.
the stack of ladders,
the old fire place made
of metal,
the rattle of the wood
on the limp
shed.
a weber grill
that's seen better days.
look at how the vines
have
creeped
into the fence, climbed
with fast fingers,
green
upon the brick.
where's it going?
the bushes are scarce,
and stiff,
the ground cover a mix
of gravel and weeds.
it's a pleasant place perhaps
for birds,
for snakes, for passing
animals
looking for shelter,
but not for me.

red with winter

it's a tight fit,
but i'm able to squeeze
the car
into the narrow spot
before the plowed
drift,
slipping slightly on
soft snow.
the treachery of weather
is upon
us.
the slide of
boots
and shoes,
wrapping tight the noose
of scarves
around us.
pulling down the wool
upon our
heads.
our cheeks red with
wind
and winter.

red with winter

it's a tight fit,
but i'm able to squeeze
the car
into the narrow spot
before the plowed
drift,
slipping slightly on
soft snow.
the treachery of weather
is upon
us.
the slide of
boots
and shoes,
wrapping tight the noose
of scarves
around us.
pulling down the wool
upon our
heads.
our cheeks red with
wind
and winter.

to unworry

we are what
we do. the habits we
form
and continue
from day
to day, into night.
how we sleep,
or eat,
how we speak to one
another,
moving things into
positions
that feel just
right.
we need the comfort
of the same.
narrowing our
world into
tidy safe places.
oasis
we can go to
and unworry.

to unworry

we are what
we do. the habits we
form
and continue
from day
to day, into night.
how we sleep,
or eat,
how we speak to one
another,
moving things into
positions
that feel just
right.
we need the comfort
of the same.
narrowing our
world into
tidy safe places.
oasis
we can go to
and unworry.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

take one

the woman at the market
stands
by her tomatoes, her plums,
her apples.
she's proud of the boxed
fruit, the busheled
potatoes. it's
as if she herself
put the seeds into
the ground, watered
and tended to their growth.
maybe.
she says taste one, go
on, see what they taste like.
you wont regret, you'll
buy. you will take them home
to your wife, your
children, your friends,
they will smile and want
to know where they
came from. go on, take one.

take one

the woman at the market
stands
by her tomatoes, her plums,
her apples.
she's proud of the boxed
fruit, the busheled
potatoes. it's
as if she herself
put the seeds into
the ground, watered
and tended to their growth.
maybe.
she says taste one, go
on, see what they taste like.
you wont regret, you'll
buy. you will take them home
to your wife, your
children, your friends,
they will smile and want
to know where they
came from. go on, take one.

hot coffee

the coffee is hot
here.
the waitress is soft spoken
and fun.
older than rain, but
clever with a wink.
she knows what I want,
but brings
a menu just the same.
I slide it to
the side
and say her name.
over easy, I tell her.
bacon and toast.
juice.
I know she says
and walks away.
tomorrow i'll come back
and we'll
do it again
for old time's sake.

hot coffee

the coffee is hot
here.
the waitress is soft spoken
and fun.
older than rain, but
clever with a wink.
she knows what I want,
but brings
a menu just the same.
I slide it to
the side
and say her name.
over easy, I tell her.
bacon and toast.
juice.
I know she says
and walks away.
tomorrow i'll come back
and we'll
do it again
for old time's sake.

the man outside

I see a man standing
outside my house.
he's across the street
wearing a long black
coat.
he's stiff, looking
towards my
window.
the shape of him
in the fog
is tall and lean.
he looks like a shadow.
his hands are in
his pockets.
he wants something,
from someone,
perhaps from me.
but i'm busy with things.
I don't have
the time for whatever
it is he wants,
or needs to say.
I go out the back door.
I hope one day
he comes to his senses
and goes away.

the man outside

I see a man standing
outside my house.
he's across the street
wearing a long black
coat.
he's stiff, looking
towards my
window.
the shape of him
in the fog
is tall and lean.
he looks like a shadow.
his hands are in
his pockets.
he wants something,
from someone,
perhaps from me.
but i'm busy with things.
I don't have
the time for whatever
it is he wants,
or needs to say.
I go out the back door.
I hope one day
he comes to his senses
and goes away.

her last meal

she says that for a last
meal
if convicted and sent
to the gas chamber
for some horrific crime
she'd like to go
out on fudge.
fudge brownies, white
fudge.
fudge with raspberry.
dark chocolate
of any kind.
perhaps a Whitman's
sampler
and glass of wine.

her last meal

she says that for a last
meal
if convicted and sent
to the gas chamber
for some horrific crime
she'd like to go
out on fudge.
fudge brownies, white
fudge.
fudge with raspberry.
dark chocolate
of any kind.
perhaps a Whitman's
sampler
and glass of wine.

remember the time

I ask her if she
remembers Woodstock, how
hard it rained,
the music,
the craziness of it all,
how we danced
and sang
threw our hands
to sky
when Janis Joplin
came on.
how we passed around
a bottle of
boone's farm wine.
she says no,
I was only nine.
oh. well,
what about when
the beatles came to
town?
oh never mind, just
come here and kiss
me. perhaps we should
make our
own history.

remember the time

I ask her if she
remembers Woodstock, how
hard it rained,
the music,
the craziness of it all,
how we danced
and sang
threw our hands
to sky
when Janis Joplin
came on.
how we passed around
a bottle of
boone's farm wine.
she says no,
I was only nine.
oh. well,
what about when
the beatles came to
town?
oh never mind, just
come here and kiss
me. perhaps we should
make our
own history.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

home again

it might take days or
months
when younger to get over
being misunderstood
by someone I love.
now I sigh
say a prayer
and go for a walk.
I skip a stone across
the icy pond.
I count the stars,
gaze at the moon.
at walks end
i'm whole again
and home.

home again

it might take days or
months
when younger to get over
being misunderstood
by someone I love.
now I sigh
say a prayer
and go for a walk.
I skip a stone across
the icy pond.
I count the stars,
gaze at the moon.
at walks end
i'm whole again
and home.

how nice to have a dog

how nice
to have a dog.
a big pooch with floppy
ears
and wet nose,
a paw
scratching at his
side.
how he howls at the moon
and stretches
before lying
in a puddle of sun.
his bark
heard down the block.
look how he gnaws
at my shoe.
how nice to have
dog.
thanks for bringing
him by.

how nice to have a dog

how nice
to have a dog.
a big pooch with floppy
ears
and wet nose,
a paw
scratching at his
side.
how he howls at the moon
and stretches
before lying
in a puddle of sun.
his bark
heard down the block.
look how he gnaws
at my shoe.
how nice to have
dog.
thanks for bringing
him by.

lamps on line

the special
order lamp is delayed.
seems
shades
are
being bought in bundles,
hiding the light
from so
many faces, eyes
turned
upwards into
the harsh glare
of a hundred watts
laid bare.

lamps on line

the special
order lamp is delayed.
seems
shades
are
being bought in bundles,
hiding the light
from so
many faces, eyes
turned
upwards into
the harsh glare
of a hundred watts
laid bare.

the stage mother

some mothers shadow
the child
from birth till death,
keeping close,
never letting
them breathe
on their own, they never
cut the cord
or let them know
what pain is when suffered
alone,
or
what it means to bleed,
or to find their
way when lost,
without a line of seeds,
back home.

the stage mother

some mothers shadow
the child
from birth till death,
keeping close,
never letting
them breathe
on their own, they never
cut the cord
or let them know
what pain is when suffered
alone,
or
what it means to bleed,
or to find their
way when lost,
without a line of seeds,
back home.

we disagree

I surrender,
toss in the towel, raise
the white
flag.
what good is it to argue.
two minds
made up
with different views.
leave it on
the table, why go over
it again
as done ten years ago,
or more,
and will be same
ten more from now.

we disagree

I surrender,
toss in the towel, raise
the white
flag.
what good is it to argue.
two minds
made up
with different views.
leave it on
the table, why go over
it again
as done ten years ago,
or more,
and will be same
ten more from now.

quick haste

the mud comes in
on his boots.
red brown and wet.
he make his tracks
along
the floor,
the stairs, into
the room
where she waits.
the carpet holds
the imprint
of his weight.
there is no time to
clean
or take them off.
she must be seen,
she must
be made aware of how much
betrayal costs.
the trail
he'll leave behind
will tell her.

quick haste

the mud comes in
on his boots.
red brown and wet.
he make his tracks
along
the floor,
the stairs, into
the room
where she waits.
the carpet holds
the imprint
of his weight.
there is no time to
clean
or take them off.
she must be seen,
she must
be made aware of how much
betrayal costs.
the trail
he'll leave behind
will tell her.

sand pebble

this pebble in my hand
so smooth
so round, so white,
where it's been
or how it got here
from some
distant land of
ice, or wind,
swept along in rain
is hard to say.
this pebble,
so smooth in my hand,
i'll set it down again
and let it go on
its way.

sand pebble

this pebble in my hand
so smooth
so round, so white,
where it's been
or how it got here
from some
distant land of
ice, or wind,
swept along in rain
is hard to say.
this pebble,
so smooth in my hand,
i'll set it down again
and let it go on
its way.

the vagrant moon

a vagrant moon
appears in the sky,
the streets are full
of men
in long coats.
leaning forward
in the wind.
it's too cold to sin,
too cold
to be of good cheer.
the brittle
trees
hold on
as we do trying
to get home again.

the vagrant moon

a vagrant moon
appears in the sky,
the streets are full
of men
in long coats.
leaning forward
in the wind.
it's too cold to sin,
too cold
to be of good cheer.
the brittle
trees
hold on
as we do trying
to get home again.

nothing left to do or say

all you can do
sometimes
is pray about things.
be silent,
let go
and pray
that the truth will somehow
prevail,
that love will overcome
the differences,
and rise
and fill each soul
with compassion
and forgiveness.

nothing left to do or say

all you can do
sometimes
is pray about things.
be silent,
let go
and pray
that the truth will somehow
prevail,
that love will overcome
the differences,
and rise
and fill each soul
with compassion
and forgiveness.

the apple and the tree

the apple,
now bitter,
does not
fall too far
from the tree,
but there are
two trees
and one wins out
unfortunately,
planting herself
again,
nearby.

the apple and the tree

the apple,
now bitter,
does not
fall too far
from the tree,
but there are
two trees
and one wins out
unfortunately,
planting herself
again,
nearby.

thirty years later

still you protect your children,
you cover
their ears
and eyes from the harsh
truth
of reality.
you give and give hoping
to make up
for some loss
of time.
you make their lives as
normal as possible,
through
grade school into college
and beyond.
saving and spending,
giving them all the things
they need
out of love.
some see the effort,
some don't, some churn
inside forever,
wondering why things are
they way they are,
but still you don't tell
them.
it's too hard.

thirty years later

still you protect your children,
you cover
their ears
and eyes from the harsh
truth
of reality.
you give and give hoping
to make up
for some loss
of time.
you make their lives as
normal as possible,
through
grade school into college
and beyond.
saving and spending,
giving them all the things
they need
out of love.
some see the effort,
some don't, some churn
inside forever,
wondering why things are
they way they are,
but still you don't tell
them.
it's too hard.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

delores

I can hear her mother's
voice
on the phone, going between
French and English,
the heavy accent,
the proper phrasing, the love
so pure
for her daughter.
she's still a child in her arms.
still a girl
who needs her
hair braided, her dress
just right, sent off
with a prayer and a kiss
on each cheek,
her shoes tied
tight.

delores

I can hear her mother's
voice
on the phone, going between
French and English,
the heavy accent,
the proper phrasing, the love
so pure
for her daughter.
she's still a child in her arms.
still a girl
who needs her
hair braided, her dress
just right, sent off
with a prayer and a kiss
on each cheek,
her shoes tied
tight.

the spill of time

the spill
of time, that puddle of hours
we've lost
in worry.
in grieving what can't
be undone,
that dull spot on the floor,
where
we let it drip and drip
until
empty, until there was
no more.
how careless we
are
with time, with each
hour,
with each daily pour.

the spill of time

the spill
of time, that puddle of hours
we've lost
in worry.
in grieving what can't
be undone,
that dull spot on the floor,
where
we let it drip and drip
until
empty, until there was
no more.
how careless we
are
with time, with each
hour,
with each daily pour.

how she rolls

some are dressed in bling.
from
neck to toe,
a bracelet, a watch,
an emerald ring, or
a band of gold.
some
never leave the house
without
a diamond
or ruby placed somewhere
where it must
be seen,
while others just rely
on what's inside,
that inner glow,
they need nothing
to make them shine,
they are walking bling.

how she rolls

some are dressed in bling.
from
neck to toe,
a bracelet, a watch,
an emerald ring, or
a band of gold.
some
never leave the house
without
a diamond
or ruby placed somewhere
where it must
be seen,
while others just rely
on what's inside,
that inner glow,
they need nothing
to make them shine,
they are walking bling.

beauty within

she's not a pretty
girl anymore,
the man says, at least not
like she was
when we met
so many years ago. and yet
I love her
more today
than yesterday and I realize
how fleeting
beauty on the outside
is
but not within,
how foolish I have been
to wait so long
to know what I should have
known then.

beauty within

she's not a pretty
girl anymore,
the man says, at least not
like she was
when we met
so many years ago. and yet
I love her
more today
than yesterday and I realize
how fleeting
beauty on the outside
is
but not within,
how foolish I have been
to wait so long
to know what I should have
known then.

slow down

it's hard to change
from being
so fast
with things,
scurrying ahead
without a thought
or looking
both ways.
just getting there seems
to be the only goal,
then to find
that in
getting there.
by being the hare,
you've become
too rash.
it's time to slow down,
to be
the tortoise,
to pace oneself
and seek that
and only that which
will last.

slow down

it's hard to change
from being
so fast
with things,
scurrying ahead
without a thought
or looking
both ways.
just getting there seems
to be the only goal,
then to find
that in
getting there.
by being the hare,
you've become
too rash.
it's time to slow down,
to be
the tortoise,
to pace oneself
and seek that
and only that which
will last.

all night long

there is singing
next door.
a piano, I can hear
them.
I hear the dogs barking,
the children
running
up the stairs.
there is life next
door.
the open windows,
the sound
of dancing
against the floors.
what fun they're having
beyond my wall.
what joy
there is in their
lives.
I hope it goes on
all night long.

all night long

there is singing
next door.
a piano, I can hear
them.
I hear the dogs barking,
the children
running
up the stairs.
there is life next
door.
the open windows,
the sound
of dancing
against the floors.
what fun they're having
beyond my wall.
what joy
there is in their
lives.
I hope it goes on
all night long.

one petal

the small gifts
are large,
the book, the poem,
the baked
goods.
a note written with
love.
they outshine
the diamond,
out live
the clothes.
they last forever in
a heart, one petal
plucked
from a keepsake
rose.

one petal

the small gifts
are large,
the book, the poem,
the baked
goods.
a note written with
love.
they outshine
the diamond,
out live
the clothes.
they last forever in
a heart, one petal
plucked
from a keepsake
rose.

still in touch

it's hard to let go
of old things, things that
no longer
can be used or worn.
the shirts and shoes,
that luggage
dust caked in the corner.
the broken things
we store
and keep for sentimental
reasons.
the loves that linger
on,
that we keep nearby,
unable to
let go.

still in touch

it's hard to let go
of old things, things that
no longer
can be used or worn.
the shirts and shoes,
that luggage
dust caked in the corner.
the broken things
we store
and keep for sentimental
reasons.
the loves that linger
on,
that we keep nearby,
unable to
let go.

our actions

the words are fine.
the sweet talk of love
and forever,
I want you to be mine.
but they mean
little
compared to the touch,
the things
done.
action
says it all, not wishes
and whispers,
not cards
or letters, not calls.
we decide who's in
who's out,
who stays close by,
or not at all.

our actions

the words are fine.
the sweet talk of love
and forever,
I want you to be mine.
but they mean
little
compared to the touch,
the things
done.
action
says it all, not wishes
and whispers,
not cards
or letters, not calls.
we decide who's in
who's out,
who stays close by,
or not at all.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

time to sleep

the bones of the beast
are dry in the light,
the scrapings
of corn pudding, the hard
scraps
of crust
from bread
we had no room to eat.
the stain
of cranberry
on the white linen cloth.
the packages
torn asunder
of all things shopped
for
and hastily bought.
the sleep
of the night is welcome
now,
it's over it's over
only three hundred and fifty
three days
before we
do more.

time to sleep

the bones of the beast
are dry in the light,
the scrapings
of corn pudding, the hard
scraps
of crust
from bread
we had no room to eat.
the stain
of cranberry
on the white linen cloth.
the packages
torn asunder
of all things shopped
for
and hastily bought.
the sleep
of the night is welcome
now,
it's over it's over
only three hundred and fifty
three days
before we
do more.

don't say i'm fine

we need to tell one another
that we hurt.
that we
are in pain, or confused,
distressed.
we can't stay silent
and let this problem simmer
beneath the skin,
into a hot boil.
don't say i'm fine.
we are lying if we do.
hard words
are good words at times.
the gloves
have to come off
if love is to be lasting,
and true.

don't say i'm fine

we need to tell one another
that we hurt.
that we
are in pain, or confused,
distressed.
we can't stay silent
and let this problem simmer
beneath the skin,
into a hot boil.
don't say i'm fine.
we are lying if we do.
hard words
are good words at times.
the gloves
have to come off
if love is to be lasting,
and true.

the room where she dies

she's unwhole,
lying in the same bed for nine
months.
her glasses gone,
her voice silent.
she's underwater, does she hear,
does she
know her son who
sits on the bed beside
her
and holds her hand.
it's a sad room.
a dark
room down the hall.
we pray,
I push her hair back.
I wipe her
chin of food.
I cry and feel for her life
which isn't a life
anymore,
but a slow death.
and after she dies
someone else
will
lie where she lies,
another son will come and
think these things
as well.

the room where she dies

she's unwhole,
lying in the same bed for nine
months.
her glasses gone,
her voice silent.
she's underwater, does she hear,
does she
know her son who
sits on the bed beside
her
and holds her hand.
it's a sad room.
a dark
room down the hall.
we pray,
I push her hair back.
I wipe her
chin of food.
I cry and feel for her life
which isn't a life
anymore,
but a slow death.
and after she dies
someone else
will
lie where she lies,
another son will come and
think these things
as well.

the one night room

the room, not far
from the shore, but not close
enough
to make the cost
be more,
is square and simple.
the smell of dust
and loneliness linger
in the wallpaper,
patterned as if the beige
scales
of an old fish.
the bed of iron rests
against the far wall.
a table,
and lamp,
a curtain, sheers,
of a flowered nature
fall
short of the sill.
a bathroom down the hall.
it's a room for one night
or two.
not a room for lovers,
or for keeps,
but a room to rest
and be off the road,
to sleep.

the one night room

the room, not far
from the shore, but not close
enough
to make the cost
be more,
is square and simple.
the smell of dust
and loneliness linger
in the wallpaper,
patterned as if the beige
scales
of an old fish.
the bed of iron rests
against the far wall.
a table,
and lamp,
a curtain, sheers,
of a flowered nature
fall
short of the sill.
a bathroom down the hall.
it's a room for one night
or two.
not a room for lovers,
or for keeps,
but a room to rest
and be off the road,
to sleep.

lost love

lost love is hard.
the pangs
of it,
the sleepless nights.
the ill
feeling of something
isn't right.
desperation sets in.
we reach,
we call, we send.
we play the music we
once listened to
together.
we tearfully visit
the spots
where love once bloomed,
now old and grey,
ancient ruins.
we ride by
to catch a glimpse,
we hope.
lost love is hard,
the tears
and trying keep
going,
keep going, we keep
walking
blindly in the wind.

lost love

lost love is hard.
the pangs
of it,
the sleepless nights.
the ill
feeling of something
isn't right.
desperation sets in.
we reach,
we call, we send.
we play the music we
once listened to
together.
we tearfully visit
the spots
where love once bloomed,
now old and grey,
ancient ruins.
we ride by
to catch a glimpse,
we hope.
lost love is hard,
the tears
and trying keep
going,
keep going, we keep
walking
blindly in the wind.

Friday, December 22, 2017

the tiled floor

the tiles
cut easily. each finding
a place
upon the floor.
each
snug and tight
against the other,
the wall,
cut clean and even
where the end is,
at the door.
how sweet life would be
if it
went that way. with
no loose ends,
no frayed edges to worry
us
throughout
the day.

the tiled floor

the tiles
cut easily. each finding
a place
upon the floor.
each
snug and tight
against the other,
the wall,
cut clean and even
where the end is,
at the door.
how sweet life would be
if it
went that way. with
no loose ends,
no frayed edges to worry
us
throughout
the day.

purging

the trash truck
is fun to watch as it gobbles
up
the years
of unwanted things.
bad prints of monet and van
gogh.
shoes with worn
soles.
there goes the lamp
my mother gave me when I was
twenty years old.
that pot
that burned on the stove.
a box of old photos
of people I never knew then,
and still don't know.
how easily the big
doors open
and moan,
then crunch down with its
metal mouth
upon my history, for better
or worse,
making it gone.

purging

the trash truck
is fun to watch as it gobbles
up
the years
of unwanted things.
bad prints of monet and van
gogh.
shoes with worn
soles.
there goes the lamp
my mother gave me when I was
twenty years old.
that pot
that burned on the stove.
a box of old photos
of people I never knew then,
and still don't know.
how easily the big
doors open
and moan,
then crunch down with its
metal mouth
upon my history, for better
or worse,
making it gone.

the answer

life
is not a circle.
not a square
or
rectangle. there are
no even sides,
no middle, no
straight lines
going from
point a
to point b.
there is no equation,
no mathematical
solution
to solve
the problems put
before you.
no sine or cosine.
no square root of anything.
you just have to wing
it sometimes
close your eyes
and say
I think that's the answer
today.

the answer

life
is not a circle.
not a square
or
rectangle. there are
no even sides,
no middle, no
straight lines
going from
point a
to point b.
there is no equation,
no mathematical
solution
to solve
the problems put
before you.
no sine or cosine.
no square root of anything.
you just have to wing
it sometimes
close your eyes
and say
I think that's the answer
today.

social media quicksand

you try to delete
your life from social media.
sick
of the voyeuristic nature
of it all.
the inane postings,
the searching,
the snooping around into
other's lives, but they wont
let you go.
you delete, you wipe clean
the slate,
but when you go to look
to make sure you're gone,
you're still there.
your picture, your name,
your life's information.
like tentacles they wrap
themselves around
you and won't let go,
dragging you
forever into the quicksand.
even the dead are active
within the last
two hours.

social media quicksand

you try to delete
your life from social media.
sick
of the voyeuristic nature
of it all.
the inane postings,
the searching,
the snooping around into
other's lives, but they wont
let you go.
you delete, you wipe clean
the slate,
but when you go to look
to make sure you're gone,
you're still there.
your picture, your name,
your life's information.
like tentacles they wrap
themselves around
you and won't let go,
dragging you
forever into the quicksand.
even the dead are active
within the last
two hours.

the cookie queen

she is the queen of cookies.
in the kitchen
still in her work clothes. her
work shoes.
her coat on.
her hands in the bowl
of dough.
sugar and butter, vanilla.
cutting each
one out into stars and hats.
candy canes.
each tray goes into the warm
oven,
she waits. she stares
through the open glass,
the light on.
when they cool she wraps
each package
with a ribbon and a bow,
a name.
tomorrow they will get their
cookies
and be happy
with the love she shares
so gracefully.

the cookie queen

she is the queen of cookies.
in the kitchen
still in her work clothes. her
work shoes.
her coat on.
her hands in the bowl
of dough.
sugar and butter, vanilla.
cutting each
one out into stars and hats.
candy canes.
each tray goes into the warm
oven,
she waits. she stares
through the open glass,
the light on.
when they cool she wraps
each package
with a ribbon and a bow,
a name.
tomorrow they will get their
cookies
and be happy
with the love she shares
so gracefully.

before sleep

it's nearly
midnight, but I decide
to wash my car
in the dark.
it's thirty eight degrees.
I fill a bucket
of warm water and soap
and go at it,
feeling my way along
the body,
the tires, the windshield.
I throw more buckets
of water onto
the hood,
the sides. I rub it down
with a dry towel.
then wipe each window.
it's nearly midnight
and I can see a crescent
moon
between the bare limbs
of swaying
trees.
I can go to sleep now.

before sleep

it's nearly
midnight, but I decide
to wash my car
in the dark.
it's thirty eight degrees.
I fill a bucket
of warm water and soap
and go at it,
feeling my way along
the body,
the tires, the windshield.
I throw more buckets
of water onto
the hood,
the sides. I rub it down
with a dry towel.
then wipe each window.
it's nearly midnight
and I can see a crescent
moon
between the bare limbs
of swaying
trees.
I can go to sleep now.

surrender

I used to care
about so many things I no
longer care
about now.
the list is long.
the focus
is different now
with grey in my hair,
the heart
still strong despite
the scars.
so much has come and gone,
all the worry
and angst in the world
has done nothing
to change that.
I get it now.
relax. be at peace with
whatever comes,
or doesn't.
surrender to that
higher power
and have no fear
of tomorrow.

surrender

I used to care
about so many things I no
longer care
about now.
the list is long.
the focus
is different now
with grey in my hair,
the heart
still strong despite
the scars.
so much has come and gone,
all the worry
and angst in the world
has done nothing
to change that.
I get it now.
relax. be at peace with
whatever comes,
or doesn't.
surrender to that
higher power
and have no fear
of tomorrow.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

permanent liberty

my father
begins each day with a black
cup of coffee.
very hot.
two slices
of toast and a bowl of
oatmeal.
he reads the paper,
checks the lottery numbers,
then
takes a walk around
the block
before coming home
to cut coupons.
he might go out into the small
square of a back
yard and tend to his
tomatoes and peppers.
straighten the fence around
them.
the television is always
on.
a new flat screen,
jerry rigged to use one
remote.
his big chair is in the corner.
it's pleather
with cup holders.
around him are photos
of all of his
children and grand
children of whom
he rarely sees or
speaks to,
but there they are.
after being on a dozen ships
and serving
thirty one years in the navy.
he's docked
for good now.

permanent liberty

my father
begins each day with a black
cup of coffee.
very hot.
two slices
of toast and a bowl of
oatmeal.
he reads the paper,
checks the lottery numbers,
then
takes a walk around
the block
before coming home
to cut coupons.
he might go out into the small
square of a back
yard and tend to his
tomatoes and peppers.
straighten the fence around
them.
the television is always
on.
a new flat screen,
jerry rigged to use one
remote.
his big chair is in the corner.
it's pleather
with cup holders.
around him are photos
of all of his
children and grand
children of whom
he rarely sees or
speaks to,
but there they are.
after being on a dozen ships
and serving
thirty one years in the navy.
he's docked
for good now.

getting a complex

the woman next
door
accidentally said hello to me
the other day.
normally her and her husband
are cold as ice.
silent
and unresponsive
to my cheerful
greetings.
she thought I was someone
else
taking the trash to the curb.
she said,
hey.
then she saw who I was,
and quickly
put her trash down
and moved like a bunny
back into her house.
i'm not sure what I must
have done
to either of them
to cause this behavior
but it's giving me a complex.

getting a complex

the woman next
door
accidentally said hello to me
the other day.
normally her and her husband
are cold as ice.
silent
and unresponsive
to my cheerful
greetings.
she thought I was someone
else
taking the trash to the curb.
she said,
hey.
then she saw who I was,
and quickly
put her trash down
and moved like a bunny
back into her house.
i'm not sure what I must
have done
to either of them
to cause this behavior
but it's giving me a complex.

the go to analysis

my therapist
was on vacation, but I called
her anyway.
i'm on vacation, she said
when she picked up the phone.
I could hear
the ocean behind her,
the clinking of glasses,
the breaking of
lobster shells
in her hand.
more butter, I heard her
whisper. garcon,
more butter.
can't this wait? she said.
I had a bad dream,
I told her.
I dreamed I was in the ocean
swimming
and swimming.
the waves were enormous,
but I wasn't scared.
she let out a sigh.
we've been over this dream
so many times.
it's your mother, you have
to let go of these
feelings of abandonment
and let her be
who she is. you be you.
move on with your life.
garcon, I hear her say.
tapping the table with a glass.
we're out of champagne
over here.
that's it? I told her.
no matter what I say you say
it's about my mother.
I know, I know. it's my go to
analysis, but hey.
i'll see you when I get back
in two weeks.
we'll have a session
and talk this through again.
i'll have cindy in the office
bill you for this one.

the go to analysis

my therapist
was on vacation, but I called
her anyway.
i'm on vacation, she said
when she picked up the phone.
I could hear
the ocean behind her,
the clinking of glasses,
the breaking of
lobster shells
in her hand.
more butter, I heard her
whisper. garcon,
more butter.
can't this wait? she said.
I had a bad dream,
I told her.
I dreamed I was in the ocean
swimming
and swimming.
the waves were enormous,
but I wasn't scared.
she let out a sigh.
we've been over this dream
so many times.
it's your mother, you have
to let go of these
feelings of abandonment
and let her be
who she is. you be you.
move on with your life.
garcon, I hear her say.
tapping the table with a glass.
we're out of champagne
over here.
that's it? I told her.
no matter what I say you say
it's about my mother.
I know, I know. it's my go to
analysis, but hey.
i'll see you when I get back
in two weeks.
we'll have a session
and talk this through again.
i'll have cindy in the office
bill you for this one.

sit up straight

where once I was deemed
adorable,
with flaws, I was
now, almost over night,
it seemed, deplorable.
the ex would needle me
incessantly,
pick the lint off my coat.
brush
back an eyebrow, point
out
the spinach
in my teeth, or tell
me that i'm
talking too loud.
tuck in your shirt,
sit up straight.
you have shaving cream
in your ear, she'd say.
let me help you with that.
I appreciated all of her
hard work,
making me the man she
wanted me to be.
but finally she gave up,
there was just too much
to fix. now
I feel lost without her,
walking about
with a long strip of paper
stuck to the sole
of my shoe.

sit up straight

where once I was deemed
adorable,
with flaws, I was
now, almost over night,
it seemed, deplorable.
the ex would needle me
incessantly,
pick the lint off my coat.
brush
back an eyebrow, point
out
the spinach
in my teeth, or tell
me that i'm
talking too loud.
tuck in your shirt,
sit up straight.
you have shaving cream
in your ear, she'd say.
let me help you with that.
I appreciated all of her
hard work,
making me the man she
wanted me to be.
but finally she gave up,
there was just too much
to fix. now
I feel lost without her,
walking about
with a long strip of paper
stuck to the sole
of my shoe.

say what?

I forget to
put the stickers on the tags,
misplace
my keys,
my wallet. I don't remember
the name of my
first dog,
my first wife, what I had
for dinner.
did I even have dinner?
did I eat
yesterday, or this morning?
how do I separate an egg white?
who am I?
who are these people that keep
calling me by
a strange name.
is that the sun, or is it
the moon rising
in the sky.
is it old age,
dementia?
am I ready for that padded
room,
or is it just the holiday
season upon me?

say what?

I forget to
put the stickers on the tags,
misplace
my keys,
my wallet. I don't remember
the name of my
first dog,
my first wife, what I had
for dinner.
did I even have dinner?
did I eat
yesterday, or this morning?
how do I separate an egg white?
who am I?
who are these people that keep
calling me by
a strange name.
is that the sun, or is it
the moon rising
in the sky.
is it old age,
dementia?
am I ready for that padded
room,
or is it just the holiday
season upon me?

daily devotions

without
these words in ink,
these thoughts that I go
to daily,
i'd be lost,
i'd sink.
i'd be drowning in a sea
of mystery
without a light.
bring me
more words to read,
more
blood from the cross,
more
rising from the dead
in victory.

daily devotions

without
these words in ink,
these thoughts that I go
to daily,
i'd be lost,
i'd sink.
i'd be drowning in a sea
of mystery
without a light.
bring me
more words to read,
more
blood from the cross,
more
rising from the dead
in victory.

imperfections

we turn the vase
so that the vein of a crack
doesn't show.
we knock down
the webs in the corner,
turn over
the pillows on the sofa
to hide the stain.
we do our
best to be perfect,
worrying foolishly
about things that don't
matter.

imperfections

we turn the vase
so that the vein of a crack
doesn't show.
we knock down
the webs in the corner,
turn over
the pillows on the sofa
to hide the stain.
we do our
best to be perfect,
worrying foolishly
about things that don't
matter.

postcard from LA

to the west coast he goes,
hardly
to be seen again, the post
card,
the call.
the plea
for supplies. the painted
picture of
how hard life is there.
send money.
how quickly
the need for love
subsides.

postcard from LA

to the west coast he goes,
hardly
to be seen again, the post
card,
the call.
the plea
for supplies. the painted
picture of
how hard life is there.
send money.
how quickly
the need for love
subsides.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

early morning dmv

third in line at the dmv
was
an act of mercy.
by seven thirty there were
twenty people
behind me
standing outside the locked
doors,
shivering in the cold
air.
drinking coffee, smoking,
tapping their
feet, staring
numbly into their phones,
the paper work
of cars and trucks,
hard plates beneath their
arms.

early morning dmv

third in line at the dmv
was
an act of mercy.
by seven thirty there were
twenty people
behind me
standing outside the locked
doors,
shivering in the cold
air.
drinking coffee, smoking,
tapping their
feet, staring
numbly into their phones,
the paper work
of cars and trucks,
hard plates beneath their
arms.

gazelles

we would jump
the chain link fences in
a bound.
our young legs lifting us
over the three foot
high
steel wire
to the other side.
a short run then over
we'd go.
gazelles full of sugar,
full of spice.
sunshine
in our faces.
tireless in our summer
days,
fresh into
the night.

gazelles

we would jump
the chain link fences in
a bound.
our young legs lifting us
over the three foot
high
steel wire
to the other side.
a short run then over
we'd go.
gazelles full of sugar,
full of spice.
sunshine
in our faces.
tireless in our summer
days,
fresh into
the night.

to be broken

God is unfair,
she says. why me?
why this, why now.
I've been a good person
all of my
life. not perfect,
but good,
and now i'm broken.
truly this is where
the blessings
can begin.

to be broken

God is unfair,
she says. why me?
why this, why now.
I've been a good person
all of my
life. not perfect,
but good,
and now i'm broken.
truly this is where
the blessings
can begin.

the hidden genius

the genius
of so many never comes to light.
the checker
at the supermarket
bent darkly over the belt,
the hairdresser
her hands
in water and soap,
the man pushing the mower
across a lawn.
they till
the soil, make the bread,
prune
the shrubs
of our lives.
their genius stays intact,
unspent.
never being
seen by most,
except by those
who love them.

the hidden genius

the genius
of so many never comes to light.
the checker
at the supermarket
bent darkly over the belt,
the hairdresser
her hands
in water and soap,
the man pushing the mower
across a lawn.
they till
the soil, make the bread,
prune
the shrubs
of our lives.
their genius stays intact,
unspent.
never being
seen by most,
except by those
who love them.

no need for pockets

he keeps
a nest egg tucked away.
it's been
the same number
for ten years, untouched.
he has no need
for pockets,
for spare change,
or cash.
he's an astronaut
on land,
never needing to pay
his way,
there are others who
will gladly
do that.

no need for pockets

he keeps
a nest egg tucked away.
it's been
the same number
for ten years, untouched.
he has no need
for pockets,
for spare change,
or cash.
he's an astronaut
on land,
never needing to pay
his way,
there are others who
will gladly
do that.

before it begins

like
short bread
the pre school kids
are lined
in rows on their blue
and pink mats.
the lights dimmed low.
music
playing from above.
it's nap time.
not a wiggle in any
of them.
innocence personified,
before the world
begins
to keep them awake,
twisting
and turning
with worry.

before it begins

like
short bread
the pre school kids
are lined
in rows on their blue
and pink mats.
the lights dimmed low.
music
playing from above.
it's nap time.
not a wiggle in any
of them.
innocence personified,
before the world
begins
to keep them awake,
twisting
and turning
with worry.

i'll get us there

I can row
all day. across any lake.
give me
an ocean and i'll
cross it in no time.
a stream,
a river, don't be
silly,
it's easy. give me
a good boat,
an oar and
with these arms,
these legs,
this heart,
i'll get us there.

i'll get us there

I can row
all day. across any lake.
give me
an ocean and i'll
cross it in no time.
a stream,
a river, don't be
silly,
it's easy. give me
a good boat,
an oar and
with these arms,
these legs,
this heart,
i'll get us there.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

double bubble

there was the time
I got gum in the hair of
the girl
I was dating in high school.
we were slow
dancing to a beatles song
in her parents
basement.
other kids were making
out on the couch.
the no stop, don't do that,
pleas were louder
than the music.
she was captain of the cheerleaders,
long black
hair. a shining
mass of straight black locks
that she parted down the middle.
I was chewing double bubble
to keep
my breath fresh in case
she allowed me to kiss her.
but the gum fell out,
and I tried desperately
to retrieve it with my
lips and teeth, to no avail.
she screamed as she
asked me what I was doing
and felt the stuck wad
in her hair,
the lights went up.
the music stopped.
her parents ran down
the stairs as she cried,
and all the girls called me
horrible names, screaming.
I saw her that Monday in school,
passing her in the hallway.
she looked the other way,
her hair now short, just
below her ears.
we never danced again.
every time I chew a stick
of gum, I think of her
and what could have been.

double bubble

there was the time
I got gum in the hair of
the girl
I was dating in high school.
we were slow
dancing to a beatles song
in her parents
basement.
other kids were making
out on the couch.
the no stop, don't do that,
pleas were louder
than the music.
she was captain of the cheerleaders,
long black
hair. a shining
mass of straight black locks
that she parted down the middle.
I was chewing double bubble
to keep
my breath fresh in case
she allowed me to kiss her.
but the gum fell out,
and I tried desperately
to retrieve it with my
lips and teeth, to no avail.
she screamed as she
asked me what I was doing
and felt the stuck wad
in her hair,
the lights went up.
the music stopped.
her parents ran down
the stairs as she cried,
and all the girls called me
horrible names, screaming.
I saw her that Monday in school,
passing her in the hallway.
she looked the other way,
her hair now short, just
below her ears.
we never danced again.
every time I chew a stick
of gum, I think of her
and what could have been.

some weather we've been having

it's a deep
talk.
a long talk into
the night.
we get into it.
love and death,
sex
and money.
children and work.
old loves.
parents.
God.
we turn
over each and every stone
that we've
had in
our lives,
the mistakes, the paths
not taken.
the ones we're on.
exhausted,
we look at the clock
and say
as one. bed?
yes, she says.
I tell her this is some
weather we've
been having, lately,
and she says
I know, leading the way
up the stairs.

some weather we've been having

it's a deep
talk.
a long talk into
the night.
we get into it.
love and death,
sex
and money.
children and work.
old loves.
parents.
God.
we turn
over each and every stone
that we've
had in
our lives,
the mistakes, the paths
not taken.
the ones we're on.
exhausted,
we look at the clock
and say
as one. bed?
yes, she says.
I tell her this is some
weather we've
been having, lately,
and she says
I know, leading the way
up the stairs.

quit whining

we were scuba diving
off the coast
of the florida keys
when a shark
came over to bite us.
I yelled through my mask,
the bubbles of air,
that I told you this
would happen.
we're gonna die
and this is all your fault.
look out.
but she couldn't hear
me, and punched
the shark in the nose
making it swim away.
then we continued collecting
white shells
from the bottom
as if nothing ever
happened.

quit whining

we were scuba diving
off the coast
of the florida keys
when a shark
came over to bite us.
I yelled through my mask,
the bubbles of air,
that I told you this
would happen.
we're gonna die
and this is all your fault.
look out.
but she couldn't hear
me, and punched
the shark in the nose
making it swim away.
then we continued collecting
white shells
from the bottom
as if nothing ever
happened.

she would knit

she would knit
for hours.
sitting alone, her hands
a blur
of needles and yarn,
rocking in her
chair
by the fireplace.
in time
there was something
long
and wide,
warm. she'd fold
it together,
set it aside,
then start another,
something
of a different color
for someone
else.

she would knit

she would knit
for hours.
sitting alone, her hands
a blur
of needles and yarn,
rocking in her
chair
by the fireplace.
in time
there was something
long
and wide,
warm. she'd fold
it together,
set it aside,
then start another,
something
of a different color
for someone
else.

the blue light

the night light,
a soft
blue
bulb
in the socket
would show her the way
out the room
down
the hall
then down the stairs
where she would stay
until the sun
rose,
unable to sleep
thinking too hard
about what
was,
what wasn't meant
to be.

the blue light

the night light,
a soft
blue
bulb
in the socket
would show her the way
out the room
down
the hall
then down the stairs
where she would stay
until the sun
rose,
unable to sleep
thinking too hard
about what
was,
what wasn't meant
to be.

Monday, December 18, 2017

the sixth grade

we used
to stand and pledge
our allegiance
to the republic, for which
it stands, etc.
then we'd all pray
the our father who art in heaven.
we never questioned
any of that.
we just did it like all the
all the kids
who carved their names
in the wooden desks before us.
we used to bring our
lunch to school,
in a bag or a metal
lunch box. we'd
buy cartons of milk. two cents.
trading tuna
for ham.
peanut butter for
turkey.
we used to carry our
books
under our arm.
a strap keeping them
together.
we were well behaved.
hair combed.
polite and quiet. neat and clean.
we were shiny apples
back then.
we knew there was more
to this world,
more to come,
but this was good too.

the sixth grade

we used
to stand and pledge
our allegiance
to the republic, for which
it stands, etc.
then we'd all pray
the our father who art in heaven.
we never questioned
any of that.
we just did it like all the
all the kids
who carved their names
in the wooden desks before us.
we used to bring our
lunch to school,
in a bag or a metal
lunch box. we'd
buy cartons of milk. two cents.
trading tuna
for ham.
peanut butter for
turkey.
we used to carry our
books
under our arm.
a strap keeping them
together.
we were well behaved.
hair combed.
polite and quiet. neat and clean.
we were shiny apples
back then.
we knew there was more
to this world,
more to come,
but this was good too.

it felt like home

it's no longer a bar.
it's
a video
display.
everyone on their phone
staring numbly
at the small screen.
a dozen tvs
on at once.
it's hard to get a drink
in here.
it's hard
to order food.
calamari is not food.
no smoking allowed.
the place is lit up like a Christmas
tree.
I miss the fat bartender
with a stogie.
his red apron
and no nonsense ways.
the black and white tv
on a shelf
with the fight on,
or a game.
the dimmed lights, the dark
wood.
the wobbly stools.
the conversations,
the bumping
of elbows.
the flirting with the girl
at the end
of the bar
in a red dress. oh,
how things have changed.

it felt like home

it's no longer a bar.
it's
a video
display.
everyone on their phone
staring numbly
at the small screen.
a dozen tvs
on at once.
it's hard to get a drink
in here.
it's hard
to order food.
calamari is not food.
no smoking allowed.
the place is lit up like a Christmas
tree.
I miss the fat bartender
with a stogie.
his red apron
and no nonsense ways.
the black and white tv
on a shelf
with the fight on,
or a game.
the dimmed lights, the dark
wood.
the wobbly stools.
the conversations,
the bumping
of elbows.
the flirting with the girl
at the end
of the bar
in a red dress. oh,
how things have changed.

a step slow

it doesn't happen over night,
but it feels
that way,
when you suddenly can't
hit the curve ball,
or get the pitch over
the plate.
you are a step to slow
through the hole,
perhaps your leap
is less than it was
a year ago.
the jump shot no longer
hits the bottom
of the net
but spins and swirls
on the rim,
then falls out.
you hate to admit
it, but you're getting
old and must
find other things to
do, things that don't
remind you
of your youth.

a step slow

it doesn't happen over night,
but it feels
that way,
when you suddenly can't
hit the curve ball,
or get the pitch over
the plate.
you are a step to slow
through the hole,
perhaps your leap
is less than it was
a year ago.
the jump shot no longer
hits the bottom
of the net
but spins and swirls
on the rim,
then falls out.
you hate to admit
it, but you're getting
old and must
find other things to
do, things that don't
remind you
of your youth.

new words for the old machine

once
we were young at this
machine.
typing
into the night.
letting the words fall
out
like rain,
like leaves, bright
and soft
off the autumn trees.
what new
thoughts would arise
so easily.
what joy
there was in not knowing
what came
next.
they still come, but
it's different now
with so
much time, so much
love and pain gone by.

new words for the old machine

once
we were young at this
machine.
typing
into the night.
letting the words fall
out
like rain,
like leaves, bright
and soft
off the autumn trees.
what new
thoughts would arise
so easily.
what joy
there was in not knowing
what came
next.
they still come, but
it's different now
with so
much time, so much
love and pain gone by.

wiser than yesterday

wiser
than yesterday, but
leery
of tomorrow,
of the fool mistakes
to be made.
at what point does wisdom
set in
for good
and say,
we're done?

wiser than yesterday

wiser
than yesterday, but
leery
of tomorrow,
of the fool mistakes
to be made.
at what point does wisdom
set in
for good
and say,
we're done?

this is easy, for now

right now
as it has been, this is
easy.
the swing of the axe
to take
down a tree,
more swings, chopping
the wood
in cords,
then stacked.
I know though, that
a day
will arrive,
when the axe
will be heavy, too
burdensome to swing,
to bring down
and chop
at the fallen trees.
what then?

this is easy, for now

right now
as it has been, this is
easy.
the swing of the axe
to take
down a tree,
more swings, chopping
the wood
in cords,
then stacked.
I know though, that
a day
will arrive,
when the axe
will be heavy, too
burdensome to swing,
to bring down
and chop
at the fallen trees.
what then?

the blue bird

the bluebird
comes early this morning
to sit
upon my sill,
he ruffles the cold
out of his feathers,
stares in
while I stare out.
there is nothing to say.
no words
need be spoken.
in time,
we'll both
go on our way.
begin our day.

the blue bird

the bluebird
comes early this morning
to sit
upon my sill,
he ruffles the cold
out of his feathers,
stares in
while I stare out.
there is nothing to say.
no words
need be spoken.
in time,
we'll both
go on our way.
begin our day.

there is bliss

there is bliss
in the uneventful week.
no
chaos,
no broken lace,
no cuts
or bruises,
no words
misunderstood,
a clean smooth
slate
of work
and food and sleep.
throw
love and affection
into the mix
as well.

there is bliss

there is bliss
in the uneventful week.
no
chaos,
no broken lace,
no cuts
or bruises,
no words
misunderstood,
a clean smooth
slate
of work
and food and sleep.
throw
love and affection
into the mix
as well.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

the lake

the lake is endless,
so it seems.
iced blue.
cold
and gloved,
scarf and hat I make
my way along the familiar
paths.
how many miles
I've walked I don't know.
but I go back
to it again and again
in times
of trouble.

the lake

the lake is endless,
so it seems.
iced blue.
cold
and gloved,
scarf and hat I make
my way along the familiar
paths.
how many miles
I've walked I don't know.
but I go back
to it again and again
in times
of trouble.

the morning light

striving
to make things better,
to make
things right,
i turn the screw,
to make
the handle tight.
it breaks off in my hand.
it will take
time to fix this,
but enough for now,
i'll wait for the morning
light.

the morning light

striving
to make things better,
to make
things right,
i turn the screw,
to make
the handle tight.
it breaks off in my hand.
it will take
time to fix this,
but enough for now,
i'll wait for the morning
light.

who makes it

the low
plane is in trouble.
you can hear the cough
of the engine,
the wafting of wings
as it scrapes
the tops of trees,
but then it rises
with speed and disappears
in blue clouds.
did it make it?
who's to know
these things.

who makes it

the low
plane is in trouble.
you can hear the cough
of the engine,
the wafting of wings
as it scrapes
the tops of trees,
but then it rises
with speed and disappears
in blue clouds.
did it make it?
who's to know
these things.

these woods

these woods.
these paths where I go
now.
dark
and delicious
with
the past.
a new past comes.
they go.
still I walk. together
or alone.

these woods

these woods.
these paths where I go
now.
dark
and delicious
with
the past.
a new past comes.
they go.
still I walk. together
or alone.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

misunderstood

not unlike Oscar
Wilde I often felt the fear
of not
being misunderstood,
a cryptic word
or motion
upon the stage was
always in play,
but now
I want to be perfectly
clear, to be heard
and understood, from
the first row
to the back,
and to the one who stands
beside me.
life is simpler
that way.

misunderstood

not unlike Oscar
Wilde I often felt the fear
of not
being misunderstood,
a cryptic word
or motion
upon the stage was
always in play,
but now
I want to be perfectly
clear, to be heard
and understood, from
the first row
to the back,
and to the one who stands
beside me.
life is simpler
that way.

by now, at this age

by now, at this age,
this stage
of life
you've seen the giants.
you've seen
what hides
in the dark,
beneath the bed,
in the attics
of the world.
you know what a broken
heart is,
a broken bone,
a broken home.
pain is no stranger at
this point.
you've seen the giants,
not all, but most.
the rest
are yet to come,
but will.

by now, at this age

by now, at this age,
this stage
of life
you've seen the giants.
you've seen
what hides
in the dark,
beneath the bed,
in the attics
of the world.
you know what a broken
heart is,
a broken bone,
a broken home.
pain is no stranger at
this point.
you've seen the giants,
not all, but most.
the rest
are yet to come,
but will.

accepting tomorrow

they've cleared the trees
on the far ridge.
plowed the field down.
the patch of woods, the path,
is gone.
a sign is up
with a drawing of new homes.
new trees.
streets paved,
images painted of
friendly faces passing by.
a long dark
hose is filling in
the new pond
where we will go and skate
when it's frozen
and remember little
of what was before.

accepting tomorrow

they've cleared the trees
on the far ridge.
plowed the field down.
the patch of woods, the path,
is gone.
a sign is up
with a drawing of new homes.
new trees.
streets paved,
images painted of
friendly faces passing by.
a long dark
hose is filling in
the new pond
where we will go and skate
when it's frozen
and remember little
of what was before.

the news will come

she's not ready yet,
but
the news will come.
give it time.
you'll get the call
that says
she's gone.
you'll nod
with a relieving sigh.
you'll make arrangements
for the funeral.
talk to
each other on the phone,
discuss all the things
you must decide.
the news will come,
give it time.

the news will come

she's not ready yet,
but
the news will come.
give it time.
you'll get the call
that says
she's gone.
you'll nod
with a relieving sigh.
you'll make arrangements
for the funeral.
talk to
each other on the phone,
discuss all the things
you must decide.
the news will come,
give it time.

slimy smelly kids

I think
about all the classes
in high school
that seemed unnecessary
at the time.
economics
and biology, social science,
wrestling.
do we really need
to be wrestling
other children in the middle
of the day
in tight blue
shorts
and t shirts?
i'm glad now about taking
the other classes
the osmosis of learning
did set in,
but not wrestling
or bounding over
the pummel horse, or dodge
ball where only
the strong survived
ala
Lord of the Flies.

slimy smelly kids

I think
about all the classes
in high school
that seemed unnecessary
at the time.
economics
and biology, social science,
wrestling.
do we really need
to be wrestling
other children in the middle
of the day
in tight blue
shorts
and t shirts?
i'm glad now about taking
the other classes
the osmosis of learning
did set in,
but not wrestling
or bounding over
the pummel horse, or dodge
ball where only
the strong survived
ala
Lord of the Flies.

on the train

there were no need for words.
the two
elegant
travelers
sat across from one another
on the crowded train.
she in her long
grey coat,
him in black, a top
coat,
a scarf, a cane.
he would nod no at each
stop
and she would smile.
her hands folded
in her lap.
he stared at her as if
for the first time.
his love
and her love taking
them
everywhere
with no words needed
to be said.
when they reached
their station
he stood up
and smiled,
nodded yes,
taking her hand, letting
the crowd go first
then her.

on the train

there were no need for words.
the two
elegant
travelers
sat across from one another
on the crowded train.
she in her long
grey coat,
him in black, a top
coat,
a scarf, a cane.
he would nod no at each
stop
and she would smile.
her hands folded
in her lap.
he stared at her as if
for the first time.
his love
and her love taking
them
everywhere
with no words needed
to be said.
when they reached
their station
he stood up
and smiled,
nodded yes,
taking her hand, letting
the crowd go first
then her.

doing their job

there are two levels
of glass,
acrylic windows protecting
the man
inside
from you or anyone
that might want to do
him harm.
he's just doing his job
towing cars
in the wee hours
of the morning.
you slip your credit
card
and id through
the narrow slot.
then he opens the gate
to let you have your car
back.
there's a Christmas
tree in the tight
office,
the lights on.
there's a round table
where you imagine they
talk about
their nights work.
a coffee pot on,
staying warm.
you can see the manger
scene next to a tool box
on the far counter,
opened. Joseph and Mary,
three wise men.
there is baby Jesus
in a bale of hay,
and a crescent
wrench beside Him.

doing their job

there are two levels
of glass,
acrylic windows protecting
the man
inside
from you or anyone
that might want to do
him harm.
he's just doing his job
towing cars
in the wee hours
of the morning.
you slip your credit
card
and id through
the narrow slot.
then he opens the gate
to let you have your car
back.
there's a Christmas
tree in the tight
office,
the lights on.
there's a round table
where you imagine they
talk about
their nights work.
a coffee pot on,
staying warm.
you can see the manger
scene next to a tool box
on the far counter,
opened. Joseph and Mary,
three wise men.
there is baby Jesus
in a bale of hay,
and a crescent
wrench beside Him.

easy and slow

we take our time
with things.
she at the sink, the mixing
bowl.
me at the table,
a paper in hand.
the oven warmed,
the dough rolled and cut
into stars
and snowmen,
candy canes and trees.
we put the radio
on
and listen
to the soft sounds
of holiday singing.
there's snow on the ground.
the house is warm,
the fire rises
and glows.
we take our time with
things, easy
and slow.

easy and slow

we take our time
with things.
she at the sink, the mixing
bowl.
me at the table,
a paper in hand.
the oven warmed,
the dough rolled and cut
into stars
and snowmen,
candy canes and trees.
we put the radio
on
and listen
to the soft sounds
of holiday singing.
there's snow on the ground.
the house is warm,
the fire rises
and glows.
we take our time with
things, easy
and slow.

Friday, December 15, 2017

let's google someone

it's a snoop dog
world we're living in.
social media
saving us gas and time,
that pesky in person stalking,
like in the old days.
darkening the headlights.
kneeling in a bush
outside a window.
we can
find out what's on someone's
mind in
a heartbeat now,
where they've been
and with who.
with the click
of a mouse into their lives we go.
finding out all
the things we wish we never
knew, but now we know.

let's google someone

it's a snoop dog
world we're living in.
social media
saving us gas and time,
that pesky in person stalking,
like in the old days.
darkening the headlights.
kneeling in a bush
outside a window.
we can
find out what's on someone's
mind in
a heartbeat now,
where they've been
and with who.
with the click
of a mouse into their lives we go.
finding out all
the things we wish we never
knew, but now we know.

who wants to read their poems?

sometimes she'd forget
to put her
purse down, or take off her coat.
she'd hold her car keys
in one hand and a piece of
white chalk in the other.
she'd teach poetry
all night in front of the class
just like that.
on and on she'd go about
Sylvia plath
and anne sexton. you have
to read phillip larkin, she
said.
he's wonderful.
and mark strand.
who wants to read what they
have?
did anyone write this week?
are we not poets
my dears?
she'd rattle her keys
in the air,
anyone?

who wants to read their poems?

sometimes she'd forget
to put her
purse down, or take off her coat.
she'd hold her car keys
in one hand and a piece of
white chalk in the other.
she'd teach poetry
all night in front of the class
just like that.
on and on she'd go about
Sylvia plath
and anne sexton. you have
to read phillip larkin, she
said.
he's wonderful.
and mark strand.
who wants to read what they
have?
did anyone write this week?
are we not poets
my dears?
she'd rattle her keys
in the air,
anyone?

rent control

the landlord raises the rent.
I say, why?
it's not me, he says, it's
the neighborhood,
it's historic now.
we've go three starbucks
around the corner.
I saw a rat the other day,
I tell him. a big one,
carrying a gun.
he had luggage
and was moving in,
coming up the stairs with
his family.
i'll look into, he says.
put a towel under your door,
and shut the windows
at night. don't leave any
food on the counter.
the radiator is making
so much noise,
I can't sleep, I tell him.
and the neighbor above
me is making
love or arguing
all night long.
two o two? he says.
blonde, blue eyes? no,
pigtails and a plaid skirt.
she looks like
Dorothy from the wizard
of oz.
he shakes his head and
rubs his grizzled chin.
yeah, you have to look out for
those types.
i'll look into that too,
he says.
anything else?
the hot water is not hot
enough when I take
a shower, two minutes and it's
like ice water pouring out.
okay, okay. i'm freezing
your rent, but just for
this year only. okay?
okay, I tell him.

rent control

the landlord raises the rent.
I say, why?
it's not me, he says, it's
the neighborhood,
it's historic now.
we've go three starbucks
around the corner.
I saw a rat the other day,
I tell him. a big one,
carrying a gun.
he had luggage
and was moving in,
coming up the stairs with
his family.
i'll look into, he says.
put a towel under your door,
and shut the windows
at night. don't leave any
food on the counter.
the radiator is making
so much noise,
I can't sleep, I tell him.
and the neighbor above
me is making
love or arguing
all night long.
two o two? he says.
blonde, blue eyes? no,
pigtails and a plaid skirt.
she looks like
Dorothy from the wizard
of oz.
he shakes his head and
rubs his grizzled chin.
yeah, you have to look out for
those types.
i'll look into that too,
he says.
anything else?
the hot water is not hot
enough when I take
a shower, two minutes and it's
like ice water pouring out.
okay, okay. i'm freezing
your rent, but just for
this year only. okay?
okay, I tell him.

banished

your truck gets towed.
deep into the night,
a cowardly quiet truck
from dominion towing
did hook it up
and sped it away to some
foreign lot
in Lorton.
apparently you've violated a cardinal
rule.
no ladders are
allowed to be seen
by this gentile
neighborhood. how unsightly
to have aluminum rungs
bared and roped upon the rack
for all to see, the horror,
the fainting,
the case of vapors
that must have prevailed.
how their tender eyes must have
burned from
the visage of such a thing.
take this truck
away from here, the condo
board president screamed,
his bowing minions
cloaked in red,
chanting tow it, tow it, tow it.
and him
pointing his black gloved
finger towards the highway.
banish this unsightly
thing from our sight.
the audacity to have left
a ladder on top
of one's work vehicle.
the shame of it all. the shame.

banished

your truck gets towed.
deep into the night,
a cowardly quiet truck
from dominion towing
did hook it up
and sped it away to some
foreign lot
in Lorton.
apparently you've violated a cardinal
rule.
no ladders are
allowed to be seen
by this gentile
neighborhood. how unsightly
to have aluminum rungs
bared and roped upon the rack
for all to see, the horror,
the fainting,
the case of vapors
that must have prevailed.
how their tender eyes must have
burned from
the visage of such a thing.
take this truck
away from here, the condo
board president screamed,
his bowing minions
cloaked in red,
chanting tow it, tow it, tow it.
and him
pointing his black gloved
finger towards the highway.
banish this unsightly
thing from our sight.
the audacity to have left
a ladder on top
of one's work vehicle.
the shame of it all. the shame.

the inheritance

she left everything
to the cat society.
the house, the car,
the retirement fund.
stocks and bonds, the cash
she tucked between
mattresses and hid into
jars.
her children,
despite
her kindness
and generosity
throughout their lives
got nothing.
they
never loved her, not
the way
children should love
a mother.
so it all went to the cats,
her cats, and the cats
of others,
despite their
aloofness
and needs when needed.
not unlike
the kids when you think
of it.

the inheritance

she left everything
to the cat society.
the house, the car,
the retirement fund.
stocks and bonds, the cash
she tucked between
mattresses and hid into
jars.
her children,
despite
her kindness
and generosity
throughout their lives
got nothing.
they
never loved her, not
the way
children should love
a mother.
so it all went to the cats,
her cats, and the cats
of others,
despite their
aloofness
and needs when needed.
not unlike
the kids when you think
of it.

the heirloom

it's hard to throw
away
that chipped cup. the coffee
mug
from the five and ten,
used a thousand
times, filled with
hot water.
sometimes tea,
sometimes a French
or Italian brew, steamed
to boil.
i turn it so
that my lip doesn't
touch the crack,
the sharp edge
where it hit the sink
and crumbled.
it's hard to throw it away.
it's a strange
friend to my mornings,
what would i do without
her.

the heirloom

it's hard to throw
away
that chipped cup. the coffee
mug
from the five and ten,
used a thousand
times, filled with
hot water.
sometimes tea,
sometimes a French
or Italian brew, steamed
to boil.
i turn it so
that my lip doesn't
touch the crack,
the sharp edge
where it hit the sink
and crumbled.
it's hard to throw it away.
it's a strange
friend to my mornings,
what would i do without
her.

the plateau of age

i feel better
since the clock stopped.
broken,
the little red
bird no longer swinging
out on his
plank
to cluck and coo
with the hour.
the heavy pine cone
weights have stopped
moving.
the tick has been silenced.
i'm no longer getting
old.
I've plateaued.

the plateau of age

i feel better
since the clock stopped.
broken,
the little red
bird no longer swinging
out on his
plank
to cluck and coo
with the hour.
the heavy pine cone
weights have stopped
moving.
the tick has been silenced.
i'm no longer getting
old.
I've plateaued.

from the north country

she brought me maple syrup
from afar,
from up north
across the border.
just a pint of brown maple
syrup.
it was years ago.
her name
was jane.
she used to ride her horse
along the ocean,
racing
in the sand.
she used to sing in
the choir
at the cathedral.
she had a voice like
an angel,
but it wasn't meant
to be.
it wasn't me.
I still have the small
amber bottle
on the shelf,
never used and think
of her from time to time.

from the north country

she brought me maple syrup
from afar,
from up north
across the border.
just a pint of brown maple
syrup.
it was years ago.
her name
was jane.
she used to ride her horse
along the ocean,
racing
in the sand.
she used to sing in
the choir
at the cathedral.
she had a voice like
an angel,
but it wasn't meant
to be.
it wasn't me.
I still have the small
amber bottle
on the shelf,
never used and think
of her from time to time.

on the island

on the island,
it's different now.
see how the shadows are long
against
the field.
how the buildings
are grey.
the lights yellow
from
a few low windows.
see how the town sleeps
in,
the stores all
closed. only the fishing
boats
move away from
the shore,
the village roads
unburdened
by those from the mainland.
see how the women wait
for their
men to come home
from the sea, how they
open the windows
and stare out,
their long dresses
blowing in the wind.

on the island

on the island,
it's different now.
see how the shadows are long
against
the field.
how the buildings
are grey.
the lights yellow
from
a few low windows.
see how the town sleeps
in,
the stores all
closed. only the fishing
boats
move away from
the shore,
the village roads
unburdened
by those from the mainland.
see how the women wait
for their
men to come home
from the sea, how they
open the windows
and stare out,
their long dresses
blowing in the wind.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

before we move on

don't tell me about the old days.
i'm tired of reminiscing about
the days
we had fun.
when we were young.
the nights out carousing,
drinking,
dancing, howling at
the moon,
chasing the girls
who laughed at us,
kept us on the run.
let's move on from that.
water
under the bridge.
ancient history.
let's talk about today,
tomorrow, what's to come.
but before we do,
remember that girl
you used to date,
betty, I think her name
was.
whew. good lord, what
a set of legs she had,
those big brown eyes.
whatever happened to
her?

before we move on

don't tell me about the old days.
i'm tired of reminiscing about
the days
we had fun.
when we were young.
the nights out carousing,
drinking,
dancing, howling at
the moon,
chasing the girls
who laughed at us,
kept us on the run.
let's move on from that.
water
under the bridge.
ancient history.
let's talk about today,
tomorrow, what's to come.
but before we do,
remember that girl
you used to date,
betty, I think her name
was.
whew. good lord, what
a set of legs she had,
those big brown eyes.
whatever happened to
her?

woman in a cake

at the birthday party
a woman
pops out
of an enormous cake.
seven layers.
she's wearing
icing
and a smile,
high heels, and little
else.
I don't care about her.
but I care
about the cake.
is it still edible,
can we have
someone cut us a slice
and bring me
a glass of cold milk.

woman in a cake

at the birthday party
a woman
pops out
of an enormous cake.
seven layers.
she's wearing
icing
and a smile,
high heels, and little
else.
I don't care about her.
but I care
about the cake.
is it still edible,
can we have
someone cut us a slice
and bring me
a glass of cold milk.

the hunger

to lie in bed
and be hungry is
something I remember
very well. I've never
discussed this with siblings.
were they as hungry
as I was?
were their stomachs
empty too.
did they hear what
I heard being said
below the floor late
at night.
that was something I could
do nothing about.
that train wreck
of a marriage had been
off the tracks
for a long time,
but the hunger, I could
find a way.

the hunger

to lie in bed
and be hungry is
something I remember
very well. I've never
discussed this with siblings.
were they as hungry
as I was?
were their stomachs
empty too.
did they hear what
I heard being said
below the floor late
at night.
that was something I could
do nothing about.
that train wreck
of a marriage had been
off the tracks
for a long time,
but the hunger, I could
find a way.

don't be happy

don't be happy.
it won't go over well.
no one wants
to hear about that.
about how you fell in love
and hope
to live happily every
after.
this will anger them
and make
them disappear.
tell them misery
stories,
some sad tale
and they'll be kind
to you,
put their arm around
you and say,
oh well.
things will improve.
don't worry. i'm here
to help you.

don't be happy

don't be happy.
it won't go over well.
no one wants
to hear about that.
about how you fell in love
and hope
to live happily every
after.
this will anger them
and make
them disappear.
tell them misery
stories,
some sad tale
and they'll be kind
to you,
put their arm around
you and say,
oh well.
things will improve.
don't worry. i'm here
to help you.

regift

a gift
arrives in the mail.
a small horse
with a saddle.
the postman tied
him up
to the rail outside.
there's a ribbon
on his head.
and a note
that says enjoy.
have fun with your
new horse.
we just didn't want
to send you another
fruit cake
this year.

regift

a gift
arrives in the mail.
a small horse
with a saddle.
the postman tied
him up
to the rail outside.
there's a ribbon
on his head.
and a note
that says enjoy.
have fun with your
new horse.
we just didn't want
to send you another
fruit cake
this year.