Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rap

I discovered last night
That I still like rap music
I still have to move when I listen to it
The beat still moves right through me
I still wonder at the fantasy world of boobs and booze
Benjamins and Bentleys and
I still connect with the
Darker Dreams too and
I still love screaming fuck and slut and bitch
Even though I’d never say more than fuck in real life and
Even that under my breath and
My own screaming isn’t what it once was
Especially at night
With a monitor spitting static and heavy breathing behind me on the bookshelf but
I still think Dr. Dre is as important as Beethoven or Jesus
To me
Right up there with Kermit and Cynthia Rylant
Whom I spend more time with these days but
Given an hour to myself
I find that I still like rap music

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The End

An end will come
Certainly and
Yet I doubt
I want to doubt
I have to doubt
I doubt everything
Undoubtedly
Myself
The permanence of my footprint
Fingerprint
Words
Lessons
Work
Cracks in the ceiling
Water damage on the office wall
My daughter’s future
The future
Doubt is the root of all evil
All good
All questions
All answers
All beginnings
All ends
All does end
Even if I won’t ever know for sure

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning

Lots of moments walk in its shoes

Closing your eyes on the day
That saw you hold her hand for the first time

Opening your eyes on the morning of the day
A bill goes into law
A bill that changes the world just a little
For the better

Eating breakfast before driving to the airport
To welcome someone home from
Captivity
War or
A reluctantly accepted but much needed break

Watching the clock run out on a game and
A championship season for the team
That you’ve watched for as long as you can
Remember knowing what sports is

Turning into the parking lot
Driving a red 1965 Pontiac Bonneville
Filled with friends
Headed to a building filled with friends and family about
To watch you and
Support you
Promise to spend the rest of life with your best friend

Lots of moments
Put butterflies in your stomach
Goosebumps on your arms and
Make you willing to give up a few years at the end
For the ability to pause and squeeze everything you can out of it
Right then
Right now

But only one moment
Lets you watch your two year old son and
Your four year old daughter
In front of a fully lit Christmas tree
Still radiant
As the first light of the sun
Struggles through the darkness
Wearing pajamas
With antlers on the footies and
Snowflakes on the lapels
Surrounded by packages
Leaping and shrieking because
Before filling the stockings
Eating the cookies
Drinking the milk and
Sharing the carrots
Santa strung their own little Christmas tree
With garland

Christmas morning
Doesn’t need shoes

The Warmth of a New Fireplace

In a new house
There is the chance that
You might feel really warm

In a new house with a fireplace
The fire is fed with cold air
Ushered in from outside through an intake pipe

No longer is warm air sucked out into winter
Along with the delicious aroma of burning wood
That so often tickles my nose
Now that winter has arrived

I inhale it nearly
Every time I bounce out to take a dirty diaper to the trash
Returning the control of the aroma-ways in our house
To the vanilla and cinnamon scented candles
Every time I collect the mail
Hoping for a Christmas card to bring another friend
Back into my life
If even for a moment
Every time I retrieve some forgotten item from the car
Hoping to bring a smile to the faces of
One or the other of my children
If only for a moment
Every time turn on the holiday lights
In anticipation of my wife’s much awaited arrival home and
In anticipation of the smiles and shrieks of joy
When they go on

We live in the first complete planned community
Housing for veterans and/or steelworkers alike
Often in search of their first home
Back in the 1950s
Not exactly chocked full of modern technology or
Originally equipped with fireplaces but
Over the years
Families have come and gone and
Come again and
The houses have changed too
People have added garages and dormers and
Along the way even a few fireplaces
Maybe even recently
In the midst of a war or two and
A recession and double digit unemployment

So I can’t know for sure if
Hot or cold air is going in or if
It matters at all for what goes out
Since there is a fire at the root of all of this but
That means I can’t explain why
Once I make sure the house isn’t on fire or
Our furnace hasn’t developed a problem we can’t afford to fix
I feel warm inside

It might be that I’d be happier in a newer subdivision
Even without mature trees
As long as my newer house has a fireplace
Fed with cold air ushered in from outside through an intake pipe

I might always feel warm inside

Surfing on The Weather Channel in Winter

You used to need a ruler and a piece of level ground
To measure the snow fall
You use to have to leave the house but
Now
If you have a laptop and an internet connection
You don’t even have to get up off of the couch
That’s progress you can’t measure with a ruler
Regardless of how level the ground is

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Cold Green Christmas

No snow on the ground;
Does reindeer food sparkle on
Dormant weed strewn grass?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A four year old's baby Jesus

Jesus has a last name
Christ
Thankfully he doesn’t have a middle name
Starting with H or F
He did have a mommy and a daddy but
He wasn’t born in a hospital
He was born in a barn with animals and
A very bright star and
A lot of visitors who gave him gifts for his birthday
He got gifts on his birthday too but
No toys
He got gold
Which isn’t a favorite color
Like blue
Purple
Yellow or
Black
He got incense
Which is probably something he put in his piggy bank
Later on when he became a big girl and
He got Frankenstein
I can’t imagine what Jesus did with Frankenstein
Maybe I’ll find out from a five year old some day soon

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A four year old's reflection on Santa Claus

Santa is St. Nick
Santa Claus
Father Christmas
Kris Kringle
Santa flies
Has reindeer and a sleigh and
Goes down chimneys or
Doors and windows
If there is no chimney
With a sack and
Gives presents to good children
Sometimes he plays with the toys
He always eats the cookies and milk and
The reindeers’ carrots
They breast feed from him later
He’s like their mother
He’s like a mother for everyone
He gives a lot to everyone
I like Santa Claus
My brother does too
Now let’s not write poems the whole day

Written by Seren and Daddy

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow

Snow falling
In a snow globe
From the ceiling of a fancy holiday video display
In the lobby of a fancy big city skyscraper
From the mantle of a fireplace
In an old small town library
Out of a plastic bag at Grandma and Granddad’s house
The day after Thanksgiving dinner
As we set up the tree
Christmas is almost here and
Snow has been falling everywhere
Except outside

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yeonpyeong Island

Tonight
On Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea
People were preparing for the possibility of war and
Now they are sleeping fitfully
Morning almost upon them

Tonight our kids wore their footie pajamas
With their winter coats and
Tennis shoes
To have cookies and
Sing Christmas carols
In the old Langhorne Library and
Now my son is not sleeping fitfully
Having gone to bed too late and
Maybe too constipated and
Certainly too close in proximity to a major tantrum but
Morning is not almost upon us
So there is more time to hope that an unpleasant morning and
A long and dangerous day
Can be avoided

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Santa

Santa’s are like roaches
Or bed bugs
This time of year
I expect to see one in the kitchen cabinet in the morning
When I pull out a cereal box and
Even if you don’t see one
The threat is continually there
Lurking
Though
Maybe Santa’s are more like cocaine than cockroaches
Because you do have to go looking for them or
At least go to certain kinds of places
It’s not that there are elves on dimly lit street corners
In the seedier parts of town
With Santa’s hidden underneath dark green coats but
If you frequent tree lightings
Carol sings and
Department stores
You can’t avoid them and
They are addictive and
Expensive
It’s a bill that keeps coming due and
An addiction that can impact a whole family
Even if you don’t use
It impacts you
Our whole society is overwhelmed
For a period of time that
Seems to grow longer and longer every year
Productivity slumps
People spend money they don’t have and
Are overtaken by irrational glee and
If you have children …
The Santas practically hunt you down
You aren’t even safe in your own house
In our neighborhood one roars around on
A firetruck
All night long
One night a year
Christmas Eve
The night of the ultimate home invasion
The night that my pusher finally comes through
The denouement of my favorite infestation

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Unintended Consequences


Invade Iraq
Make Iran stronger
Set up a coworker to fail
Watch them succeed
Buy your daughter twenty matchbox cars
For every dolly
Thrust a sword or a hammer into every costume
Keep everything with a princess on it out of sight for as long as possible and
Be forced to emphasize gender neutrality across the board
When a son arrives
First he wants a dolly
Then he is hugs and kisses his busses and monster trucks
Before you know it
You have two princesses
The smallest one in pumps
It’s that old tale of
Unintended consequences
Hitting close to home and
Wearing sequins and ruffles

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas


This year
Christmas has arrived
Wearing a blue bathrobe
Emblazoned with a sock monkey riding a star and
A Santa Hat
That says
Simply Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

His Laugh


Instant warmth
On the coldest of days
Like a sip of hot chocolate
The biggest sip possible of
The hottest chocolate you could stomach
Or that first moment in front of a roaring fire
Right after coming inside
From a snowball fight or
Snow angels
Or when you first slide underneath the flannel sheets
Or when the heater delivers that first blast of hot air or
When you pass out of winter and through the big glass doors
Into the mall
It’s just like that
Instant warmth

Monday, December 13, 2010

He'll need a jump shot


When you talk about some things
As a parent
You lower your voice
You might even whisper
Because a good parent wouldn’t say it
Wouldn’t be thinking about it
A good dad certainly wouldn’t be worried that
According to some old wives tale about predicting height
His son will be lucky to be tall enough to be a high school point guard
Particularly given the genetic pool from which he has swum out of
He’s really going to need to work on his jumper and
Develop a crossover dribble to have any chance at Varsity and
Although he has shown great facility at catch
It’s a long way from a bow legged catch
To Isaiah Thomas
So
While I have already started to work with him on his jumper
I’m also whispering

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Parenthood

Go in your kid’s room
Admire the mess, and leave it just as it is
Adding a big truck or two and
Some instruments with sharp edges
If they aren’t already out
Put on some music
Preferably something that asks you to jump or skip
Then find something to use as a blindfold
Preferably something dark and
Covered with dinosaurs
Fire trucks or
Fairies
Then proceed to obey the music and
Jump and skip all around the room and
Enjoy
You’ll find it hard not to smile
Even through the fear and pain

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cookie Wars







Baking cookies with toddlers is
As close as I’ll ever come to battle
I suppose human casualties are highly unlikely
Although not beyond the sleep deprived imaginings of a parent
Not when a two year old is in close proximity to a
Heavy wood rolling pin and
A knife block full of knives
Standing on a plastic step stool
Right next to his sister
The queen of the voluntary seizure
Besides
Even if no one really comes close to death
Insanity is a real possibility
As is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Everything happens very quickly
One minute you are measuring flour and
The next you are presented with melted butter and
Expected to pretend that it can be creamed with sugar
In that form
One minute you are happily rolling out dough
And the next thing you know
Red sprinkles are being spilled on the floor and
A fight is underway over who gets to put the
Elephant cookie on the cookie sheet
In the end
Of course
While war may be a little like an elephant shaped cookie for Christmas
Baking cookies isn’t remotely like battle
However
Deciding who gets to open the next window on the advent calendar …

Friday, December 10, 2010

Seeing the Light

I wish that my path in life
Was lined by illuminated milk jugs;
Sprinkled with musical performances by
Choirs from local schools;
Warmed by apple cider
Straight off of the fire; and
Lightened and enlightened
By people in period costume
It would be even better if it didn’t cost
Twenty five dollars for a family of four;
Wasn’t sure to be below freezing; and
Had some free snacks to pair with the warm cider
I suppose I want Christmas without the waiting and
Behavioral modification;
And the birth of Jesus
Without the manger or the cross
Maybe I just like illuminated milk jugs

Getting Ready for Mom

Every evening
She waits by the front door
While I go out the back door and
Plug in the yellow extension cord
When I come in
She is always waiting
With a huge smile on her face
I ask her if the lights are on and
She nods and smiles even bigger
Then she reminds me that we have to turn on the tree and
The extra lights strung over the top of the sliding doors and
The little ceramic houses and
The fake candles in each of the front facing windows
She follows along for each step of the process
Smiling and laughing throughout

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Hatching Baby Jesus

My daughter hatched Jesus today
My son was the father
Which may be why Jesus was born
Wearing a traditional Icelandic costume and
Sporting blond hair put up into braids
It may also explain the whole son of God thing
I’m not sure it explains why Jesus was in her belly
If he was also hatched or
Why she went to Bethlehem riding on Clifford
The big red dog or
Why the sheep were blue and pink or
Why Dora the Explorer
AKA Paragon
Who is the father of my daughter’s other children
Was the shepherd but
My daughter is never without an explanation
So I know she has one
For why Joseph was pushing
A blue balloon in a
Big yellow dump truck
Maybe he was working an extra job
In anticipation of the hatching
Maybe he was a dead beat dad
Maybe he was frightened when she pulled
The feet out of her shirt first
Maybe that is what this is all about
Maybe breach births were taboo or
An indication of witchcraft or
An evil mark and
So Mary had to claim that Jesus hatched
In order to avoid a stoning or
Having to abandon the baby
Maybe the egg came first
Maybe my daughter is free of all blame
For having hatched Jesus today

Monday, December 06, 2010

married with children

Sometimes you still feel soft
Light
Comfortable against me
Not as often as five or six years ago
To be sure
Who has time to be soft
Light or
Comfortable anymore
We don’t
We don’t seem to know how to make it either
Yet those soft and comfortable moments
Still happen and
I still love them
I love being reminded that it is possible to add and
Yet subtract
To feel lighter when you lean against me and
I lean against you
I lean on you all the time and
You lean on me but
I don’t often feel lighter
I feel more like part of a suspension bridge or
The steel skeleton of a skyscraper
Than a pile of pillows or
A pit full of bright colored plastic balls and
Yet I still find myself
Occasionally
Piled in with you
With no particular river to cross or
Weight to support
I need to find myself there more often
I need to find my way there more often
Because
You still feel soft, light, and comfortable to me

Sunday, December 05, 2010

A Long Cold Christmas

The air is cold now and
It will probably stay that way for a while and
I don’t mind
Not yet at least
The decorations are up and
As of today
So are the lights and
Though it took an hour to get them up and
A few minutes
To get the feeling back in my fingers
It didn’t bother me
The tree went up and
We all decorated it together
With Christmas carols playing in the background
The decorations may not be enough to hide the fact that
It is a homely and crooked little tree but
I don’t care
Twenty candy canes bunched together on
Three branches and
Normally that would have bothered me so much
That I would have dispersed them immediately but
I waited a whole two hours
Until the kids were asleep
To spread them all over the tree
Under the watchful eye of the Elf on the Shelf
Who was staring at me from the curtain rod
Where he will wait all night to be discovered
The kind of waiting that always drives me nuts
Except now I’m unfazed by the prospect of waiting
For Christmas to come
Underneath our Christmas Tree
I’m actually hoping to have a lot of time
To watch the cold materialize
In the glow of the Christmas Lights
It is cold now
If I’m lucky
It will be cold for some time

Saturday, December 04, 2010

happy second birthday Wyeth


Two

Dirty blonde hair
Blue eyes
A toothy little grin
That is often paired with scrunched up
Glittering
Laughing eyes
The best belly snort/chortle/giggle combination
A bouncing
Rolling and
Lyrical gait
A fascination with trash trucks
Buses of every shape and size
Trains and
Babies
An interest in eating nuggets
Crackers
Blueberries
Pasta and
Little else other than the occasional pancake
A love of humming tunes and
Saying no and
Bye and
Trash
Bus
Car
More

Two

Friday, December 03, 2010

My Daughter looks like Glen Rice

Glen Rice from the corner for three
Wait
That’s Glen Rice from in front of the blue chair
From Pottery Barn Kids
Wait
That’s not for three
It’s from three feet and
It’s not a regulation basketball hoop
Unless Lilliputians are making the regulations and
It’s not Glen Rice
Unless he is less than four feet tall
With long curly brown hair and
Green eyes and white skin
Unless he’s my daughter
It’s not Glen Rice
From three feet
Shooting at a Little Tikes basketball hoop
That her brother just got for his birthday but
She caught the pass cleanly and
Made the shot
Made it the first time
So although she used both hands and
Had about as much arc as a table top
I’m her dad and
I’m a dreamer and
I’ve been dreaming about this moment since
Before I met her mother
So to me
She’s Glen Rice
Wearing maize and blue
Draining a three from the corner

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Seren's Winter

It snows and
I play in the snow
Jumping and
Making shapes with my brother
Riding our sled down the hill on the side of the house and
Waiting for Santa to bring presents in his sled
He has a big sled and reindeer
Rudolph, Dasher, and Dancer and
I leave them carrots and
Milk and cookies to share with Santa
When he comes through the door or window
Since we don’t have a chimney but
We all have stockings
My brother, and me, and mom, and dad and
We’ll have a tree but
It’s not up yet
I’ll help pick it out
This weekend
It will be sunny
No snow but
It already did snow in Levittown and
Michigan and
It will snow again and
If it snows a lot
There will be a lot of ice and
Our house might shrink
Like a bears cave does after he eats a lot getting ready for winter and
I might not have enough mittens and
School might be closed and then
I would play at daddy school and
Brother school and
We would make a snowman and
We would play in the snow

Written by Seren and Daddy

No Turkey for Thanksgiving

Not Turkey but
Chicken and
Potatoes
Several varieties of potatoes
Some covered with marshmallows
Marshmallows being sugar and gelatin and
Cranberries
Food processed together with oranges and
Sugar and
Fruit salad
Sugar optional and
Pie
Sugar far from optional
And dressing
Stuffed into and
Then pulled out of
A chicken
Rather than a turkey
No turkey
No ham but
Squash
With golden raisins and
Sugar and
That pie
Comes with ice cream or
Cool whip or
Both
Your choice of sugar and
Beverages
Wine or diet coke or water or coffee
You won’t go dry
We don’t like dry
Which is why we had a chicken
Instead of a turkey

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Squash

Squash cooks fast
Which is good
Because two year olds move faster
Faster than just about everything
Except maybe butter melting
In a microwave
Turned on high
Four year olds aren't quite that fast but
They're more challenging
Kind of like trying to get stiff peaks in egg whites but
Not quite as bad as a meringue
Together they're a blur
So Thanksgiving Dinner is too
From the first chopped celery
Right through to the rolls
I'm thankful if there isn't a catastrophe or
A calamity or
Continuous chaos
So I pushed for squash because
It cooks fast

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

honesty can be tricky

We were pulling away from nursery school
When she asked me to read the name
On the Native American headdress
She was wearing
I tried my best to do just that
I read every word on the thing at least three times
I used different voices
I searched every square inch for
Whatever it was I was missing
That was causing her to scream no and
Dissolve into tears
But I could see only the name we had given her at birth and
"Princess Sit Bull."
Finally
Clearly exasperated with my cluelessness
She indignantly informed me
That she was
Princess Bull Sit And
After a short pause
I filled the remainder of the ride home
With the story of Sitting Bull and
The promise of lunch

Getting Lucky

Always tired
Often sick
Sometimes defeated
Sometimes sad
Sometimes hopeful
Usually amused
Often annoyed
Sometimes surprised
Sometimes bored
Sometimes laughing hard
Sometimes chuckling
Sometimes smiling inside
Sometimes having my back or leg or face
Rubbed by a little hand or
Kissed with little lips
Occasionally content
Often aware of just how lucky I am

Monday, November 22, 2010

Deep Thoughts

I try hard in my life not to be too thoughtful or deep or
Disappointed with normalcy
Now
The fact that I am consciously trying to do this probably says plenty
As does the fact
That it’s taken several years of being home with the kids
But just yesterday I realized that
I actually enjoy raking leaves
And shopping
And Cooking
Even with the kids
And that it’s really not all about succeeding or
Even exceeding expectations
I think that my son was sitting on my chest yesterday
When the revelation hit
So it may have been a lack of oxygen to the brain
But it wasn’t the first time
And it is only now that I am writing a poem about it
And
Well
Maybe I won’t think any more about it

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Naked Train

Deals this good don’t come along very often …
My son agreed to let me take him upstairs
If I let him ride on my back
Naked
While
We both made
Choo choo noises
It wasn’t without risk and
I ended up giving a second ride
To a larger and heavier naked child but
We’ll use the photos at his wedding and
Moments like that don’t come along very often

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Light

For Uncle Jim

Into the light or
Into the dark
I don’t really know but
I’m sure it’s not out of the darkness
Regardless of how dark the last year
Or two
Must have seemed
There’s always a glimmer
There was a glimmer and it
Wasn’t just in someone else’s
Blue eyes or
Curly hair or
Amazing brains and ass combination
Though she noticed them all but
It wouldn’t have mattered
Even if she hadn’t or
Hadn’t been interesting
Interested
Quirky or
Fun
To anyone
There is always light
Here in this place we have
Imagined
Built
Lived in
Passed thorough and
Will all one day
Pass on
Whether we always see it or
Not

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

True Love

Every nap and
Every night
He says goodnight and
Blows kisses
To a yellow die-cast metal school bus
With pull back action
Which stopped producing much action at all
Shortly after his big sister received it
In a gift bag at the birthday party of a little boy
Whose family moved out of town
Several years ago
It’s also missing two of its little rubber wheels and
Has two big pieces of double stick tape on top it
Where mom tried to attach two little wooden figures
Before he decided that he didn’t want
Little wooden figures
On top of the bus
It’s a good thing that the guys are gone
Because it was a lot harder to tuck it in
To the seat of the
Little Tykes red Family Van and
It isn’t any harder
However
To blow it a kiss
Say “bye bye” and
Lovingly rubs its side

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Winston Churchill and Gummy Vitamins

I wonder if Churchill fortified his indomitable spirit
By taking gummy vitamins from his son Randolph or
Even a grandchild
While he stood in the shower
Stark naked
I’ve tried all day to get the visual out of my mind
Winston in nothing but a top hat
A cigar sticking out of his mouth
Which is drawn up in a friendly sort of scowl
Hand outstretched
Ready to take the vitamin
For what choice would he have had after
His son or grandson’s
Face dropped at Winston’s initial refusal
I imagine he would have flashed a victory sign at the boy
As he thoughtfully chewed on the vitamins
He’d of probably taken three as
He had a pretty stressful job
I stay at home so
My spirit doesn’t have to be quite as indomitable
I took two

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nightime in November

Gas station lights up
Wet leaf trapped in wiper blade;
Cold rain all around

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hand Washing

Today he washed his hands
With imaginary water and
Dried his hands
On an imaginary towel
Not once
Not twice but
Three times
Without ever imagining a single activity that could have
Made his hands dirty but
Never forgetting to take the towel from me
When his hands were wet and to
Hand the towel back to me
After they were dry and
Never forgetting to wear a smile that
Wasn’t the least bit imaginary

Sunday, November 14, 2010

she put on his shoes today

She put on his shoes today
His shoes and his socks
All by herself and
It took as much time as you’d think it would and
As you can guess
We were running late but
In the midst of
Grabbing matching sweatshirts and
Filling up water bottles and
Checking directions and
Loading the car with
Pumpkin pancake batter and
Bacon and
Fruit
She put on his shoes for him
Patiently
Carefully
Lovingly
She even put the socks on his hands first
To make him smile
Although we’ll tell folks for a week or two
It won’t make the wedding video
It won’t but
Maybe it should because
She put on his shoes for the first time today and
That won’t happen ever again

Friday, November 12, 2010

not not

When he says “not not,”
You have to be ready
He only gives you a few seconds to
Insert the “who’s there”
Before he is on to “boo”
He’ll wait longer for “boo who”
But he won’t wait forever
So don’t trouble yourself with
Whether it is boo who or boo hoo or
Who will say “don’t cry”
No one will say it
There won’t be time for you because
He can’t and
He can say “not not”
He can say “boo” so
Be ready and
Be efficient and
You may be able to squeeze in a laugh or two
He’ll appreciate it
Whether he says so or
“not not”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Responsibility

Driving on a hilly road
Under railroad bridges
While my almost two year old son
Yells quack and
Smiles expectantly
Waiting

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Aspic

Usually having a daughter is like eating Chicken aspic
Familiar yet exotic
More than just pleasant yet unmistakably disturbing
Sometimes having my daughter is
Like eating tomato aspic
When you have acid reflux and an
Allergy to 50’s cookbooks and
I have acid reflux but
I like fifty’s cookbooks and
I like the idea of jello and meat together
It’s a better combination than peanut butter and chocolate and
Hershey’s bought that for twenty three and a half million
Back in nineteen sixty three
I actually like aspic and
My daughter is a good one
A complete meal
Maybe poached salmon in aspic or
Sashimi in aspic
I’m not sure there is such a thing
As sashimi aspic but
I’m not always sure there can be such a thing as
My daughter

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Thirty Feet

At two it’s thirty feet
That’s the limit
He won’t go any further
Even if he wants to
He stops
Looks back and
Calls my name
Not quite a scream but
Too loud for polite conversation
He won’t come back but
He won’t go any farther
Someday
Of course
He will but
Hopefully he’ll always look back

Monday, November 08, 2010

Parental Privilege

For me
The best thing about marriage and fatherhood
Is that the first hug of the day is
Never the last

Sunday, November 07, 2010

ruminations on my father-in-law's 67th birthday

Hunter gatherers in the Kalahari
Use Ostrich eggs to drink water out of
Ostrich eggs are the largest of all eggs and
The yolk is the largest single cell
You can eat them too but
Make sure to have salt and pepper and
Maybe garlic and some other spices because
Apparently they aren’t that tasty
The egg shells can fetch at least twenty dollars
On the internet which
Is why the guy who runs the little
Antique shop and tree farm
That my daughter’s play group went to this week
Is sad that his ostrich hasn’t laid one in two years
I was surprised he had an ostrich
I knew about the carousel,
Kiddie rides, and
Miniature train but
I was surprised by the
Llama
Alpaca
Emu
Pygmy goat and
Ostrich
The Ostrich was forty years old
My daughter
Who is unusually insightful for four
Called it a Flamingo
The guy said it could live to be seventy but
That her egg laying days were over and
Thus he had glued a broken egg together because
They were twenty dollars on the internet
The Ostrich didn’t seem troubled as
She waited for a slice or two of apple
She seemed relieved
Thirty years to go and
No need to produce anything
To eat
Drink out of or
Sell and
I could have sworn that
As we drove out of sight
She stood on one leg and
Winked

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Alone

For me
It’s 2:30 to 3:30
Every day
Kind of
Sort of
As long as alone
Can include listening to two children on baby monitors
While one is asleep and
The other is performing her one woman
Musical act
Complete with dolls, stuffed animals, and
The occasional invisible elephant

And it’s from 9:30 until whenever I go to bed
Depending on whether it’s not

I prefer not
Really
I do
Don’t get me wrong
I like
Teaching
Blogging
Applying for jobs and
Nashing my teeth over Lebron James and the BCS

I also enjoy watching movies
But not alone
Truthfully
I’d rather listen to my children and
Their mother
Sleeping

So
I stay at home

So
I watch movies in three installments

So
What about you?
When are you alone?

Friday, November 05, 2010

Evaluation

Three adults
And
Two parents
And
One word list
Forty some words long
And
Blocks
The little wooden ones with letters on them
And
An old spice container filled with little wooden rods
Just the right size to fit through the holes
And
Colored plastic cups
And
A wooden puzzle with very big pieces
And
A roomful or two of toys that didn’t come in
Two duffle bags
One black and one blue
And
A fancy apple laptop for taking notes
And
Lots of questions
And
Lots of jargon
And
One 23 month old boy
Happy Birthday
Almost

Thursday, November 04, 2010

George Lee Anderson

Writing a poem is never quite enough but
My son is almost two and
It’s winter
So I can’t put him in the
Size 12 months
Tigers shorts and shirt
I don’t really like baseball enough
To come up with a convincing argument as
To why it’s necessary or
How it looks good to wear shorts on top of jeans
‘I should have done something when Chuck Daly passed’
Isn’t going to work
Still, I’d like to honor the moment in some way
With the kids
Maybe a meditation ceremony
The bless you boys meet Buddha
It would be a great learning experience
If death were a good topic for two and four year olds to learn about
But I remember what happened when I showed
Her a you tube video of the plane
Flying into the World Trade Center so
I’m sorry Sparky
This poem
Is going to have to be enough

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Herding Cats

I imagine that trying to herd cats is like
Trying to put together a thousand piece puzzle
With a four year old
It’s rewarding as long as
You’re patient and
Not allergic

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

My lunch

My lunch is my life
Made last
Made fast
Eaten even faster
A piece of a nugget here
Half a yogurt there
A slice of cheese
A piece of candy snuck in
On one of fifteen or twenty trips into the kitchen
Just
A complete blur
That has little to do with sustenance and
Everything to do with
Reading words in the newspaper
Finishing a whole yogurt and telling the world about it
Stacking juice cups
Laughing at the cat
Laughing at each other
Laughing at the idea that I’m going to eat slowly or well
At lunch
Or any other time
For the next few years
Laughing at my lunch
Laughing with my life

Monday, November 01, 2010

first hint of colder weather

sweatpants and long sleeves
sheet with comforter on top;
not yet wearing socks

I am here

I know where I am
It’s eleven thirty
I’m in my office and
I just helped my daughter
Walk down the dark hallway to the bathroom
Waited while she went pee and
Escorted her back to her bed
Where I gave her a kiss and
Told her I loved her and
That I would see her in the morning
I know my place
She called for help and
I helped
If she calls again
I’ll help again
I know where I am
I know my place
I know I won’t always be here

The Day After Halloween

Can see my own breath;
Won’t see the Jack O’ Lantern
For another year

Friday, October 29, 2010

Living in an Airport

These days, I feel like I live in an airport
Which I suppose isn’t an awful thing
I’ve always liked going to the airport
Usually it means you’re going somewhere and
Since I’ve never really travelled for work
It usually means I’m going somewhere exciting or
Going to see someone exciting and
It always means I’m getting out of town
Unless I’m not
Unless I’m welcoming someone who
Is getting out of their town or
Picking someone up who is returning to mine
Even then I’m not unhappy because
I get to watch
Hugs, kisses, tearful embraces, and
People sprinting into open arms
Wearing those expressions that are so raw you have to turn away
It’s almost better than being involved in them but
I’m old
So I remember when all of this took place at the gate or
Even on the funny little retractable hallway
Connecting the plane to the gate
You weren’t supposed to do that but
When my sister came up from Columbia at three months old
My mom did it
Since then I don’t think I’ve witnessed it personally
Since then it seems like it’s been moving steadily closer to home
First it was back at the gate
Then came 9/11 and
Either you waited until baggage exchange or
You had your emotional reunion at the metal detectors
Then I had children and
Went where few men go
Home all day with the kids while my wife went to work
Every day and
Came home every day and
Hugged and kissed the kids each time she came and went
The ritual has involved sitting in the back of the car in the driveway
Waving from the kitchen window
Running down the street
Holding the two of them
One in each arm
As Mama drives down the street
Hand out the window waving until she turns the corner and
Drives out of sight
Regardless of the specific ritual, however
It is always emotional
Always involves hugs and kisses and
I am always watching
It’s like living in an airport but
As long as it doesn’t move right into the bedroom
While I’m still sleeping
I’ll savor the goodbyes and the hellos and
No matter how raw the emotion
I won’t be looking away

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beautiful Memories

Sometimes late at night
When I should be sleeping
Getting ready for another in an endless series of early morning wakeups
I am watching movie scenes on Youtube
Maybe the bar scene in Good Will Hunting or
Any Al Pacino speech or
The marriage proposal in High Fidelity or
Rene saying “you had me at hello” and
Being moved by the beautiful memories
That someone has seemingly created and
Put to music
Just for me

Not tonight though
Tonight I am staying up too late
Trying to find an appropriate way to record
How I felt this morning when my son
Greeted me
In the pitch dark of his room
By falling silent
Abandoning his chant of dada dada dada
Clamoring to the side of his crib and
Into my arms and
Clutching me tight
His hands on my back
Head on my shoulder and
Foot in my groin
Motionless
For twenty minutes
A moment he broke with a back rub
It is a moment worth staying up to commemorate
It is a moment when I again realize that
There are beautiful memories are really mine

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Seren’s Halloween Poem

Halloween is trick or treating
At seven in the morning
Just kidding, that’s a trick
I really go at seven at night and
I get to stay up late and see
Dragons (That’s my brother) and
Vampire bats
(Beavers always have to be vampire bats because they have the teeth) but
The eyes can barely see
It’s dark and
I’m wearing a costume
A ghost costume
I’ll be a scary ghost
Two of my friends will be scary witches
We’ll all get treats
At school and
From houses
Halloween is trick and
Treat


By: Seren and Daddy

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fatherhood Is

Fatherhood is a red and blue wooden lobster
Sitting on the right side of the desk
Revealed by the light of the tiny little lamp
With the energy efficient bulb
That takes half an hour to get bright enough
So that you can see your hands
Looking up from
Amongst a half dozen containers of Albuterol Sulfate
The size of M-14 cartridges
It’s view partially obstructed by
Dirty tissues
Flung about as if there was a massive surrender and
Standing at attention
Poised to take on the two plastic chocolate chip cookies and
The ceramic doll from Iceland
As spoils of war

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Haloween Magic

A thirty pound pumpkin sits on the coffee table
Looking like something lifted out of the middle of the Cinderella story
A fairy godmother didn’t put it there though
She also didn’t carry it to the cashier
With a two year old boy attached to her leg and
She didn’t spend almost fifteen dollars for it and
She didn’t carry it to the car at the walking pace of that two year old
While answering questions from his four year old sister
She also wasn’t around last year to explain to the aforementioned children
Why we had two pumpkins taken off of our porch and
I know that this year
I have yet to turn down an offer of help from anyone wearing wings
But she did go and do all that magic for Cinderella and
Then I went and purchased the book she did it in from the thrift store and
Allowed it to be chosen for family story last week and
I don’t have a job and
We do have a lot of credit card debt and
We have plenty of anxiety and worry and
Could use a little magic
So
If it disappears tonight
I’ll thank the Fairy Godmother
Not for what has disappeared but
For what has been left behind

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The end of an evening at the neighbor's house

Carried home by mom
Squirming, flexing, and Kicking;
Screams pierce the brisk night

Parenthood Is

Parenthood is
Cross country skiing
In the early morning
In the most beautiful snow covered scene you can imagine
With your very favorite piece of soft music playing in the background
Be it the Mountain Goats or Emminem
While carrying a backpack containing
A Chicken Pesto sandwich on freshly baked foccacia bread
A bottle of Riesling
Two plastic collapsible wine glasses and
Tom Thumb and his fat cousin Bertha playing
An indoor racket based sport
Inside a fifteen pound bowling ball
Skiing in fresh and deep snow
Towing a Bengal Tiger Pup
Who is usually a joy
Except when you want to go somewhere on skis

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Misc.

The label says miscellaneous junk
The shoebox itself is filled with old negatives and
He hopes it has the old negative he’s looking for
The picture was taken from the top of a Windmill
Looking down a road on the farm
His cousin’s family’s farm
Where he spent many a summer day
When he was growing up
The farm that his cousin
Now closer to eighty than eighteen
Has just sold
The farm
The mention of which always conjures up
The picture taken from the top of the windmill
The picture he thinks he took but isn’t sure
His cousin might have taken it
After all it was his cousin’s farm
But his cousin didn’t get back into photography after retirement
In a big way
In a state of the art scanner, fancy software, multiple lens kind of way
So his cousin has nothing to gain from having taken great pictures in his teenage years and
Probably doesn’t care who took it but
He does and
Maybe the negative will offer proof so
He goes through the negatives one at a time until
He finds it and
The negatives from the other pictures taken at the same time and
Then
Five of six negatives in he
Sees another shot of the windmill with
A hand in the upper left corner
A hand
With only four complete fingers and
That brings a smile to his face
Because among the miscellaneous facts he might share about his life
If you were to meet him
Is the fact that at age fourteen
He shot off his pinky while preparing to go hunting
Thus
The four fingered hand is
Just the sort of label he was looking for

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Changing Seasons

Sobbing and clinging
Face pressed against my shoulder;
Seasons all do pass

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sisyphus

Earlier today she had new shoes but
After a few hours and
A play date and
A playground and
Chalk drawings and
Two huge toe scuffs
She needs new shoes

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How to Make a Ghost

Grab a white sheet

Find someone who can sew

Give them directions
Extravagant directions
Wonderful directions
Perfect directions
Make it flowy and elegant
It can’t go over the head,
It should be like a poncho
Or a choir robe
Only in white

Find a mask or
Some good white makeup or
A white wig and
Maybe a wand
Everything can use a wand

Then get white gloves
White socks or tights
White shoes

Lastly
Find a way to do all of this
Granting her wish to be a ghost
Without having to explain what a ghost is

I’m still working on the white sheet

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Picture Perfect

Picture perfect
Then picture a little closer to imperfect
And you’ll have the right picture
Sometimes we raise our voices
We don’t always talk nicely either and
Often we don’t lie serenely in bed
Neither do the kids and
They don’t always say please and thank you or
Treat each other with the utmost respect or
Listen and
They are almost never quiet
They are heard but not always seen
The house is not always to be seen
The car isn’t always full of gas right before a day trip
The kids aren’t always bathed and
We’re not just talking smelly Sundays
Sometimes the cat goes days without having his litter scooped
Sometimes the cat hair goes days without being vacuumed
Sometimes our daughter laughs so loud it makes me cry
It’s really too loud and
When her brother dances
He has no rhythm
Just like his daddy and
He runs into things
Just like his daddy
He’ll probably end up in the ER a lot
Just like his daddy and
Maybe he’ll write poetry
Just like his daddy
That rambles around from mess to
Masterpiece and
Everywhere in between Just
Like his life
Which will be a little less than perfect
A little more like perfect and
Well worth picturing

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

It’s dark at seven;
Baking pumpkin pie from scratch
From real pumpkins

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Almost Two and Running

Running downhill at almost two
Is enough to make almost any parent sick
Even if it’s a grassy hill
With a soft incline
Strewn with flowers and
He’s running hand in hand with Heidi
If he’s running by himself or
Worse, with his sister leading the way
On concrete that has been tortured by tree roots and
Those folks who think maintenance involves
Letting their kids color on the rubble with chalk and
He’s doing the nearly two year old run
Which is more lurch meets electric slide than it is run
Then
Speaking for myself
It’s hard to maintain consciousness
But when he throws his hands up in the air and
Does his growl giggle
Well then you almost forget that two isn’t yet guaranteed and
You settle for running in front and
Letting him bump draft downhill at almost two

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sand

I want to hold on to each moment and
I can’t
Pictures don’t capture it
Poems can’t recreate it
Hugs end
Trips end
Vacations end
Bottles end
Naps end
Good moods always end
So much worth holding on to and
So many wonderful reasons not to even try

Friday, October 08, 2010

Trip to the Orchard

She picked one apple;
He picked one and a pumpkin
That’s still in his lap

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Puzzled

Does one puzzle piece know any of the others?
Is it easier to make real connections in a 60 piece puzzle
Than it is in a 1000 piece puzzle?
Maybe location is more important than population
I think I’d rather be an edge piece but
I’m sure my wife would want to be somewhere in the middle
Surrounded and in the middle of things
I always sat in the back at the class
In the last pew or in the balcony at church and
In the aisle seat on a plane
If I could
I like space and
I always want an exit plan
Even if I’m probably not going anywhere
It would be nice though
Even for me
To have a friend and
You would think you’d have something in common with your neighbors
Even if it was just the picture on your back sides
Unfortunately
Neighbors often do match in that way and
Only that way and
It would be nice to do more than match or
Even not to match at all but rather
To really connect
To worry less about whether fit benefits function and
More about whether fit benefits us
To know more about what benefits us
To know where we are
Who we are and
Who we are with

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

To My Wife

A red tractor sits
In front of a red barn
In a dusty and rutted driveway
A white fence to the left
In front of the house
Surrounds a small vegetable garden
Red tomatoes
Red Peppers
Green peppers
Green beans
Some herbs and
In the far corner
Closest to the faded red chicken coop
Sits a Chinese eggplant
That is you

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Picture

Curls
Blown dried straight with glitter and
Back with a drop of water
Brown in the winter
Streaked with blond in the summer
Blue eyes
Well on their way to being green
An amazing smile
Pretty teeth and full lips and a glow
That can become sarcastic or snarling
In the time that it takes laughing
To turn into screams and snarls
In the time it takes her to switch topics in a conversation or
Fixations
Cars
Books
Puzzles
Shoes
We have new shoes
In a new size because
She still likes the new shoe song at her pre-school
Where she just started a new year in a new class with new friends and
This Friday will have another school picture
Another school picture
Featuring an
Awkward,
Unsimiling,
Unposed,
Cute little curly head
Captured in its present incarnation
For all time
For now

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Tide

I have decided that I am becoming more and more like the tide
Going in and out over the same terrain
But not at the California Coast or
Even the Jersey Shore
More like the Delaware River
Or Core Creek
Wherever I am
It isn’t expansive
It can be smelly and
I find myself adjusting to an increasingly debris scattered topography
Without making any kind of impact
Not even gradual erosion
I am the only thing eroding
And now the toilet handle no longer does anything
The chain has come loose
I have tried to fix it but
It keeps coming loose and
I open up the back of the toilet and reach in to flush it
I don’t reach in every time
So it doesn’t always smell fresh but
I do it now almost out of habit
Adjusting to the new reality
In and out in the same old way

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Butt-Ball

My son is at another key developmental moment
So am I
He’s taken an active interest in sports
He’ll even watch on TV
For a second
He calls everything “butt-ball”
Because his sister inherited my sense of humor
But he’s interested in “butt-ball” and
I’m becoming interested in playing catch
Maybe even with a baseball
In buying him jerseys and other officially licensed clothing
Maybe even stuff from Philadelphia’s teams
In cheering him on
Maybe even in saying things like atta’ boy
Way to go son
I’m so proud of the man you’ve become and
Show no mercy
I’m not there yet and
Before I start telling him about my own glory days
I’ll have to make some up
For now I’ll just enjoy the fact that
He’s not even two and
He wants to play ball
He wants to play every kind of ball
He wants to play every kind of “butt-ball” but
He wants to play
He kicks a soccer ball
He can throw anything that is vaguely round and
Sometimes it even goes in the direction he intends it to
Most significantly
He now points out every basketball hoop he sees
He yells “butt-ball” as loud as he can but
He points them all out
He’s at the butt-ball stage
Happily
So am I

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Seren's Fall Poem

Leaves fall
Leaves change color
It gets colder
I wear long sleeves
I wear long pants
I really wear jeans
I wear sweatshirts with hoods
I pick apples
I have my own pink rake
I rake leaves
Leaves fall



By: Seren and Daddy

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Love is ...

Love is when you sing someone to sleep
Carrying him in your arms
His head heavy, warm, and slobbery on your shoulder
His arms pinned between your bodies and
Stretched down as straight as lines on a highway in North Dakota
So that he can manage to reach down and around his own crotch and
Get a fingertip hold on your arm

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Fists clenched
Arms to the side and shaking
Skin flushed
Face squinched up
Lips curled back revealing
Two rows of little teeth clamped together
With the hint of a smile barely visible on either side and
In the eyes
Which are as focused and tense
As his throat
As it lets loose a noise
Reminiscent of a mouse on steroids

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Breathing

I don’t say a word
I don’t look back
I don’t even stop walking
I just reach my hand back
She runs to catch up
She grabs my hand
We cross the street together

Monday, September 27, 2010

Socks

In Jeans and Sketchers
And a natty blue and peach striped polo
He’s a little man
Almost reminiscent of those prints that are always in doctor’s offices
Those prints of children in suits and
Dresses and
Romantic poses
Almost
But not quite
Since I put him in white sweat socks
Because I’ve never liked those prints and
I like my little boy

Sunday, September 26, 2010

%$#&

Colorful language
Still slips out from time to time
Lots of stuff happens from time to time
Which I don’t want to acknowledge
Shit happens
Fuck too
But now I feel guilty
If I do more than mutter it under my breath
So usually that’s what I do
Mutter
And occasionally give the cat my two cents worth
Though when they grow up
They will use it too
Regardless of how softly I mutter bitch or ass under my breath
Maybe my job is to teach them the right way to say “fuck”
Where to put the emphasis
How to sync up the hand gestures
Maybe
But more likely my job is to teach them the words and
How to properly feel guilty when they say them
That sounds like a job I could
Slip right into

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall Crafts

Trees still have green leaves;
Toilet paper roll, paper plate
Two kids and orange paint

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dark Juice

As the days get shorter and
Darkness begins to intrude into the world
That exists between
“Dada I’m up” and
The screaming and splashing of bath time …
The waking world
I am thinking more and more about
Dark juice
It haunts me
It intrigues me
It hides out there on the edge of my consciousness
Like yetis and vampires and
Vampire yetis and
Some troubling combination of
The Bear and his friends from Bear Snores On and
The Collins’ from Dark Shadows
After all
It sounds like a denizen of the night
A concoction from the dark side and
It is
Apparently
Alluringly undrinkable
If you are a four year old
If you are a grownup
It is kind of like the bell from Polar Express
It just tastes like juice
It’s not special and
It’s in a sippy cup that we’re not supposed to drink from
So it is as good as broken
My daughter thinks dark juice is broken and
Maybe me too
Since I don’t recognize the need to replace it with
Fresh juice
Light juice?
I always replace it
But as the light begins to leave the edges of my world
It calls to me in a sinister yet childish way
Which makes it even more sinister
Like a care bear with claws and fangs or an
Overweight Barbie
Glaring at Skipper on her little pink scooter and
Holding a weapon from GI Joe
Buffy would drink dark juice with Xander but
Not with Angel
Maybe that is why it intrigues me
Sitting there in a little pink cup
With an orange lid
Maybe
Now that it’s dark
I just can’t see the pink lid
Maybe I’m not supposed to know

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Limited Vocabulary

Noooo

Trash

Noooo

This
Ball

Moo, baa, hissss
Bock bock
Meow meow

Nooooo

Owl
Fish

Car
Bus
Boat
Baby

Uh oh
Ouch

Up mama
Up

Nooooo

Down

Cracker dada

Buh Bye

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Green Grapes

Green grapes
Clinging to the vine
In ignorance of what is about to happen but
Still afraid
Imagine if they knew that they were about to be cut in half and
If they are lucky
Eaten
I say lucky because
I wouldn’t want to be stepped on and
Cursed at or
Thrown across the room and
Cursed at or near or
Trapped in silence
In a diaper next to …
Well next to nothing good
So they are probably better off
Clinging in ignorance because
It truly isn’t easy being green
Not that red or black is much better

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Son

Beads and a purse and
A wrist full of silly bands or
Hair ties

A purple head band either
On the head
On the throat or
In the Lavar Burton over the eyes position

Holding a baby
Preferably one of sisters

Big smile
Blonde hair
Blue eyes
Penis

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Asleep

Asleep
Both of them were asleep
In the car on the way home
From Grammy and Poppy’s house and
It felt like a quiet moment
Along the allied trenches
Somewhere in France
In 1916
A quiet moment for conversation
Even contemplation
Amidst the ruins
Of cheerios
Dirty sippy cups
Dollies and bottles
Soccer balls
Old grocery lists
Receipts and
Google Map printouts
A quiet moment
Not meant to last
But meant to be savored
Both of them asleep and
Us awake
In the car on the way home
From Grammy and Poppy’s house
Us awake
And the two of them
Asleep

Friday, September 17, 2010

Safari Shirt

Today
A little man in a button up safari shirt
Complete with an Elephant
A giraffe
A tiger and
A macaw
Threw dirt on a slide and
Onto a friend
Climbed into more than one situation
Where he found himself or
Was found
At least four feet up in the air
Looking around for someone to notice
Yelled at a bunch of older girls
Causing them to cover their ears
Spun his dad around
With the help of a little friend and
Screamed bloody murder at least once or twice
All while looking impossibly and
Distressingly
Old in his
Khaki
Button up safari shirt
Complete with an Elephant
A giraffe
A tiger and
A macaw

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Four

Girls at four

“I’m not playing with you now
Why don’t you play with …”

Girls at four years old

“She can play with us, but not him.”

Girls at four years old
Remind me of Girls at fourteen

“Daddy
They don’t want me to play with them
On the green dinosaur.”

Girls at four years old
Though
Are still four year olds

“They told him he couldn’t follow us but
That’s not nice so
I told him he could follow us.”

Four year olds
Are full of pleasant surprises

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Looking Ahead

Emptiness
When I close my eyes and think of the future
It is emptiness that haunts me more than anything else
It is like that moment when you get a puzzle out and
Start separating out the border pieces and
You are counting the corners and
Setting them aside
First you find one
Then you find the second and
The third
But the fourth one never shows
Even though you know it was there
Because you did this puzzle last winter and
Nothing was missing then
But now it is gone and
It never shows up and
While you can keep putting it together
The puzzle is a little less interesting
A little less relaxing
A little less appealing
A little less and
That is exactly what happens as I look forward into my future
I see the pieces disappearing
One by one
Sometimes two by two and
gradually
There just being less and
More emptiness
When I close my eyes I see empty chairs and
It makes me cry

What does a cow say?

What does a cow say?
Mooooo.
What does a snake say
ssssssssssss.
What does a cat say?
Meew
Meew
What does a horse say?
Mooo
A horse says neigh.
What does an owl say
Aaaohhhwool
What does an owl say?
Mooooo.
An owl says whooooo.
What does a snake say?
Mooooooo.
It says hisssssssss.
Mooooooooo.
What does a cat say?
Moooooooooooo.

And now the only answer I will get is mooo
Or mooooooo
Or mooooooooooooo
And lots of laughter
I always know that
If the snake doesn't break through
Then the game is over or
it's just begun
I don't know which
So I just give up
and join in

Mooooooooo

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy 37th

Birthday Carrot Cake;
Red curry wild boar served with
Some pantaprazole

Last Day on the beach

Our last day on the beach
Was captured on video
Like the last moments
Around the water hole on the Savannah
Lions and elephants and
Long legged
Knobby kneed birds
All warily eyeing and
Vying for the last drops of water
The BBC didn’t capture us
Vying for the last days of summer
Granddad did but
We were thirsty just the same and
Not yet ready
To move on
From our last day on the beach

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tired Happy Parent

Tired
Happy
Parent

The tired part is a guarantee

I’m too tired to wax poetic or get too deep into the zen of parenting
So I will leave alone the question of the permanence of the parent part

So the only real variable is the happy part
Sometimes I feel too tired for that too
Sometimes it feels completely out of my control
But I don’t think I am
And I don’t think it is
It might be shared control
With a four year old
And an almost two year old
And a thirty three year old
And a twelve year old cat
And a set of inlaws
And my own parents
Whose ages shall all remain unknown although I think the truth is quite poetic
And who knows who else
But
At least its not guaranteed
Either way

Tired
Parent
Who
Can be
Wants to be
And is
Occasionally
Happy

That is guaranteed

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Falling

Falling
Not jumping
They are not jumping
No matter how far the chair is from the couch
They are not jumping
They are falling
Sometimes they fall one at a time
Sometimes together
Occasionally it has the look of mass production
Usually it is more mass than production
Make Way for Ducklings meets the Three Stooges
Always it is falling
Always it is loud
Sometimes it is rude and indignant
Sometimes it is playful and audience friendly
Occasionally it is cooperative
Usually it falls short of that or any other ideal
Whatever it is though
It’s not jumping

Monday, September 06, 2010

Later Summer

Midnight on the clock;
Air conditioner still on
Even as leaves fall down

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Path

I am walking a well trodden path
But doing it slowly and awkwardly
Doubling back here and again
Looking for something I may have missed
I’ve never been this way before
I’ve never gone this far in before
But it is all too familiar
And the familiar stretches on ahead as far as the eye can see
I suppose I could leave the path altogether
But where would I go
Wouldn’t I just end up back here anyway
Back on this path
This path from which there is no flying away
No digging under
Nothing to do with
Other than
Walk awkwardly
Walk slowly
Veer often
Occasionally double back
Or even lay down
It is a limited creativity
A common creativity
But
Well trodden though it is
It is all I have

Friday, September 03, 2010

Late Summer

Still eighty degrees;
She wears footie pajamas
Covered in snowflakes

Thursday, September 02, 2010

After the Playground

Small shirt wet with sweat,
Feet covered with dirt and sand
Washed with baby wipes

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

My son at the pool

Waving arms on deck …
Stillness in the pool surrounds
Outstretched arms inside

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

If you see her

Long curly hair
Blue eyes
Says “no” a lot
If you see her …

What … need more?

Well …

She’s still on the short side of four feet
She has trouble sitting still
Unless she’s reading a book or
Putting together a 100 piece puzzle and
If you see her …

Still not enough?

Hmmmm …
If she’s standing next to an even shorter person
A boy
She’ll be
Pretending to give him food or
Pushing him down or
Giving him a big hug whether he wants it or not or
Asking him to say this word or that
Everything from cow to pillow fight or
Laying on top of him while he screams and
If that is the case
Calmly pull her off and
Tell her that is not how she is supposed to treat her brother
She probably won’t be doing any of that though
She’ll probably just be sitting there
With her arm around him
Reading him a book and
If you do see her

You’re kidding … right?

Pbbbbbbbbbt …
She’s very observant
A little shy at first but
Impossible to shut up once she gets going and
Hard to bull shit
And
Chances are she’ll be wearing a band aid
Maybe on one of her birth marks
She’s got lots of birth marks and
Unfortunately
She has my feet
And
If you ask her to smile she will and
You should ask her to smile
It’s worth whatever she puts you through to get one
And
She’ll probably be pulling her shirt up to show off her belly or
Her pants down to show off her underwear
And
She’ll answer to Seren
So
If you do see her …

Monday, August 30, 2010

11:00 p.m.

Crickets chirping
The occasional clicking of computer keys
Wedding ring tapping on wood
Static from the monitor
Periodically interrupted by the whizz and whirr of the air conditioner and
Accompanied by rustling on one end and
Rustling and sighs on the other

Far in the background
People can be heard driving to and fro on I-95

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Artichokes and Beaches

A day at the beach with two kids under the age of four
Is like eating an artichoke
That moment when everyone is on the beach and
The kids are playing in the sand
Without screaming or
Shoving or
Throwing sand and
At least one of the grownups is laying down
That moment when you are all down by the water and
No one is screaming to be picked up or
In danger of being carried out to sea
That moment when your son stands there
Motionless
Until the water sweeps over his feet
At which point he splashes furiously until it goes away
That moment
Where your daughter
Lies down
And lets the water spill around her
And then gets up and dips her hair in less than an inch of water
That is the reward
The rest of the trip
Is the washing
Cooking
Peeling and
Cutting
That moment in the car
On the way home
When it is clear that a good time has been had by all and
It feels like mission accomplished
Is the reason you buy another artichoke
I don’t know where the melted butter comes in

Friday, August 27, 2010

Seven Kisses

Every other night I put her to bed and
Every other night I blow her kisses
Seven Kisses
It’s been that way for a while
We read six stories
One we all read together
Then
If it is my day
She picks two books and
Places them on the wooden step stool
The one to be read first is on the top step
Once both are read
I turn out the light on that side of the room and
Turn on the night light
She chooses two more books and
After a check to see that all of her dolls and stuffed animals
Are in their proper places
I read the last two books to her
While we lay in her bed
Where
After she drinks a little juice and
A little milk
I turn out the lights and
Sing Springsteen’s The River and
Then offer up the beverages again
If she is awake she always accepts and
Then waits for me to ask her how many kisses she wants
She says seven

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Seren's Poem

This poem was written by Seren and her Daddy

I have cute feet
I don’t use them in the street
I keep them on the sidewalk
With my sidewalk chalk

I don’t use my feet to draw
I use a hand
When I’m done drawing
I use my feet to stand

Then I go to my favorite place
It’s the playground of course
I play on the slides and ride the swings
But I never ride a horse

When I’m done
I jump in the car
And go to the Please Touch museum
Because with my feet it’s too far

Daddy drives me
Wyeth and mommy come too
If Wyeth isn’t looking
I might yell boo

He likes it when I say boo
So he’d probably laugh at me
And there’d be a lot of noise in the car
So daddy would say shhhhhhh to we

When we come back home
My feet will take me in the door
Daddy and mommy will be tired
But Wyeth and I will be ready for more

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

She told me

She told me we have to save the baby stuff
So she can use it when she has a baby
Apparently she’ll be having her baby in the house with us
And her brother will be the father
Of course
She also told me
That when she grows up she won’t be able to fit in the house
When I called her in to look at a big Eggplant
She told me
It was too big for the house
And that I was too big for the house
And then she followed me into the garage
And caught sight of the baby stuff
Which is what got her thinking about babies
She has lots of babies
Sarah, Juliet, and Bubble Top just to name a few
A couple are dogs
And I think there is a tiger in there too
It wears a blue denim jumper
They won’t ever be too big for her house
She told me she will always love them
Of course
They have birthdays everyday
And occasionally go to China
And practice medicine
And are older than she is
The truth is
That right now
She only barely fits in the house
She told me that too

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Midnight

It's Midnight
And a pie is in the oven
Filling the house with it's perfume
The kitchen and the office are clean
And the lights are out in the rest of the house
And the kids are asleep
I’m on the phone with my dad
And writing poetry
It would be a great moment
If my son had pooped today
But I can’t quite get the thought of a 3:00 am diaper change out of my mind
So it’s only a good moment
But it is a good moment
It might be a good moment only in comparison
But I don’t care
Besides the pie is done
So it’s over now anyway
And it's past midnight

Monday, August 23, 2010

Serengeti

Having kids is like watching Wild, Wild World of Animals
The way you would have watched it when it was on television
Without Tevo
Sometimes you see the kill
But miss the start of the chase
Today I missed the shove
Which normally wouldn’t have been a big deal
His screaming is all the evidence I need
Today though
There was no screaming
Only the sounds of collisions and falls
Which could have easily been dismissed as over-exuberance
In our house over-exuberance is like wariness is on the Serengeti
But for some reason I was diligent today and
I turned around
Just in time to see the pan to the face and
I wanted to laugh
But it seemed like cheering for the Antelope to outrun the Cheetah and
I always cheered for the Cheetah
Besides I’m not just a viewer of this drama
So I couldn’t laugh
But I could deliver an I told you so
Clothed in parental care and love
Because I warned her that
It’s a wild, wild world in here

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Neglected Child

When I lie down on the bed at the end of the day
He appears
Almost like a rabbit out of a hat
Except he’s bigger than a rabbit and
Sounds more like a motorboat
A motorboat that approaches rather quickly and
Always drops anchor within arm’s reach
Where he stays until the lights go out and
He is unceremoniously shown to the bedroom door and
Vanishes into the darkness
Even if I spend another hour in the office
While my wife sleeps
I won’t see him until I head up to get the kids in the morning
At which time he’ll escort me up the stairs and
Scream at me until he gets what he wants
Just like everybody else
Just like everybody else
What he wants in the morning is food and
Maybe a clean litter box
It’s only at night
That he consistently wants attention
Only when I lies down at the end of the day

Friday, August 20, 2010

Confession

A raised voice
A slap of a fat little hand
“This is your fault … it’s your fault we …”
Five minutes on espn.com while the little one screams
Talking while one falls off the slide …
“I think she’s yelling for you”
Taking the last piece of corn
Eating it in the kitchen
Where no one can see me
“Sorry sweetie, there’s none left”
Baking a pie with both
Even though one can’t really help and
Really can’t eat pie and
Will just be yelled at for
Flouring the room
Spilling the milk
Coloring on the floor and
Dragging the metal colander across the new wood floor
“I think he just wants you to hug him daddy”
Keeping them still
On my lap
For twenty minutes
Watching inappropriate music videos
On you tube
Which at least one will sing when guests are over
“I hope it gives you hell”
“Just one more store”
Which they scream through
But I had to have a look at the distressed plants at Lowes and
I’m not Catholic
So this will have to do

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Waning Light

It’s mid-August
Which means that at half past eight
With the lights off
It’s no longer possible to see his face clearly in the mirror
So I can’t tell you what his face looked like
When I confidently
Yet quietly
Slaughtered the last line of the Star Spangled Banner, and
He pushed himself up off of my shoulder, and
Began clapping
I don’t know if it was a perfunctory applause
The type he gives after nearly every song of any kind he hears during the day, or
Whether he was truly appreciating my song stylings
Probably he was unable to tell the difference between this version and
The goofy and purposefully off key version I used to keep him awake
On the way home from the pool before nap
If I could have seen his face
I might have seen a smile
But since it is mid-August
I moved right into Hallelujah
Jeff Buckley’s version
Sung by me and
Even though I was alone with my twenty month old son
I was glad it was mid-August

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More or Less

He’s asleep on me again
Head on my shoulder
Bottom on the desk
The rest of him in between … more or less
And I am typing again
Teaching my online class in critical thinking
And fulfilling all of my responsibilities
… more or less

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Parental Bliss

We’re on a family walk
I’m watching our daughter ride her bike
So I miss the first few dadas
But he is nothing if not persistent and
I hear him and slow down so he can catch up
When he reaches me
He takes my hand in his
Rubs it against his face
And then drops our hands down into
The walking while handholding position
I smile
Inside and Out

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fleeting

The specter of growth hovers over everything
Dating, Driving, and Moving Vans … I see them everywhere
In the dirty diapers that keep getting bigger and bigger
In the last remaining bottle of our daily routine
In the fast disappearing remnants of the toddler walk
In the growth in her vocabulary and the words that inhabit it
In the kisses she gives to his boo boos
And in his acceptance of those kisses
In their yearning to run out of the room,
To run down or upstairs depending on where we aren’t
And to bolt for the door
I see it in the time I spend away from them,
When I carry them, and hug them,
And when I try to write poetry about them
Failing to capture them even in words
Even now

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gas

He passes gas and laughs
He’s done it for something close to half his life
Of course he is only twenty …
Months
Old
But I still think I have plenty of cause for worry
Only a few months into dating
His mother was lifting a cheek and lettin’ em’ rip
And Uncle John
Well … let’s just say he’s not shy about the passing of the gas
And he would never say “passing gas”
Although he might say “letttin’ em’ rip”
And has referred to dropping the kids off at the pool
And he has no children
So laughter and gas at twenty months concerns me
Me
Who used to go into a separate room every time I had to pass the gas
Me who marriage has softened
But I still say excuse me
And feel just a little dirty every time
I don’t think my son has those feelings
And it’s my fault for not passing on
The traditional Midwestern discomfort with one’s own body
And bodily functions
I even smile when he does it
But in my defense
Anytime he laughs
It’s hard not to smile

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Absolutely Not

Absolutely not
About half of the time
That’s the reply
It almost doesn’t matter what the question is
Or if there is even a question being posed
Absolutely not can be the reply
Don’t go outside
Absolutely not
You have to share that …
Absolutely not
Because you know you can’t keep him out of your doll dresser …
Absolutely not
When your brother says no you need to stop
Absolutely not
You need to eat pizza before you can have a nugget
Absolutely not
I can’t imagine ever saying absolutely not to pizza
At least not before I turned 30 and was afflicted by acid reflux
But apparently times have changed
I should ask her about it
There is a good chance I would get a thoughtful
And endlessly entertaining answer
Delivered in the manner of one friend to another
Talking about the important matters of life
Midmorning over a cup of tea
But there is at least a fifty percent chance
That I would get an answer
That I already know quite well

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Know

Noooooooo
It doesn’t exactly say it all, but
It’s all he says
More or less
All tigers have stripes
All ladybugs are red with black spots
And my son always says no when you ask a question of him or anyone else standing within earshot but
There are stripes and there are stripes and
I wouldn’t want to take every no to be a no
Especially if blueberries or cheerios are involved and
I don’t because
Like the parent of twins
I can tell one from another
I know

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Boo Boo

Scrapes and bruises are like Bridge to Teribithia
When you get older
They just aren’t the same
The excitement and the fear vanish
I suppose boo boos weren’t made into a movie
Given definition
Fenced in
Restrained
Stripped of their magic
So maybe they can recapture their luster at the end
When a little cut is again a big deal
Truly capable of rendering you immobile
Shutting down the whole world and
Leaving you in tears
Just like it could when you were four
When a your dolls might live in Africa
And a rope swing might lead to a magical kingdom

Monday, May 31, 2010

I don't Know

I don’t know who she is
That’s the truth
I do know her better than I know myself
But that may be simply a question of desire
Or a matter of circumstances
She is the movingest of moving targets
Only knowable one moment at a time
Which is a perfect match for my mind
Only interested in any one thing for a moment
And always a half dozen steps too far ahead
Which is why I’m worried about more than
Moving targets
And knowable moments
I know she will get ahead of me and
Be perpetually on the other end of some communication device
That is now only the faintest of thoughts in the mind of some scientist to be
And I know that all of what I fret about now
Including what I don’t know about her
Will be but the faintest of memories
In the head of a scientist who could have been
And I won’t have anything
And I will long for the person I don’t know now
And all the unfathomable promise that has appeared with her
And now goes everywhere with me
I don’t know who she is
That’s the truth
For now and always
May it be that way

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Help with baking

Dribbling off fingers
Like a melting daffodil
Onto shell fragments

Saturday

The kids are asleep and the wife is cleaning the toilet
I should be looking for a job
Or grading papers for my on-line course
But I don’t want to
Sunlight is streaming in the window, and
I’d rather just lie down in it
Than grade a paper
Or prepare a writing sample

This is one of those moments
That I wish I was a cat

There aren’t many of them,
But sometimes I do think it would be nice if
The world could end and begin with light streaming in a window

In between there would be carpet covered platforms, catnip filled mice, and lots of yarn
And love
Love and yarn
That is really all I want

It’s not hard to be happy
It’s never been hard to be happy
The challenge
At least for me
Is to be happy with just being happy

It has never been enough for me to make a fruit pie
I always have to try for the meringue
And I always over beat it into a thin
Wet
Mess

Once in a while it should be enough to make store bought brownies
And eat them in a sunny spot
Somewhere
Anywhere

And then go on a walk in the woods
And try
Again
To notice something
Anything

And be inspired

Of course a cat wouldn’t be looking for inspiration
But for birds
To eat

I head to the kitchen for something to eat
My wife is in there cleaning
And I should feel guilty
But I don’t want to

Cat’s don’t feel guilty
When they lay down on the floor
In a ray of sunshine

They also don’t feel guilty
When they piss on my computer case

They certainly wouldn’t feel guilty for not looking for a job

But I’m not a cat
I’m not lying on the floor in the warmth of the sun
And it is Saturday
Which could point either way
Or right back here to my computer
And the student’s exams
And the job sites
And my cat Jordan
Lying on his back in the sun
Purring
Asking me to join him
And bring a ball of yarn

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Friday

I got the kids to laugh today
But it wasn’t at the children’s museum
As I‘d planned

It is a great museum,
So it’s a shame we didn’t make it there

The Please Touch Museum

My mother-in-law calls it the
Please Touch Me Museum

This is where I should insert a pregnant pause
But I’d be too afraid that whatever is yet to come will call me dada
And enough folks call me dada already

Both of those dada wielding folks had a hearty laugh today
A hearty laugh at my expense
Whilst I was kneeling in front of the toilet
Throwing up

Actually, only the 15 month old laughed
The almost four year old didn’t laugh at all
There were far too many questions to ask for her to waste any time on laughter
She had to know what I was doing
Why I was doing it
Why her brother was laughing
Whether I was all done
And whether I was going to wash my hands again

I washed my hands again
I washed my hands a lot today
By the end of the day I wasn’t the only one throwing up

I only threw up four times
But it was enough to put a fitting end to the week
Spinning down into the toilet
To join last week
Two bowls of rice crispies
A boysenberry yogurt
And last night’s basil chicken

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thursday

Thursday

When we have more money
I hope to be able to buy things at the thrift shop
Things like furniture
Lamps
Paintings
Desks
And maybe even a mirror in a wooden frame decorated with elephants, giraffes, and lions

For now, however,
All I can do
When I take my year plus old son
While my daughter is at pre-school
Is window shop
And dream of the day
When I will have enough disposable income
To buy more than a twenty five cent used kid book that originally came in a box of cheerios

My day to dream this impossible dream has to be a school day
And today is a school day
And today my wife
Who likes to shop
Has not purchased a non-essential item
Which I Who likes to save money
Has to return
And today I have cash
Which is essential
Since the thrift store doesn’t accept checks or credit cards for purchases of under fifteen dollars

Maybe if I get a job
I can buy an old desk
Or a bookcase
And use my credit card

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Wednesday

Wednesday

Sometimes I arrive right at 9:15
Sometimes I’m a minute early or late
But always I drive the old person’s car
Or in my case
The poor person’s car
Old Buicks are either driven by old people or poor people
Never poor old people
They drive old Chevys
No one my age with a college degree drives a Buick Park Avenue
No one but me
I’m not old
Which means
That at least I don’t drive slow
But occasionally I do have to slow down
My daughter can’t jump out of a car at forty miles per hour
And she has to get out of the car in order to go to pre-school
So I have to slow down when I pull into the driveway
Three days a week
Tuesdays
Thursdays
And
Wednesdays
And on each of those days
We spend a good deal of money we don’t have
And I park in line with the Land Rovers, Land Cruisers, and Excursions, and
Wish my JD was framed and hung in the rear window
I suppose it is framed
In my home-office
Where I spend every nap
Perusing the on-line job sites
Hoping not to find anything
So I don’t have to waste time applying for jobs I’ll never get
But if one is there
I apply
Because I have a dream that one day
I will be judged not by the color or make of my car
But by the content of my character
Or at least that my car will more correctly reflect my character
Until then
I pull into the drive
Three days a week
In my baby blue Buick Park Avenue
At 9:15 in the morning

Friday, May 07, 2010

Tuesday

Tuesdays are like a second date
Where she lets you hold her hand
But you still haven’t kissed
And there hasn’t been more than the passing hint of the possibility of sex
And it doesn’t bother you
Yet
It’s all possibility, promise, and potential
And none of it has been pissed away
Yet

For me
Tuesdays hold more than a passing hint of the possibility of sex
But not much more
And it does bother me
A little
But I’m married with two children under four
And on Tuesday
Other than sex with my wife
Or talking to her about anything more than what the next day will bring
Everything else still seems possible

I might be able to really look for a job
Shower
Brush my teeth
And not lose my temper with the kids

Or even better
Actually have a good time with them
Play a game
Do a science experiment
Teach them new words and concepts
Share a quiet moment
Read a story
Get outside and let them stretch their legs

Plant
Paint
Cook
Clean
Organize
And make each one into a teachable moment

Write a poem
Work on my novel

And get a job
And live in a house with a fireplace, a porch swing, and a midnight blue 1969 Camaro in the driveway
And make the world a more peaceful, poetic, and analytical place

And never have a need for first dates ever again
Whether real
Or
Not yet

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Monday

The
day
start
s
like
ketch
up
fall
ing
out
of
a
glass
bot
tle
and
it
woul
d
stay
that
way
but
i’
m
not alone
reading want ads
i’m wearing a wig and an eye patch
as I sword fight with a fifteen month old
and stand all day,
at the other end of the stream of consciousness that comes
uninterrupted out of the mouth of an almost four year old
and by the end of the day
i feel like a leftover fry
red, soggy, and left behind
waiting to see whether
my fate is
the trash can
the garbage
disposal
or the
com
po
st
bi
n

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Five After Four p.m.

If I didn’t have children I would be
Indisposed
But I have children
And only one is asleep
The other is moving slowly away from me
Crying and
Crawling backwards
He wanted me to hold him and
When I didn’t
He began to do his best crab impression
Turning red and backing away
The further he gets away
The more I began to think I am witnessing
An exorcism or a scene out of poltergeist
As he is pulled into the kitchen and out of sight
The whole thing is really beginning to freak me out
Then I hear laughter and see the cat’s water dish splash into view
I give one last hopeful wipe and
Follow the trail and
The peals of laughter
Steeling myself not to join in
Knowing it’s too late
I do have children

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Forty After Two p.m.

Only the crackle of the monitors fills the air
Finally
After almost nine hours
All is still
More or less
The occasional grunt, moan, or shriek is the noise that proves the silence
Occasionally it is so quiet
That I forget and
I relax
Allowing everything else to melt into the static

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Eleven Thirty a.m.

It is eleven thirty
In fifteen minutes my assistant and I have to be at
Preschool
To pick up my assistant’s sister
If we were at home
We would have to leave
We aren’t at home though
We are at the thrift shop
My assistant and I go to the thrift shop once a week
Things have gotten so bad financially
That it is the only place I can afford to
Window shop
But I can’t afford to spend too much time there
Because my assistant, old coffee mugs, thirty year old Christmas decorations, and
Senior citizens
Can only co-exist so long before
Something gets broken
Or someone invades my personal space
So I never budget much time for the thrift shop
Which is why I frequently find myself in the situation in which I find myself now
Standing in the thrift shop parking lot
At eleven thirty
Wondering if it is worth it
To risk being late
For a ten percent chance of buying a ceramic elephant
Or a grab bag of toddler clothes

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ten Thirty a.m.

Just two steps
Two small steps
If you’re six feet tall
Two big steps if you’re two feet tall, but
He is completely unfazed
The smile comes out when he reaches the top
Even though his knees are slightly bent and
Both hands are firmly pressed against the wall and
His body language would indicate that
He is poised on the edge of a cliff as
He painstakingly turns himself to face out into open carpet
It makes me think of the guy who walked from one
World Trade Center tower to the other
That guy was French
My son isn’t French, and although
He doesn’t speak English, and
He betrays more than a hint of attitude as
He seeks eye contact with me
Right before he walks off the edge,
He’s not seeking to avoid a collision with the ground, but
Falls face first onto the carpet
Convulsing with laughter

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Eight Fifty Six a.m.

Shit
We’ve got to go
Now
And his diaper is full of shit
Shit number two of the morning

He always has two
Or at least as of today
He always has two

There is no such thing as always
Without qualifiers
At least
Not any more

Nothing is without qualifiers anymore
Starting with the phrase
We are ready to go

We were ready to go
As long as no one had a poop in his diaper

Two pairs of shoes were on
Two jackets were on
Beverages were in hand or in the car or both
The book bag was in the car
Dolly was in hand
No one was screaming and
We were all on our way down the stairs to the car

We were going to make it to pre-school for the daily drop off on time for once
As long as someone had no shit in their diaper

Shit 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Seven Thirty a.m.

Most mornings
It feels as if we are a football team
Platooning quarterbacks
And anybody who knows football
Knows that platooning quarterbacks is a bad idea
You use two quarterbacks only if you don’t really have one
And even then it is a mistake

It certainly isn’t always like that
Sometimes we work together
Like a good doubles team
Maybe the Bryan brothers

Other times we’re the Detroit Red Wings under Scotty Bowman
Executing stunning shift changes

I’m not a baseball fan
But someone who could stomach watching a whole game
Could even watch us during certain moments
And find himself remembering the handoff between
A setup man and a closer
Maybe Jeff Nelson and Mariano Rivera
And if baseball is your thing
Please picture me as Mariano

My image of choice
If I was me focused
Would be a White Chocolate pass off of his elbow
To whomever
But I’m a team man
So I aspire for the two of us to be Isaiah and Joe D.
And despite the whole Knicks mess
I still want to be Zeke

At 7:30 on most weekday mornings
I fall pretty far short of Zeke
Even the one that is now coaching at Florida International
I think it is safe to say
We often fall short of all of our aspirations

She is almost always yet to leave for work
Filling up coffee mugs
And locating car keys
Amidst a deluge of cheerios
And tears
Which unlike the cheerios
Could be coming from anyone and anywhere

Sometimes everyone wants to say goodbye
At once
In loud voices
At the open door
Or even in the driveway

And sometimes no one wants to say goodbye
Which could mean lots of screaming and pleading
Or could mean that I am fighting to keep everyone within sight and off of the stairs
And off of the table
And off of the cat
And off of each other

And when it is like that
It isn’t clear who is calling the plays
And doesn’t really matter most of the time
Since we are stuck in another winning strategy
The prevent defense