Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tonight

Tonight
As we decorated the house with
Santas
Snowmen and
Baby Jesus Christs
My kids
Played with their
Little People Christmas Story Nativity Scene Playset
Wondering out loud who the queen was and what she had to do with
'The Lord G' and
Then they played the sleigh game
With my son riding on the couch
Santa hat on his head
Pretending to whip my daughter
Who was Kneeling in front of the couch
Wearing reindeer antlers and
Answering to the names of each of the reindeer
One after the other
The future might belong to God and his chosen people
But Rudolph and the boys reigned supreme
Tonight


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Seasonal Change

She is in school all day now and
He is there two and a half hours a day
Three days a week
My birthday has past
Only one year left between me and forty
The cat is looking more bedraggled and skinnier than ever
As he enters his fifteenth year
Worn down by the love of a three year old
The air is really only colder at night
Now
But the message has certainly been received and
While it might just be that I too am skinnier and
More bedraggled
Than ever
Due to the love of a six year old and
A three
Now almost four year old
I'm shivering
All day long but
Most especially for
Two hours each morning
Three days a week

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Farther Away ... A Feeling

She's feeling further away
Already
I need the zoom lens to find her
More often than not
She'll still jump into the camera but
Now I erase the blurry photos
I can 
Imagine when blurry photos will make it into the album
As artsy
As all there is
So maybe I should 
Keep taking all I can now
While it's just a feeling and
Still farther away




Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Throw away the script

You think there's a script
Really
So someone wrote in
"And now he will begin to lick his lips
Often and
Excessively
Everywhere he goes"
If so
It doesn't seem as
Frustrating or
Cute
And why did he have to pee on me when he first did the other thing on the toilet
When I think that it is all improv
I'm OK with it but
I know I'm not living through a Hollywood blockbuster
An indie or
Even a horrifically bad B-movie and
I guess I've just never been the sitcom type

Monday, August 13, 2012

Quiet Doesn't Clean Up


Underwear on the kitchen floor
A smattering of cheese and corn and cheerios here and there and
Everywhere
Measuring spoons in the car
Rocks tumbling out of the diaper bag
Blankets covering the coffee table and rocking chair
A stuffed turtle in with the pots and pans
It’s kind of like scat in the woods
You don’t want to step on it but
I bring binoculars and a camera on my walks for a reason
Besides
Quiet doesn’t clean up

It's Happening


It had to happen

We had to put her in the stroller and
Bundle her up excessively
We had to erect every possible barrier that the stroller had to offer
Between the inside and
The world
We had to stay within quick sprint distance of the house
We had to be nervous

We had leave the house

So
I suppose
This has to happen too
Eventually

There are no home school fraternities and
I can’t hold her on my arm
Between my wrist and my elbow
Anymore

Of course
Right now
The burning behind my eye balls doesn’t stop
When I say

It has to happen

It had to happen

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Power of Sequels


Tonight
We ran
Together
Side by side
Me in front
Her in front
I ran backwards
She walked
I cajoled
We walked
We talked
She shuffled her feet
She asked questions
We anticipated running by her friend’s house
Who wasn’t home
And then
One mile
Was over
but
She pulled out her bike and
Tonight
We started mile two

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

nature slips in


At home
At night
I can hear crickets outside
Crickets are everywhere this time of year but
They are loudest
A few doors down
Where there was once a house and
Where there was once and
Twice
Within the span of two days
A fire
Followed by a year or two of neglect
Alternating with attempts at renewal
With a dumpster and a jackhammer and
Ultimately
Surrender and
A bulldozer but
Even all of that
Was not enough
Without neglect
To allow for the little glimpse of the countryside
I get every night as
I step into my finishing kick
On my way
Home 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Lucky

Now
He
        Falls into questions
Positions
Arguments and
Out
Easily and
I roll with it
If you're at a small
Clear
Flat
Lake and
The stones are skipping
I guess you throw
Stone
Lake
Man or
Boy
We're all there
We don't all need to be aware

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Perfect Moment


Not every picture
Can be perfect
All smiles
Centered and clear eyed
Without editing
Taken on the perfect afternoon
Under blue skies
Hair combed
Pulled back and
Neat
Face clean shaven
Everyone looking at the camera and
Wearing matching clothes
No
Every picture can’t be perfect but
Neither can every moment
So sometimes
Something has to give

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer Evening Run


Half a moon hangs up
On the warm evening stillness
I push my way through

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Satisfied


Tonight
The moon hung above me
Big
Yellow
 Crescent shaped
Almost three dimensional
It was accompanied by a smattering of stars
And the whole gang of them
Seemed to pop up all around
Above me
As I ran
Serenaded by crickets and
Frogs and
The occasional car door slamming
Or dog barking
Which I blocked out
Along with the rows of houses
Their features mostly obscured in the gathering darkness
I had eyes only for that moon
Sitting up there
Like a plush toy perched on a shelf
Like the cover of a nature video
Like something from a science fiction movie
Daring me to
Want anything more

Monday, July 23, 2012

Congratulations!


Since you’ve asked
I thought I’d tell you that
It’s going to feel like you’re trying to turn a seedling into a tree
On a sled that is hurtling down the sort of hill every child dreams of
With the one of the best friends you will ever have
Just as every child dreams
Except it won’t be that one best friend but
A bunch of them
One after the other taking over the position behind you on the sled
So quickly that you hardly know the difference
Holding on so hard that you can feel their fingers
Right through their mittens
Giving urgency to your job
Jobs
Charting a path
Charting growth
Trying to stay ahead
Ahead of the next step
The next turn
The next change
The next causal sequence
The weather
Cold soil and
Cold truth
Between your fingers
Right behind you  
Ahead of you
All around you
My advice
Embrace it all and
Scream really loudly
If you’re lucky
The feeling will linger for a good long time

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Uncommon Decency


If you see someone you know
You say hello
If someone falls to the ground in front of you
You check to see if they’re alright
If someone says thank you
You say you’re welcome
If someone graduates from college
You say congratulations
If two men tell you they’re getting married
What do
You say ...
Well
You
Say
?

A Reason For Optimism


This
Could
Always
Be
It
But
As
Long
As
You
Are
Pondering
The
Possibility
It Isn't

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Breath of Fresh Air


The doors are open
There’s no air conditioning
Outside it’s raining

Agnostic about U.S.


God
Apple pie
Country songs
Parades
Old soldiers in cars
Standing and clapping for
The stars and stripes
You take it
I’ll leave it
For
Blues
Jazz
Basketball and
Bruce Springsteen
Hardware stores and
Five and dimes
A great burrito in the mission and
A lecture at the mosque
And
Plantations and
Water hoses and
Internment camps and
Assassinations
Here at home and
In banana republics
Too and
Though I prefer peach and
Berry and
Even pumpkin cheesecake and
Especially strawberry rhubarb
I will eat apple pie and
I’ll even make it
With a lattice top
Apples and
Bananas
Are good for acid reflux sufferers
Who are realists and
Agnostic

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Of Running and Politics


When I run
I run
On the sidewalk
I even run
On the grass
Occasionally but
Mostly
I run
In the street and
On either side of the street
I run
I want to run
I enjoy running so
I run where I can and
I suppose
If pushed I would say
That it all depends
On the time of day and
Whether one car or
Multiple cars
Is  or
Are
Coming right at me or
From behind me and
Whether people are talking
Smoking or
Shooting off fireworks
On the sidewalk and
Whether the animal crouching down in an aggressive manner
In the grass between the sidewalk and the street is a black cat or
Has a white streak down his back and is lifting his tail and
Frankly
Any
Other approach
Is a little smelly
When
You really
Want to
Run

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Of Extravagances and Miscommunication


He wanted to read seven books
Four more than normal
On a night that we were already late
Seven books
Mostly about Clifford
The Big Red Dog
Mom had already read three
He wanted four more
He lied to her about how much he and I usually read
I was impressed he could count but
When he called her poopie and
Pushed her
We both had to be mean
Alternating with bouts of consolation
In the end
After ten minutes of tears and
A lot of hugging and
A short trip downstairs for a stuffed hippo
He still wanted to read seven books but
 Settled for four and
Wondered why
Mom didn’t like Clifford

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm Not That Complicated


Yes
I want you to go back there and get it
You left it
The white and yellow cheese in the blue wrapper
My favorite cheese
Cheese cheese and
You left it in Maryland
Two hours plus away and
Now you need to go get it because
I want cheese cheese and
I’m going to scream until you give it to me

Thursday, July 12, 2012

An Endoscopy in July


Slowly I Awake               
Happy to be cool
The IV is still attached

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Smile


I smile and ask again
About what kind of yogurt he wants
With his chicken nuggets and
Again and
Again and
Eventually
He takes a moment away from screaming for an ice pop
Before lunch and
Moans in a fashion that sounds a lot like
Strawberry Banana
So I run with it and
When he does come to the table
Tastes the yogurt and
Immediately screams that it tastes bad
I tell him about the specter of wasted food
Pour it back in the bucket and
Get blueberry
He eats it all
Gets seconds
Has his nugget and
Asks politely to be excused
Followed immediately by an equally polite request for an ice pop
I smile and say yes

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Question of Reinvestment


I have never thought to ask why the windshield wipers aren’t on the inside
Not once in 38 years and
When he asked the question
I smiled and played along
Internally grateful that I wouldn’t have to worry about paying for an Ivy League education
Grateful that is
Until just now
As I sat trying to write a poem about the question and
I suddenly remembered
All those times
I’ve used my sleeve
To rub the fog or
 Condensation or
Whatever
Off of the inside
Of my windshield and
I wondered if I had better start putting more coins in his piggy bank and
Whether the University of Michigan
Michigan State University and
The University of California
Might give me some money back
So that I could put it to better use

Monday, July 09, 2012

The Fourth at Night


Flash of light and
Boom
At first
Without a cloud in the sky
Later with many and
Rain and
Wind
Nonstop
All night long
Inside
Only the sweat moves

Just a Minute


Wait just a minute
Just a minute
I can wait
For him
I can wait longer
Plenty long enough to explain that we aren’t going to Sesame Place after nap so
We can pick up his sister from camp and
Plenty long enough to assure him
We will go to Sesame Place tomorrow or
Whenever the weather permits but
Not quite long enough
To deal
If he decides that he doesn’t want to wait
That usually takes
Just a little longer than a minute

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Keeping Busy


Fly swatter in hand
I am soon to be on the hunt
I can’t repaint the living room today or
Fix the air conditioner or
Repave the driveway
Or even scrub the kitchen floor
OK maybe I could scrub the floor
But it is one hundred degrees out today and
Did I mention that the air conditioner is broken
I’m not broken though
Not yet and
The kids are asleep or
At least resting and
I can’t just sit and
Do nothing
Thus I sit her
Fly swatter in hand
Ready to rid the house of the half dozen or so flies that have found their way in
At least as soon as I get done writing this poem
Standing
Stooping
Here in front of my computer

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

God Bless America


America the beautiful
America the flawed
Land of
Lollipops and
Lynchings
Freedoms and
Fredricksburg
Chickamauga
Shiloh
Antietam
Gettysberg
Andersonville and
The Wartime Civilian Control Agency Civilian Assembly Centers
America is the Grand Canyon and
The Hoover Dam and
The lights of Vegas at night and
The Chevy in the Hole plant
Then and
Now
It is Roe v. Wade and
Brown v. Board of Ed. And
The Miracle on Ice and
The ice cream truck
Rolling down the streets of Levittown
Pennsylvania
In 1950
Being chased by kids holding quarters or
Even dimes
America is
The Constitution
The Call of the Wild
The little House on the Prairie
The
Hustler
Penthouse
Playboy
It is the liberation of Europe and
Patrice Lumumba
America
It is my land
It is your land
All of it
So
God bless America

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Imprinting


If an egg falls out of a birds nest
It’s a serious matter and
Whatever you do
You mustn’t touch it
Unless you’re going to take it home and feed it through an eye dropper
Everyone knows that
Whether it’s true or not and
We don’t expect that the mother bird would take the baby back
Once it carries the stench of humanity
I always thought I was the mother bird or
At least a slightly self conscious human with an eyedropper
But today
After many many music classes
Family story times and
Other sundry and assorted group activities
He danced
Clapped and
Sang
For the entire time
For the very first time and
I sat and watched
Him and his sister
Finally out of school for the summer and able to come to his library class
Hold hands and
Spin around in a circle
Drop to the floor and
Jump up
In tandem and
Flap their wings
As if they were one giant bird
Falling and
Flying
All the time
Smiling back at me
Down at me
With much love and
Much amusement 

Monday, July 02, 2012

Thank You Amanda


Dad
Happy Fathers Day!
Thank you for always being Supportive of me and encouraging  me!
I hope you enjoy These Stories J
I love you!

This is exactly what Amanda wrote in the inside cover of
What is now my copy of
Chicken Soup for the Father’s Soul
Exactly
Right down to the odd capitalization and left out apostrophe and

It was still there when I picked it off the bookshelf
Where her dad left it after selling his house to my dad and
Mom and

It was still there when I took it home
After a long weekend of moving boxes
With my dad and
Mom and

I can’t help but feeling that
It was all a slow developing plan to get me to cry
Repeatedly
Mostly while sitting on the toilet

But some people give their matchbox cars to their kids to play and
Some give a few
Buy a lot and
Keep the best old ones wrapped in kleenex in a box in the closet

Which is why Amanda’s copy of
Chicken Soup for the Father’s Soul
Won’t ever make it to your nookshelf and
Why I’ll keep getting misty eyed
Sitting on the toilet

It’s all your fault
Thank You Amanda!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Smile

He's got a new smile
One that comes out for the camera
On command
You ask
He gives it
You take the picture
It disappears 


It's great for posterity but
Truth be told
Right now
I'm feeling nostalgic
For his hands over the face
Grunt and squeal reaction


Maybe I'll go now to the old pics and look for it

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Shrugging Under the Weight of Authority


I would assume
That not many arresting officers
Receive that first phone call
Which might be why
Being the father of a three year old seems to me to be
Easier and
More rewarding than being a police officer
Being the father of a thirteen year old may be another matter altogether but
Right now he’s three
So when he tells me how mean I am
As he hugs me and
Dries his tears on my shoulder
It is hard to get too worked up about
The weight of authority

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Empathy


Today
On television
We watched a little turtle
Dig for three days to emerge from her egg underneath the sand
Get stuck in kelp and
Dodge menacing crabs and diving sea birds
Simply to have the pleasure of
Being rocked about by the waves and
Perhaps being thrown back out on the beach
Then
After finding safety in a clump of seaweed
Floating in the Gulf Stream current
Get stranded in the Sargasso Sea and
Run over by a huge container ship
Then
After recovering for more than four years from that
Make her way back to the Gulf Stream Current
So she could be dashed against the rocky coast of Nova Scotia
And
All the while never change her expression
Which might explain why
Upon being told that I wouldn’t be giving him a boat ride today
My three year old son said
“I’m really pissed off”

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mixed Feelings


Arms wrapped around me
Holding on
Head on my shoulder
Sobbing
Talking in a whisper now
Still telling me how mean and rude I am
He’s either standing in bread lines in Moscow or
He’s just returned to his beach front home after a hurricane or a tsunami
Intent on crying
While he stares out over the water and into the hazy spot
Where sky meets water

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's All The Same


If you see someone you know
You say hello
If someone falls to the ground in front of you
You check to see if they’re alright
If someone says thank you
You say you’re welcome
If someone graduates from college
You say congratulations
If two people tell you they’re getting married
You say
Well
What do
You
Say
?

Monday, June 04, 2012

Empathy and Mos Eiseley


When that bully stole your Han Solo in 1982
Right out of your nine year old hands
He took more than Han Solo
He took the possibility of awkward moments with Luke and Leia
He took away fist bumps with Lando and
Chewbacca
Because it’s not just black guys that do fist bumps but
It is just guys in black vests that pilot the Millennium Falcon and
Run away from Boba Fett and
Slouch in his seat in the Mos Eiseley Cantina and
He can’t do those things outfitted for Hoth
In his winter parka
Not without placing an asterisk on the whole experience
Which I suppose is how she feels
About me being a stay at home father to her grandchildren and
And why she still feels that way after six years
Like Panda Baba watching his arm get cut off
And wondering how he’ll be able to be a smuggler now

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Who are you?


Her cars talked to one another
Threw parties
Traded complements
Argued and
Were really dolls with wheels
She was clearly a girl
His cars act the very same way
He must be gay
I painstakingly invent little miniature people
Who drive the cars out of the parking garage
Across the railroad tracks
To the park to meet friends for a for a picnic
To the outskirts of town at night for a clandestine exchange of money for something less than legal
To the police station to engage in a confrontation with the police chief over the allotment of resources and the pace of the evacuation in the face of a hurricane scheduled for landfall in less than twenty four hours and
To the drag strip on the outskirts of town where the drivers get into groups based on the age and make of their car, play their music loud, try hard to impress the ladies, and haggle over who will race tonight and whether they will be racing for pinks
I’m not a girl
I’m not gay
I am clearly a stay at home dad with a law degree who has published his own book of poetry and grew up in a loving home in Flint, the birthplace of GM

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Awake


No sheets or covers
Open windows but no breeze
Still in the darkness

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Now


The sky is growing darker
More quickly than it should at eight o’clock
At the end of May
The wind is picking up too
I am raking gobs of smelly dirt and seedlings
Out from the gutters
As fast as I can
Without really falling off of the ladder
It has rained a lot over the last few weeks and
The trees in the gutter didn’t just appear but
Now
This rain on the horizon
Is one rain too many
I have to clean the gutters
Now
Inside I can hear my son
Demanding the phone
He lost three months ago
Now
I feel water drop on my arms
But it is only my own sweat

Monday, May 28, 2012

You


A picture of Shasta daisies hangs above my toilet
Purchased for two dollars at the thrift shop

Now they are in my garden too
Purchased for three dollars from the discount rack at Lowes

I bought the picture because
It made me think of Mount Shasta and
The first real camping trip I ever took  
With you

I bought the flower because they were on sale and
Not dead and
I like daisies

I wrote this poem
Shortly after midnight
Shortly after I realized that the daisies in the picture
Were the daisies in my garden and
Twelve years after our first date
Because I needed to write a poem on Monday and

I can’t go to the thrift store
Lowes or
To bed

Without thinking about you

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Of culture and perspective


There is a silly band in the shape of a princess on my desk
It’s pink
Of course and
Every way I turn it
It is still pink and
It still looks like a princess
Even upside down
But
If I put it on its side
Head on the left
Dress bottom on the right and
Stare at it
With one eye closed and
My head tilted to the right
Then it looks like a hippopotamus
Wearing a princess dress

Monday, May 21, 2012

No Coaching Through The Glass


The sign says
No coaching through the glass
The sign that I ignore since
Ambition is not reality
I’m not Bela Karolyi and
It’s not a police interrogation room
At least not for me or
Her
No one is watching
For weaknesses to exploit
No one is waiting
At least not her or
Me
Even if there is
No coaching through the glass

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

We Shall Overcome


Hand in hand
Is how we used to sing
The ‘hand In hand’ verse of
We Shall Overcome
Under the artificial stars
Generated by the battery powered turtle night light
In blue
Always blue
We would join our hands
For the whole verse
After which he would continue to hold my hand
While he asked whether this was indeed what hand in hand meant
He still asks the same question
Yesterday he asked
After he took my hand back in his
After having dripped it
In order to make a diamond shape
With both of his hands
Today he just asked
Tomorrow
We’ll still sing the song
But maybe we’ll go with the
I am not afraid verse

Monday, May 14, 2012

Perspective


Clean clothing needs to be folded
Every bit as much as
Movies need to be made and
Diseases conquered
Says the person
Whose day revolves around folding clothing

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Buckle Up for Safety


In order to keep her clothes clean at lunch time
She favors layers
Pulling on one of my shirts over top of her own
He takes his off and
Talks about dropping yogurt on his belly
He’s all talk
For once
Normally you can tell what flavor yogurt he ate just by looking at it
She has peanut butter on her forehead and
Elbow
Always
I’m just there
Today
Wondering if
Helmets and
Seatbelts
Are really worthwhile

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Two Minutes


Two minutes
That’s how long before I should be in bed
That’s how long I have to spin out some profound statement
On life
Love and
The space in between
Oh it will take me ten or twenty minutes to do it and
I’ll be out some precious sleep
Without much to show for it but
For two minutes after writing it
 I won’t acknowledge any of that and
That’s the two minutes I want
To be in
So
That’s why
I stay up too long
To write this poem

Where are you now

Right now
Childhood is shivering under a table
Asking whether the dinosaur
You have just
Invented and
Identified
In a clearing between the bed and the dresser
Eats vegetables
He's looking right at you and
Wondering the same thing



Monday, May 07, 2012

Where are you ...


Childhood is shivering under a table
Asking whether the dinosaur
Dad has just identified over by the bed
Is a vegetarian
Or not
Where are you

Saturday, May 05, 2012

There's Nothing Like The Smell of Failure in The Morning


I didn’t smile
Ask if he was OK
Tell him everything would be fine and
Reassure him that it was no big deal
 At least not right away
Faced with
Shit
Seeping out of his shorts
Onto his sheets
His hands and
The floor
Shit he had woken up with and tried to pull off of his irritated rear
Shit I had unknowingly rubbed into the carpet
In the pitch black of this early May morning
When I laid him down to change his diaper
Faced with shit
I asked him why
I moaned
I gritted my teeth
I sighed
I sighed a lot
I implored him never to do this to me again and
I didn’t smile

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Only Two More Days


Only two more days of five
Two more bowls of cereal
One of which will be the frosted mini-wheats I bought her today as a special treat
Two more drop offs at school
Two more opportunities to run late
Forget her backpack
Yell at her and her brother for leaving the house
Two more pick ups
Two more opportunities to ask her what she did today at music class or art class
While her brother sings or gets upset because she won’t listen to him
Two more lunches
Yogurt and
Something with peanut butter
Two more naps
Two more chances to listen to her read through the baby monitor
Two more homework sessions
Lasting ten seconds a piece
Too more days of games on PBS.com
Puzzles
Teaching the cat about adverbs
Gardening
Cooking
Eating dinner
And only one more nighttime reading of Mouse and the Motorcycle
One more performance of Aldi
Known to you as The Boxer
One more time to say
I love you
See you in the morning
And goodbye
Ten or twelve times
Amidst a smattering of kisses and
A lot of door closing
And then
It will be Friday
And there will be
Only three hundred and sixty four more days of six

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Facebook and Remembering


I remember a sleepover and an aborted attempt to get up early and scare up mischief
He couldn’t wake me up
I can picture the crazy drawings she made me
And can remember looking for a penny so
I could ask her for her thoughts
I can still see all of them playing pool in my basement
Singing along with …
Well I’d rather not say
I still have the lion hand puppet she gave me
And can clearly remember walking hand in hand
With her and my mom
To kindergarten
In the shadow of a solar eclipse
It’s all there
And much more
Waiting for a door opened
By a post about her son in the boy scouts
His broken hearted adventure through the South
His partner’s sister’s baby
Or a picture of her face
Waiting
And waiting
With more hope than ever before
For whatever that’s worth

From Here to There


She asks me if we can go somewhere on July 14th
It’s just down the street she says
Sounds fine
That’s my reply
A birthday party for a three year old
In two months
Does sound fine
Right now
While I sit in front of the computer
Writing poetry
Later
However
It might not
Specifically
On June 13th
It may well sound like a horrible idea
Which is to be expected
Otherwise
It wouldn’t matter where you sit at a concert
Or where you position your speakers in your living room
And those are things that matter
Or at least they are
Once the music starts
Which is why
In the silence of a quiet Saturday night
In late April
I am vaguely positive

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Moment


If it was a fondly remembered second cousin
You’d seek her out
In a new suburb outside of Phoenix
Where she’d moved after college and
Settled into a four bedroom
Three bathroom
House
In a new development
Where the houses are so close together
That despite the utter lack of trees or
Anything besides houses that might cast shade
She can only see stars if one of her next door neighbors
Has the leading role in the big summer blockbuster and
She’ll only hear a tidbit she can share with the tabloids
In order to earn a little supplementary cash
If she turns off her air conditioner and opens a window and
Then
Unfortunately
As the two of you caught up on old times
In her sitting room
Despite the ten foot high ceilings
You’d be covered in sweat and
Neither it
Nor this
Would turn out to be a memorable one

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

America


If you think you can put your hands on it
Read it to me or
Run it up the flag pole
Then you don’t have it

If you think you can find it with a gun
Then I hope you never do

If you think it’s fallen down from above
Like manna from heaven
Fully formed and ready to sustain us
Then you haven’t been in the kitchen yet and
I doubt whether you’ll be of much help if you ever make it there

If you think it’s that warm feeling you get in your chest
When you sing one of those songs
I’d like you to be right
I’d like to be there with you
One voice among many
Singing
Screaming
Dancing
Hands in the air
Eyes closed
Held in the cacophany
For always and ever
But I know I’d only last an hour or so
Before I’d want to
Listen to something else or
Nothing at all
Before I’d want to open my eyes and
Look for it somewhere else

If you think it can be wrestled to the ground
Bestowed from above
Discovered only in the faces and beliefs of some people
Measured
Dissected
Purified or
Who knows what else
Then I know that you’re wrong
Because
You think the fact that everyone is looking for it
Means that it can be found


Monday, April 23, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Another Blip


Tree rings
Ice Cores
Space viewed through a powerful telescope
In any of these
I would be but a fleck of dust
At best
Only a part of a very brief moment in time
And yet I get antsy in line at the grocery store
When the person with two shopping carts full or groceries
Won’t let me and my three items and two children go first
Which I suppose is why folks reject a connection to apes and
Embrace the cross and the ark
Otherwise
How can you explain being pissed over having to wait ten minutes to buy milk
I can’t
But I don’t try
Which is why
An hour or two ago
Standing over my son on this
His first night in a big boy bed
I told him to stay in there until morning
Until someone could come up
And thought about recording this moment in some way
So that he could look back one day
And appreciate our history

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Dirty Tree


The Birch in my backyard is a very dirty tree
It drops several waves of stuff every spring
Seeds
Fruit
Snakey things
I don’t really know what they all are
But they drop in and on everything
And in the fall there are the leaves
And for all the trouble I am caused
I don’t blame the wind
Or Aphids
Or el nino
I blame the tree
Which is why
I should do something when my daughter pushes my son into the wall
Or one of them throws food
Or jumps on the couch
I don’t want to be
A dirty tree

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In our backyard


In our backyard
There’s really nowhere to hide
At least not for someone who stands over six feet tall
Has not the least bit of flexibility and
Is playing with a three year old and a five year old
Let’s just say I will not be fitting into a leaf bag anytime soon and
I wouldn’t want to hide too well anyway or
At least I wouldn’t
Not without a fence stopping the three year old
From running right out into the street and
Without a sudden dispensation of common sense
At least enough to stop either one from doing something silly while
I waited in the perfect hiding place for them to find me thus
I try to crouch behind the arborvitae and
Skillfully try to stay on the opposite side of the Maple’s trunk
Even going so far as to put my shirt in one place and
My body in another
Despite the fact that I myself don’t have enough common sense
 Not to simultaneously wonder
What it would be like
To be in some other yard
At some other time
Even though
There’s a giggling bush
Right at my feet
In our backyard

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why it's important to monitor television consumption


He is still awake
Not because
Clifford and blue baby were involved in a fire fight
Nor because
He was trying to foil the evil plans of the plush Easter Bunny
Given to us by a neighbor
Who has since succumbed to cancer
He is still awake
Because
He had to divide
His stuffed turtle from
The little reindeer with the magnet in his nose and
He wanted to tell me that
Divide is the same as separate

Monday, April 16, 2012

I could do without baobob trees


I’m pretty sure that the baobob tree at the Philadelphia zoo is fake and
I’m OK with that as
Long as the fake one is at the zoo and
Not in my backyard
A real baobob tree in my backyard
Would be like a dream come true
Now I’m not sure if it would be my dream but
I can certainly picture myself underneath it
Sitting criss-cross applesauce
Wearing something white and billowy and
Watching goats and kids straggle by in the dusty heat
As I wait for others to gather
So that we can socialize
Chew on something tropical and/or
Messy
Like a mango or ugali and
Make important decisions affecting us all
Democratically and
In good humor
Then
Whistling something other than I’m Walking on Sunshine but
Similarly intentioned
I would head home to my multi-generational household and
That’s all I’ve got
That’s as far as I can get
Because the baobob tree is in Philadelphia
About thirty minutes away and
People don’t live with wild animals anymore
At least not very often or
In zoos and
Anyway
There won’t be any smiles
Mangos
Sunshine or
Even ugali underneath it
Regardless of where it is
Even if it is in your backyard
Blocking the light from your flowerbeds and
Hovering threateningly over your house
Very fake yet
Very very real

Friday, April 13, 2012

Why I've given up on travel


It’s been one hundred years since
My great-grandparents
Were told that they wouldn’t be able to use their tickets
Too many half fares for such an in demand voyage
So they had to wait
Had to be on one of the first boats to pass over
After
I think there was a wreath laid
And then on they went
To a new life
In the new world
Only too aware that
They would not have had this close call
Had there been enough money
To go to Australia
And that had there not been so many kids
I think eleven
Well
They one way or the other
They would have been down under
Which is why
One hundred years later
With a little more discretionary spending but only two kids
I like to stay at home

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Communication


Holding his hand on his ass and
Bent over like an old woman
He walks across the playground towards me
Not a word is needed
Everyone knows what this is
Both of us know what will happen next
What questions I will ask
What answers he will offer
What will happen when we go to the bathroom
About how much time will pass before he is again
Lurching about like a golem or a hunchback
Holding his hand over his ass