the crazy things we come up with that
no one understands, we all live in our own
skin pulled taut over beating hearts and
electrified brain cells
how many zeros in the number of synapses
and the connections between them?
it's amazing we can even have a conversation
about those dishes stacked on the kitchen counter.
they are mine, I know since you've been home
I don't carry my weight at all, dropping
my lunch box next to the dirty dishes
only to go upstairs to write or look out the
window at the moon rising in the east
as the sun drops abruptly into the west
what an endless merry-go-round
so I talk to myself, my brain cells in perfect
synchronicity, my heart catching every beat,
my words understood before they are
you're on my left shoulder
and we talk amiably, I know
everything you'll say after so
many years that I can't bear to
hear the questions again, they are
always there and yes, I answer
them, sometimes resentfully,
impatiently, with wise cracks,
snide sometimes, but I answer
because I know they are the
right questions, even if I refuse
to admit that in person.
he would't even buy her a cup of coffee
the morning after
she lost her job and he stood her up on their
he apologized, the steam from his peppermint tea
rising up to meet his refined nose,
fogging his glasses.
they were horn-rimmed, of course, in the
newest style, narrow, dark, solid arms
adorned with gold fleur de lys.
she didn't have her purse with her, a typical
female thing to never carry money,
we always figure he has a wallet and
knows how to use it.
how awkward to not know each other
one cup of tea between them, a single job,
a wet raincoat and umbrella hanging
from the arm of his chair.
the hurricane was coming on strong now,
waves crashing against the pier outside.
this was not warm and cozy.
she picked up her book and walked out
into the storm
at least a book can act as an umbrella
for the first few steps towards freedom.
he changes his tie after the first Sonata
and then again after each piece, from yellow
to green, blue to brown, no wonder he rushes
from the stage as if to escape our awe
perhaps embarrassing him after so many
hours of practice, only he notices the missed
notes while we, the luckiest ones, settle
comfortably in our seats recognizing this
moment is nirvana, hoping for eternity.
with the door closed
their wings flutter against my window
the silence is broken
with the door closed
I look up gratefully at his red breast
then hers, they perch together on
a single supple branch
a simple arc under their weight.
with the door closed
I don't hear phones ring,
deep voices on both sides of me,
I only see their songs on the
other side of this glass
singing to me.
snow muffles the sound of tires crunching over leaves
now softly resting across the wooden planks of the bridge
they have no crunch left, sodden in snowflakes, resting
for the long season ahead of crisp nights, sleet, sun
and snow skiiers as vast in number as the leaves
spread out across this bridge, settling into winter just
as skiis are being being waxed and hot boxed, fitted and sold,
flying out of stores, credit cards maxed out
snow is here, the muffled sound of skis carving
tracks through newly fallen whiteness.
I looked out into the living room to see
whether he was dead or alive, on his side, snoring,
is he alive another day to bark at the sky or break windows,
attract another girl from the other side of the block,
quantum entanglement when they cannot yet see each
other yet know they are meant to be together
like us across from each other, you doing a chest press,
me attempting situps.
who knows what goes on behind closed doors,
we thought they were happy and until they emerged
holding divorce papers, or, their new baby girl,
the joy of their life, while the cat stands tall
in his box, stretches and yawns before wandering
off to look for his breakfast, knocking over
the flask of poison on the way out.
the moon is overhead, blurry as if I forgot my glasses
clouds scattering moonlight, there is no clarity
on my desk either with a stack of Swiss francs,
Renew your AARP membership today!
my phone is low on batteries.
Pencils with broken lead,
Vaseline intensive care,
I loved the smell of the Jergens my mother wore.
A metal cylinder that belongs to something,
a missing credit card I still can't find.
The moon keeps moving across the sky
as the bills go into the recycle bin, flowers
long past their prime head downstairs
to the compost, a stack of magazines accumulates
on the floor.
Chase.com is down so that bill can't be paid,
the rest are, I see the surface now of the
scarred wooden table, I place a lone penny in
the middle of my desk,
Mitt, the peace maker.
it must itch,
that unfamiliar fabric against his skin,
so newly donned, his political pollsters
stretching it over his bayonnets and
horses, while he prepares his numbers of
required new battleships for waging
peace, for God's sake, let's make
peace in time for election day.
who doesn't love peace?
he shakes the jar hopefully, the last couple oatmeal flakes bounce
against the glass, he peers inside and whispers an incantation
that sounds a bit like a slight whimper, a tone of desperation,
begging is another way of description, placing the jar in full
view of the granola fairy who usually arrives in a day or two,
he wonders if it's the same fairy that makes the toothsome bread
the neighbors rave about, everyone seems to want some of it, the
slices seem to fly out the door wrapped in moderately clean kitchen
towels, he scowls slightly when the door opens again and a cold
breeze comes in, unless it's accompanied by a piece of pie.
and the salad dressing! he slices tomatoes and avocado, smacking
his lips only to find the salad dressing is gone, and he is alone,
there is no fairy here, she is at work.
each note knows its destiny, the
amplitude and speed of vibrato, the length,
how he enters into it, gently, slurred,
a harsh articulation, the notes know their
destiny; it is her task to meet it there
in the perfect place at the perfect time,
the perfect intonation, to sing the note
from the belly up through the heart to the
lips so that note can fulfill its destiny
reaching our ears so we will experience
its magical perfection.
they take, slouching in, head down,
apologetic, creeping as if they really weren't
taking, just asking for a bit, a minute, a thought,
a suggestion, nothing in return, just inhaling
it all in to aid their digestion, snacking on
your lunch, a glass of water, a piece of chocolate,
a part of your brain, for them, it's just a quiet
job to make their life a little better, a little easier
so what if it makes yours that much
the people who lived here before us
home-schooled their snotty-nosed children
who were not vaccinated.
they carried the whooping cough to
all their friends, who resisted
while happily eating chocolate truffles
and potato chips, while the children who
lived here before ate carob coated ginger
for their sore throats.
their names were Hawk and Canary,
their father nailed boards over the upstairs windows
so they could never fly away while he
was writing surrealistic novels that
would never sell.
what have we come to when we have to read the fine print after all the talk,
who is telling the truth?
the twelve million jobs, the five point plan, the mother in Alabama,
the one who did not have insurance, the college student afraid for his future,
they both have white teeth and make-up.
the wealthy, the middle-class, the immigrants, women
who still make less than 75 cents for every dollar a man makes,
which man stands behind her?
I can answer that question and it's not the white man, you know
the one in the dark suit and the American flag on his breast,
the one who donates so much money to charity, not
mentioning which one.
Yes, we have to fact check, but I still know what box
I will fill in on my ballot.
let there be nothing on earth but laundry,
bed sheets flapping in the wind,
my eyes squinting at the sun,
the dampness against my jeans,
freshly cut grass cool on bare feet.
gone are the worries of work, children's cries
recede into the background, the pot boils over
on the stove and water spatters on the hot coils.
let the fresh smell of laundry fill my nostrils
displacing the rancid smell of stale garbage,
or dank basements filled with clutter.
the sun will fall in the sky,
the evening will turn cool, I will
gather chilly sheets in my arms,
freshening each pore with the smell
of clean laundry.
sun, paper, scissors,
red pen, keyboard, computer screen
in front of a window, gazing out at
a glorious day, behind me panes of sunlight
bisect eighteen sheets of paper
laid out on the floor to study,
disect, cut up, rewrite, the sun
passes from left to write towards
the mountains and fades away
into night, the moon rising to take
her place, papers stacked and stored
until tomorrow's red pen, keyboard
and computer screen.
black heat tiles once glowed orange
as they looked outside the window
at Earth hurtling towards them.
they cinched down their safety belts
stomachs jittery, excited, this baby
was their personal dream machine
now towed along city streets
blocked by "shuttle crossing" signs
and people taking pictures.
how we wish they were flying again.
no lifting of fingers
no cheating, no blowing extra hard.
no articulation, just a little tightening of
the belly, it's a bit flabby
isn't it, a stronger air stream
a little higher, a tighter
placed just right,
all while relaxing,
just like life's challenges
stand calmly, chest up, face
the music with dignity and confidence,
move gently and with precision to
solve all life's problems
gripping the edge of my chair
waiting to hear more, the lawyer
in her high heels wheeling back and
forth in front of me, warning us all
to be careful, the government is watching
us on the beach, on the phone,
in our rooms, in meetings, conferences
of our lives, I wonder at how she stands
in those high heels, noting the curvature
in her back, how else to hold her head high
when her body is pitched so far forward,
her grey hair swings back and forth
smoothly across her shoulders, so
well behaved, and then she reminds
me to grip my chair and listen
lest I get in trouble,
We fall like the leaves, once green and energetic
sunlight into energy, our faces towards the sun
all summer long, the youth of our lives.
beauty now, energy fallen to earth, a pathway of
furled leaves, green hidden under rusty oranges
and soft browns, we soften like them, having
drifted down under the soft patter of rain, the
heaviness of an early wet snow, we are beautiful
in our ages, I stand on them today, another day
I will join them in their softness on the ground.
the men at the gym pump it,
swinging the big weights, grunting,
sweating, rocking to their headphones,
an occasional nod between sets.
they are the big boys, Olympic weights
crashing onto specially prepared
flooring, thuds echoing through the gym,
he prances a bit after each lift,
we watch in between sets of 5x2,
5 pound hand weights, a delicate
sweat across our brows, we're
pumping it, believe me.
black notes fill the page
matching my mood, the metronome
methodically driving me to madness
in counting each note, jumping
octaves for an A, a D, an F, that
final grade tonight on this piece,
I stop playing and only count
to catch you on the right beat
a few bars later.
better take the chance
to make a life in thirty years
it will be gone so quickly,
what if it is ten, or five, or two
or a few days, what would you
do differently but hug her a bit longer
before falling to sleep, telling her
you love her, looking a few seconds
longer at the fall leaves before
riding your bike down the path
of life, treasuring
what will never be again.
reflections captured across wine glasses
two each, Montepulciano red half way up
clear glass across which we gaze at each other
through the words, mixing tears for all that is lost,
smiling at all that can be gained in moving on
at last leaving him behind without looking
back at who might be in the rear view mirror
we no longer care.
Two men standing at podiums, behind their lecturns
facing an elderly gentlemen who hopes to keep them under control
facing tough questions requiring honest answers,
where are the ads they can just play to each other
and to us, the unbelieving audience that wonders what
we have gotten ourselves into with all this
where dollars win votes, the color of a tie,
the number of interruptions, the loudest voices,
the body language, what issues, we ask
and what answers.
We are left wondering.
the final bridge before crossing to the other side,
from golden leaves to paved parking lots,
from the breeze across my cheek to fluorescent lights,
from breathing deep to holding my breath.
water flows under this bridge, high in Spring,
a more relaxed flow in Fall to capture the leaves
and carry them, every so slowly, dancing on each
ripple across farms and fields, slowly, slowly
to the open sea.
if you write on water
no one can read the letters, the words, the thoughts
and you are no longer responsible as the ripples
wash onto a distant shore
they are left staring at the reflection of the moon
glittering its own content and
you walk away in your new outfit
having performed your assigned task
of creating nothingness
yet claiming credit