Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Used Years

I prefer new jeans to new years
You can't return new years
You can't wear them with the tags still on
Even if you match them up with a shirt that is a bit too long
They shrink
Continually
And without a single wash
I'd really prefer used years
They all last the same amount of time
Regardless of how many bangles and baubles get added
At least with jeans
Regardless of how often you crawl around on all fours
Until the knees go
You can pretend that they never will




Socialist Parenting

My son
Sometimes talks in his sleep
Right through the monitor
At me              
To me
It’s never anything I can understand but
I listen and
When it stops
I smile to myself and
For the nonexistent spy cameras
Then I go back to work and
The next morning
I make sure
To give him an extra hug
Look him straight in the eye and
Tell him I love him
For the non-existent spy cameras
For history
For God and
For posterity
His and

Mine

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Talking About Flint

When you talk to your wife or
Friend
For the first time
After meeting a man
Who bears the scars of torture and abuse
Emotional, physical and
Otherwise              
Openly
Do you tell your wife
Brother 
Uncle or
Friend
Facebook or otherwise
About this guys
Wicked
Backhand 
His
Disconcerting
Ability to get right to the issue and
His 
Startling
Smile


Saturday, December 28, 2013

form as function

first five syllables
then seven and a peek       

at snow, leaves, or rain

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The attraction of the night

Driving at night
On the expressway
You will never see the face of another driver
truth be told
It's often hard
In little light
With your attention where it should be
On the road
On the task at hand
To see the person next to you
If there is one
To talk to them
If there is one
To think about them at all
With all those other people out there
Just headlights in the night

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The smell of life

Standing in front of the live nativity
My daughter smelled 
Farm
Sheep
Goats
Cows and a donkey
Shitting as we watched
My son
Who can't stand the smell of cooked chicken
Said
All he noticed
Was
The smell of life
The truth is
Of course
That they were both right

Monday, December 23, 2013

From Christmas And Into The Gutter

A warm and rainy
Christmas Eve Eve
Eve
Has come and gone
Now we have only two eves left
Tomorrow
We'll be down to one and
Then
We'll find ourselves on
New Year's Eve
Eve
Eve
Eve
Eve
Eve
Eve
Counting down again
To the day
When
All we'll have are
Eaves-troughs
Still full of fall leaves and
Probably still bereft of snow



Packaging Doesn't Always Matter

red suit, red hat, red nose on
a dark snowless, starless night
might as well be black

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Dreaming

short sleeve shirts outside
and unopened gifts inside
where I'm still dreaming

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 20th

I am December 20th
Maybe you are December 22nd
Are you
I do hope so
Because really
It is all that most of us can aspire to
Like a sports nut
Playing a sport
Any sport
At the collegiate level or
A reindeer
Being assigned a job from Santa
Even if it is only playing with kittens
Who wouldn't want to be paid to catch footballs on Sunday or
Be in line in front of Santa's sleigh
Bells ringing
Breath just visible in the dwindling light
It's not living on the moon
It's visiting and
Who wouldn't want to visit
No one
That's who but
Want it or not
I'm December 20th
Fun
Smart
Festive
Sought after
Full of hope and
Anticipation and
Always aware
Come December 21st
That I could have been
February 18th

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We The People ...

We
The
People
Wanted
Improved union
Unison
Unity
And
Sought Justice
Peace
Safety
Welfare
For right now and
The future
For us and
Everyone else
Freedom
Coming last
Unrecognizable
Responsible
Responsibility
Liberty
After all
We were
Not
A Person
We were
The
People

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Freedom

Freedom
To speak
To worship
To assemble
To vote
To starve
To remain ignorant
To hate
To leave
To be
You
And
Me

Monday, December 16, 2013

White and Red Christmas

It's mid December and
The snow is accumulating outside as fast as the
Expenses on my spreadsheet 
All signs point to a 
White
and
Red
Christmas

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Protected Speech

Expression is inherently partial
Unfinished
Inadequate
Often public and
Seemingly always prone to feedback
I mused
As I drew in crayon on my paper place mat at the cocoa diner
I reflected
As I watched multiple three
Four and
Five year olds
Tear around the lobby
At eleven at night
Only one wearing polka dots
Which takes courage if you are over the age of eleven
But before eleven
Is protected speech

Friday, December 13, 2013

Tis' The Season of Excess ... No Quarter For The Weary

There's a quarter on my desk
With less than two weeks until Christmas
It's a dead George walking
Out

relax and get overwhelmed with the rest of us

We don’t have to leave for ten minutes
That’s one trip to the bathroom for everyone and
Two for your grandaughter
Including a four minute handwahsing session including tears
Because she thinks she’ll be left behind
It’s also one complete wardrobe change and hair brushing nightmare
Complete with screams and tears
And a tour of the Christmas decorations and
His birthday gifts
Again
Plus there are dishes to do
Basketball scores to check
Fried potatoes to taste and
Doublehceking of the time of the holiday concert
Yet to do
So …
Take off your jacket and
Stay a while or
Twelve minutes
Or so

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Snow Days and Tomorrows

I was staring at my kids
Through a slowly growing hole in the ice on the windshield
Whose receding I was facilitating
However haphazardly
Pain beginning to radiate inwards
From my fingertips
When the windshield wiper buckled
Leaving half of it dangling like the broken wing of a bird
Cowering in anticipation of the words of some distinguished gentleman
With a British accent
Proclaiming that the end had come and
Indeed there was little doubt that the end had come
That
The
Snow
Day
Was
Over


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Evidence of a failure in religious education

Jesus’ mom was Mary
His dad was Joseph
He had no electricity
No model trains and
Was nailed to a t and
Died and
Now we celebrate his birthday
Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Monday, December 09, 2013

Ruminations on 75%

Some day far in the future
When I am looking back to this December
December 2013
Sitting in Adirondack chairs on the back porch with
Grama
I wonder if it will feel like I am star gazing with a
Telascope 
Or looking down on another planet from the
Space Suttle 
Or strolling through a
Museim
I think I’ve been to before in a city like
Richmund
That I am quite certain I've never been to
Or maybe It will feel just like it does now
As if I am standing on the 54th parallel and
Trying to get over the fact
That it is all
Corea

This day

Can I move my new drum set up to my room
This day
Can I shovel the driveway
This day
Will we have candy
This day
This day
Will I be going to school
Did we have cupcakes
This day
This day
Will we see Grandma and Granddaddy
This day
This moment
This second
Right now
This day


Friday, December 06, 2013

Sometimes, Wet Is Just Wet

Parking cars in the cold rain
To earn volunteer hours at your daughter's private school
Feels a lot like
Parking cars in the cold rain
To earn volunteer hours at your daughter's private school
Coming home to a warm shower and a cup of hot chocolate
Lovingly prepared by your wife
Feels a lot like
Coming home to a warm shower and a cup of hot chocolate
Lovingly prepared by your wife
Sometimes I see the metaphors, similes, and analogies so clearly
That I can feel the spray in my face as
I cut across a perfect blue sea and
In front of a perfect blue sky
On my way around the world
On a forty foot sloop and
My muscles tense up at
The sound of pterodactyl screeches
But tonight
I felt cold rain
Pushed cars out of the mud and
Smiled as
I sipped out of my handmade earthenware mug of hot cocoa
Sometimes
Wet
Is
Just
Wet

The Seasons of Nelson Mandela

dying in winter
in prison throughout summer
sprang and fell ahead

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

limits

now I’m wearing socks
from sun up until sundown
but never at night

Nothing But Numbers

Twenty nine
Thirty two
Zero
One
Two
Zero
Three
One
Four
Two
Five
Three
Six
Four
Seven
Five
Thirty Six
Forty
Thirty Seven

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Birthdays Dancing Through My Fingers

The cupcakes form a five
No two adjacent cupcakes burdened
With one of five candles lit
Illuminating the face of the
Five year old
Who was clearly the
Three year old
That sat in that same spot
Two years ago and
May have been
The one year old who
In that very same spot
Tried to catch hold of the flame
From his one candle and
May have earned that
No matter how many or
How few
Cakes and
Candles
You have
You can't grab hold and
Never let go


Five Years Later

Five years ago
About this time
I settled in
To mostly sleep through what was to be
My very last night
As the parent of one child
Thinking that I knew fully what was coming
Just not when
Which
Except for irritation at having garbage bags under the sheets and
A body pillow jammed into my back
Could explain my mindset
Right at this
Moment
Five years later

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Blame the Moon

Inflatables on the shelves at Lowes
Before Halloween
Christmas Carols on the radio
Before November is over
Hanukkah nearly half over
Before school returns to full swing after Thanksgiving
The holidays are turning into
A cheap and
Barely sanitary
All you can eat buffet
Where you come just before eleven and
Stay till close
If I get indigestion
I guess I should blame the moon

Friday, November 29, 2013

Heavy Wind And UPS Failures

When the Christmas tree blows down
Before the lighting ceremony
That's got to be a lot like
Having your kids gift
The one they have been asking for ever since you didn't get it for them last year
Not arrive on time for their birthday
Except
As I stand looking at a 15 foot deciduous tree covered with lights
I can't imagine
Ever getting away with presenting
A bucket
In the place of a drum set

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving's Tail End

Pie of the pumpkin
Pie of the apple
Pudding of the banana
Celebration of the Thanksgiving
To an end
Does come

Order Restored

My sister moves the chair up a foot and a half
So she can sit closer to the laptop
Which is perched at the edge of the coffee table
Apparently
Though
In so doing
She has thrown off the balance of the whole room
But
Since the interior director already had his stroke
And
Legos and Hot Wheels are scattered indiscriminately about
I’ll just move myself
My laptop
And the wicker bottomed stool underneath me
A smidge
Or two
To the left
And
Restore
Order

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

a wet ass and the absence of dis-ingenuity

Crying
Naked 
Wet and
Clinging precariously to me
Me
Who was dry and calm
But now is trying frantically 
To get a reassuring grip 
On a very small and
Definitely damp
Little ass
It smacks of a usually far away primitive people being visited by a television chef 
Who eats monkey brains cooked in cow dung over an open fire and
Smiles and
Nods and
Seems both 
Enticed and
Grateful
Until he and the camera man sneak around the corner of a hut and
Laugh and gag in hushed tones
Except of course
There is nowhere to hide from a wet ass






going home

eleven hours
blowing snow and endless roads
left at the doorstep

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Permanence

A river
A lake
An ocean
Even water from the sky
That has yet to find its new temporary accommodations
Mark a line
On the walls of your
House
Like teenagers do with pocket knives on the trees in the local state park
You erase the marks
The initials written over double hearts
With the languid carelessness of a squirrel preparing for winter
New walls
New floors
New paint
Channels to redirect
The river
Lake
Ocean
Even the water from the sky
Should the whim move it
To return
To a spot it hadn’t been to in years
To renew and venerate connections
Muck like F.C. and C.B.
In the woods
On a perfect summer day
With not a cloud in the sky

Friday, November 22, 2013

Freeze

Freeze
That’s what I want to say from the front seat
So that I can take all my attention away from the
Chevy’s
Honda’s
Ford’s
Jeep’s
Toyotas
Red
Blue
Black and
Mostly white
It’s the white ones I can see in my mind’s eye
Them and
 The Dunkin Donuts and
 The Dairy Delite and
 I’m not interested in seeing any of them
Then or
Now
And I want the radio to stop too
No more Katy Perry
I want to be able to turn around and watch her face
Immediately after I reach behind me and give her hand a squeeze
Immediately
Before she reciprocates and
She always reciprocates
Almost automatically
But not quite
It’s a delayed twitch
And it’s delayed
Because first she has a natural reaction
Her whole little body relaxes
She smiles
Just a little
No teeth
No laughter
No hysteria
Just a slight upturn of her lips and
A different look in her eye
And then it’s gone
Always
Before I can appreciate it or
Even be sure it was really there
Amongst the Accords
Sierras
Coffee and
Ice Cream
Before
I can focus my powers and
Make everything
Freeze

The benefits of being a woodchuck, chipmunk, or bat

forty-eight degrees
in four months it will feel balmy
now it's time for bed

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dinosaur Duds

I’m like a milk dud a few days after Halloween
Classic
Sweet
Perhaps aptly named but
Considerably better than nothing and
Even in an overflowing plastic pumpkin with a seemingly endless selection
Not a bad choice
Kind of like a hadrosaur
Given a choice
Who wouldn’t prefer a raptor or a pterosaur
But Now
Sixty million years or so later
The hadrosaur doesn’t seem like so much of a dud

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I have A Difficult Tree

I wonder about the tree at the end of my block
It seems like its been a month or more
Since it lost its leaves and
I don’t remember much in the way of
Yellow
Red or
Orange
Before the branches went bare or
Mostly bare
A few leaves still cling in the upper reaches and
Are still green
Although more lime than kelly or forest and
A bit bedraggled
More Cleveland than Pittsburgh but
Not quite Detroit and
Without bankruptcy or angry creditors
Who knows how long they can hang on
I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes new leaves next Spring to push them out
The tree seems to be in active denial
As long as on leaf still hangs on
No matter how empty the branch
The long winter has not set in and
Rebirth is not necessary
I wonder if it were a boy
Whether it would eat its vegetables

Monday, November 18, 2013

Colder Temperatures

The weather finally seems to be turning cold
For more than a few days
Which with a little more than a week to go to Thanksgiving
Should be remarkable and
Wonderful
Especially for me
Who has been planning our next move
Since right after we signed the mortgage papers and
Is always planning the next vacation
From the beach and
Has a garage and
House
Filled with
Boots
Gloves
Coats
Hats
Sleds and
Kids
But
I still remember
An afternoon of dodge ball
At a friend’s house
That I drove to and
I still remember
Feeling
As I always did
That the last game of dodge ball
Was just as much fun as the first game
Which was how I felt
Pulling my son around the block in his wagon
Rather than watching him ride his bike and
Sporting short sleeves
Rather than my fleece
Which is hanging in my closet
More ready than I am
For colder weather and
Tomorrow morning

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Turning Over Old Leaves

It’s calm now, but high
Winds arrive early morning
I’m not done raking

My life as art

An unfinished toucan is watching me
Out of one eye
One green eye
Joined to an orange beak and
Surrounded by pink
Blue
Green
Red
Yellow and
White
Feathers and
It’s the white feathers which catch my eye
My brown eye
Set off by my reddish brown hair and
My yellow shirt and
Lots of white
The toucan and I have a certain simpatico
Here at my desk as we both wait
For the seven year old artist in residence
To finish coloring us in

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Of the unknown and the familiar

When heading into the unknown
Be it a hallway at his sister’s school or
The cleaning aisle at the Shop Rite or
Watching snowboarders hurl themselves down craggy mountain sides while we eat lunch
He asks for my hand and
I give it because
Nearly every day
I myself
Feel like a five year old
Walking through a downward sloping hallway
Past pictures and dioramas and
Lots of doors
Keeping my head o a swivel and
My eyes open
Ready to see a familiar face

Friday, November 15, 2013

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Twenty minutes until we have to be headed out the door
No one has eaten breakfast
My daughter's hair needs to brushed as she screams bloody murder and
Then something has to be done with hair bands
I have to at least run some water over my body and
Put some clothes on that don’t make me look like a threat to the safety of school children
One lunch has to be made and packed
Both backpacks need to be checked and put in the car
The appropriate jackets have to be selected and
The kids have to be talked into seeing the necessity of wearing them
Footwear must be selected and fitted and secured
Teeth must be brushed and
The naked boy
Who is dancing around in front of me
As I attempt to put underwear over his feet and up his legs
Needs to be dressed
Which is why I clenched my teeth and screamed
He was hoping to sit down with his metal lunchbox and
Extract his stuffed dog and his stuffed turtle’s blanket
Which is why he said
Screaming at underwear really doesn’t help anything

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Discipline: Lather, Rinse, and Repeat

On my knees
My hands on his shoulders
My eyes on his
His eyes on the ground
Our voices soft
And in total agreement
We hug
We kiss
We zerbert
We laugh
We silently agree to do it all again soon

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Rakes and Responsibilities

A few snowflakes were in the air this morning
The very first few
Setting off dreams of
Four foot drifts and
Nightmares of a lawn and
A driveway
Full of leaves
Covered in snow
Probably about six inches but
That’s the difference between Four and
Forty
Sleds and snow angels
Versus
Rakes and responsibilities


Parental Perspective

Kids upstairs screaming
I pause before going up
To clean up some leaves

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Turkey shoots and freedom

My daughter and son
Like their father
Do not know turkey shoots
Annual or otherwise
Won't spend much time watching a fishing pole
Stuck in a plastic tube on the beach
Won't ever sit on my lap
Whilst I drive the tractor
Surveying our corn
Land
Town
Work
Lives
Freedom
Or
The boundaries of our world

Chincoteague Wild Ponies and Green Grass

Hey horses 
I've got news for you
Wild ponies
Are horses too
Just like you
Only they are a long ways away from humans
Who inexplicably stand in large groups
Staring at them through binoculars and 
Taking lots of pictures of them
While they stand in a swamp
Albeit
A a swamp of a particularly vibrant green

Friday, November 08, 2013

Check Mate

You know that old ram
The one from the nature documentary
That was injured in a fight during rut
Cornered in a freezing cold river
And eaten by a pack of hungry wolves
Well someday buddy
That will be you
And me
Minus
The freedom
Any possibility of booty
And the privilege of recognizing check mate

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Why I Stay Up Late Every Night

Almost every night
As the next day hangs threateningly over the one I am in
I sit in front of the computer
Typing
Searching
Reading
Imagining
Like a ghost hunter
In the waning hours of a fruitless search
For something
No one
Really believes in and
Only I
Want to

Debt

once a month we sweat
even now as the leaves fall
to the last dollar

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Driveway Fly Fishing

I’ve never been fly fishing
But I can only imagine
That when you are standing in the water
Slicing through the air with the fly rod
Almost dancing
With rod, fly, and fish
It must be a lot like almost dancing with my son
Yesterday
On the sloping grass next to our crumbling driveway
Whatever catchy but vacuous top 40 song that happens to be on
Flowing out of the open car door and
Picking me up as
I pick him up and spin him around
Slicing through the previsoulsy quiet and still air
Hoping for what happened today
Hoping for the request
To do it again
Hoping for a catch

Monday, November 04, 2013

He's A Hands On Kid

His hot little hand is on my shoulder
His voice is its usuall high pitch and high and
Still earnest but
Unusually soft and quiet
I am staring at the computer screen
Looking at the zoomed in close up of
A meticulousy crafted
True to life and
Fully functioning scale model of
Some piece of farm machinery
That I will never in my life be able to accurately identify but
I still feel his eyes looking at me and
In a daze
I answer yes
Coming to soon enough to try to put a bit of a break on his expectations
He doesn’t argue
Not this time
He just puts his hot little hand back up on my shoulder

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Friday, November 01, 2013

Bovine Dreams and Urban Legends ... Or ... Let Sleeping Cows Lie

She is a cow apart
At least a dozen are asleep on their feet under a live oak tree
Huddled close in the cool night air
She is a good fifty yards away
Close to the fence
Legs twitching just a bit
Like a dog chasing a squirrel while sleeping
Or a cow sensing someone approach while she sleeps
And trying to run away
Trying
But not doing
Though she is moving now
Just the slightest bit
Revealed in her markings
Markings just like a cow costume
The black blending into the background on a starless night
Like their clothes probably does
The white just a lighter bit of dark
But enough lighter
To reveal ripples on her left
Probably starting on her right
Where she can almost feel the hands pushing
Harder
As the ripples increase
As does the leg twitching
And then she starts listing
Like in the black and white titanic themed nightmare
Of someone about to leave on a two week north Atlantic cruise
Except the iceberg isn’t larger than the boat
Above or below the water
And it isn’t white
Standing there as
Slowly she goes over
Landing with a soft thud
But failing to drop beneath the surface
Then her eyes snap open
And she is lying in the wet grass underneath that live oak with all the others

Illuminated in the light of sun rising up over the hills

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What Goes Unsaid on Halloween Night

With
Two gallon size ziplock bags full of candy
Per child
Laying on the carpet
In front of all of us
The honest questions
Regardles of which one of us is asking
Are
Rarely Asked
Out loud

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Treat

He is an ice cream cone for Halloween
He can hardly walk in the costume and
Has to choose between holding the cone up
Or tripping and falling flat on his face
So as we walk along                        
I will hold on tight to the vanilla ice cream
With sprinkles
He will say
Trick or
Treat

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Difference A Decade Makes

Inane pop song blasting out of the car
Parked in the driveway
Everyone out
Doors open
Her brother and I dancing
Swinging
Crunching
Stomping
On a clear and brisk fall day
My eyes on her eyes
In between rolls
Eye rolls
Hers
Mine
Hers
Mine
Despite the screaming that prompted the loud music
She is smiling
And that makes all the difference
Between
Seven and
Seventeen

Monday, October 28, 2013

Of Cancer and The Limits of Stain Cleaner

Not like the
Ketchup
Paint
Even blood
Soaked into the fabric of a shirt
That you first see with a sense of foreboding
The history of that top flashing through your mind's eye
Did she wear it on her second day of school
Was he wearing it when he first rode the bike out of sight around the corner
Was he wearing it when its sky blue hues made his eyes look like his mothers'
Will she ever wear it again
And then view with a sense of defiance
Magic bottle in your hand
Overindulgence typical of the me generation in your heart
Eagerly spraying
Rubbing
Working
Fighting
And then waiting
Biting fingernails
Hoping
At least
For progress
And justification for more
Spraying
Rubbing
Soaking
Sitting
Fighting
Until
Victory
Or tears
Or preferably both
And if not
A trip to buy a new top
No
It's not like that at all
It's a grass stain
A little old garden variety grass stain
That starts coming out as soon as you spray it
You have to know
Believe
That it is always just a grass stain


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Inside a Meander

A meandering river
Splitting
Forking
Joining
Rejoining
Feeding lakes and reservoirs
From 20,000 feet
It's beautiful
Cutting through the patchwork quilt of farmland
A thread of a different color
Up close
I imagine
It is beautiful
Though less quilt and more thread
But in it
Well
I would guess the beauty is
Exhausting
Enveloping
And still
despite every attempt, hope, and wish
Meandering

Seasonal Conquest

vacant a moment
then red yellow orange return
occupying force

Friday, October 25, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Next

479
Clean it up
468
Take out an experience
453
Wonder what experience is worth only fisteen words
Feed the cat
Trim away some adjectives
425
Think a whilke about how wonderful adjectives are
List the best adjectives of all time
Check tomorrows weather and
Come up with adjectives to describe it
Reword the second paragraph
401
Feed the cat
Get a drink of water but
Not too much
A tight bladder neck is an unforgiving mistress
Take out all the references to the “two” kids
395
Strum quietly on the desk
395
Clear throat
Watch a video of the Burlington Zephyr streamliner train from 1934
Streamline each and every paragraph
Cross your fingers
364
Cry
Combine sentences
342
Smile a bit
Feed the cat
Pee
Make that conclusion really really brief
321
Watch Lil Wayne videos
Wonder whether that look would work for a forty year old white man
Go gangsta on each and every paragraph
299
Go to the next essay

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Female Seahorses

Male sea horses carry the eggs
Maybe over 2,000 of them
In a pouch
And he stays put
Anchored to the bottom of the ocean
While his mate runs around all over the place
Returning for a few minutes every day
Probably with instructions and
Then depositing more eggs as soon as the last load of babies is off into the world
At least that’s how it usually is
I wonder what happens if the female wants to stay home with the eggs
Is that OK with the neighbors
If her in laws were to stop over
Together
And recognize him
Or her
Would they help her come up with a workable pouch of her own
Or would they make their disapproval clear
With tail gestures and snide remarks
Muttering under their breath the whole time about how
Male sea horses are supposed to carry the eggs

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hoping To Be Twisted and Tangled

The fear is
Too much separation
Like parallel twister
Unbalanced
Tangled
Twisted
Playing the same game
But when one falls down
Maybe just one falls down
Not tangled
Up
Not twisted
Up
Maybe
Maybe not
But
In the midst of
Packing lunches
Grading papers
Writing reports
Talking to friends
Checking scores
Sewing on girl scout patches
Apple picking
Race running
Day tripping
Boating and
Who knows what else
Possible
I’m afraid

Monday, October 21, 2013

Happy Birthday

The identical red lids placed one on top of another
Behind the containers
In several stacks according to their size
Clean
Neat
Efficient
In the cupboard
In the refrigerator
Even in the dishwasher
And
I can’t help thinking
The perfect place
To put a fruit bread or a coffee cake
After its been received
Sliced
Sampled for show and
Gratitude and
Now must be stowed away
So the evidence can be swept up and under and
Be hermetically sealed
Underneath a red lid
It doesn’t matter which one

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Greetings of the Day

Good morning
How did you sleep
Thanks for letting us intrude
Hi
Good to see you
Nice to meet you
Hello there
Look at you
Hey, who is this
I’m back
Hey there
Good afternoon
Where is the Girl Scout
There you are, how was it
Hey, thanks

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Another Saturday?

A legitimate and unassisted goal
Tears shed over mud and dirt
Repeatedly
A fight over whether breakfast was early enough
Cat complaints lodged every five minutes starting at six thirty in the morning
A fifty minute movie on Raccoons
Oatmeal cookie pancakes accented with maple syrup
Lots of maple syrup
Someone still awake over an hour after the lights went out and the door was shut
Singing coming through the baby monitor
Loud and clear
An argument over whether the wallet that came with a used black purse purchased at a consignment sale was sold with it whenever and wherever it was first sold to an unsuspecting public
Nap
Whining over whether one game of Scrambled States was enough
Roller shoes at Target
Bacon
For the second week in a row
That was not crisp enough
An hour spent carefully arranging hosta and liriope
Family story read about ten minutes later than it should have been
About a food chain
In the forests of Pennsylvania
Deer
Vampire bats
Red tailed hawks
Cat sitting on my chest crying for dinner
Popcorn and a movie on a futon
A question
Dad did we win

?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Purse

A zipper is broken and
It had half a dozen maxi pads in it
But it also came with a little wallet
A mirror
A working strap and
It clips shut
So
For a dollar
It was the perfect way
To insure forty five minutes
Of worry free shopping
At my favorite consignment sale and
A successful
Father son
Outing

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Still

Clothes in the washer
Still
The fish in his little tank
Still
I think
It’s hard to tell through the cloudy brown water
Especially with the tank obscured by the dirty dishes piled in front of it
The clean ones in the dish washer
Still
The kids upstairs screaming at each other
Still
The cat rubbing up against my legs and meowing
Plaintively
Still
Breakfast cereal and lunch dishes on the table
Still
The newspaper out by the sidewalk
In its little yellow plastic bag
Still
Dinner unmade
Still
The stain in the carpet
The result of standing on a dry eraser board eraser and
Grinding it in
There
Still
Me
In t-shirt and jeans
In the middle of the kitchen
Eyes closed
Quiet
Still

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Coffee Shop

Within four walls
With the windows closed
The shades drawn
The phones off
The computers off
Everyone off somewhere else and
Cotton in our ears
Anything is possible and
Every idea makes sense and
Deserves equal airtime
Which is why
Folks need to spend more time in coffee shops

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Amtrack

Stand behind the Yellow Line

Did you go to the University of Maryland
Yeah
I saw your sweatshirt
My best friend went there
What year
                    
Mind the Gap

So, you went to high school in Princeton
No West Windsor

Stand clear of the doors

What was your major
Art
Yeah, I guessed that
Really … was it my back pack
Yeah

Quiet ride

Excuse me
But I couldn’t help but overhearing your conversation
My girlfriend has a lot of money too and
The same attitude
I have the money

Stop

I run my own business
Started it when I was fifteen

Elizabeth

I was on One Life to Live for two years
I gave it up to come back here
For her and
Then she got engaged to my best friend

Wrong way

I’m trying to bring Miami up here

Mail

Last night I had Italian wine

Kline

A certain percentage of sangiovese grapes

Airport next
Budweiser

It happened when I was nine
Really
Yeah
So what
Brain surgery

Check cashing

I have a business mind

Airport

You’re selling your business
I’m selling myself

Best Western

It’s crazy
You’ve really got to be a whore

I don’t know where that is
It’s just around the corner from the gas station

I see so much potential in you guys

Amtrack

Monday, October 14, 2013

Christopher Columbus Discovers the Hippopotamus

The second time he saw the hippopotamus
I saw it too
The first time I told him it was a rock
There might actually have been rocks on the beach when Columbus landed on San Salvador
Do you know that there still isn’t complete agreement
As to which island is the one
Columbus called San Salvador
On October 12, 1492
The folks on Watlings Island changed their name
To San Sakvador
To help eliminate the controversy
To restore focus where they wanted it
Where it needed to be
Which was why
That second time
I saw the hippopotamus

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Stopping to Laugh at the Flowers

I walk with jets
I walk with jest
Friday night
Pushed along the streets of New York City
By the six o’clock crowds and
Muscle memory
It was the former
But it’s helpful for me to remember
That it takes only a simple switch
To accomplish the latter

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Bottom of the Ninth

Falling
Always falling
Arms by your side
Arms straight out
Eyes open
Eyes shut
Asleep
Awake
Smiling
Scowling
Yelling
Quiet
Accepting
In denial
Certain
Uncertain
Still awake at 11:56 watching baseball for the first time in at least a year
Falling
Always falling

Friday, October 11, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chimpanzee

If I was a chimpanzee
Sitting on a branch
Eating mites out of the fur on my friends head
Talking politics in between nibbles
Whatever the topic
I would end up talking about critical thinking and
Logic and
Reason and
Process and
Later
When I was with the dominant female
(If I’m a chimp I’m running things
I only accept my lowly position
because I’m up so high on the evolutionary ladder)
So I would be with the dominant female and
When I was
I would complain about how my mite eating friend always comes back to
The overreaching done by liberals with the Civil Rights Act
And the next day
Again
Would be about
Mites
Civil rights
Critical thinking and
Where we could get some good monkey
If I was a chimpanzee

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Fall?

Not quite seventy
Mostly green leaves falling
It is almost right

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Parenting Glamour

Center stage
At the middle of the chaos
Is the switching engine
Setting up the homework to be done and
Filing it away in the yellow folder and filing the yellow folder away in her backpack
Bringing in the mail and the thank you notes hand delivered in school cubbies and
Shifting the neighbors mail into the neighbors mailbox
Washing the applesauce out of the lunchbag and
Putting in the tiny tupperware filled with yogurt and securely closed
Removing the guineapigs dish containing one small turd and
Exchanging it for one containing two baby carrots, three grape halves, and a bunch of parsely
Taking a full baldder and
Facilitating its emptying
Trading
Swapping
Replacing
Substituting
Bartering
Switching
Not in the glamourous way from history and adopted memory
No steam
No smoke
Just a diesel switcher in a gray and dirty freightyard
It’s 2013
Glamour is cancerous
Chaos is timeless

Monday, October 07, 2013

Symmetry in Absence

Three plates
White with blue borders
Two small
One big
Three simple stainless steel forks
Two small
One big
One hand glazed black and blue bowl of brussels sprouts
All for me
Leftover macaroni and cheese
All for them
All eaten on
Three white plates with blue borders

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Un-natural

Words on a screen
After
A six hour plane ride
Across
A three hour difference
Almost
A whole country away
They fall through the sky
From the sky
In place of the leaves
On this
The fifth day of October
In the year two thousand thirteen
In the still over seventy degree night
In the quiet house
Where I alone am awake
But not alone

Friday, October 04, 2013

Jihad

I am struggling
To have you listen to my
Words
And not your own
Fears

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Bonobo

If a bonobo could speak
What would it do with its credit cards
Drivers license
Proof of Insurance and
Money
That first fall after buying a new smart phone
Would a Bonobo shove its phone and wallet into one pocket and
It’s keys into another
Hoping that it wasn’t doing permanent damage to nerves in the leg
Or its nut sack
Do bonobo’s have nut sacks that would be problematic in a pair of jeans
If it didn’t have jeans
Would a money clip be the only way to go
For a bonobo that had conquered speech
And where would it put it
No
A bonobo is better off where it is
Dazzling us more advanced creatures
With its mastery of signs and symbols

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

A One Floor Future

I walk up and down stairs all day
Delivering
Cleaning
Reconfiguring
Scolding
Helping
Finding
Answering
Questioning
Wiping
Dressing
Making
Remaking
Imagining
Inventing
Fixing
Rhyming
Reading
Running
Because
Someday
No one will want me to and

I’ll live in a ranch house anyway