Saturday, July 23, 2011

Remembering the Beach

Right now
Sand is
On the beach
Between my toes
On my bluefish fillet
It will be like that all week
And then
It won't
The car will be vacuumed
The clothes will all get washed
And the pails
And shovels
And Dora the Explorer sand molds
Will be stowed in the garage
Until next time
And unless and until next time
It will be hard to even remember what it was like
When sand was everywhere

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Writing Poetry

Seven minutes to midnight and
Everyone is asleep
Except me and the cat
In less than seven
Make that six minutes
That too had better change
But right now
All is quiet
No one is running outside by themselves
No one is screaming out a request
For a glass of milk or help with putting on high heels and a stethoscope
No one is running around naked chasing the cat
No one is doing anything
Except me and the cat
The time for being poetic is over and
For a few more minutes
The time for writing poetry is passing through

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Clarence Nightingale

As we got ready to read stories
Before nap
My son stepped on my foot
While wearing a tiara
A Cinderella dress
A stethoscope
And plastic high heels
I screamed
He wasn’t too worried
I suppose he thought he could fix it

Monday, July 18, 2011

Nature or Nurture

A seventeen year old
In Port St. Lucie
Bludgeoned his parents to death
And then threw a party
Either don’t worry about when to start giving time outs
And how to discipline your five year old for smart ass remarks
Or worry a whole hell of a lot
Your choice

An Open Book

My daughter couldn’t get to sleep last night
She was worried about death
She’s five
She’s been reading since she was four
No one discovered I could read
Until midway through kindergarten
When I learned that reading
Might get you attention and rewards
I don’t remember lying awake at night
Picturing a never ending blackness and
What it might feel like to disappear into it
Until I was in at least third grade
But I never got candy or
A Tonka Truck for doing it or
Talking about it and
I’m not half her mother
The woman who insists on asking for help in any store
If you can’t find what you’re looking for within the first ten seconds you’re there
And who actually talks to people
When she doesn’t have to
And tells them things about herself
I just hope
For my daughter’s sake
That she finds a few people
Willing to read that kind of open book

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Calling Mom

Hope lives
In every phone message
Left by a parent
To their parent and
Fear is the other side of hope
And the companion of creation
And ownership
And love
For every one of us transient occupants of the planet called earth
Who don’t come out of an egg
Do suckle at the breast and
Have a phone that works

one small step for man

I write poetry because
It is the closest I will ever come to walking on the moon
I suppose it is possible
That no one will ever make peanut chicken
The same exact way I made it last week
And maybe my choice to plant yet another Asiatic lilly
In front of the daisies and
Alongside the ever encroaching lilies of the valley
Is unique
But I know that I am the only one who has ever written these words before
I made it here first
And you can’t say that about very much

Friday, July 15, 2011

In and Out

In went the tofu
Out came the grease from the pan onto my ankle
Out came my daughter
Out came a plastic bag
Out came the stool
Out came some ice
Out came some words
“Here dada”
In went the broccoli and red pepper

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My inner child

Tonight I practiced my tennis serve
In the front yard
It’s been at least a decade since I’ve practiced it
In the sort of environment that is meant for tennis
And at least a year since I’ve even hit the ball off the garage door
But now I’ve given up on the garage door
It was open
The cars were parked in the driveway
And you can’t really practice your serve
In a short little hill of a driveway
So I returned to my roots and
I banged the ball across the front lawn a few times
I was on my hands and knees under the neighbor’s car once or twice and
Hit at least two family members but
I had more fun than I would have on a tennis court
Almost as much fun as I used to have hitting the ball inside my parent’s house
Either up the stairs or
Off the inside of the front door
Earlier in the day I played with matchbox cars
In the past few weeks I have pretended I was walking through the Serengeti in search of an oasis
Killed time on a plane bound for South Africa
Drove a range rover through the Kalahari Desert and
Led an expedition along the Great Wall of China
I even watched the performance of God Bless Africa at the Graceland Concert
Multiple times
For the first time in twenty years
Don’t get me wrong
I see the joy in making sure everyone eats fruit and
Urinates before we leave the house but
I also see the necessity of
Practicing my serve in the front yard

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Parent in Summer

Heartburn and Sunburn
Are old age, the elements, and sautéed chicken breast conspiring against me

Sitting, standing, laying down, or wrestling
Is a list of alternating realities rather than alternate possibilities

Pain of parenthood
Is something else you feel in your skin and in your heart
Regardless of what you do to avoid it

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Present for the Moment

I am the only one talking
She leans against me as I read the story
Her head nestled up against my shoulder
Sliding into the contours of my arm
As if that was where it was meant to be
He provides balance from the my left
A little hand resting on my thigh
More heavily than would seem possible
But not so heavy that it is uncomfortable
Not yet
Because in this moment
Nothing is uncomfortable
They are as rocks lying in a stream
Listening to the water rush over them and
I am being held down
Water and rocks
And present

Monday, July 11, 2011

This week's fantasy

This week
I am teaching my children to sing the African national anthem
Fist clenched in the air
As if it had never been
Forcibly joined
With "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika"
As if apartheid had never ended
As if my children will ever know or care who Hugh Masekela is
As if singing in Xhosa, Zulu, or Sotho is a skill they will be able to use
This week
Or any week
Even so
As with every week
I allow my fantasy
To spill out into their reality

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The truth about dogs and my daughter

The truth
About dogs and
My daughter
Is …
That she acted as if she was afraid of
Every dog everywhere
Even the smallest
Most rat like of canines
She was wary
And on edge
In the most loudest
And most flamboyant way possible
And now
She still is
Although this weekend she was wary and guarded
And Flamboyant
While she pet a dog
And fed a dog
And threw balls to a dog
And hugged a dog
It’s the truth
That the dog was very friendly
That my daughter is five years old
That one of them is afraid of earthquakes
And some of the rides at Sesame Place
And Brussel Sprouts
And that as a baby
Was bitten by a dog
An event she doesn’t remember
It’s all part of the truth
About dogs and
My daughter
And as with all truth
That’s the problem

Of honesty and poetry

It’s most poetic to say
That we can only write
The page of our life that we are on
But your definition of writing would have to be pretty narrow
And your world would have to be filled with a lot of
And prognosticators
In addition to the writers
Who would be liars
I’m feeling
More analytical
And more honest than usual
About myself and my world
So I’m prepared to admit
That I’m always
Writing and rewriting
And that every single page
Of every book I can get my hands on
Is fair game
Whether it’s poetic
Or not

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Zero to Two in Sixty Seconds Flat: Parenthood, Poetry, and First Two Years of Your Child's Life

I'm not writing a poem today, because today I officially self-published my first book of poetry ... poetry, with only one or two exceptions, that has never before appeared on this blog. That seems like enough for one day. This book of mine began it's life as a gift for my daughter on her second birthday; more than fifty poems recording her first two years as I experienced them. It was a very personal gift. I think that now, three years later, it is something more. It is still personal, but I think it captures a small piece of the experience of parenting when both parent and child are still pretty new, and maybe even something more universal than that. I think that what we have to say only resonates with others when we feel it deeply, when it is truly personal. I know that what I have written in this book of poetry is, with few exceptions, very personal and felt very deeply. I hope that means it will resonate with others ... maybe with you. I hope you take a look, and I hope you like what you see.

The book (Zero to Two in Sixty Seconds Flat: Parenthood, Poetry, and The First Two Years of Your Child's Life)can be purchased here.

It should also be available on soon.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Dancing in my pants

I’m dancing in my pants
That’s what he told me when I asked him if he liked the music
I recognized it as what it was
A yes
An affirmative answer and
An affirmation
Of what he was doing
Pulling at the edge of his shorts
One hand on each leg
Moving to the beat
An affirmation
Of what I was doing
Drawing his attention away from the water
I had clumsily squirted on his shorts
In an attempt to hand him the water bottle
While driving
An affirmation of the importance of the moment
Of the importance of dancing
Whether in
Or out of
Your pants

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Threat of Flight

The sprinkler spins so fast
I keep waiting for it to take off
Through the branches of the Japanese maple and
Into the setting sun
Which may be why
I’m not brave enough to stand over top of it
I’m not as brave as she is or
In the early evening of this
In July
I have less in common with the sprinkler

Monday, July 04, 2011


Loud sounds and bright lights
In the warmth and the darkness
In fairy jammies

Friday, July 01, 2011


What do you tell
The old crotchety guy
Who lives at the base of a volcano and
Refuses to leave his house
When the mountain begins to shake and
Smoke starts to slip out into the air
What do you say
To the person
Who tells you
Through their tears
That everything is OK
What can you do
When someone complains about a headache but
Won’t take anything
What can I do
When she rocks back and forth
Bends over
Grabs her crotch
But says she doesn’t have to go to the bathroom