Friday, April 29, 2011

Fear Bites

This morning
At the orchard
After marauding geese had forced her into my arms
She bit me and
I was reminded of how I respond to stress when I’m at home
With one trip to the kitchen
After the other
Filling my mouth with whatever I can get my hands on
In a pinch
Even the collar of my shirt
If I was surrounded by hungry geese
Small enough to be picked up and
Didn’t have Goldfish crackers or a granola bar
I suppose I would bite too

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Parental Possibilities

Life with kids is like
Running on a treadmill
That is going just a bit too fast
You pant
Tongue hanging out
Looking less like Michael Jordan and
More like an unwashed St. Bernard
Your gait is long and
Anything but
Your hands are too high
Making you look like you’re running in waist deep water but
You’re too worried that you will go flying off and
Crack your head open but
You don’t
You never end up in a heap on the floor
Having collected a few innocent stragglers
In your vivid flameout
You never do but
Life as a parent is all about

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Brought to you by the letter Y

Yakety yak don’t talk back
Yelled the yam at the
Yogurt dripping down his chin
Yum or
You must decide
Yes or
You know which
Yesterday or
Your choice
Yachts on the
Yazoo river

By: seren and daddy

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My father's shoes

My father’s shoes are usually empty
But occasionally I do put them on for a walk
As I did this week
Killing ants with my bare hands
Squishing them one at a time
Just like my father did
The squishing part that is
The ants in Pennsylvania are actually quite a bit smaller and
Crunch a lot less than the Michigan ants did
The ones I used to have to flush down the toilet
One at a time
Using a roll of toilet paper in the process and
The two jobs I had
Weren’t really both full time and
I didn’t work weekends even when I was supposed to and
It turns out he’s actually a size 14
Regardless of what I say
I’m still size 13 but
Regardless of what I say or
Occasionally think
It really is fine
My feet are a little too big for the twisty slide or
The balance beam
As it is and
I like wearing my keens
Without socks
You really shouldn’t wear other people’s shoes without socks

Monday, April 25, 2011

We need a Nelson Mandela

America needs its own Nelson Mandela
Someone we can sing songs about
Someone in whose name we
The people
Can take to the streets
And take matters into our own hands
I'd do it
But I'm not a forty year in prison kind of guy
And I'm already nearly forty years old
For the prison time to be worthwhile
You have to be able to convince folks
That they are suffering
Under a sort of class focused apartheid
A caste system
If you will
A social order
Put in place and enforced by both custom and law
And I can't convince my wife
That family story is a good idea
And just as a two year old doesn’t listen every night
Every one isn’t perpetually untouchable
And everyone doesn’t see me as my wife does
And Nelson Mandela wasn’t a poet so
I’m not the Nelson Mandela that America needs
But maybe if he or she does emerge
I can convince my wife to let me
Write poetry about it

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lost and Found

I wish I felt lost
Lost is romantic
Lost is hopeful
If you're lost
You might be found
To be interesting
Maybe even historic
Once you've been found
You are
Whatever you've been found to be
Increasingly these days
I'm feeling sore
Old and

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Four ... teen

She screams and
She always flails but
She doesn’t always
Clench her teeth and
About how she would rather live
Somewhere else
With someone else
That’s reserved for when I take away
A stuffed animal or doll but
Not just any
Stuffed animal or doll
The foreshadowing of teen angst is
Reserved only for
The inner circle
Pink Baa-Baa
Sarah and
Juice is
The poodle that she insists is a cat
Whose journey
Through the air and
Down the stairs
Caused the anguished comments today and
Through a promised return
Helped to broker a peace settlement
Juice’s other role is to remind me that
Even while she is
Telling me how bad I am and
Angrily scribbling on her craft table
She is almost five
Not fifteen
The flailing is another clue

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring in Pennsylvania

Rain coats and umbrellas on Monday
Winter coats on Tuesday
T-shirts and Sandals on Wednesday
Slacks and spring jackets on Thursday
Rain gear
On Friday
This weekend
While I sit inside
I will start planning a move to
San Diego
Where I won’t even need to own a winter jacket
And I’ll seldom have to wear
Or even say

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Candy Cigarettes

I don’t smoke
So candy cigarettes
If I could even find them
Probably weren’t going to work
She already has her own shovel and rake and
Hose nozzle and
There is plenty of as yet un-beautified land out back
So If I had a perennial to find a place for
She could do her own gardening
She has her own laptops
Fisher Price and Dell to be precise
Both outdated
So if I were in my office working on my own outdated computer
We’d both be able to grade papers
She has her own pans but
She doesn’t use them to prepare her own meals when I cook
Why would she
When I clearly have enough to share and
I have whisks and colanders and griddles and woks too
It’s not time to cook though and
It’s April 14th
So she had to have her own 1040 and
Child and Dependent Car Expenses and
A black pen
Ink or
Preferably colored black on the outside
Either way
It’s probably a good think I don’t drink coffee or

Monday, April 18, 2011

Little Hands

He has small hands but
Quite a reach
That’s my conclusion for the evening
I want to be profound
To sum up human existence but
In my quest to do so
The part I am summing up
Becomes smaller and smaller
The more profound I become
The less I am being profound about
It is a continuous retreat
Away from philosophy and
History to
In the Western Hemisphere
The Eastern Seaboard
My son’s room
My son
At eight at night
I’m trying to conjure verses in my head
While singing Springsteen and
He’s rubbing my back
Hugging me
Shoving his hands back between us and
Then back to hugging
His little hands slipping easily in and out of the space between us
Then hitting one small spot on my back and
Spreading out
Clearing my mind of everything but
His hands
Is that small or
Is it big

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Parental Priorities

Laundry is only so important
It does have to be done and
On occasion
I have felt hugged by my favorite sweatshirt and
Felt an emotion akin to love regarding my favorite underwear
It can even keep me too close
Hug me a little too much and
Be difficult to say goodbye to
I have yet to find a two pack of little blue eyed boys or
Name brand skinny girls with curly hair
At a discount at Marshalls

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Love Too

“Love too”
It wasn’t unprompted and
When I fished for a repeat
I received a “no” and a
“Me not” but
It doesn’t matter because
He can’t have it back

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Life is four rocks and a tape measure

Start with four rocks and a tape measure and
A half hour before bath time
Almost a week later
In another stolen moment
Add in
A drainage pipe
Eight more rocks and
Substitute a size thirteen shoe
For the tape measure I don’t feel like getting out of the garage and
What you have is
Not anywhere close to a sandbox and
Two raised garden beds but
Is a perfect analogy for life

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Sounds of Spring

The first warm day of the year
Is the loudest
By August I’ll have my moves down and
My strategy in place
They’ll only be alone together near an open window
At certain times
The air conditioners will be in and on and
My move to the front door from the eating position
Will be a polished work of athletic prowess
For now
One way or the other
I’ll just have to sweat it out

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Smothered in Red, White, and Blue

Is it the flag on your porch or
The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan
That keep you from seeing
Is it Phillipians 4:13
In a curly maple frame
Hanging in the front hallway
Is it the gun you keep under your pillow
Is it the Constitution or
The Fourth of July
Is it Ferrari or Lamborghini
Is it visions of little brown and black people
With swollen bellies living in
Houses made of corrugated metal
Is it John Wayne
Hank Williams and
Tom Monaghan
Is it being able to press 0 for Spanish
Is it the color of our President’s skin or
Do you figure that you are as comfortable
Smothered in red white and blue
As you can ever hope to be

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Freedom isn't free

A man alone in the middle of the Ocean
Clinging to a piece of flotsam
Is terribly restricted
But when he loses his grip
He is free

Friday, April 08, 2011

Noth Poe

I wish I could always be headed for the North Pole
Like my son is

Whenever we set up the train
(Two chairs, a bed rail,
A microphone, and a wooden train whistle)
The destination is always the same
The North Pole or
The Noth Poe
We never go directly there though
We always stop in Chicago first
All trains stop in Chicago and
We always head into the laundry rooms and
Up the elevator to the top of the Sears Tower
Where we push the button and
Wait for the dryer to beep and
Let us know it’s time to go to the bathroom
Where the observation deck is
It’s back into the laundry room and
Down to the taxi
I’ve never seen a futon move this fast and
It’s a good thing because we’re always running late
For real and
For the train to the Noth Poe but
We always make it
We always have a good time
We always do a little karaoke

I wish I could believe that every trip would be like this
I wish I too could always be headed for the Noth Poe

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Be my shadow

This morning when I cut coupons
I wasn’t alone
Her scissors were smaller and
Her choice of coupons different
Her definition of coupons was even different but
She was one chair over from me
At the dining room table and
I’d cut out the Sponge Bob Square Pants checks
Call them coupons and
Cut them out with safety scissors too
If I were four
In fact I ‘m tempted now
Really more tempted than I am to cut out shampoo coupons but
She did that too
She opened the new can of paint
Helped mulch a garden bed and plant some lilies
Helped convince her brother to come to lunch and
At dinner time
She pulled out her pots and pans and
Plastic fruits and vegetables and
Potato chips and
Cooked up a stew
Right alongside
Underneath and
Making sure
At least for this evening
That I wasn’t alone

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Of Pipes and Pyramids

The pyramids were built
One stone at a time and
Regardless of how they did it
It was hard work that had to be done by someone
Egyptologists swear that they were tradesman but
Even if they were slaves
They were still people
Many persons
One of which
Probably paused after a huge block was
Put into its final place
Where it still rests today
Four thousand years later and
Glanced over at the Nile River and
Maybe there was a slight breeze
With a grey heron gliding across a sunset and
Maybe he thought about a good day’s work and
His family waiting at home for him and
Maybe he felt as I do
Through the monitor
I can hear his little voice
“Oh Daddy Boy pipes, pipes
Pipes pipes”
Maybe he was smiling

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


In twenty years
I might try hugging a heating pad
With one slightly damp corner
Leaning against my shoulder
And a bag of sand or two
Attached to it with duct tape
All that would be missing would be the occasional moan and
The possibility
When given the option of going outside for some fresh air
The heating pad
While running a hundred and one degree temperature
Would ask to pull his sister in a wagon

Monday, April 04, 2011


My son
With his feet firmly on the ground
Leaned over forward
Until his head also touched the ground and
Being completely naked
Was able to reach around
Back between his legs
To pull on his penis
All the while chanting about

Sunday, April 03, 2011

When you're in the middle of it ...

Sometimes everyone cries at once and
When that happens
I feel like
An ER doc
When all the ambulances arrive at the same time
It’s a moment of fear
A moment of worry
Something could be wrong
Perhaps even irrevocably wrong
One never knows but
I can’t help but smile
Just as the ER Doc must
When those ambulances role in
It’s what he was trained to do
It’s his job