Thursday, March 29, 2012

Don't What?

You pretty much have to say it 
You are supposed to say it
And people are watching
Plus you mean it
So even though you know it won’t have the desired effect
Though you know exactly what he will do
And which smile he will give you
As he does it anyway
As he does it even more
And with considerable flair
You don’t really have a choice
You never really have a choice
You have to say it
You have to say
Don’t lick the wall

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Don't Leave Daddy

Don’t leave daddy
Is what she says
Almost every night
When it is time for me to leave
When I have read the last book and
Sung the last song and
She has sipped the last sip of milk or
She asks me not to leave
She asks me to stay and sleep up in her room
Sometimes she clutches my arm
In an almost serious attempt to get me to stay
Every time I try to insert a mental post it note
Marking that moment
So that later
I can come back to it and
Remember it and
Hear that little voice saying
Don’t leave daddy

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Maintaining The Illusion

Out of the corner of my eye
It looks like a bracelet
With sterling silver flowers and wiggles and
A sterling silver border
A cool and funky piece of jewelry
Shoved in my little odds and ends container
Along with random recipes
Empty index cards
The “solutions disk” for our new camera
A ruler
 And a book about the presidents written for children
Everytime I see it I wonder why it’s there and
Try to remember
What it really looks like
Until I do
Today it took about ten seconds and
I didn’t bother picking it up
Since I had nothing to cut and
I kind of want to preserve the illusion for next time

Monday, March 26, 2012

Of turtles and quiet sharing

I praised the little green thing
Even rubbed his shell
But I still threw in a reminder for all of them
Stuffed and otherwise
That they were supposed to be sleeping
Or at least not sleeping quietly
The non-stuffed one groaned out an OK at this and
I understood why
I was even a little disappointed with myself
I mean
He had called me up
To say
That his stuffed turtle was sharing books with him and
I couldn’t allow myself
To just heap some praise on both of them and
Maybe say something nice about the little stuffed reindeer
With the magnetic nose
And disappear
I had to try to be parental
I tried to hide it
To slip it past in a flourish of fun and play
And blown kisses but
We all knew it was there
Even the turtle
Who has to be up there every night
With a pile of books
And a magnetic reindeer
And still has to share
Could see the praise for what it was
And I’m quite sure
He disapproved

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The absence of accomplishment

Hawaii 5-0
Light off
Night over
Completely satisfied
With all that
I didn't do

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I hear the whispers

I hear whispers all the time
Not just when I am at home
At night
With the baby monitors on
I’m a man
A dad
I’m at home with the kids
All the time
I hear the whispers
All the time
Even if they’re not there

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Of diapers and politics

My son woke up screaming from nap today
To be precise
He was screaming one word
Somehow between the tightness of the diaper and
The size of the poop
It was unable to come out
When I undid the diaper and
Lightly poked at the poop with a wipe
It came the rest of the way out 
He was left hoping that he could switch to underwear full time
Even while sleeping
I was left thinking about the state of politics in America and
Wondering who is going to loosen our diaper and
Poke at our shit

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Eating Crow ... and Flossing Afterward

Just now I spotted my missing dental floss
Sitting on my desk
Way at the back
Next to the unopened package of mirror holders
That I was going to use to put up the mirror in our bedroom
The mirror that is now in the garage behind the closet doors
From my son’s room
That have been sitting there half primed for a week or two
Certainly longer than the floss has been sitting here
Where I left it
While I angrily tore apart the bathroom looking for where someone had hidden it
While I neglected flossing for three days
While I finally dug out more floss
Complaining all the time
While I sat down to write this poem and
Spied it
Just now I wrote a poem about my missing dental floss and
Now I’m going to go use it

Monday, March 19, 2012

No Reward

Near the end of day two in underwear and
Peeing on the potty
My son turned to me and said
Daddy you should get M&Ms for using the potty too
I smiled and laughed but
Inside I agreed
I want a reward for things like
Tying my shoes
Counting to ten
Reading a whole book on my own
Eating my vegetables
Peeing in the potty but
Not M&Ms
I don’t like chocolate that much and
It’s no good for my acid reflux

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What Passes For Success

It may sound strange but
Ten pairs of underwear in about two and a half hours and
The same number of shorts and pants and
A little red boat in the toilet
Even without the knowledge that we made it to the end of the day
Without adding to the laundry pile
An unmitigated success

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I'm not much of a gypsy

Gypsies are
Probably never sure where they’re heading either
Though I bet they don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it
As they sit around the campfire
Tongue clacking
Hand clapping and
Clicking wooden spoons
Gypsies don’t spend so much time
Talking or
Researching on the internet about moving
They actually do it

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why I should write a book

The answers to all of your questions
Aren't all in one book or
Aren't in a book at all
Either do a lot of reading or
Write a book

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Unconscious Youth

He was back in a sweatshirt and a jacket and
At the same time
Back at the playground
For over an hour
Stubbornly sticking to the idea of an early Spring
Without even realizing it

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Peanuts in Context

Today we talked about his peanuts
Once while changing his diaper and
Once after nap
While he snacked on some trail mix
It really is true
Context is everything

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kinder ... garden

Pink shovel in hand
Dirt is flying everywhere
Winter coat stays clean

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Rolling Through

I could only hear every other word
An empty bus isn’t a quiet place
Even if you aren’t sitting up above the wheel
If you are and
You are sharing the bus with twenty or so five and six year olds
Many of whom are shooting at you with their fingers
Well even if your hearing has always been good
You’d need the little boy sitting next to your daughter
To repeat his question
On the third go round
I went with Fred for my answer
I was throwing up my arms in surrender and
Being kicked in the small of the back
So when I heard the word name
That third time
I thought Fred would be a safe answer and
It did make him laugh
Albeit because he was expecting Ford or Buick but
My daughter gave him the right answer and
Sometimes a complete picture needs more than
Every other or
Even all of them

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Moving Out

He has his own house
He’s four and he has his own house
He still spends most nights with us
Last night it was because there was a fire at his house
Tonight he came back for dinner
Someday though
He tells me he’s going to move out
After he’s done marrying me
I’m first
Next he’ll marry his mother
Than his sister and
I think that’s when he’ll leave
When they’ll both leave
He seems to be planning for it already
Yesterday he threw a fit because I wouldn’t buy him a garlic press
Today the tears were over a Scott’s Edgeguard Mini Spreader
I told him that when he was ready to seed his lawn he could borrow mine
But he wants his own
Who knows what he’ll need next
Who knows when the day will come
When a granola bar won’t be enough to distract him
When macaroni won’t be enough to keep him home

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Worn Out

I am buried in clothing
Purple plaids
Pink fish
Stripes of every color
Even red, white, and blue and
Right now
All of it is size 4
Size 5 is next
With a few size 6 items
Prematurely shrunk or
On the small size to begin with
Waiting on the far right of the coffee table
Just on the other side of a mound of hangers
On this side of the hangers
Where I sit
My lap filled with clothes
Debating with my wife
Whether the Kohl’s blue polka dot dress
With the green 3-d flower looking thing
Should go for four dollars or
Five with a last day half off discount
We decide on four dollars
No discount and
So it goes
She’s asleep and
Now it’s our turn to shed the clothing
One piece at a time and
All at once

Monday, March 05, 2012

What Did I Get Myself Into

Red and yellow kill a fellow
Red and black friend of Jack
I think that’s right
If it is
It’s a lovely little number with a fun rhyme but
How dead is dead and
What kind of a friend is Jack and
What if it isn’t right
What if I’m color blind
What if snakes really aren’t for everybody
These are the questions you hope you ask
Before you buy the snake or
Come face to face with it on some dusty trail or
At least you naively hope
That if you have let the spirit move you
You will have time to figure it out in the moment and
On the fly
That you will see the colors you wanted to see
Whichever colors those are
Unfortunately as
Much as red and black are friends of Jack
So too
Is it true
That it does go by so fast and
That it doesn’t last
Not for this or any other snake and
Not for this fellow

Friday, March 02, 2012

Proving It

He told me he loved me
His head on my shoulder
Then that deep giggle started
The one that sounds like it is coming from his toes and
He rolled his head back
So I could see his eyes twinkle and
His teeth disappear in an
I’m not smiling smile
Then he rolled close again
To squirm and squiggle and
Rub my eyebrows and
Demonstrate the importance of poop as a root word
From there he stood up in front of me
Commenced licking his hand and
Looked back to see what kind of reaction he was getting
I’d said me too
So I suppose now I was being put to the test

Thursday, March 01, 2012

What a dime can do

I buy him a 10 cent ball at the thrift store
He smiles
He bounces it for a minute at home and loses it
He stops smiling
In a few weeks someone will find it and give it to him
He will smile
He will bounce it all over the place again
In a minute or an hour or a week he will lose it
He will shed some tears or at least moan a bit
He will smile when again it turns up
And so on
I think it goes to show that a dime can still go pretty far