Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pop Song Wisdom

Baby you could swing by my room around ten
Cinderellas gone to New York City and 
I didn't know where to turn to
This is my homewtown and
I'm just sitting out here watching airoplanes take off and fly
Waste it if you want
It's the bond that we tie up and over and under and
I only want to be with you

how far this all goes

how far this goes
today
every day
is hard to see
hear
smell
touch
besides
tomorrow I'll be gone
I suppose I could come to jesus in prayer and he would take it all away and
bring the good news 
which is
It will all get taken away 
with or without Jesus
no matter 
how far it goes

the smell of freedom these days

when chestnuts are roasting on an open fire
how open does the fire
have to be
to be able to
breath life
into
the moment
and 
how open and 
free 
do i have to be
in ordet to breathe
the smell of chestnuts and 
celebration
into 
my lungs and
my life

Friday, November 14, 2014

the white emerges

sprinkles of the white
laced across oceans of green
garland foreshadow

Paper Context

When you need a tissue
Tears
Snot or
Something else
I don't suppose it matters
To the
Tissue

Presentation Matters

It's not the
Quantity or
Quality
Of your words that matter
It's just 
How
They are
Arranged

A Long Winter

Empty lives are not always like empty trees
Buds hidden under a dusting of snow
Even if they seem that way
Even if the snow does conceal leaves
Strewn about in every direction
Trees seldom stand alone and
Once a leaf falls
Who can say where it fell from
Who wants to admit that they know the difference
Between and empty tree and
The alternative

line of sight

when the pretty leaves
go, the view improves ... wonder
what your'e looking at

Monday, November 10, 2014

life seems long

the leaves fall off the
trees and grow back every
year, until they don't

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Where to start?

America is a big house
A big dusty house 
Garbage overflowing in all the cans
The sink full of dishes
Spider webs in the corners
Streaks on the wonderful s
Clothing lying about
And you 
And me
Standing in the middle
Wondering where we should start
Pretending the roof isn't leaking and the foundation isn't cracked

all are welcomed me ... but Ebola scares me

it is cold out so
drink of his blood and pass the
cup but not to him

there's stupid and then there's ...

a broken sandal
a sore ankle makes less sense
in two feet of snow

what is in a month

roofs littered with leaves
on February thirty
first is scarier


Monday, October 20, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

life is short

life  is nothing but
autumnal haiku, false hope
... fancy packaging


anything is possible

you'll never sleep well
If you think leaves might just
jump bAckup on trees

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Private Parts

Apple core hidden in a napkin
Banana peel obscured behind my laptop computer
And a good thing too
If someone has just tapped into my laptop's built in camera to spy on me
They won't have any idea what I eat
When I'm using my computer
Naked

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

autumn, pooh, and you

when a leaf falls here
does one also fall 
in the hundred acre wood

wet color

the color of leaves 
through scattered beads of water
doesn't change at all

Monday, October 13, 2014

Never Letting Go

At age forty one
Nothing anymore is like standing in the back of a pickup truck
Hands in the air
As it passes out of a tunnel and onto a bridge
At night
The air clear
And punctured with a song that moves you
The very first time you hear it
And
Unfortunately
Outside of a movie script
The same is usually true of
Fifteen
Seventeen
Twenty one and
Thirty nine


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Addicted

He never did heroine
Or dated one 
But
He told me he didn't need to
Because
At fifteen years old
Watching a movie with friends
She grabbed his hand underneath the pillow
Where no one could see
And held it

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fleeting

The second time I looked up
The face I saw in the clouds
Was still there
And
That was the moment I should have savored
Instead
Distracted by a fly passing in one open car window and out the other
I looked away
And
Now
I am staring at the clouds
Hoping for a face to emerge 
Somewhere in between 
The pistol and the mouse

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Made in China
What isn't
What wasn't
Nothing
Everything
You can get for a dollar or
Two or
Three and 
Later 
A yen or 
Two  
Or
San


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Breathe In Breathe Out

Bee flies in open
Window with the cool fall breeze
Go ahead ... exhale

The Fall

A perfect blue sky 
Hints of red and orange abound
Ebola is here

Where Did You Fall?

Raindrops only have delusions of grandeur
After they fall from the sky
When they fall on
Streams 
Rivers 
Lakes
Oceans
Even puddles
The ones that fall onto concrete
Can't afford to be delusional

Monday, October 06, 2014

Two sides to a blade of grass

Joy is like grass
Cut it down
Rip it out
Cover it in concrete
If you must
But know
There will always be a little bit somewhere
If you change your mind

Separating

Apparently
General Sherman is still despised in some parts of the south
Meanwhile 
In the north people still appreciate his tank
Which makes me wonder
Why a man and a woman getting a divorce
Bother arguing with one another

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Patriotic

I only love my mother
Because she is perfect
She looks just like she did when she was twenty
She never yells
She spells every word correctly when she writes and types
She has never burned rice
She has never been sick or sad
He hair never out of place
Her house always spotless
Her people free
Happy
Faithful
Industrious
Law abiding
Patriotic
Blinded by love

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Rinse and Repeat

Wake
Dress 
Feed 
Maybe eat
Drop off
Grade papers
Paint walls
Wash clothes
Wash dishes
Clean
Pause
Pick up 
Homework
Play
Use the bathroom
Cook
Eat
Clean
Put to bed
Teach some more
Write a poem
Go to sleep
Sleep
Rinse
Repeat

Interpreting our low ranking in infant mortality

Beets can make your urine red
So
Before you panic and
Drink a lot of water on your way out the door
To wait in your car in line 
To pick up your son from school
For fifty minutes
Think about what you had for dinner
You may have had 
Pasta
Brussel Sprouts and 
Fresh bread

Monday, September 29, 2014

seasons

the older I get
the less I feel like a bottle of wine
any bottle of wine
and the more I look like a leaf
any leaf
that is more than a few days removed from the tree
and the outside
sitting on the kitchen counter
still colorful
but ...
waiting

warm fall day

sweat and sunburn framed
by yellow, orange and green leaves
in the waning light

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Moment

When you yell at her for forgetting her homework
You hope that the moment is just a moment
Set aside
Contained
When  she says you are the best daddy ever
You
Want
It
To
Contaminate
Every
Part
Of
Your
Life
Forward
And
Backward
Of
The
Moment
Itself

Monday, August 11, 2014

then and NOW

She is but a link in the chain
When 
Standing under the basketball hoop
Ball in hand
She turns back towards me and says
I could dribble better
If this
Dress 
Wasn't in my way

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Packing

As I look across the living room to the dining room and
See the empty boxes  and
The would be contents
I feel like a photographer for National Geographic
Standing on the prairie in Yellowstone
In August
Watching the male Bison posture and bellow
As the females look on
All of them
Contestants in a much too familiar rite


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Guinea Pig

If you’ve heard the one about the tree in the woods
You’ll understand that I have to be off
It’s hard to know for sure when your patient is sick
If you aren’t there to listen to the cough

It’s almost time for dinner now
And carrots, parsley and grapes
They will not ever chop themselves
And jump up onto the plate

My little friend, he eats and he sleeps
He squeaks and he eats quite frequently
And between the three it’s safe to say
Eating is his speciality

When I appear at the top of the stairs
The gymnastics and theatrics begin
If it wasn’t for all of his eating
He’d really be very very very very very  thin

He jumps, he chews, he squeals with rage
Gripping the bars of his rectangular cage
Being small must not seem so fair
Especially not when he’s trapped inside there

Does he save this show just for me
Or does the cat stop by
And politely offer to serve
A homemade carrot pie

All that I know for certain
Is that when I put his bowl next to his hay
He empties it completely
That is all he ever really has to say

So I’ll be going now
See you later this week
I have a tree at home
That is about to squeak

By: Seren Alexia Angus

Sunday, May 25, 2014

the second nice day of the season

a watermelon,
corn on the cob, a dirty
striped picnic blanket

Cat Naps

I know that Carpe Diem is American
Hell it's even the name of a blog on the American Enterprise Institute's website but
I've been on a see saw recently
With a five year old and
I experienced the knee pain and
Calf strain and
Right at this moment
At barely six thirty in the morning
Nothing hurts but
I am uneasy because
A cat is sitting silently next to my chair
Not wailing or
Chewing plastic bags
As he has been known to do but
Simply staring off into the distance
Waiting
Waiting
Not like a leopard in a tree watching a troop of monkeys forage for fruit but
Waiting
Like a businessman standing in front of the doors of a subway train
If subway train doors had to be approached like antelope and
Businessmen had the patience of cats
Waiting
With the knowledge that
Sometimes
Days are
Like
Antelope and
Subway train doors and
Five year olds on see saws and
That's why cat's pounce and
Nap


Friday, May 23, 2014

second grade in may

little desks huddled
together like emperor
penguins with no eggs

Antique Plates

Check for rust
Look for wear and tear
Everywhere
Listen to the engine
Ask about mileage
Get up and go
Reliability and
Whatever else you want
Ask away
The answers don't matter anymore
Because
I've long been eligible for a
Antique plates

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

First World Problems

Land mine
Sand mine
The difference is just an L
Yet
While one sends you off to council meetings
The other sends you straight to hell

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Impatience

The warm sun, the blue
Sky, the white clouds, the light breeze
The next station is

New Jersey Transit and wishful thinking

Stopped in the station
Rocks bathed in the warm sunlight
No litter in sight

Gardener on Sabbatical

I am clothed in short sleeves and blue skies and
Stillness
Hands folded in my lap
As everything rushes by outside my window
Buildings
Cars
Trees 
Graffiti and
Presumably 
Weeds
Although
At this speed
Mood and
Level of detachment
I can't or
Won't
Be 
Sure


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Of Fenton, the Pharaohs, and the letter K

In the mid 1970s
Fenton, Michigan leveled its historic downtown
A building or two
Survived
Like a photo of a tall skinny girl
Standing on the beach in the shape of the letter K
Smiling
Buried in a box of old slides and baseball cards
Now
They have some great strip malls
But even if they had built another small town movie theater
On top of the old one
There would still be that earlier building
On the edge of town
Poking its facade up to the top of an old shoe box and
Probably
Even
An old wall in the basement
Waiting
Like the earlier tomb waits
Under the more recent one
Waiting
To be rediscovered
Remembered
At least until
We need to buy some bottled water or
Watch a movie




Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hell Yes

Your life
Is a three and a half minute song
...
Be sure you
Scream and
Flail
Through the
Chorus
Each and
Every
Time

Making Yourself Invisible

You have superpowers
For real
Because
You can drive by a
Deer
Squirrel
Skunk
Even a
Cat
Lying on the side of the road
In any and 
Every 
State of disrepair
With little more than a twinge of regret
That the roadside isn't all daisies and long grass
Iron your cape and put it on
Because
You can transform 
Even a cat or a dog
Into 
A ten year old ford taurus
Without 
Looking into the vanity mirror and
Seeing a 1973 levis edition amc gremlin



Monday, April 28, 2014

all mammals named sam are clammy

Sonic dissonance
Sweeps over me
Like a wave
In a bathtub
Rubber ducky
Shooting over my head
As visions of my feet fly up in the air and
I want to grab for them
But the sound is all around
Me
And I can't move
Trapped in a cacophony cocoon
Until
Three minutes an thirty two second pass
And the drain plug is pulled and
All of it and
All of me
Goes swirling down the drain
Into
Sonic consonance

Connect Four

Connect
Four
With
Seven
Almost
Eight
After
First win
And
Latest loss
Eyes meet
Connect

The Tyrannies, Proclamations, and Investigations of a Grumpy Five Year Old

I'm not going to school
I will not play the piano
You can't take me on walks
Ever again
No long car rides
No family pictures
No board games
No naps
Not anymore and
I'll never eat chicken or
Fish and
Once I'm fifteen
No more snacks


Art Appreciation

Today
Standing on the porch
Kleenex in hand
Staring out at blue skies
Fluffy clouds
Increasingly green grass
Flowers of every color and
Short sleeved  shirts
I feel like a blind man
Who has just inherited a Picasso
Tomorrow
Staring out at the rain
From the kitchen window
Box of kleenex on the counter
It will be Picasso
Circa 1903
That I won't be able to appreciate

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Quote

Before you react to a few words
It is helpful
To think of yourself and
The rest of us
As termites and
The sum of your words
Our words
As the mound and
To remember that
Termite mounds are spectacular
Even though they are equal bits
Earth and
Shit


Thursday, April 24, 2014

a different snow is falling

the wind still has bite
but it also spreads yellow
blue, pink, purple, white

Freedom

Freedom is an empty room
Windows open
White walls
Adorned only by the shadows cast by
The sheer curtains
Fluttering in the breeze
Wide plank pine floors
Painted with shadows and
Light and
All of it
Always
Waiting
Yearning
To be less perfect
Less empty
Less
Free


Wish You Were Here

Remember postcards
Having a great time
Wish you were here
And such
Well now
Now
With text and
Twitter and
Facebook
You're basically in the room and
I suppose
Regardless of how much I wish and
Which star I wish upon
That's about all
I can guarantee



Friday, April 18, 2014

Elephants For Grandma

Stampeding
Through a formerly quiet glade
Trumpeting on the way in and
On the way out
Breaking branches
Breaking trees
Stepping on toes and
Talons and
Hooves
Trampleling down
Everything and 
Anything and
Vanishing
With smiles all around

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Realtor

The mums I planted last year
On the advice of the Realtor we had yet to hire
Are poking up through the mulch
That I melted snow in order to lay in February
To help our new Realtor
Sell our house and
While I am not sure about the decision to capitalize Realtor
I am sure
As I sit here typing
In the same office I was typing in at this tome last year
That I have no interest
In seeing the mums bloom again this fall
Regardless of who our
realtor
Is

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

I'm Here


Parenthood is about 
Prescience and 
Presents
The most 
Precious of which is
Presence


Seasonal Impatience

flowers everywhere
green grass and buds on the trees
where's eighty degrees

Nothingness

Emptiness I know
I've been in the house
When the monitors aren't just silent
They're off and
I can hear the wind and
The hum of the computer and
My own elbow knocking against the table
I've lain in bed questioning
Every relationship
Every opportunity
Every decision
Every question
I've run through an abandoned military base
Barracks
Commissaries
Air strips
All empty but
All still there
Even if only in memory
I've never
However
Been nowhere
But
I will
Know nothingness too and
That scares me most of all

Monday, April 07, 2014

Hello Jo-Jo Kitty

Hello Jo–Jo Kitty
Are you asleep?
You look so comfy cozy
Your head buried between your paws
What are you dreaming about?
Me?
Catnip mice?
Flying feathers?
A door left open a second too long?
Or maybe
These days
A few seconds too long?
Your favorite food?
The wet kind?
Tuna?
A plastic bag?
You do love to chew plastic
Don’t you?
Don’t you?
Sorry
I didn’t mean to say that out loud
But now that your eyes are open
I know what else you like
Let me pet you under your neck
You can just sit and purr
And close those eyes again
Just settle all that matted fur back into the chair
And relax
Little hands and little old heads
We’e a good combination
Aren’t we?
Aren’t we Jo-Jo Kitty?

By: Wyeth and Daddy

Saturday, April 05, 2014

A Shortened Perspective

Childhood is rhyme
Parenthood is prose
Although
The system can be shaken up
From time to time
I suppose

Slow Down and Ketchup

To you
The slower life might have some pop
But for me
Unfortunately
It's slow down and
Ketchup

Friday, April 04, 2014

Selective Vision

yellow. green, blue, white
you don't remember when it's
grey, windy, and wet

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Snot

When a person picks his nose and
Flicks the piece of snot off of his finger with his thumb
It disappears only from his vision and
His mind but
Not from the world
For whatever it's worth
The same is true of
Me and
You



Transitions

The sun now brings warmth
Nap time now brings
One song after another
Down through the monitor
To me
Who needs a radio
Anyway

Transformation and Disguise

Forget the cover
I'm not even a book
Not always
Today
In the park
I was and
I was as advertised
You only had to ask my son to know
It was warm and bright
Jackets were unnecessary
Flowers were poking through the dirt
Fisherman were knee deep in the water
Dogs and
Horses and
People were out in droves and
There was no need at all to whine
Not today
Not with so much to talk about
Hand in hand
Skipping
Sitting
Strolling
Side by side
Like the trash cans
Two nights ago
Out on the curb were I had placed them
Where I was standing
Under a star filled sky
Transformed
In an instant
From short story or epic poem
Now
Back
Mid sentence
Interested in
What
Has already been written
Light years away and
What
Might come next
After me

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Of waffles and pancakes and where they all end up

I doubt they will remember individual pancakes
Last week was applesauce
We've had
Blueberry funfetti
Lemon poppy-seed
Lemon-ricotta
Carrot cake
Cinnamon bun
Oatmeal cookie
Spiced buttermilk banana
Maple walnut and flaxseed
Banana, raisin, and oatmeal
Johnny cakes
Peanut butter
Parsnip
Eggnog
Cinnamon-peach cottage cheese
Gingerbread
Old fashioned potato
Sweet potato
And even
Golden
And
There will be more to come
Even though
All they will remember is
That we ate pancakes
Almost every week
I suppose that's why
Sometimes
When I really think about it
I almost understand the folks who spend their money and time trying to stop other people from getting married
But not today
Today
I made
Gluten free coconut
Waffles

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

Perfect Imperfection

For me
You are a perfect early summer day
Sky the steel blue of a morpho butterfly wing
Clouds so puffy they might have been stolen from the edge of a mirror in one of those ceramic Christmas village displays
The wind whispering just loud enough
The sun still only investigating around the edges 
The flowers knowing no trepidation or shyness or discrimination
At all and
All of it
Moving
Flowing
Touching
You aren't a postcard 
Or even a BBC documentary narrated by David Attenborough
You are the real thing
With
Ants
Ticks
Dirt 
Disease and 
Birds and
Deforestation
All there
Under that blue sky and
Those white clouds
Just like 
Me

The Response Is In The Context

Rain in the forecast
As I dust snow off of buds
A smile on my face

Extant Responsibility

The time to strip naked and run through the forest
Chasing imaginary deer and
Irish elk
Is
When you see more than
Ruminants
Extinct or extant
More than plants with elongated stems or trunks supporting photosynthetic leaves or branches at some distance above the ground
My advice would be to act quickly
Before
You are trapped by
Ticks
Houses peppered with windows
Sexual predators and
Insurance Co-pays and
Unfortunately
Before you can drive yourself to the woods



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

Which are you?

Philadelphia
Chicago
Detroit
New York
London
San Francisco
Oakland
Ann Arbor
Madison
Tired
Busy
Foreign
Adorable
Religious
Gay
Which are which and
Which are you

Bus Ride

It is unseasonably cold outside
So i suppose I should be happy to be
Head counted and
On the yellow bus
Lunch bag next to me on the seat
The world bouncing by outside my window
But
I can't help wondering whether
It would be any easier now
To pull the arrows together
Drop the window and
Stick my head out


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sweet Dreams

Head on my shoulder
Hand on my chest
She's asleep
Me
I'm in a dream

Friday, March 21, 2014

Waking Up To Love

To love a blank canvas
Is
To love an ideal
To love a canvas
That has been robbed of possibility and promise
By your own brush strokes
Is
To love that look
You get in the morning
Over top of a steaming cup of coffee and
An egg trapped between two sides of an English muffin from
Someone
Who has already heard your dreams and
Your excuses



The Tenaciousness of Spring

plastic gloves, two pairs
and gardening gloves, one pair
dirt still under nails

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Getting Over Auntie Em

Ribbon cuttings are great
When they are playing out in your mind's eye
Sweat on brow
Nails in mouth
Hammer in hand
Done with your turn
As Auntie Em
Way way off Broadway
Now starring
At the Globe
As the Wife of Bath
In the performance that will earn you a turn
On the silver screen
As the queen
Any queen
Sword in hand
Ready to
Cut that ribbon
Yearning
To be forced
To start all over again



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Growing Backwards

Growing
Backwards
Into
The
Ground
It's what it feels like I might be fated to do
If I was a flower
A Daisy
Immune to drought and pest and errant boot
Yet
Dazzlingly unable
To understand
The age old cues
Trickling down to it
From time immemorial

I hate it when dogs try to predict the weather

There is a script for growing flowers and
It works
Rain or shine
Most of the time
As long as you and
The flower and
The soil and
The bugs and 
The kids and
The neighborhood dogs
All know your roles and
As long as one of those neighborhood dogs
Doesn't decide that it feels like a drought is in the air and
It might as well tear around in the garden bed
In a mad bit of 
Hardwired
Improvisation

Monday, March 17, 2014

questions in late winter

now it is too cold
later it will be too warm
when is it just right

sNOw

Too much of anything is
Too much
Try playing Ella Fitzgerald during every waking hour for a week and
You'll be begging for something
Anything
Else
Miles Davis
Buddy Guy
Debbie Gibson
Anything
Which is
Why
Right now
I'd take ninety degrees with
Ninety percent humidity
Or even
A good cold rain

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I'll Give You My Huddled Masses

Choices
Are like
The huddled masses
They are impossible to avoid
Good to have around and
Frequently romanticized
But
Truth be told
Easier
When someone else takes them

Friday, March 14, 2014

Optimism

cold winds can come and
go along with ice and snow
Spring will still come though

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Of Spring, Last Gasps, and Inevitability

The old storm windows
Rattled all night in the cold wind
Driving us out and
Onto the futon in the study
I'm not sure where Spring was driven to
But tonight we are back in our bed and
Those original sliders are
Silently frosted over and
I am attempted to write in the frost
A reminder
To the winter wind
On this the eighteenth day of March
That we won the Battle of the Bulge

My Stuffed Turtle

He's green
He's white
He's got stuffing inside
He's fuzzy and furry and
Warm through the night
His shell is not hard
His legs don't pull in
So he really knows
The places we've been
For he's seen them himself
First with two beady eyes
Then when love picked one off
Just one did suffice
To soak it all up
As he's carried around
Fraying foot pads
Dangling two feet from the ground
In the car
In the wagon
Perched on my bike
In the library
At the beach
On a long hike
Out in the yard
Down by Grandma's pool
At the museum
Even learning at school
He's white and
He's green and
Whenever I'm seen
It's a good bet
One unlikely to fail
That sticking out from under my arm
You will always spy a little green tail

By Wyeth and Dad

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

of Swords and Plowshares

I wonder
If my son
Was trying to turns swords into plowshares
When he chucked his Nerf sword out of his second story window and
Into the backyard
Where I was taking down a small tree
One branch at a time
You might think he was simply trying to transform his nap into
Something more exciting
After all
He later proclaimed it his
"Most exciting nap ever" but
I was doing more than turning up the soil
When I used my shovel and my mattock
To probe the dirt right around the stump
Before turning in for the night
Which is why
Tomorrow during nap
I'll be on guard for "excitement" and
Transformational change



Monday, March 10, 2014

Drawing a Blank

A special note
That's what is printed at the top
Blank lines laying heavily underneath
Waiting
Expectantly
For you to give birth to something ...
Special
To fill them
To release them
To complete them
Which is why
Sitting
In the middle of my desk
Right now
In the very position it has always been
Like a bristlecone pine
In the middle of a Christmas tree farm
Is
A Special note


March 10th

returning with loot
leaving shoes in the garage
we have sprung ahead

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Midnight Feeding

Midnight feeding
For the cat and
Me
The cat has chicken and liver
I have toast and butter
In the office
In front of my computer
Where I contemplate an empty computer screen and
Lick crumbs off my fingers
Some crumbs
Seeming
Perhaps
More filling
Meatier
Than others

Friday, March 07, 2014

Moving

For sale 
Walls
Windows
Doors
Floors
Ceilings 
Wood
Steel
Copper
PVC
Glass
Carpet
Lead 
Asbestos
Concrete
Asphalt
Trees
Shrubs
Flowers
Dirt
Wanted
Most of the above
Especially 
Dirt

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

first warm day in march

Snow melts in the sun
Coats, hats, and gloves disappear
Memories grow short

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Do It Yourself Doublestuff

Take two sandwich cookies
Ease each one apart
Carefully coaxing the cream to stay only on one cookie
If either operation is unsuccessful
Consume the evidence of failure and
Begin again at the beginning
Make sure you have poured yourself a glass of milk
Cow, goat, soy, coconut, rice, or almond are all fine choices
But you will need something before you continue and
Continue you must
By selecting the cookies you have extracted from the cream and
Making them disappear
Next
Turn your attention to the cream lined cookies that remain
Hold one in each hand
Cream sides facing one another
Line them up and
Slowly close the distance between them
Mating the cream fillings
So that they seamlessly
If only briefly
Join as one
Set them
It
On the table and
Admire the perfection
The handcrafting
Then
While still in the moment
Deliberately
And
Without rushing
Bring an end to the cookies
And
Then the milk
And
Then
Finally
The moment

Monday, March 03, 2014

Heroism

Green
Round
Dimpled
Small
Numerous
Piled in a white porcelain  teacup with a blue accent line a quarter inch from the top
Steam still rising
As if there was tea inside
Ignored nonetheless
Intentionally
I place them closer and
Engage
In a long and rancorous debate
Joined from opposite sides of the yellow, white, green, and blue flowered tablecloth and
Ending in
The depositing of two of the dimpled green balls into the mouth
With jaw set
Eyes squinted
Grimace painted on
Not the stuff of ballads or
Twenty four hour emergency news coverage
Perhaps
But
If it looks like a pea and
Tastes like a pea
It must be a pea


Sunday, March 02, 2014

Ensure

Was she yet sixty years old
When her 1998 Chevy Malibu came off the assembly line in Wilmington
Did she buy it new
Or did she buy it later
When she surely must have been over sixty
This is what I am thinking about now
Hours later
In the moment
I was all about the empty ensure bottle
The one she picked up off the ground
On her way into the grocery store
Apparently on the chance that it might be full
Flinging it down when she realized it was empty
As a homeless man might have dealt with a cigarette butt that proved to have too little tobacco left to be useful
I wonder what flavor she was hoping for
Mixed fruit
Vanilla
Classic tobacco
Silvermist metallic
If I was forced to drive a 1998 Chevy Malibu I would have gone with dark torreador metallic
If I was imprisoned in Guantanamo and on a hunger strike
I would have wanted to be force fed with butter pecan
If I was a bum
I'd hope for half smoked menthol
I say
At forty
From my office
With a 2002 medium blue metallic Park Avenue parked in the driveway
That I bought a few years after it rolled off the assembly line in Hamtramck
Chewing on the draw strings of my sweat shirt
My long straggly hair falling down into my eyes
An almost empty glass of soy milk next to me
Calling on me to extract the last few drops
Assuring me
That no one is up to see me lick the last few drops off of the side of the glass and
Hold that and
My car
Against me





Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Least of These

The least of these
Hidden in the shadows
Awaiting death
Fearing life
In the land of just and right now
Regaled by words
Promises
Threats
Fears
and
Love of self
Rights
Us
No sir
Not the necessities of life
Not in our interest
Not in our homes
Not in our freedom
Not in our kingdom’s inheritance
Not now
Death will deliver thee
For He is better
We are selfish sinners
All of us created equally in that way
I will take what is mine
Leaving the least of it for
The least of these
The least of us

Friday, February 28, 2014

Five Year Old Strategy

Ask a question
Even the most absurd question
Because who knows
You might get lucky
Or at least
When you ask a second question
And it isn’t
May I have a riding lawn mower or
Will you buy me
A five year old boy with one inch long hair
My own curling iron
If
You threw a big enough fit when the answer to the first question was no
You are still whimpering and gasping for breath and
You suddenly remember how to be exceedingly polite

You won’t be relying so much on luck

Thursday, February 27, 2014

In, Out, And Around The Repeating Days

Blue
Berries
Yellow
Banana
Orange
Orange
Juice
Drink it up
Drink it down
With
Pancakes
Eggs
Bacon
Of the turkey
From the turkey
Tomato or potato
With burger
Veggie or beef or chicken
With
Cheese
Cheddar or Mozzarella or Vegan or
White
Chocolate
Brown
Chocolate
With
Nuts
Water
Clear
Water
Into
Wine
Drink it up
Put it down
Cook it up
With
Oil
Peanut or Canola or Sesame or Olive
In goes
Garlic
Onion
Purple
Chinese eggplant
Green
Zucchini
Asparagus
Broccoli
Red
Pepper
Orange
Pepper
Green
Pepper
White
Rice
Soy sauce
Oyster sauce
Hoisin sauce
Ginger
With
Pancakes
Veggie
White and black
Cookies and cream
Water
Rinse
Repeat
Again
And
Again
And
Again
Again

Rights

It's my right
She says
He shouts
They all proclaim
Hundreds
Thousands
Millions
We are like a mass of blind archers in a large fallow field
Shooting freely
Confidently
Completely unimpeded by all that we can't see

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Christmas In February/Christmas Is February

If
On Feburary 26th
Your Christmas gift
Which never worked and had to be returned
Is finally replaced
Does
February 26th
Become a Christmas gift
Too
?

This is Love

Indeed it is a walk on a beach at sunset
The warmth of the sand on your feet
The brilliant colors dancing across the horizon and
In your eyes and
In her eyes
A moment seemingly carried out of the ether on that shifting breeze that is blowing her hair around her face and yours
But
It is also seemingly
built on a tower of shifting sands
Flowers you had delivered on a Tuesday in August
Angry words
Hushed words
Tears
A bowl of ice cream too large to eat by yourself and
Two spoons
All in there
Stacked
Mixed
Piled
Jostled
Like
Rocks and
Shells and
Bones
Tossed and jostled about by wind and rain and rocks
Over time
Over centuries
Now under your bare feet
Squishing through your toes
At this moment
This magical moment in time
Watching the sun set behind the water
Not a moment's thought on past tears, meals, or gravitational collapses of sections of large molecular clouds millions of years ago



Monday, February 24, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

Two Weeks Before Halloween And There Is Snow In The Middle Of February

Fog
Ice
Mist
Thunder
Pouring Rain
Rainbows
With snow still on the ground
It makes me feel like 
I am at a department store a few weeks before Halloween
Standing amidst stray strands of orange lights, one or two life sized talking ghouls,
A few scarecrows, rows of artificial trees, and inflatable Santas in more poses than seem possible and
SIlently cursing whoever thinks it is s good idea to still have Halloween merchandise on the floor
Two weeks before Halloween


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tea Cup

A tea cup
With a touch of residual soy milk at the bottom
No saucer
One spoon
One soggy generic brand honey nut cheerio
Sorry
Make that
Zero soggy generic brand honey not cheerios
and
Nary a drop of soy milk
and
Still no saucer
To go with
A spoon and
A tea cup

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Loosening Grip of Winter

The snow outside my window tonight is like American power and influence
I would think it was as good as ever
If I hadn't seen it two days ago and
If 
Earlier
Before darkness and temperatures fell 
Again
I hadn't seen it and heard it
Running away
With the rain
Off the roof
Across the driveway
Down the street
If I hadn't seen it and
Didn't remember it but
My memory won't be as clear tomorrow
When I awake in the morning and
Put on my boots and
Gloves and
Hat and
My winter jacket
Both layers and
I'm still shivering
Still under its spell
Still making allowances for it
Still grimacing and grousing under its power
Still convinced
At least until
I am back inside
Wearing a t-shirt and 
Looking at Friday's forecast
Wondering when
Like each of the less remarkable winters that have come before it
This one will disappear from even
My mornings and evenings
Wondering when it will loosen its grip






Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Carbonated Perspective

When
My seven year old daughter
Continues to stare at me
Mouth open
Eyes wide
Even after being reassured 
That I was not joking
When I said
There are still people 
Who were alive
When 
Water fountains and
Soda fountains
Were segregated
I choose to see 
Progress 
In her bewilderment
Rather than drinking fountains
Overflowing with Coke

Monday, February 17, 2014

Discordant Parenting

I come back up to huddling and
Conspiring
Heads nearly touching
Shadows mingling
Feet shuffling
Eyes darting
Then his
Focus on me
Again
But this time he says nothing
She never takes her eyes off of him and
Never stops talking
Mumbling really and
Gesturing
But I've seen the violins watch the conductor entreating the horns
To give him more
Watching
Bow in hand
Ready
So
I know
I'm supposed to be getting this too
My angry solo now over
My wrong notes
Mostly forgotten
I'm supposed to kneel down and
Get squeezed and
Enveloped
By the huddle
By the conspiracy
By the melody
Of their live

Sunday, February 16, 2014

still screwed ... in

A light bulb burned out
And broken off in your hand
The rest still screwed in

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine

Friday the fourteenth
A number of years ago
In September
Friday the fourteenth was the day after my birthday
Thursday the thirteenth
Neither day unlucky
But both tinged with foreboding
One the sort that strikes you when you wake up on the day of a big test
And it looks much brighter
And much more like the middle of the day
Than it should
The other is the kind of foreboding folks experience in horror movies
When they hear themselves say something like
“Sure, I’ll go see why Rob hasn’t come back yet”
Today
I’m not even mildly suspicious of what is waiting for me in the next room
And I’ve never felt more than five minutes late all day long
Today
Had candy
Cookies
And homemade cards
But no presents to open
Or play with
Or contemplate
Today
It is Friday the fourteenth
Of February


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Ice Cream Recipe

Milk
Two cups
Any kind
Even soy

Sugar
One third cup
Plus a free lesson on fractions

Vanilla
One Teaspoon
And everyone gets a whiff

Salt
Just a pinch
"It tastes even better now"

Waffle cones
And

Surprise
Two tablespoons or so

Snow
Eight cups
Completely buried in a bowl set outside almost twelve hours earlier

Mix

Take pictures

Eat

Don't forget the kids
Two
If you have more
Double the other ingredients



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

She Is

She is
Blue tights
Blue turtleneck
Blue tartan patterned headband
Khaki jumper
Today
She'll be Jeans
White socks
Non collared
Non turtleneck
Non solid colored
Shirt
Hair tied back in a pony tail
Tomorrow
At the surface
It's a snow day sea change
Beneath the surface
The change is 
Les climatic and
More climactic
I am
Jeans
She is
Something else
Something less comfortable
Now
She is
Flowered footie pajamas







Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Point of No Return Is Nearing ... Bless You

I wish
The point of no return
Came on
Like a cold
As you came within range
You’d start to sniffle
Then
As it came into sight
You’re head would start to hurt
Just a little and
As you moved within shouting range
The snot would start to flow
Just a little more
Out your nose
Back down your throat
And then that feeling
The sick feeling
Would descend over you like a cloak of darkness
Right as you arrived
And you would know you were there
It would be great for making meringues and
Deciding whether or not to take a job
And right about know
I’d be wondering
Whether Sudafed
Might give me a few extra days and
Whether
A cold would be easier to handle
If you didn’t know you had it
After all

There is no cure

and it was all yellow

Red cabbage juice revealed all
Pink and it was an acid
Blue and it was a base
Vinegar was an acid
Old red wine was an acid
Baking powder was a base
Toothpaste was a base
Milk was neutral
Whether it should have been or not
Turmeric
However
Was yellow
Humans must be mostly water and
Just a little
Turmeric

Sunday, February 09, 2014

life is short and so are green beans

This poem is short
Because
So is life and
Today             
Twenty minutes of mine was
Devoted to
Convincing a seven year old
To eat                      
Half a green bean

Testing The Limits

If
Testing the limits
Is an admirable trait
In a fighter pilot
Flying a supersonic jet
What about
In a five year old
Trying to get
Both
A bowl of cheerios and
A bowl of popcorn
Before
Bed

Friday, February 07, 2014

Olympic History

ice, snow, pageantry
over top of history
a big stained glass door

Little House, Big Woods, Combustion engine

If I had grown up in the little house in the big woods
With Laura
Mary
Little baby Carrie
Ma
Pa
And their good old bulldog Jack
I would never have known the smell of burning gasoline
Heavy in the cold morning air
I would have known cold morning air
Even if I didn’t recognize it
As I waved goodbye to my grandparents
From the covered wagon
Probably forever
And headed
Pots banging
Dog barking
For the prairie
But I wouldn’t have known what I was talking about
Had I tried to explain to myself what it smells like
When you walk up and down your in-laws’ ice covered driveway
Between the house and your car
Which is running
Warming up
Loading dirty clothes,
Leftover vegetable pasta, and
Jalapeno yogurt dip
Into the trunk
So that you can return to your home
Which you have to hope
Has electricity flowing into it
Once again and
Probably
Luckily for me
If I had grown up
Churning butter
Gathering honey and
Dodging bear
In and around the little house in the big woods

I wouldn’t have cared

Thursday, February 06, 2014

crying in color

Crayons are scattered about on the coffee table
One coloring sheet lies upside down on the floor
The evidence of angry scribbles rising above and through the otherwise white surface 
Another sheet lies face up 
Slight crumpling visible in the lower left corner
The fairies float above the yellow and blue flowers in a hazy gray sky
Purple wings
A pink hue reaching out from the bottom of the frock
But not yet transcendent 
Like me
Standing there
Reluctant to follow the noises into the next room
Wondering
If life is 
Ever again
Quite so colorful

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Watching Them Change And Grow

One hundred pieces of pasta
Counted out
One at a time
Placed in a plastic bag
Sealed up
Zipped into the backpack
Are now waiting in the front hallway
Tomorrow they’ll head out to school
When they come back
They’ll be changed
I wonder
If I’ll notice
Anything beyond chips and breaks
I sincerely hope
That
Normally
I do


I wish I could blame winter

Four inches of snow
But I am stuck here without

Proof of causation

Monday, February 03, 2014

Sunday, February 02, 2014

The Recipe For Success

What you achieve
At the moment of your birth
Is akin
To balancing an elephant on the head of a pin
What you achieve thereafter
Is dependent on
Acknowledging
Each and every morning
That no elephant will sit on the head of a pin forever
And
On
Eating a healthy and substantial breakfast
During which
You digest that knowledge along with your
Bran flakes
And
Let
It
Pass
Right
Through
Into
The
Toilet

Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Birthday ...

I am content with these words
On this day
For you
Because
Writing
Painting
Sculpting
Aren’t supposed to be like studying for an exam
Or training for a road race
At least not a single road race
That has a finish line
Because
In two months
I might add a line to this poem
Or take one away
Or decide that I shouldn't have used contractions
And
Because
I have a feeling
That 
While turning seventy
Might feel like reaching a milestone in a road race
It's really 
A lot more like
Writing
And 
Rewriting 
A poem

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Space Between

Sitting in class
I used to draw lines in between the words in my text books and
Handouts
Starting at the top of the page
Going from left to right
Or right to left
I would draw lines
Down
Jogging in and out
To move between the words
Later
I would fall in love with the …
Ellipsis
A way to draw out the space
To use it
To be used by it
In prose
Poetry
E-mails
A way of letting the words breathe
Without letting them fall apart
Although there is a time and a place
To feel as if things are falling apart
In the back of that two tone Astro
Sitting in the driveway
Loaded up
With words
In a taxi in New York
Crying in your lap
Unable to find them
Alone
In a youth hostel
Fastidiously listing everything I wanted to do with you
One line after the other
No space at all
And so much
That I barely even tried to fill any of it
Barely tried to lay claim
I didn’t know any better
I didn’t know
That there is space and
There is space between
If the devil is in the details
God is in the connections
One
Word
Feeding
Off
Of
The
Next
One word feeding off of the next
So
Now
When I write poetry
I seldom break it up into separate verses
And I seldom cry
When I think of how far away you are
For I know
That you
Will always be the word right in front of me on the line held together by the space between

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Footprints

Yellow siding
Spotted with the footprints
Left behind by ivy
Flower beds
Begonias
Geraniums
Concrete steps
Screen door
Usually broken
I may never actually take that walk again
But I
Obviously don’t have to
I would think
It could have been the same
For Pete Seeger
And
We shall overcome
He could have stopped performing it years ago
He knew that walk all too well
He could have inhabited only new songs
But he didn’t
If you watched him perform it over the last decade
You watched him gradually retreat from it
Cede it to fellow musicians  
To the audience
Imploring others to step in where his faltering voice was leaving off
He needed help up the driveway
Up the steps
But he never stopped going inside
I have
Because
A house isn’t a song
It can be neatly severed from what was
Is
Always waiting just inside the door
To the right
Past the basement stairs
Through the kitchen
Past
Formica
Checkered Wallpaper
Dark Lacquered cabinets
Greens
Browns
Yellows
In the three attached light-filled and professionally decorated
Squares
On eleven acres
And
Deep
In my heart
For
Your footprints
Are spotted across more than just the siding
And you aren't finished leaving them

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Mother’s Life: The Musical … You’ll Wish You’d Been Within Earshot

She’d write it
She’s written it
Diaries
Poems
Letters
Cards
Bulletins
Minutes
She’s written it all
And it’ll be great
Because it’s not always been easy
Trust me
I’ve lived within earshot

She’d choose the cast
Calling in and texting her vote as many times as it takes
Busy lines be damned
Trust me
I’ve been drafted into the election effort
I’ve been loitering within earshot

She’d direct it all
The crew
The actors
The orchestra
I can see her now
At rehearsal
Calling out missed sharps and flats
From the front row
The back row
Backstage
An office upstairs
The parking lot
Anywhere within earshot
Trust me
I’ve missed an F sharp within earshot

She’d sing lead vocals too
On every song
Whether she chose them or not
Whether she was in the cast or not
Whether she was supposed to or not
She’d sing them all
And she would sing them all
Choir style
Probably as an alto
Though she’d give the soprano line a try
It wouldn’t matter if it was
A hymn
An original country ballad or
A cover of Guns N/ Roses
Or Prince
Or Eminem
Trust me
I’ve been within earshot

She’d serve cake at the cast party
Telling everyone
As she handed them a plate with a piece of cake on it
How thankful she was
And how wonderful they’d been
And they’d believe it
Because she believed it
They’d believe it and
They would be that good next time
Even if they hadn’t been this time
Because she believed in them
I’d be cutting the cake and placing it on plates
And I’d believe it
Because
I was within earshot

Because I’ve been within earshot