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
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

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
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


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
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
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


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

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
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


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


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
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


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
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
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


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
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