Wednesday, December 29, 2010


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
The permanence of my footprint
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
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
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
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
Yellow or
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 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

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’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
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
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


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
While I have already started to work with him on his jumper
I’m also whispering

Sunday, December 12, 2010


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
Then proceed to obey the music and
Jump and skip all around the room and
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
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
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
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
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
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


Dirty blonde hair
Blue eyes
A toothy little grin
That is often paired with scrunched up
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
An interest in eating nuggets
Pasta and
Little else other than the occasional pancake
A love of humming tunes and
Saying no and
Bye and


Friday, December 03, 2010

My Daughter looks like Glen Rice

Glen Rice from the corner for three
That’s Glen Rice from in front of the blue chair
From Pottery Barn Kids
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
Several varieties of potatoes
Some covered with marshmallows
Marshmallows being sugar and gelatin and
Food processed together with oranges and
Sugar and
Fruit salad
Sugar optional and
Sugar far from optional
And dressing
Stuffed into and
Then pulled out of
A chicken
Rather than a turkey
No turkey
No ham but
With golden raisins and
Sugar and
That pie
Comes with ice cream or
Cool whip or
Your choice of sugar and
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