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