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


The moon hung above me
 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


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
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 ...

A Reason For Optimism

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.

Apple pie
Country songs
Old soldiers in cars
Standing and clapping for
The stars and stripes
You take it
I’ll leave it
Basketball and
Bruce Springsteen
Hardware stores and
Five and dimes
A great burrito in the mission and
A lecture at the mosque
Plantations and
Water hoses and
Internment camps and
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
Are good for acid reflux sufferers
Who are realists and

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Of Running and Politics

When I run
I run
On the sidewalk
I even run
On the grass
Occasionally but
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
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
Other approach
Is a little smelly
You really
Want to

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

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
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
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
At first
Without a cloud in the sky
Later with many and
Rain and
All night long
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
Here in front of my computer

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

God Bless America

America the beautiful
America the flawed
Land of
Lollipops and
Freedoms and
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
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
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
It is the liberation of Europe and
Patrice Lumumba
It is my land
It is your land
All of it
God bless America

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


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
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
All the time
Smiling back at me
Down at me
With much love and
Much amusement 

Monday, July 02, 2012

Thank You Amanda

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
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
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!