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
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
It might not
On June 13th
It may well sound like a horrible idea
Which is to be expected
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
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
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


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
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
Purified or
Who knows what else
Then I know that you’re wrong
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
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
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
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
Like a mango or ugali and
Make important decisions affecting us all
Democratically and
In good humor
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
There won’t be any smiles
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
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
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


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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tree Climbers

They are tall

Tree climbers could climb these trees

They are tall
But tree climbers could climb them
I think

Not long branches
Tree climbers could do it
All the way up
They would have to be safe though

I would be safe
If I was a tree climber
I would be safe

Not all tall
But some are

Tree climbers could climb all of them

They are tall


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

a singer of songs

They always come out of my head and
To a spot somewhere directly in front of my face
A few words at a time
Each word appearing
A second or so
Before I have to sing it
Providing me a chance to
Give them each their due
To put them in their proper position in the world or
 At least that’s how I hope it goes but
It doesn’t always
Not even if I manage to clear my head of
Everything else
Even fantasies of playing point guard for the Detroit Pistons
As I did tonight
Tonight I was channeling Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley
I was shooting for perfection
I wanted every word in the right place and
Every note as close to where it needed to be as I could place it and
After one do over
I was doing it
I flubbed a little when she tied him to a chair and
As I got ready to say “I’ve been here before”
I couldn’t remember being there before
I stopped and there wasn’t a sound
Until she broke in with “baby I’ve been here” and
I was there again
They were all there again
In front of my face but
Then I couldn’t see the flag on the marble arch either
Not until she showed it to me and
Then it was there again and
So now so was she
With a voice of her own
Six years in the making
So far
A voice
Reminding me that
The songs in my head
Aren’t just in my head and
Aren’t the only ones
Being sung

Monday, April 09, 2012

Saturday, April 07, 2012

My Own Two Minutes

For almost two minutes
I’m alone
Michelle Williams
Dame Judy Dench
Stan Van Gundy and
An activist Supreme Court
The Justices disappear with the water but
Dame Judy helps me dry off and
Exits the bathroom with me
Before she too vanishes
Without having finished dispensing the sage advice
I just know she is full of and
Would gladly share with me
If she weren’t
So rudely and abruptly pushed aside by Curious George

Friday, April 06, 2012

Electric Spring

The long yellow cord
Wrapped up and around and in
The smell of the grass

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Gardening at Easter

Is there an Easter Bunny
Of course there is
Who else but a bunny
Would be delivering candy and toys to you in your house and
Everyone else’s house
How does he carry everything
I don’t really know
Why would I know
I mean all I know is that stuff arrives and
You should be happy to get it
Anyway keep digging
We have a garden to plant and
Before we plant it
We have to get this rabbit fence up

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Just A Second

I’m coming
I just have to finish this thought
Then I promise I’ll
Scoop your litter
Wipe your ass
Check your homework
Let you out of the garage
Take you to school
Make your lunch
Open your granola bar
Kiss your boo boo
Reply to your text
Pretend to eat the plastic food you have brought me
Listen to the song about the snail and the chocolate cake
Accept your hug
Look you in the eye and
See you smile

If you become a crocus in a hidden garden ...

Keep planting things
That’s what I do
It’s all I do
If there is a space
Then I want to plant something there
If whatever I plant doesn’t take
For whatever reason
I plant something else
I don’t just plant
I water
I fertilize
I trim tree branches  
I Pull weeds
I watch and
I love every part
Although the planting is my favorite
I don’t use gloves
I want to be able to look at my nails afterwards and
Know that I’ve done the dirty work and
Done it right and
Know that something is growing where
Only a moment before
There was nothing
So that is why
Five plus years in
I am still plangting

Three's A Crowd

Daffodils are
Three for ten dollars
At the grocery store
When I go shopping today
With our son
I can buy granola bars and
Trail mix for him and
His sister and
I can buy daffodils
For you and
Two other people